Other Oaths and Pledges
Islamic Medical Association
This medical oath which is a composite from the historical and contemporary writings of physicians of Islamic World was officially adopted by Islamic Medical Association in 1977.
Praise be to Allah (God), the Teacher, the Unique, Majesty of the heavens, the Exalted, the Glorious, Glory be to Him, the Eternal Being Who created the Universe and all the creatures within, and the only Being Who contained the infinity and the eternity. We serve no other god besides Thee and regard idolatry as an abominable injustice.
Give us the strength to be truthful, honest, modest, merciful and objective.
Give us the fortitude to admit our mistakes, to amend our ways & to forgive the wrongs of others.
Give us the wisdom to comfort & counsel all towards peace & harmony.
Give us the understanding that ours is a profession sacred that deals with your most precious gifts of life and intellect.
Therefore, make us worthy of this favoured station with honor, dignity and piety so that we may devote our lives in serving mankind, poor or rich, literate or illiterate, Muslim or non-Muslim, black or white with patience and tolerance with virtue and reverence, with knowledge and vigilance, with Thy love in our hearts and compassion for Thy servants, Thy most precious creation.
Hereby we take this oath in Thy name, the Creator of all the Heavens and the earth and follow Thy counsel as Thou has revealed to Prophet Mohammad.
“Whoever killeth a human being, not in lieu of another human being nor because of mischief on earth, it is as if he hath killed all mankind. And if he saveth a human life, he hath saved the life of all mankind.” (Qur’an V/35)
The Physican's Oath and the Prayer of Maimonides
MOSES MAIMONIDES (1135/38-1204) was the most important Jewish philosopher of the Middle Ages. Maimonides was born in the Spanish city of Cordoba at a time when about one-fifth of the people in southern Spain were Jews. Maimonides and his family fled to Fustat (now Cairo) because of rising anti-Semitism in Spain. There Maimonides worked as a physician, a scholar of Jewish law and a philosopher.
Among other works, Maimonides wrote The Guide of the Perplexed, a treatment of philosophical issues. His attempts to synthesize Jewish revelation and Aristotelean philosophy influenced the ideas of many Christian thinkers including St. Albert the Great and St. Thomas Aquinas. He was physician to the Sultan Saladin and a leader of Egyptian Jewry, an important figure in the codification of Jewish law. In his later years Maimonides became famous throughout Europe. England’s King Richard asked him to be his Royal Physician but Maimonides declined.
Translated by Harry Friedenwald, Bulletin of the Johns Hopkins Hospital 28: 260-261, (1917).
The Oath of Maimonides
The eternal providence has appointed me to watch over the life and health of Thy creatures.
May the love for my art actuate me at all time;
May neither avarice nor miserliness, nor thirst for glory or for a great reputation engage my mind;
For the enemies of truth and philanthropy could easily deceive me and make me forgetful of my lofty aim of doing good to Thy children.
May I never see in the patient anything but a fellow creature in pain.
Grant me the strength, time and opportunity always to correct what I have acquired, always to extend its domain;
For knowledge is immense and the spirit of man can extend indefinitely to enrich itself daily with new requirements.
Today he can discover his errors of yesterday
And tomorrow he can obtain a new light on what he thinks himself sure of today.
Oh, God, Thou has appointed me to watch over the life and death of Thy creatures;
Here am I ready for my vocation and now I turn unto my calling.
The Prayer of Maimonides
The “Daily Prayer Of A Physician” is attributed to Maimonides, but was probably written by Marcus Herz, a German physician, pupil of Immanual Kant, and physician to Moses Mendelssohn. It first appeared in print in about 1793.
Almighty God, Thou has created the human body with infinite wisdom. Ten thousand times ten thousand organs hast Thou combined in it that act unceasingly and harmoniously to preserve the whole in all its beauty, the body which is the envelope of the immortal soul. They are ever acting in perfect order, agreement and accord. Yet, when the frailty of matter or the unbridling of passions deranges this order or interrupts this accord, then forces clash and the body crumbles into the primal dust from which it came. Thou sendest to man diseases as beneficent messengers to foretell approaching danger and to urge him to avert it.
Thou has blest Thine earth, Thy rivers and Thy mountains with healing substances; they enable Thy creatures to alleviate their sufferings and to heal their illnesses. Thou hast endowed man with the wisdom to relieve the suffering of his brother, to recognize his disorders, to extract the healing substances, to discover their powers and to prepare and to apply them to suit every ill. In Thine Eternal Providence Thou hast chosen me to watch over the life and health of Thy creatures. I am now about to apply myself to the duties of my profession. Support me, Almighty God, in these great labors that they may benefit mankind, for without Thy help not even the least thing will succeed.
Inspire me with love for my art and for Thy creatures. Do not allow thirst for profit, ambition for renown and admiration, to interfere with my profession, for these are the enemies of truth and of love for mankind and they can lead astray in the great task of attending to the welfare of Thy creatures. Preserve the strength of my body and of my soul that they ever be ready to cheerfully help and support rich and poor, good and bad, enemy as well as friend. In the sufferer let me see only the human being. Illumine my mind that it recognize what presents itself and that it may comprehend what is absent or hidden. Let it not fail to see what is visible, but do not permit it to arrogate to itself the power to see what cannot be seen, for delicate and indefinite are the bounds of the great art of caring for the lives and health of Thy creatures. Let me never be absent-minded. May no strange thoughts divert my attention at the bedside of the sick, or disturb my mind in its silent labors, for great and sacred are the thoughtful deliberations required to preserve the lives and health of Thy creatures.
Grant that my patients have confidence in me and my art and follow my directions and my counsel. Remove from their midst all charlatans and the whole host of of ficious relatives and know-all nurses, cruel people who arrogantly frustrate the wisest purposes of our art and often lead Thy creatures to their death.
Should those who are wiser than I wish to improve and instruct me, let my soul gratefully follow their guidance; for vast is the extent of our art. Should conceited fools, however, censure me, then let love for my profession steel me against them, so that I remain steadfast without regard for age, for reputation, or for honor, because surrender would bring to Thy creatures sickness and death.
Imbue my soul with gentleness and calmness when older colleagues, proud of their age, wish to displace me or to scorn me or disdainfully to teach me. May even this be of advantage to me, for they know many things of which I am ignorant, but let not their arrogance give me pain. For they are old and old age is not master of the passions. I also hope to attain old age upon this earth, before Thee, Almighty God!
Let me be contented in everything except in the great science of my profession. Never allow the thought to arise in me that I have attained to sufficient knowledge, but vouchsafe to me the strength, the leisure and the ambition ever to extend my knowledge. For art is great, but the mind of man is ever expanding.
Almighty God! Thou hast chosen me in Thy mercy to watch over the life and death of Thy creatures. I now apply myself to my profession. Support me in this great task so that it may benefit mankind, for without Thy help not even the least thing will succeed.”
"I believe that the moral element of a liberal and candid spirit went hand in hand with the intellectual qualifications of observation, analysis and comparison."
–R.G. Latham on Thomas Sydenham
It Becomes Every Man Who Purposes
It becomes every man who purposes
to give himself to the care of others,
seriously to consider the four following things:
First, that he must one day give an account
to the Supreme Judge of all the lives
entrusted to his care.
Secondly, that all his skill, and knowledge, and energy,
as they have been given him by God,
so they should be exercised for his glory,
and the good of mankind,
and not for mere gain or ambition.
Thirdly, and not more beautifully than truly,
let him reflect that he has undertaken
the care of no mean creature,
for, in order that he may estimate the value,
the greatness of the human race,
the only begotten Son of God became himself a man,
and thus ennobled it with his divine dignity,
and far more than this, died to redeem it.
And fourthly, that the doctor
being himself a mortal man, should be
diligent and tender
in relieving his suffering patients,
inasmuch as he himself must one day be
a like sufferer.
— Thomas Sydenham, 1668 Medical Observations Concerning the History and Cure of Acute Diseases, 1668
The Prayer of Thomas Aquinas
Give me a deep curiosity about all your creation.
Move me to search and question.
Give me insight and understanding,
A retentive memory
And the patience to ponder and reflect.
May I not stop short with knowledge,
But proceed with the understanding of the heart:
Wisdom to view the world with the eyes of faith:
Point out the beginning,
Direct the progress,
Help the completion.
Through Christ our Lord.
– Thomas Aquinas, 13th Century