‘An Evening with IMANA’ Highlights Services of Muslim Physicians
By Akhtar M. Faruqui
Photos by Anwar Khawaja
Glimpses of ‘An evening with IMANA’ at the Knottt’s Berry Farm Resort Hotel in Buena Park, California, on April 9, 2011
'An Evening with IMANA' at the Knottt's Berry Farm Resort Hotel in Buena Park, California, on April 9, 2011 was full of pleasant surprises for those attendees who were not fully familiar with the wide spectrum of activities of the Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA).
For them, the multifarious services offered by the Association in various parts of the world on pure humanitarian basis – irrespective of creed, race, and political affiliation and in strict compliance of Islamic traditions - were truly edifying.
Quite a few distinguished doctors from diverse geographical backgrounds made their presentation to the delight of the audience. They furnished an absorbing account of IMANA 'relief activities around the world making a difference' in disaster-hit Sudan, Haiti, Bangladesh, Gaza, Pakistan, Egypt, Uganda, India, and Lebanon. Dr Abida Haque, President of the Association, put it more succinctly: "IMANA is a non-profit, multiethnic national organization of Muslim physicians and allied health professionals working together to help those who are facing difficulties in life, and thus improve the image of Muslims in North America and other parts of the world. We believe in the equality of all human beings, and in the sanctity of human life." Laudable objectives zestfully pursued by IMANA members across the globe.
The proceedings got underway with a Quran'ic recitation and translation by Shaikh Said Saddouk. The master of ceremonies was Dr Amna Rizvi who acquitted herself admirably in the role. IMANA presentations by Dr Abida Haque, Dr Ismail Mehr and Dr Nida Hamiduzzaman were truly inspirational mirroring many a commendable initiative of the Association. Manifestly, IMANA as an organization, furnishes vivid proof of being truly professional rather than political. To quote Dr Abida Haque, "IMANA has many committees, including Relief, Education, Resident/Student, Ethics, CME, Public Health, Legislative activities, Membership, and Bylaws. We also publish a newsletter and a medical journal, JIMA, twice a year.
"IMANA is also fortunate to have the International Institute of Islamic Medicine (IIM), with hundreds of manuscripts and literature on the contributions of Muslim physicians to the progress of Medicine. Many of us do not know our own history, so please take a moment to visit the IMANA website and IIIM website..."
In her illuminating keynote address, Dr Meher Tabatabai, a distinguished physician who remains closely involved in the community, made many well-meaning observations. A small sampling:
"...As IMANA continues to grow, my advice as a lifetime member to this great organization is to remain a moderate and a mainstream organization. As doctors and as Muslim physicians we have taken both the Oath of Hippocrates and the Oath of the Muslim Physicians. Thus we have promised to save lives, to do good, and do no harm. Therefore, we should not be afraid to speak out against indiscriminate and senseless killing of innocent human beings in the name of Islam. As it is clearly stated in the Qur'an, 'If anyone has killed one person (except in lieu of murder or mischief on earth) it is as if he has killed the whole of mankind, and if he has saved one life it is as if he saved the whole mankind.'
"Now, I am going to change my focus and talk about Muslims in America. We need to understand. And this is what Islam's message is, that the greater good of humanity takes precedence over an individual's self-interest. We need to promote tolerance and understanding and educate others about Islam. We need to integrate and foster ties and friendship with other communities without losing our culture or identity. We need to encourage interfaith dialogue. We need to volunteer for charities here. We need to participate in the political process of this country and have our voices heard. We need to encourage our children to become journalists, attorneys, and to enter politics. We need friends and a lobby in Washington. We need to be in touch with our congressmen and senators, city and state-elected officials. We have adopted this great country as our homeland. It has given us a lot. It is time to give back…
"Finally, my advice to IMANA in simple words is to be progressive, be understanding and accommodating; network with each other, reach out to other communities and be inclusive..."
The evening was also a propitious occasion to grant an 'Award of Recognition' to several institutions: Recognition was extended to the UMMA Community Center "that provides comprehensive family care that rivals the best private care in Los Angeles..."; Al-Shifa Clinic that "provides a 'safety net' to the uninsured, indigent, and under-served members of the community who live not only in the surrounding areas, but also come from neighboring counties, including Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside"; Med-Plus Pharmacy that has "grown into a successful corporation that now consists of a retail division that includes durable medical equipment, specially medication, as well as IV infusion, and most recently a new pharmacy for long-term care/nursing homes" thanks to the enterprise and zeal of Dr Shabana Yasmin; and the Islamic Center of San Gabriel Health Care Center (ICSGV) in Rowland Heights which extends "services to the entire community, Muslims and non-Muslims alike ... Since its inception, Dr Rizwana Hussain has been the Chairperson of the Health Center and currently Dr Arif Rizvi, President of the Islamic Center, is the Board Liaison. Many local physicians, pharmacists and health care professionals volunteer their time at the ICSGV Health Care Center..."
The host committee comprising Arif Rizvi, Talat Khan, Afzal Hussain, Nida Hamiduzzaman, Rizwana Hussain, Amna Rizvi and Hajera Rizvi, deserves to be felicitated for organizing the highly successful 'evening with IMANA.'