When we say ‘Allahhu Akbar’

When we the Muslims say Allahhu Akbar, we are basically declaring the greatness of Allah.  While declaring the greatness of Allah, the other thing that should come into our consciousness is the sense of humility in our own weakness and limitations.

The more pious we become, the more humble we should be.

The more religious we become, the more generous and kind we should be.

The more believing we become, the more courteous we should be to our fellow Muslims and human being.

The last time I met the quality of  humility,generosity, kindness and courtesy in a pious, religious and believing Muslim women was in Newcastle….where Muslims were the minority.


The doctors in Malaysia are still old-school in their thoughts. 20 years ago, it is considered normal to scream at your subordinates for the slightest mistake. Now, in most part of the world, even in Indonesia, that kind of rude, obnoxious, uncultured (really!) behaviour is no longer acceptable. According to my friend who studied in Indonesia, doctors over there respect each other and they protect one another.

How would a patient feel knowing that she/he is being taken care of by someone who she sees as being screamed at by her/his boss? Probably this junior doctor who is taking care of me must have done something so dreadfully bad, when the reality was the doctor just forgot to ask one minor symptom that may be able to complete the argument for a particular diagnosis but its prsesence of absence would not change the diagnosis. For a mistake as  minor as that she got screamed at in a professional setting.

Some of theses bosses are behaving as though they were born equipped with all knowledge of medicine. As though they have never been a stupid house officer, themselves.

I can accept it if the MO who screamed down at HOs are non-Muslims. (And for the record, the worst MO in my previous department is an Indian lady; I am not trying to make a racist argument here. While the other Indian consultant is nice, she sets herself apart with arrogance and discriminating behaviour. It has never been about race… it’s about having good values.) I can accept being screamed at by a Chinese MO, an Indian MO….but I cannot accept the behaviour of publicly humiliating and belittling others when it is done by my fellow Muslims regardless of their rank in the government service.

What kind of Muslim is this? What kind of excuse can I give these kind of Muslims for behaving in a manner so totally opposite to the ones prescribed in the Quran and the Sunnah? And worse, some of these Muslims are the so called ‘alim’ modestly-attired Muslims too! In Newcastle, the most modestly attired Muslimah is the one who is most soft-spoken, most helpful, most kind, most ready to believe the best of people. In Malaysia where Muslims are the majority, the modestly-attired Muslimahs can be the one who is most rude, most obnoxious and most likely to look at someone with suspicious eyes….as though she was the only one in possession of good morals!

The excuse of most MOs when they are behaving like a terrorist:

1)During our time, we got even worse treatment than you do

-Let’s all go back to the time when there’s no cars; only carriages and horses. Let’s all go back to the time when there’s no MRI/CT Scan…just physical examination to confirm your diagnosis. If we are so keen to bring the outdated practice of old times, then just stop progressing altogether. We should all just remain the same for the next 100 years.

2) It’s okay to be strict for the purpose of teaching your junior. 

      -You are not being strict. Who are you kidding? It’s called ragging and bullying. Being strict doesn’t require you to raise your voice even a notch. Ask anyone what is the quality of a good teacher at school? Is a good teacher is the one who scream at her students as she was teaching them ABC? Since when being a good teacher is equivalent to being a rude and obnoxious teacher? What is WRONG with your reasoning that you could not compute that people absorb knowledge more when it is taught calmly and precisely. How can anyone learn when they are more aware of feeling embarrassed for the way you are treating them? Have you been so long in this inhumane health system that you are now devoid of  the ability to understand normal emotion/reaction to a distressful situation? You expect them to learn more while they are fighting the emotion of hating you?

-Just be honest! You are not trying to be strict! You are trying to scare people into being in awe with your arrogance. And for that stupid trick, you are really and truly pathetic!

3) Fear will stimulate your thalamic center…when you associate certain information with certain emotion, you will remember more and that is effective teaching!

-Pfft! Yes, fear does stimulate your thalamic center. So does love. So does happiness. So does respect. All strong emotion stimulate the thalamic centre, genius! I guess, with your behaviour, to get someone to love and respect you and be happy while seeing you is too hard. So fear is the easiest emotion you can call forth for you to get people to learn.

4)We have no time to privately admonish our subordinates. We have too many patients to see. So we have no other choice but to teach them (read: scream at them) right there and then in front of the patients.

-Huh? You have no time to admonish your HOs privately for 5 minutes at the end of your round….but you do have time to scream at them for 2-3 minutes for each patient, and thus delaying your rounds even further?

-Just tell us the truth! The truth is, you get adrenaline rush when you exercise your power over your subordinates. You get a perverse pleasure of showing off your authority over us. It inflates your ego. It makes you feel better about yourself.

-That is the psychology of all bullies.


Can you really accept the excuse of a Muslim when they scream at you for not knowing something?

I mean, think logically. I am not saying we shouldn’t be scolded at all as HOs. Of course we should. But not in a manner that is specifically designed to humiliate and belittle us in front of the patients.

I give you example of how certain things could have been said. There are devilish way of teaching HOs and angelic way of teaching HOs. Note the difference:


You don’t know this? YOU DON’T KNOW THIS? Which uni did you graduate from? Why haven’t you done urine albumin for a hypertensive pregnant lady? How do you expect me to diagnose whether or not it’s just a hypertensive crisis or pre-eclampsia? You haven’t been using your brain, is it? If this is the way you are using your brain, you’ll get alzheimer soon. (SCREAM, SCREAM, SCREAM)


 Next time, I expect you to do urine albumin for this patient. It is very important for us to know whether this is simply non-proteinuric pregnancy-induced hypertension or is it pre-eclampsia? So from now on, I expect all ladies with hypertensive crisis to be assessed as to their level of urine albumin, got it? Any less than that is not acceptable.

See? The angel manage to teach as she admonishes! And the angel did not include unrelated personal attack such as ‘which uni did you graduate from’ or ‘have you not been using your brain’. Be professional lahh weh! We know we make mistakes….you can admonish us for it. But you don’t have to scream at us. We are not school children.

Do you know the last time I raise my voice publicly at others? I must have been only a teenager at that time! It was a long time ago! Adults don’t do this. It’s not a pretty sight. Adults keep their emotion under tight rein and resolve their dissatisfaction away from the eyes of public, especially away from the eyes of their clients!


 I would imagine the only way I can bring myself to scream at someone is  if I really hate that someone. And for me to really hate someone, that someone must have done something really bad towards me. None of that ‘something really bad’ include not knowing something or not being intelligent enough.

But it’s illogical to think that specialists and MOs  do hate their juniors for simply not knowing something. That couldn’t be why they scream at us. Maybe they don’t hate us. That wasn’t why they scream at us.

They scream at us with no remorse or guilt because that is the culture in our medical practice.

What a bad culture it is.

Alas, Malaysian Muslims are still trapped between choosing culture vs religion.

They practice both the culture and the religion. But when there’s a conflict between choosing one over the other, sometimes they ignore the religious rules altogether. These Malaysian Muslims are usually the ones who have never been overseas….have never experience the  solidarity of being a minority in a Western country. They practice what they have always practiced in Malaysia. They have never been away from Malaysia long enough to challenge what is considered best practice. Sometimes they don’t even know whether what they are practicing has any basis in religion. They simply do what they have always done.

In Australia, you meet Muslims from many other parts of the world. There’s a distinction between what’s culture and what’s religion. We practice our religion; we take what’s good about our culture which is not against the religion; we abandon the ones that is not in accordance with our religion. Our religious practice, insha Allah become purer, better.

That’s why the modestly attired Muslimahs in overseas behave differently than the modestly-attired Muslimahs in Malaysia. In overseas, we don’t don our Muslim attire simply because it is cultural and expected of us. We don’t have parents to force us to be modest. In fact, the society in the West puts even more pressure for us to abandon our hijab and blend in the crowd. Yet, we persist when it was so easy not to. In overseas, we really do know why we are doing what we do. We really strive to know about our religion. Ironically, most people find Islam and become a better Muslim when they were overseas, where there’s no cultural influence to cause confusion.

How can a Muslim behave like a gangster-doctor? Because they are more influenced by the medical culture rather than the religion! They have never read, apparently, the Muslim Code of Behaviour.

“The servants of the Beneficent (Allah) are those who walk on the earth in humility.” (25:63)

– a humble person don’t scream at their subordinates. They have mercy towards one another and address each other kindly.

“O you who believe! avoid most of suspicion (against others), for surely suspicion in some cases is sin; and do not spy (into other people’s affairs), nor let some of you backbite others.” (49:12)

“Pardon (people) and overlook (their faults). Don’t you love that Allah should forgive you.” (24:22)

“(The dutiful are) . . . those who restrain their anger and pardon people. Allah loves those who do good to others.” (3:134)

“Whenever they (true believers) are angry they forgive.” (42:37)

“The believers are brethren, so make peace between your brethren . . . Do not find fault with your own people, nor call one another by (bad) nick­names.” (49:10-12)

“You will see the believers in their having mercy for one another, and in their love for one another, and in their kindness towards one another, like the human body: when one limb is ailing, the whole body feels it, one part calling out the other with sleeplessness and fever.” (Holy Prophet in Bukhari.)

“None of you has faith until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” (Holy Prophet in Bukhari.)

-do you love for yourself to be humiliated and belittled publicly? What does it say about your faith when you do unto others what you would not want to have done unto you?

“Speak good words to all people.” (2:83)

Ans, a companion of the Holy Prophet related,

“I served the holy prophet for ten years, and he never said to me, ‘Fie’, nor did he ever say “Why have you done this” or “Why have you not done that.” (report in Bukhari)

If only we could implement just SOME of the Muslim code of behaviour in the hospital setting, our lives as doctors would have been so much better.

When we say Allahhu Akbar, we are not only declaring the greatness of Allah but also our humility as a weak slave of Allah.

In what basis does any slave have any rights to be arrogant towards one another?

8 thoughts on “When we say ‘Allahhu Akbar’

  1. harimauhitam

    Ho2 kat msia xberhak bersuara atau complain2, org yg complaint2 ni org x bersyukur yek, tahap kerja kat hospital kita ni lebih baik kalau nk dibandingkan dgn sri lanka fan nepal.


    1. ?nepal

      apa salah nya komplain utk kebaikan? kenapa nk kena banding2 dgn negara terkebelakang mcm nepal? why don’t u compare it with US,UK,swiss? why can’t we compare it with advanced countries? sbb kita nk sama taraf mcm nepal ke?


  2. harimauhitam

    That’s what your goverment said, u cannot voice out ur dissatisfaction and anger, only opposition can. well, i am glad u r not from sri lanka or nepal. your goverment likes to compare things what. just accept the life u chose and bear with it)


  3. You don’t seem to get what I am trying to say in my post. Because I have better manners than you, I will just keep quiet rather than prolonging this useless interaction. Have a good life. Salam.


  4. When we say “Allaahu Akbaar” therein lies the entire SECRET of life. Some translate the term as “Allaah is the Greatest”. But rather the most appropriate translation is “Allaah is GREATER”. Of all the terms in the vocabulary of a Muslim, none is more repeated on a daily basis then this one. It teaches a Muslim, through a repetitive repetition, sort of that way a Mantra is set, about where a Muslims priority should lie..As mankind greatest weakness is forgetfulness and God reminds us, what is most important and critical to us… Allaaah!

    Lets say, a Muslim works for a number of years towards a Degree in Economics, and he has finally tasted the fruit of his restless labor, as soon as he begins one of the daily prayers, he begins with “ALLAHU AKBAR”. “Allaah is GREATER”. Greater then what? Greater then the short preoccupation that has distracted me into believing it was my purpose and my life’s greatest priority, or one saves years of wages in order to purchase a home or a car, and upon purchasing it, he prays the Asr prayer and he says “Allaahu Akbar”..Allaah is GREATER then this…and truly Allaaah is GREATER THEN ALL…..

    Jazakallaaahukhair ukhti for the reminder, I just wanted to add that to your wonderful post. Keep it up.


  5. Found your blog from a comment on pagalavan.com

    Please reconsider what you are writing on this public blog. It reflects poorly on your profession.

    You are effectively ranting about things and attempting to justify incompetence.

    Nobody expects interns/HOs to be perfect, but missing pre-eclampsia in a hypertensive pregnant lady is like missing a STEMI in a chest pain patient. Not looking for albuminuria is like not getting an ECG in the chest pain case.I dont think the reaction to something like that would differ much regardless of what hospital you are in – malaysia or OZ/UK/US.

    But you are brave enough to post something like that with your real identity…on a public space such as this.


    1. Hi there. Thank you for dropping by.
      I will reply in the sequence of your own comment.
      1) This blog IS a public blog. It kind of defeats the purpose of having a blog if it is not made public.
      2) I don’t see ANY sentence in ANY of my posting that ANYONE can say I am trying to excuse incompetence. Do enlighten me and give an example. If this is a court, your accusation would need evidence which is not based on your own assumptions.

      3)Missing pre-eclampsia IS bad. Just like missing angina IS bad. That’s why I give a perfectly CLEAR example of a devilish way and the angelic way of admonishing your subordinate. In my experience, an MO even missed PE simply because she didn’t ask about leg pain. I pointed it out nicely to her. The patient even has classic ECG S1Q3T3 patterns! But then, I pointed it out to her without trying to embarrass her in front of the specialist. You see….it’s called having manners. Something that may sound foreign to you and the likes of you.

      4) By your own generous admission, I am brave. Thank you for such a kind and wholly unexpected compliment. I do try to own up to what I say and not hide my identity. Unlike someone else here. In my religion, it’s not just about bravery. It’s also about honesty. It’s also about not caring to kiss anyone’s ass at higher place just in case they stumble on my blog. It’s about not caring if I lose this job because I can afford to do so. Those who can afford to lose this job should be the one fighting to better the system. Those who need this job (for financial responsibilities, for supporting family), they can’t afford to lose this job and I wouldn’t blame them if they are only silent supporters of what I said.

      It’s also about knowing that should I be unjustly treated simply because someone higher up don’t like what I write, I know exactly what to do, where to go, who to appeal to in order to exact retribution. 5 years in Australia being a foreigner…they couldn’t shut my mouth in a place where I didn’t pretend to belong. Back in Malaysia, I belong. And there is even less reason for me to cower down. That’s really not my style.

      Good day!


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