Charles Broy, MD
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Khalid L. Rehman
April 28, 2009
Dear Sir: The article titled "Inshala" under the section "On Being a Doctor" published in the 21 April 2009 issue of the Annals requires a minor corrcction. The word sounds like" Inshala" but in fact the correct Arabic word is" Insha Allah". "Insha" meaning the will of and "Allah" referring to God in the Arabic language. It is customary in the Muslim world to utter this word for future events. It is based on the Muslim belief that in spite of the best efforts by man, things happen or do not happen based on the Will of God. Such a belief offers consolation and patience in the case of adversity and allows the faithf to accept the outcome as a matter of divine writ.
University of Tennessee, College of Medicine, Chattanooga
April 30, 2009
From a human perspective, when I read this article I had mixed feelings about the situation. The author did paint the picture well and we were able to imagine and feel the suffering of these children who were victims of the "correctional mission" of the army.
Sadness, compassion, guilt and embarrassment were amongst the feelings that predominate when thinking about these victims of the war. On the other hand, it is striking how those people, amid all this chaos, fear and difficult circumstances, still have that impressive hope. I would guess this is probably because this is the only good thing left for them in this life to experience.
I believe that the "Insha Allah" word from the parents was not merely a word they used to utter frequently, rather it was coming out of the bottom of the heart stating that whatever happened is a test in this life to know whether we did well or not and " Insha Allah" ( i.e. if Allah will) after hardship will always come with ease!
As doctors, when we take away the hope from people, we almost blow out this little candle that provides some light amid the scary darkness.
Broy C. Inshala. Ann Intern Med. ;150:565. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-150-8-200904210-00013
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2009;150(8):565.
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