“And when I am ill, it is He (Allah) who cures me” Qur’an 26:80
Muslims have a long history of providing medical care to anyone in need. In the 8th century, the great public hospital of Baghdad was established by Caliph Haroun al-Rashid. At the Baghdad hospital, people from all walks of life were cared for without any test of religion, ethnicity or political allegiance. It is in the centuries old tradition that Shifa Clinic was established by American Islamic Outreach Foundation (AIOF) in Charlotte, NC.
On Saturday, the 17th of October, Shifa clinic opened for the first time with a staff of four physicians and a pharmacist along with several other volunteers. In six hours the clinic was able to serve 53 patients, more than 20 of whom were non-Muslim. Raza Ulhaq, Registered Pharmacist (RPh), has done much of the background work in creating AIOF’s Shifa Clinic and he expressed great joy at being able to benefit so many people on the first day and anticipates that the November clinic will see over 100 as word spreads.
Raza Ulhaq precisely expresses the need for Charlotte’s Shifa Clinic “This is a noble effort to help poor people, irrespective of race or religion. Additionally, we are trying to show the reality of Islam by acting on its teachings.” RPh Ulhaq says that he feels that the clinic must maintain strong responsibility for the care of its clients and expressed deep sincerity that the clinic will be a permanent fixture in Charlotte.
Currently there are over 30 such free clinics established across the United States and Canada by Muslims who have taken the charge to help people in our communities that fall through the cracks of healthcare. In spite of our society’s attempts to make healthcare accessible to the masses, many people are still left without access to the medical care they need. This is why area physicians rallied under the call from American Islamic Outreach to create the Shifa Clinic in Charlotte.
Shifa Clinic is currently being operated out of MAS-Charlotte’s facility at 4301 Shamrock Drive and plans to continue with MAS as its permanent location for the free monthly services. A patient being served at the clinic will be immediately informed regarding the next clinic date so he or she can be prepared for a follow-up visit. Proper recordkeeping is being employed to ensure quality consultative care and patient privacy in accordance with HIPAA requirements.
By springtime, remote mobile clinics will be set up at different times to increase accessibility to more communities. These remote clinic opportunities will not take the place of the fixed clinic operation; clients who visit the MAS center clinic can rely on their monthly check ups. RPh Ulhaq says that they are planning to set up the mobile clinic in a way that it can be packed into AIOF’s QuranMobile in order to be deployed for disaster relief scenarios and other emergency situations.
More volunteers have come on-board, including a Spanish speaking physician. Share the information with anyone in need; Shifa clinic is here to fill the gap in community healthcare.