A Thematic Study Of Islamic Perspectives In Scopus Indexed Articles. Implications On Medical Imaging.

Author:Zainul, Ibrahim Zainuddin


Scientific writings or journal articles are widely accepted as effective media to disseminate and update knowledge in the various fields of specialisations. The philosophical, conceptual or application dimensions currently present in these literatures are evidences of increasing prominence in writings that portray Islamic perspectives. Muslim as well as non- Muslim professionals have presented Islamic viewpoints that support, refute or simply provide understanding and directions for communities in matters that need religious clarification. The presence of these publications is a manifestation of the Islamic paradigm to overcome the dearth of literature that addresses Islamic viewpoints in educational and professional areas. Seen from a different perspective the efforts of Muslim professionals, in particular to present Islamic viewpoints in these publications can modify or change misunderstandings or misconceptions about Islam. Terms that include Islam, Muslims and Moslem are among those Islam related terminologies that have been used to in these publications. However, depending on how those terms are used in those publications, the mere presence of these terms may not be enough to depict the overall Islamic concept that the religion champions. Caution should be exercised on how best those Islam related terms could contribute positively to reshape the Muslim minds in embracing the religion as it should be. The exercise should also be seen within the context of providing the understanding concerning the religion to those who harbor misconceptions or misinterpretations of the faith.

There are ample evidences of the active discussions involving Islamic perspectives in disciplines that include Economics, Finance, Banking and Medicine. However, little is known of such discourses in the field of Medical Imaging. The current status in scientific writings or journal articles in relation to this needs to be ascertained. This is to determine the position of Muslim Medical Imaging practitioners in presenting Islamic beliefs, thoughts, values or practices to address the various concepts in their field of specialsation. It would also be worthwhile to determine how well these individuals have contributed to complement the efforts of other Muslim professionals in other fields of specialisation.

This paper presents the status of Islamic perspectives in journal articles indexed in Scopus as a general indicator of the prominence of Islamic perspectives being addressed in the scientific writings. The study highlights the various Islamic themes that these literatures represent. Special emphasis was given to the field of Medical Imaging. The results show a dearth in the frequency and type of Islamic perspectives being addressed in Medical Imaging. The implications of this void were discussed and proposals were made to overcome the situation. These serve to facilitate for clear directions for future undertakings in aligning Islam to the profession.

Current status in Medical Imaging literature

The advent of Medical Imaging and its subsequent technological advancements and practices has been influenced by the West. Subsequently, there is a heavy dependence on Western literature addressing the theory and practice of the discipline. The present author, an academician in Medical Imaging acknowledges the dearth of references to spiritual or religious matters in Medical Imaging textbooks. There is hardly any mention of the term "God" or "Superior Being", what more the Islamic perspective in the term "Allah" in these type of literature. The influence of such literatures upon the minds of a Muslim Medical Imaging practitioner and Medical Imaging student is the dichotomy between professional knowledge and practice to essence of the religion. This gives the impression that the secularisation agenda is successful, with or without any noticeable effect on the Muslim Medical Imaging practitioner. Subconsciously, this could effectively distance the Muslim practitioner, in terms of segregation of worldly professional matters to the principles and objectives of what Islam champions. The need for initiatives to be undertaken to reconcile this state of affairs in order to bring back the Muslim practitioner into the folds of the religion is vital. While the void of Islamic perspectives may be the case for textbooks, the status with respect to other forms of Medical Imaging literature has yet to be established.

Literature review

Terms that include "Islamic perspectives", "Islamic Worldview", "Islamisation", "Qur'anic", "Muslims" and other Islam related terms have been used to relate to the macro and micro levels of the various fields of human knowledge. At the macro level, Islamic perspectives have been used to examine the discipline of Economics (Mohamed Aslam, 1997) and Psychology (Haque, 2004; Noraini, 2009), while the Qur'anic perspective towards human health has been presented (Yousofi, 2011). The concept of the Islamic Worldview was used to examine Islamic Educational Philosophy (Mohd Shukri, 2013). At the micro level, Yesil, Sekkeli and Dogan (2012) examined Islamic work ethics at the workplace. Other works include Mohd Kamal (2011) who critiques the thoughts of Al- Qaradowi, a noted Muslim Jurist, on Human Intellect, Divine Revelation and Knowledge. Tilde (1989) forwarded a critique by Ja'far Shaykh Idris who argued about the procedure or methodology of Islamisation of the Sciences, while Zarqa (2003) contended the methodology of Islamisation in Economics. Collectively, these works present a tip of the iceberg of the literatures that depict various Islamic perspectives in the various disciplines. This calls for an appreciation of what can be done from the Medical Imaging perspective to complement these works.

Three studies have profound influence to the present study. A study by Laird, de Marrais, and Barnesa (2007) on the promotion of Islam as evident in publications indexed in Medline was believed to be among the few studies that examines the frequency of Islamic perspectives in databases. Concentrating on articles published between 1966 till August 2005 and indexed in Medline, a total of 2342 articles had either the words "Islam", "Muslim", "Muslims", "Moslem" in their titles or abstracts. The total number of citations in Medline, as of September 30th 2005, stood at more than 13,476,000 (Medline). It can be concluded that there was insignificant number of articles with Islamic perspectives to the overall number of articles in the Medline database. Meanwhile, the use of the four terms representing Islamic perspectives did not give an overall picture of the state of affairs of Islamic viewpoints. In a positive way, the findings of the study should be seen within the context of opportunities upon Muslim practitioners to improve the situation.

It would be worthwhile to replicate the above study to determine the status of Islamic perspectives in the literature after nearly ten years. This is in consideration of the changes in perceptions to Islam as evident in the term "Islamophobia". This term highlights the contrived fear or prejudice directed at a perceived or real Muslim threat. Such perceptions rationalises the necessity to deploy violence as a tool to achieve "civilizational rehab" of the target communities, in particular Muslim communities (University of California, n.d).

There could also be the possibility that other terms that depict Islam are currently being used in the current literatures. The undertaking could outline a more realistic picture of the efforts that has taken place to depict the essence of Islam. A clearer understanding, in particular to the field of Medical Imaging, will inform the practitioners, Muslims or otherwise, the various Islamic perspectives that can be aligned to the profession.

Trevelyan, Cook and Fisher (2007) opines that ninety per cent of readers will read only the title and abstract of an article, with the majority reading only the title, before deciding to read further. Thus, the importance of having the right choice of words in the title and abstract is instrumental to draw the interest of readers. The use of relevant keywords in the title, abstract or article keyword could increase the likelihood of the article being displayed higher up in the result list in online searches. Vidmar (2012) felt that for online searches, failure to find relevant materials after the first 20 to 50 sites would require a change to the search strategy.

The user-friendliness of using the Scopus database, and its subsequent justification to be used in the study, can be appreciated in the following ways. Documented at http://www.elsevier.com/online-tools/scopus the database boasts it being the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature. Its 55 million records or documents covers close to 22,000 titles from 5,000 publishers. It has more than 20,000 peer-reviewed journals while the rest consists of conference proceedings, Book Series, book chapters, reports, editorials and others (Elsevier Content overview, 2015). These records address the fields of science, technology, medicine, social sciences, and arts and humanities. Scopus also provides 100 percent Medline coverage. Medline, the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) premier bibliographic database has accumulated more than 21 million journal citations and abstracts from more than 5,600 journal titles for biomedical literature (Medline Factsheet, 2014). This describes the vast amount of literature, translated in terms of accessibility of new information that is virtually available. With 100 percent Medline coverage it can be confidently asserted that a thorough coverage of scientific writings related to the field of Medicine, for which Medical Imaging is one of its sub-disciplines, is thus assured. Publications are indexed in Scopus after they satisfy the Scopus selection criterion, managed by "an independent and expert...

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