By Melanie Elturk
Dr. Ayad Al-Katib expresses his Islamic faith by showing his cancer patients the importance of having faith.
“I show good professional behavior and emphasize the importance of having faith and our ability to cope with daily life problems. When dealing with cancer, a serious medical problem, having faith helps people cope,” said Dr. Al-Katib.
After receiving his medical degree from Mosul Medical College in Iraq, Dr. Al-Katib came to the United States in 1979 for training in cancer and blood disorders. Today, he is a nationally and internationally known expert in his field and has published more than one hundred scientific papers.
As a professor of medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine, Medical Director of the Van Elslander Cancer Center at St. John Hospital and section chief of Hematology and Oncology at St. John Hospital, Dr. Al-Katib was named one of the area’s top oncologists in the Hour Detroit magazine in 2008.
Fascinated with blood disorders and the study of blood cells as a medical student, Dr. Al-Katib was motivated to become an oncologist.
“As a medical student, watching blood cells under the microscope and how they can become abnormal in addition to tremendous research and progress in treatment is really exciting. We have made progress, but there’s more to be done,” Dr. Al-Katib said.
Being a Muslim helps Dr. Al-Katib in his practice; at the same time, dealing with cancer patients helps strengthen his faith as a Muslim.
“Dealing with oncology and cancer strengthens my faith because, despite our efforts, some people die of cancer. I see how fragile our life is and how much we don’t have control over it. God has control over our lives,” He said.
Dr. Al-Katib continues, “I am only the means. I don’t have the power to heal you – it’s God who has the ultimate power. We as human beings are limited. Knowing and seeing this makes me more humble and a better person.”
In order to transform the negative media portrayal of Islam and Muslims, Dr. Al-Katib believes we need to continue to do good deeds and be a positive force in American society.
“We need to get more involved in the collective American society, not only collect money for other countries, but do something here for the communities we live in,” said Dr. Al-Katib.
Dr. Al-Katib lives in southeast Michigan and realizes that there’s strength in numbers.
“Muslims in this country are individually very successful but we have failed to work collectively. We don’t have weight in societies. In southeastern Michigan our numbers are huge. Collectively we don’t have enough influence in our communities,” he said.
He has inspiring words for the next generation of American Muslims.
“I hope our new generation is going to carry on and be of service to this society. Islam is here. It’s part of this country and this society. I hope this new generation will be more active than my generation – the new generation of American Muslims.”