By Shahana Kismet
Work has been hectic the last month with the recent changes of Heads in our local office and I was tasked to ensure smooth transitioning in and out for both Heads. But as Allah would have had it, my health gave way the night our huge handover event ended and I rushed myself to the hospital. I didn’t know what was happening to me, all I felt was severe pain in my lower abdomen.
My parents volunteered to send me but it was already 11pm and I knew they would have to probably wait the entire night at the hospital with me. As much as I would want them there for the comfort of having a human present with me, I just felt I didn’t want to mess up their Ramadan routine.
I was warded eventually and my pain was numbed with painkillers. I recalled the severity of the pain I felt previously on the way to the hospital. I had never felt such pain before in my life. It got me thinking whom we thought about in times we feel unexplainable pain. Ask yourself. “Who is the first person I call out to when I am experiencing mental or physical pain?”
I was calling out to Allah in my heart in the cab on the way to the hospital. “Astarghfirullah, astarghfirullah, astarghfirullah…”, “Ya Allah, please have mercy on me, please help me…” When the Accident & Emergency drama subsided, I was thinking on the hospital bed, how is it that in time of dire need, we call out to Him? Because you realize it’s no use calling out to His creations for He is the Creator of your situation now.
In times of dire need, how is it that we beg for forgiveness? Because you realize how finitely small you are before your Creator and you seek His favor and Mercy upon you. And you realize the embarrassment you have for asking something from Him when you have done so much wrong in the life He has given you.
When we are at ease, how often do we ponder and contemplate on Him? How can I not be grateful to this pain He has bestowed upon me? How can I not be a grateful servant?
I was frustrated that this is happening to me in Ramadan for I was looking forward to gain back the istiqomah I had lost with the sunnah practices outside of Ramadan. At this moment, crippled with the pain and bleeding, I couldn’t pray and fast. I was deprived of the idealistic blissful Ramadan I wanted; to fast and do all the ibadah I could.
My Ramadan last year was exactly that; iftar and teraweeh with friends. I could count the number of days that I had iftar with my family as I wanted to chase the benefits of congregational teraweeh prayers wherever the invitation was at. I hadn’t realized how selfish I was, wanting to reap the benefits of ibadah during the blessed month but leaving my family alone in Ramadan.
This Ramadan, I’m on the hospital bed, pondering in pain. They say pain is an expiation of sins. A few months ago the doctors had deemed this same problem as insignificant but this same insignificant cyst chose to rupture during this blessed month. How can I not be a grateful servant? As Allah would have had it, I got to spend time with my family with the hospitalization leaves I received.
Once back home, we received a call that my paternal grandmother was not doing to well in the hospital and the doctor had advised all family members to be present. My dad was taking a nap when the news got to him. My dad, the most alpha male I knew in my entire life broke into tears. I crumbled inside seeing a strong 64-year-old man crying for his mother.
We sat all night, by her side. She was in a constant chant for Allah. Ya Allah…Allahu biha…Laillaha illallah, Muhammadur Rasullullah. There were times her sons and daughters came by her ears and whispered the syahadah to her and she repeated after them. This sight I will remember for life, for this re-enactment will come to us in future no matter what. And again, I pondered and wondered, how was her thought process at this moment?
All the years we have lived in this dunya, with our ideals of how life should be; a crafted mirage by a society that is just fueled by the nafs, to out do each other’s economic status – that’s success? Does this effort really matter when you are at your last breath; would you be calling out to money to save you? You won’t have this realization now perhaps. You won’t know if you would even be granted the opportunity to say your syahadah before your last breath. But dear reader, look deep inside your heart for the honest Truth, tell me, whose name is it you know you will call out when you are in pain or at your last breath? We all know who it is, but we are also covered with the layer of “we still have time”. Don’t you think?
Again, from all that you have shown me this Ramadan, how can I not be a grateful servant? Your calling to me with these tribulations, how can I not be a grateful servant? Your unveiling of Your mercy, how can I not be a grateful servant? You have put me into submission to You time and again with these difficult situations for the renewal of faith but at times, I am a fool for not realizing. Forgive me, how can I not be a grateful servant?
Imam al Ghazali’s magnum opus, “The Revival of the Religious Sciences”, is one of the greatest classical Islamic texts of all time. Overflowing with gems of spiritual wisdom and Light, the Ihya has been singled out as the book that, after the Quran, suffices for the spiritual guidance of the Muslims today. This class focuses on Chapters 13 – 15 of the Ihya, which discuss in greater depth the keys to material and spiritual prosperity, as well as the value of companionship on the path to Allah.
Join us for this upcoming class on Imam Ghazali’s Ihya Ulumuddin, taught by Ustaz Amin Yusoff.
Register at: http://revivalofthedeen.eventbrite.sg