The Dua that changed my World

dua(This was one of the entries received as part of the story writing competition 2014)

Making Duas was never important to me. I always used to think that since Allah (swt) knows what is in my heart, He will listen to me. Consequently, there was no conscious effort in my Salah or otherwise to make Dua during rain, or between Adhan and Iqamah, in prostration, after reciting Quran, after Fard Salah, on Friday, while travelling, before opening a fast or at the time of Tahajjud. However, my thinking and understanding of the Deen changed considerably after my new homecoming to Deen.

It was something magical and surreal. There was something divine about this change. It made me happy and satisfied. It completed me. It gave me an identity and put my aching heart, wandering mind and unrest soul at peace!

My life took 360 degrees turn four years ago. A lecture at a friend’s house, followed by a few lectures at Markaz Al-Huda in Sharjah, and my heart gradually attached to the Deen.

It happened immediately after I realised that I had been wasting my life. I had surrounded myself only with things that would drift me away from the Deen, rather than bring closer. This realization was painful but satisfying. It put me to shame, but I was grateful to Allah (swt) that He opened up my mind to this reality.

The next big challenge was to remain steadfast upon the change. Guess what helped me to continuously come closer to Allah (swt), seek His pleasure, and increase the knowledge of Deen? The Duas, of course! My favourite Dua at that time and even today is: “Ya Muqqalib Al-Quloobi, Thabbit Qalbi, ‘Alaa Deenik.” (“O, turner of the hearts, make my heart steadfast upon your Deen.”) (Muslim)

I learnt some very meaningful Duas and started reciting them regularly, Alhamdulillah. Each one of it sounds more beautiful and meaningful, since now I make a conscious effort of learning the meaning in English and reciting the Dua in Arabic. Slowly and gradually, my misconception of the fact that Duas are not answered faded away, as I saw, in front of my eyes, my Duas being answered, irrespective of the language… one by one, Alhamdulillah!

Just like many of my sisters and brothers in Islam must have discovered the power of Dua, I too am discovering and enjoying it. In fact, sometimes a Dua that I have asked for is answered beautifully, and it leaves me awe struck and amazed. Sometimes the Duas are answered as I have asked, while at other times my Duas are in fact replaced by something better than I could never have imagined. I have been experiencing the miraculous beauty of the bond between the Creator and His servant getting stronger, Subhan’Allah!

To think of any single Dua that was answered is difficult for me at this point in time, because like I said, Allah (swt) has been so Merciful, Masha’Allah, that when He guided me to His Deen, He made ways of bringing me closer to Him, day by day. The recent Dua that I made, was answered in a manner I could have never imagined – I will share with you this beautiful incident.

My seventy-three years old mother was sick in Pakistan. I had seen her in 2011, and in 2014 she fell really sick. I told my family back home that I was coming from Canada, because I wanted to meet her. This was in February, this year. I went and spent 12 days with her, Alhamdulillah. During this time, she recovered from her illness and seemed to recuperate day by day. What happened to her? Well, a mix of multiple problems. She had angina, breast cancer, arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, hernia, and in February she developed severe bronchitis, due to which she used to have breathing problems, as water would fill up in her lungs. To top it all, old age itself is a big problem. When I came back and saw her for the last time on the 8th of March, my heart was aching and my tears wouldn’t stop. I didn’t want to come back to Canada, but I had to!

After coming here, I got busy with various chores. We were moving from Toronto to Mississauga. The kids were starting Hifz program here. Then I slipped from the stairs of my new house. There was too much on my plate at that time. I used to call mummy on Sundays and speak to her for a while. I used to make a lot of Dua for her health.

I remember vividly the Sunday before she passed away – I couldn’t call her, as we were going somewhere. In the car, while it was raining outside, and we were travelling to a relative’s house, I made a sincere Dua to Allah (swt). I begged him to relieve my mother of all the pain and never make her dependant on anyone. I prayed to Allah (swt) to ease her of all her sufferings and trials. I prayed for her to die peacefully, as a Shaheed, whenever her time came. I was deeply saddened by the fact that I wasn’t close to her and I couldn’t serve her or do anything for her, except make Dua.

That night in the bed and all the nights that followed, I repeated the same Dua. I didn’t want my mother to suffer any more, as I had always seen her sick. She had always been a fighter. The following Thursday, on the 12th of June, 2014, she passed away – peacefully – in her bed, Alhamdulillah!

I don’t know what to say. I wasn’t happy about the fact that I didn’t speak to her on the last Sunday that she was alive, but I was grateful to Allah (swt) that she died in her own bed, not in the hospital. She went away without giving trouble to any of my siblings. I sincerely hope and pray that she had recited the Kalimah, when she passed away. I beg all the readers of this insignificant note to recite this Dua for my mother with me:

“O Allah (swt), forgive and have mercy upon her, excuse her and pardon her, and make an honourable reception for her. Expand her entry and cleanse her with water, snow and ice, and purify her of sin, as a white robe is purified of filth. Exchange her home for a better home, and her family for a better family, and her spouse for a better spouse. Admit her into the Gardens, protect her from the punishment of the grave and the torment of the Fire.” Ameen. (Muslim)

Water: An amazing blessing!

waterOne of the great blessings that human beings cannot manufacture, despite having all the raw materials available, is water. This, the greatest requirement for life, is provided ready-made for us by Allah (swt). We cannot watch water forming in a laboratory nor produce it ourselves. Water came into being one time only during the creation of the Earth; the same water has been allowing living things to survive ever since.

It is impossible for life to exist without water.

Water is a substance specially created by Allah (swt) as the basis for life, and with all its physical and chemical properties created in such a way as to support life. Millions of different life forms on Earth survive by means of water, and all the balances necessary for life are maintained by means of its presence.

Water is a molecule that results from two hydrogen atoms bonding to one oxygen atom. Oxygen and hydrogen atoms are abundant in nature, but they don’t just bind together to form water; these atoms need to collide in order to produce water. The bonds that form the hydrogen and oxygen atoms weaken and these atoms come together to produce a new molecule – water – during such collisions. This collision essential for the formation of water is only possible at a very high temperature and at a very high level of energy. The high temperatures needed to produce water are not currently present on Earth. It is therefore impossible for new water molecules to form. The water on Earth which we drink and use, and that constitutes the seas and oceans, is the water that formed as the result of the high temperatures during the creation of the Earth. However, that is by no means the end of the miraculous properties of water.

The importance of reflecting on the existence of water

There is no water, the precondition for life, on any of the other 63 celestial bodies in the Solar System. Yet a large part of the Earth is covered in water; indeed, the seas and oceans represent three quarters of the surface of the Earth. There are also countless lakes and rivers on the land. The glaciers on the peaks of mountains are the frozen form of water and a significant amount of the Earth’s water is also in the sky. A cloud contains tens of thousands and sometimes even millions of tons of water. Part of that water sometimes descends in the form of droplets, rain. There is also a certain amount of water vapor in the air you are breathing now.

Rains, seas, rivers, streams, oceans, the drinkable water that appears when you open the faucet: most people are so familiar with the idea of water that they may never think of the importance of much of the world being covered with it. Yet, water is a very rare compound in space. The fact that of all the known celestial bodies only the Earth has water – and the fact that this water is drinkable – is a most miraculous state of affairs.

Although human beings can survive for one or two weeks without food, they cannot go any more than three or four days without water. The body consists of 55-75% water, and can lose up to two to three liters of water per day through activities such as perspiration and respiration. The water lost is made up by the water drunk in the wake of feelings of thirst.

The hypothalamus: the water detective in the body

The human body possesses systems that detect the slightest change in the amount of the water that is so essential for it. The most important of these is the region known as the hypothalamus, no larger than a pea, in the brain. The hypothalamus immediately senses if the level of water in the blood has gone down. In response to this, the gland known as the pituitary, just one centimeter in size, releases a hormone called “ADH.”

This hormone sets out on a long journey through the blood stream and eventually reaches the kidneys. The kidneys contain special receptors for this hormone, just like a key fitting a lock. When the hormones reach these receptors, water conservation is immediately initiated in the kidneys, and water expulsion is reduced to a very low level.

Were it not for the pituitary hormone and the kidney cells that understand and act on the command to “reduce water consumption” carried by this hormone, we would need to drink 15 to 20 liters of water a day, in order not to die of thirst.

Water is the most essential source of life for humans and all living things. It is involved in almost all bodily functions, such as the regulation of body temperature, transportation of nutrients and oxygen, the removal of waste products from the cells and facilitating digestion. It also facilitates the protection of organs and tissues; for example, when we lose just 2% of the water surrounding our cells we suffer a 20% energy loss and begin feeling fatigued. That alone is enough to show how important water is for human life.