Sickness- A blessing in disguise

blessingSubhan’Allah, we have such a blessed gift of Allah (swt) – such a blessed gift, known as sickness. Did you ever know that sickness is a gift? It’s one of the few things that instantly draw you close to Allah (swt). You have no option, especially when medicine has been given to you, then you realise that you need to develop a link with your Maker. And that is a gift of Allah (swt). If that is what caused you to earn Paradise, then it is the best thing that could have happened to you. May Allah (swt) grant us cure. Ameen.

Some people never read Salah. Never ever. The day they cannot move anymore, they want to read Salah while sitting. Alhumdulillah! Beautiful! At least now you’re reading Salah- even though you’re now sitting, Subhan’Allah. It’s a gift of Allah (swt). So, Allah (swt) watches you, He sees you are ill, He sees you are sick. That’s a gift of Allah (swt). He knows. He made you that way because He loves you, and the Hadeeth says: ‘When Allah (swt) loves a worshipper, He tests him.’ He gives him more tests. Hence, Allah (swt) tests you. Allah (swt) will test you.

Sickness – Boon or bane?

Then you start crying to Allah (swt), helplessly. And, when you turn to Allah (swt), and obviously, there are two things that can happen- when you are sick and ill, Shaytan can get a hold of you, or spirituality can get a hold of you, religiousness can get a hold of you. So you need to be careful, it’s like treading a tightrope.

You’ll have someone who looks like a religious person and he says, ‘Hey, I can cure you.’ And you say, ‘Okay, cure is in the hands of Allah (swt), obviously- but let’s see what you have to say.’ Or if they’re giving you for example, some herbal medication or some ZamZam, or they’re giving you honey, and for example, the black seed and these things that are beneficial; various other items or they give you a diet to tell you, ‘You know what, try and abstain from this type of food; and try to eat this type of food, it’s high in mineral and vitamin.’ Alhumdulillah, we understand it.

Empty mind- A devil’s workshop

But, the minute they tell you, ‘Listen, stand on your left foot for three minutes and start looking up in the sky. And hold five leaves in your right hand and then you tell someone to put a piece of lemon in your mouth, and do that five times a day.’ You need to know that is Shaytan. Complete Shaytan. Allah (swt) is going to ask you. That is the devil, Wallahi. You need to know- where did they come from? This is nothing that makes sense. It’s not medication, it’s not herbal medication, it is superstition. It is the devil. No matter what the person who gave you this looks like, this is wrong. You need to have common logical sense that is unacceptable. This is Allah (swt); He’s going to ask you about this gift.

Early bird catches the worm

At the same time, your heart becomes softened, and you turn to Allah (swt) and cry. So your Salah, you don’t miss. Why? Because you have a problem. And, what happens when you have a major issue? Subhan’Allah. You get up a little bit earlier than Salat ul Fajr for another Salah that is known as Tahajjud. Isn’t it? You are up very early and you say, ‘Sister’, or if your husband says, ‘Hey wifey, why are you up so early?’ and you say, ‘You know, I have a problem, so that is why I am up.’ Subhan’Allah. May Allah (swt) grant us ease. Ameen.

So you are up very early and you cry to Allah (swt). This is why Allah (swt) makes it very beautifully clear where He says, “And when We show favour to man, he withdraws and turns away, but when evil touches him, then he has recourse to long supplications.” (Fussilat 41:51)

You have nothing missing in your life, absolutely nothing. Your health is okay, your wealth is okay, your children are okay, your work is okay, you salary is okay, your situation is okay, everything is beautiful. You are enjoying- eating out every other day, you have a holiday, everywhere you want to go, you have gone, and so on and you still keep on going and everything is going smoothly. Then what’s the point of knowing Allah (swt)? A lot of the people would say what’s the point of knowing? That is the time you’re supposed to get closer to Allah (swt). The winner is the one who has the Dunya and the Akhirah.

In Surah Al-Baqarah, Allah (swt) explains to us this Dua, this beautiful Dua, ‘And of them there are some who say: “Our Lord! Give us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the torment of the Fire!” (Al-Baqarah 2:201) That is the beauty; you want goodness here and there. That is obviously, not everyone will get this, but that is the ultimate gift of Allah (swt).

If you have an issue, and it is quite normal to have issues, problems, difficulties, learn to turn to Allah (swt) and Allah (swt) alone. It is when things go wrong that people begin to make supplications, long Dua, prolonged Dua. You know, if you see a man walking in the Masjid, and he sits in the Masjid, asking Allah (swt). And if you find him after Salah, he is sitting there after Salat ul Asr, and you go for Salat ul Maghrib and you find him- he is sitting in the same place, crying and asking Allah (swt). What do you think? You think this man has got a big problem, he is sitting on exactly the same spot, and he is asking Allah (swt). So, that is the description of Surah Fussilat in the verse I read, “When we have bestowed upon man, we have given him, he turns away, on his side. And when evil befalls him, he makes prolonged prayer.”

Spiritual analysis via sickness

Now let’s analyze- spiritually, which is the better condition? Is it better to turn away or is it better to be engaged in prolonged prayer? What is the gift of Allah (swt) here for us? May Allah (swt) bless us. Ameen.

Why is it that old people become sick, invalid? When you’re old, you find it a little difficult to walk. May Allah (swt) grant Shifa and cure to all those who are ill. Ameen. And then sometimes you cannot walk, you have to sit down; you become old, and then, pass away.

Why is it that Allah (swt) has kept it such in the older people? Why isn’t it that in the middle of your life? He makes you sick, but then healthy once again. It is Allah’s (swt) gift that when you get old, you start suffering pain, you start turning to Allah (swt), preparing for the day you will meet with Him. It’s amazing. You know that it’s time to go. You know it. It’s a fact. Why? Because you’re old, things change, everything happens and everything starts moving in a direction that keeps on reminding you, ‘I’m no longer the little teenager I used to be.’

May Allah (swt) grant us the ability to thank Him for His gifts. Ameen.

Transcribed by Asma Imran

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)