I had been undergoing medical diagnoses for some time, ever since an anomaly had been found in some test results, and after much deliberation it was decided that I needed to have an operation. Patients generally fear operations due to the risk to life inherent in them, whereas a situation where death seems imminent or probable should actually be regarded as a positive opportunity. The time and place of each individual's death has been decreed and is unavoidable, and such circumstances as an operation do not bring the appointed time any closer. Therefore, being faced with the possibility of death is in one way a blessing as it creates a sense of urgency and importance in mending one's relationship with Allāh ta'ālā and rectifying one's dealings and relations with the creation.
Alhamdulillāh, through the Grace and Fadl of Allāh ta'ālā, I was able to take such positive steps before my operation and I tried to prepare as well as possible for the Hereafter.
A Sincere Resolution
Another cause of anxiety before an operation is the prospect of not being able to adhere to the Commands of Allāh ta'ālā during the stay in hospital. Living in a non-Islamic culture, many of us give up even attempting to be particular about our Islamic ethos. We cannot consider ourselves exempt from any requirement of Dīn or assume we will not be taken to task for neglecting it unless we have tried to the best of our ability to carry it out. Often it is little more than cowardliness or our sense of inferiority that makes us feel helpless. There can never be an excuse for not trying and not requesting that one's religious needs be met. As it is, the culture in our country is amenable to accommodating the religious and social needs of all communities, and health professionals are usually very helpful in this regard. It is my judgement that had Muslims, as a whole, been particular with regards to adherence of Allāh ta'ālā's Commands, we would have had no problems anywhere in having our needs accommodated.
Of course, if circumstances prevail and someone is compelled to compromise, then it is hoped from the Mercy of Allāh ta'ālā that he will be pardoned. But the way of Allāh ta'ālā is that whenever a person resolves to fulfil His command, He creates the means and resources to pave the path to success. Concern for wanting to follow the Commands of Allāh ta'ālā and eagerness to do so have an effect and attract Allāh ta'ālā's assistance. A couple of incidents from the lives of our pious predecessors help illustrate this.
Hadrat Mawlānā Ashraf 'Alī Thānwī rahimahullāh was once travelling when he stopped at a train station. As it was salāh time and it was also raining, one of Hadrat's associates had arranged with the station master to accommodate Hadrat. Hadrat's nature was naturally moulded according to the Sharī'ah, so the thought came to mind while proceeding to the room that the lantern that would be lighting it would belong to the rail company and therefore would not be permitted for his personal use. Hadrat began to pray to Allāh ta'ālā for assistance, as the intricacy of this Command would be difficult for a non-Muslim to appreciate. Hadrat was in this dilemma and was thinking of how to solve this problem when the station master offered his personal lantern to the assistant and told him to use it instead of the company's lantern.
We can learn from this incident that making a firm intention to adhere to the Commands of Allāh ta'ālā and making an effort will surely attract Allāh ta'ālā's assistance and He will not let His bondsman fail.
Allāh ta'ālā's Assistance Prior to the Operation
It was the sheer Mercy and Grace of Allāh ta'ālā that the whole procedure went with much ease and His assistance could be witnessed at every stage. I can only attribute all this to the sheer Grace of Allāh ta'ālā, which remained throughout, as a result of the blessings and the barakāt of all my well-wishers, especially my beloved mother, and the affectionate pious elders who carried out good deeds and remained busy in du'ā, beseeching Allāh ta'ālā to shower His Mercy upon this humble one.
It is not possible to enumerate the Mercies of Allāh ta'ālā in this short article, but I felt it would bring much happiness to my well wishers, who are all eager to know of my wellbeing, if I pen a few points and mention a few of the events and incidents that not only demonstrate the assistance of Allāh ta'ālā but also serve as a guidance for those who may be faced with such a situation.
- One of the very first signs of Allāh ta'ālā's assistance and mercy was that I had good specialists to assess my situation. It was my good fortune that one of my associates, Dr. Amjad Paracha, is a specialist in the area of medicine where I needed attention. Due to his kind attention and expertise I was diagnosed, and with great care and concern he referred me to one of the country's leading surgeons in this field. Again, it was the Fadl of Allāh ta'ālā that He put it in the surgeon's heart to take up my case and that he also attended to me with much interest and care.
- The nature of my commitments meant the timing of the operation would be important. I wished and prayed it would not impact my important duties. The month of Ramadān, the Monthly Tazkiyah programmes, teaching of Bukhārī and my travel programme to Zambia and Malawi were some of the commitments that could have been jeopardised. Alhamdulillāh, it was His sheer Grace that the timing of the operation was so good that these and many other commitments remained unaffected.
At the time of the Operation
- The whole procedure transpired in such a way that one could not have imagined or planned it better. It was only Allāh ta'ālā's planning and assistance that events unfolded as they did.
- Before I was taken to the anaesthetic room my five companions were given the opportunity to meet me individually. Instead of talking to them about anything else, I made them witness that I had repented from everything that displeases Allāh ta'ālā and I seek His forgiveness and that I believe in Allāh ta'ālā as the one and only deity and Muhammad sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam as His final messenger and that I am happy and content with Islām as my religion. Thereafter, I recited the kalimah with Imāne Mujmal and Imāne Mufassal.
- I desired to perform two raka'āt before the administration of the anaesthetic, and alhamdulillāh, the staff cooperated with my wish.
- It was my desire that the anaesthetic only be administered after I had the opportunity to supplicate to Allāh ta'ālā. This was also accommodated and I had the opportunity to make du'ā without any rush. Allāh ta'ālā guided me and put this thought in my mind that the masnūn du'ā which is to be read before sleeping would be most opportune for the situation. Indeed, the words are very meaningful and the thought arose that as Rasūlullāh sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam would read this before sleep it would be most appropriate to read it before losing consciousness. Therefore, I concluded my supplication with this du'ā:
Translation: O Allāh, I have submitted myself to You, I have turned my face to You, I have entrusted my affairs to You, and I have made You my protector, hoping (for Your mercy) and fearing (Your punishment). There is no refuge, and no escape, except to You. I have believed in Your Book that You have revealed, and the Prophet who You have sent.
After reading the above du'ā, I recited istighfār, durūd sharīf and the kalimah and then asked the anaesthetist to proceed, after which I continued reciting istighfār, durūd sharīf and the kalimah until I lost consciousness. I can only thank Allāh ta'ālā for His mercy and kindness that He put such thoughts in my mind.
- Life is uncertain and death can come at any time, so I desired that as far as possible a believer would be near me at all times or for the majority of the time. Hospital regulations would obviously not allow this, yet, Allāh ta'ālā made it such that my dear friend, Dr. Abdul Rahim was given exceptional permission and was allowed firstly to remain with me until the anaesthetic room door and then was granted special permission to remain in the anaesthetic room until seconds before I became unconscious. Dr. Abdul Rahim is a reputable consultant in psychology at Birmingham hospital and has much love and care for me and had accompanied me throughout this medical journey of mine.
- Alhamdulillāh, the operation went well and lasted approximately three hours. Once it was complete and I was brought into the recovery room, I slowly began to regain consciousness. At the first sign of consciousness the very first words I uttered were 'alhamdulillāh'. The reason was that after gaining some consciousness, I could not ascertain whether I was still in this world or whether I was awakening in the afterlife. What I could make out though was that whichever world I was in, I was at least not being subjected to punishment, upon which I uttered 'alhamdulillāh'.
- A stay in hospital also raises concerns related to modesty and disclosing of the satr and being tended to by a member of the opposite gender due to the utmost respect and dignity taught to us by our Dīn. I was hoping arrangements for a male nurse could be made and, alhamdulillāh, not only was this fulfilled but it was Allāh ta'ālā's Fadl and Mercy that he was a Muslim and thus fully aware of my requirements. He treated me with much care and interest and took it as a matter of honour to be of service to me, as he had heard of me from his Imām, Mawlānā Kashif Ahmad, who is a graduate of Jāme'ah Riyādul 'Uloom (which runs under the Islāmic Da'wah Academy). He also arranged for my associates to be brought into the recovery room to visit me.
- Prior to the operation I was concerned about my salāh too. Allāh ta'ālā made it such that the surgeon decided to operate on me in the first slot at 9am. I made an estimate of the duration of the procedure and the possible delays that could occur and how it would affect my salāh. I was worried about my Zuhr salāh and prayed that I would not miss it. Alhamdulillāh, through the Fadl of Allāh ta'ālā I performed my Zuhr on time. Before the operation, I had also instructed my companions to bring a brick so I would be able to perform tayammum if required.
- As the effect of the painkillers began to subside, I was surprised that I was not experiencing pain, only some discomfort. Allāh ta'ālā was very gracious and the recovery process was going very smoothly and better than expected. The hospital was very considerate and understanding and they accommodated my request for a private room. My associates were also allowed to stay with me throughout and this helped a lot morally and also helped me move around and perform salāh. The recovery was so smooth that when some of my family and friends came to visit me in the evening I was able to meet them sitting up in a chair.
I have only penned a few events to demonstrate the Fadl of Allāh ta'ālā and the barakāt of du'ā and also to point out that if we make an effort to fulfil the Commands of Allāh ta'ālā with a sincere intention, His assistance comes to our aid. Every event that took place was nothing but the sheer Grace and Mercy of Allāh ta'ālā upon which no amount of gratitude is enough. Allāhumma lakal-hamdu walakash-shukru. I end by sharing with readers the message I sent to my well-wishers prior to my operation:
© Riyādul Jannah (Oct 2014)