IF YOU WERE A REVERT…(Q59:10)


Narrated `Abdullah bin `Umar (RA), the Messenger of Allah(SAW) said, “A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, so he should not oppress him, nor should he hand him over to an oppressor. Whoever fulfilled the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfill his needs; whoever brought his (Muslim) brother out of a discomfort, Allah will bring him out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection, and whoever screened a Muslim, Allah will screen him on the Day of Resurrection . “- Sahih al-Bukhari 2442

I recently heard of a revert who would refuse to cover her hair and pray when she and her husband had a fight. I found it quite amusing, to put it mildly.

I often admire the bravery of reverts though, and I am easily impressed when they make a little effort because in my humble opinion, Islam is not the easiest of religions to follow especially with increasing global islamophobia.

So, I’ve got a question:

If you were a revert, what aspect(s) of Islam would you find the most difficult to inculcate?


I would love you to share your thoughts so that when next we see a revert striving to be better, we would appreciate them more, encourage them, correct them kindly and be less judgmental.

BEREAVEMENT Q52:21


I had resumed work after taking a day off to renew my medical licence. The day started off on a good note because my patient (now friend) had delivered a baby girl overnight. I hurried to the postnatal ward to rejoice with her when I encountered the nurse on duty. She looked glum so I asked about our client and her baby. I was not prepared for the news I received.

I retraced my steps and asked the nurse to fill me in on the details. I had heard she delivered a baby girl in the early hours of the morning; what did she mean by, ‘We lost the baby’? It hurt twice as much because she had become a friend. I am usually stoic but when I finally went in to see her, my eyes welled up.

My dear friend was strong! She was consoling us not to feel bad, that her daughter was beautiful and had had a full head of hair. My heart shattered into a million pieces as I watched her smile while she comforted us. My dear friend was chockful of faith. Some of the nurses had to leave as they were in tears. This was a patient who had been admitted a couple of times because of a difficult pregnancy only for her not to get to return home with her trophy. Even her parents were in tears.

Abu Hassaan said: ‘I said to Abu Hurayrah: Two of my sons have died. Can you narrate to me any hadith from the Messenger of Allah (SAW) which will console us for our loss? He said: Yes; Their little ones are the little ones (da’aamees) of Paradise. When one of them meets his father – or his parents – he takes hold of his garment – or his hand – as I am taking told of the hem of your garment, and he does not let go until Allah admits him and his father to Paradise’. – Sahih Muslim 2635

Abu Hurairah (RA) reported that a woman came to Allah’s Apostle (SAW) with her child and said: Allah’s Apostle, invoke Allah’s blessing upon him for I have already buried three. He said: You have buried three! She said: Yes. Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: You have, indeed, safeguarded yourself against the torment of Hell with a strong safeguard. Sahih Muslim 2636a

I really doubt that there can be a pain worse than that which a mother feels when she loses her child. Unfortunately, we do not allow mothers dwell on this. Instead, we urge them to move on and not dwell on it. It’s Allah’s Will. It is His Will, alright but they should be given the opportunity to grieve and heal. We should also provide our shoulders for them to cry on; to be available for them to talk, if need be. Here is a useful LINK.

May Allah reward their patience by reuniting them with their children in Al-Jannah.

LOST TWAIN

barefoot
With feathery steps, she walks the fields
Yearning her babes in the depth of night
She hears them cry – cry in pain
Her breasts are full and seek her twain.

She knows in her heart – knows it well
Her twins are alive. Yes, she can tell!
The doctors say they died at birth
What did they know? Yes, she said so!

Her lips tremble, her eyes glisten,
And tears stream down her cheeks sunken
Her clothes snag, but she presses on
Such love even for the stillborn.

-©Anchor with Keidi
10th October 2007.

CUSTOMER CARE Q55:60, Q99.07

Assalaam alaikum, dear readers and Juma’a mubarak! I hope you all are fasting this beautiful day of Ashura 😉 Here is today’s post, without further ado:

image credit: web.stemiliescps.wa.edu.au

image credit: web.stemiliescps.wa.edu.au


A man was receiving, from the doctor, the unfortunate news that his mum has just passed on when he observed someone mocking him. Two other doctors stood within the vicinity and laughed at a private joke but the distressed man was positive they were mocking his tragedy. He promptly went up to them and delivered a slap on the face of the male doctor in the duo.

I was a house officer doing my internship at the teaching hospital at the time and when the news got to us that one of us had been assaulted, we were stupefied! This was a well-mannered young man, a gentleman; he could not have been guilty of such callousness (and he was not). We wondered aloud what his seniors did to the patient’s relative in the doctor’s defence. The next day, we were ordered to down our tools and proceed on a demonstration. You see, the incident was being swept under the carpet because the assaulter was a relative of our Chief Medical Director. The man was confident his action was justified and nothing would come out of assaulting a doctor.


There are a great many people in these times of ours with this arrogance today. This attitude of entitlement and sheer rudeness has cost many employees their jobs. Yes, the ‘Customer is always right’ but that does not give us the right to treat people like dirt. The converse is also true.

In the teaching hospital, and like many government-owned hospitals in Nigeria, to say workload is immensely overwhelming is putting it mildly. Government hospitals are way cheaper than the private hospitals and also boast of professionals in more fields of specialty than the latter. As you can imagine, most of the staff are incredibly rude to the huge volume of patients they encounter. We often get away with this because the patients are often from low socioeconomic groups and poorly informed and unable to demand better service. Woe betide you if you DARE to demand better from the overworked nurses! You would regret that decision with every fibre of your being.

When I concluded my housemanship and left the teaching hospital, I had to learn to be more courteous with patients and their relatives. Empathy ans compassion came along the way when I realised how unfortunate people were and some simply could not afford healthcare. Unfortunately, we tended to mirror the seemingly arrogant attitude of our stressed superiors in the bigger hospitals.
inspire
As I began to look toward becoming self-employed, I paid better attention to the customer care providers and worked better on my approach both as a customer and a care-giver. It is incredibly selfish to take only your view as the most important. Everyone is fighting his battle, has his own problems and is trying to make it through a tough day without our unnecessary drama. Most significantly, when we don the robes of self-entitlement, we should remember that someone’s job and future may be on the line. We should channel that energy for destructive drama into improving the day of fellow humans.

Please, make an effort to be nicer to that waiter, salesperson, janitor, bus driver, house maid, subordinate from today. Ask them about their day and give small tokens of appreciation, if you can. If we need to address their (perceived) ineptitude, we should make an effort to cut them some slack and address the issue with maturity and firmness.

And if you are providing the service, make an effort to be nice to your customers (because this benefits your enterprise) and your subordinates, as well. We should defend them when the need arises instead of throwing them under the bus for the customer’s sake.

Spread a little kindness and brighten someone’s day today. Remember that we are all in this together and ‘what goes around, comes around’.

‘ASHURA Q9:36

Assalaam alaykum, dear readers.

It is MUHARRAM, the first month of the Islamic Hijr calendar, again. It is a sunnah to fast on the (9th and) 10th of Muharram. This year 1437H, Tasu’a and Ashura fall on the 22nd and 23rd of October, 2015 so set your reminders 😉
UPDATE: I apologise for the error. Ashura was on Saturday the 24th of October, 2015. I missed it and I apologise if you missed it too. Allah knows our intentions.

May Allah accept our ibaadah. ❤

THROUGH THEIR EYES Q49:11-12

A young couple moved into a new neighbourhood. The next morning while eating breakfast, the young woman saw her neighbour through the window hanging the wash outside.

“That laundry is not clean,” she said. “She doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap”.

Her husband looked on, but remained silent.

Every time the neighbour would hang laundry to dry, the young woman would make the same comments.

About one month later, the woman was surprised to see nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband,
“Look, she has learnt how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this!”

The husband replied, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.” – from message.snopes.com


And so it is with life.

What we see when watching others depends on the purity of the window through which we look. We see people as we are.

It is pretty easy to discuss other people, their lives and things that don’t really concern us – yet we tend to forget that our window isn’t that clean after all.

I got a call from a close friend who mentioned that she ran into a young man who knew me when we were at the University. He asked after me and shared something which had intrigued him. He said when we had worked together on the departmental student body association, I had gotten upset when he complimented me on my looks.

Now, I cannot even remember who he is, neither can I remember the incident; but I do find my reaction a tad weird. While I sincerely loathe when men cannot look beyond a pretty face but what happened to graciousness; witty wisecrack; skilful change of topic or even pretending I did not hear him? Anyway, maybe he was annoying when he said it but now, I know I would have done things differently.

Looking back with 20/20 hindsight, I had a couple of clashes with people (who didn’t?) because I was pretty headstrong and
opinionated; saw things in only black and white. May be I still am but I’ve begun to learn how important manners, tact and speech (or silence) can be. I also understand that there are a good many shades of grey and find myself making excuses for people and trying to understand their points of view. Alhamdulillah, I have a better relationship with many people I did not get on well with in the near past by realising my opinions are not always right and people correcting me are not necessarily ‘beefing’ me.

Of course, not everyone has valid criticisms but if we listen well enough, we should be able to discern constructive criticism from judgmental statements with malicious intent. On the other hand, we should not shy away from asking perceptive and intelligent people for advice and for their insight while prepared for the sting of feedback. We need to stop viewing all criticisms with suspicion. It takes guts to do that but we often become better for it.

So, you see? We really ought to get up and clean our windows more frequently and be open to accepting that the problem is not always them; sometimes, it is us.

IMPERFECTIONS Q3:161, Q31:34, Q82:5-8

When I was in primary school, we had extramural classes we used to attend in the neighbourhood after school. There, I met this boy who was my brother’s friend at the time.

I often viewed him with curiosity and awe because he had one normal arm and one shorter arm which looked like a stump to me. I often greeted him from afar but this day, he and my brother were having a discussion by the roadside so I finally asked him what happened to him.

He kindly explained to me that when he was even younger, living in the rural community, he had fallen from a tree and kept it to himself until he could no longer hide it. Eventually, his uncle found out and by then, it was too late to reunite the bones so he had to have the arm amputated above the elbow. It was a sad story but I had more questions brewing in my mind that I was mentally debating whether or not to ask. Then he touched me with the arm and…

I shrank back in revulsion, screamed and ran all the way home!

Honestly, I was totally horrified that such an appendage could move! The poor boy kept laughing at my retreating back!

People with deformities or impairments can seem like ‘freaks’ to the ‘normal’ population but it definitely doesn’t stop them from being human. Allah created us all as He wished and permitted some unfortunate incidents to happen to some of us that altered our normalcy but He knows best why these occurred.

image credit: blog.onbeing.org

image credit: blog.onbeing.org


I have no doubt that we will all be reunited in Al-Jannah as better versions of ourselves with the definition of ‘normal’ being broader than what it is on Earth. The imperfections we possess would certainly not matter as much in such a beautiful accepting world.

The Prophet (SAW) was said to have berated his companions when they made jest about Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (R.A.) because of his spindle-like legs and he was also close to Ibn Umm Maktum (R.A.) who was visually impaired. These were people who were outliers in the Arab population but they had the ears of the Prophet (SAW) and were appreciated for their contributions to the growth of Islam.

From the people with Down’s Syndrome, autism, dyslexia, cerebral palsy and a myriad of rare unpronounceable syndromes to those with injuries that have left them deformed, they are simply humans with human needs like you and me. They deserve to be shown love, kindness and respect (unless otherwise proven).

Could it be a failing on our part that to assimilate them into our lives that makes us label them ‘abnormal’? Is it because we think that we fall within the average human population that we make this conclusion? Perhaps, we would be the ‘abnormal’ ones if we took a census of all the people with oddities and rarities (like freckles, moles, big noses, scanty hair, short stature, overweight, squint, bad skin etc.) irrespective of colour or gender only to realise that they outnumber us. Or, we could actually even find ourselves among them!

There is no reason for people to be ostracized based on their physical or mental qualities over which they have little to no control. We should simply make room for them to live habitably with the rest of the population.

Lastly, if you do have a blemish or the other, remember that it does not matter to Allah. What matters is what your hands put forth. So, love yourself and keep your chin up!

May Allah forgive us for all our shortcomings for we are all in need of His forgiveness.

SHORTCHANGED: A RANT Q83:1-17

I am not in my happy place. I tried to avoid writing because I am not in the best of moods but if I do not write it and set it free, it will keep sitting like a log on my heart making me unable to sleep.

My baby is ill again – with the same illness I treated about two weeks ago – because of fake/substandard drugs!

There is so much anger/sadness/frustration in my heart at the moment. Why do people do this? WHY?

I could rant ‘Why?’ all night long but I would not. Instead, I will share some experiences.

I had a close family member travel abroad and when she fell ill over there, she was given a single medication that had she been given here, she would not have been better unless the drugs were foreign. A cocktail of drugs would probably have been prescribed to restore her health. I really could not believe she was given a single drug which controlled her condition!


After the crazy Eid day cooking well into the night, I used a foreign brand of acetaminophen (paracetamol) tablets. The next morning, I had no lingering effects from the previous day. I woke up early, bright as a bird! The medication had worked like magic! Trust me, I have used different brands of paracetamol after very stressful days, but none had ever worked like this did.

Same happens when we use medications brought by hujjaj (pilgrims) when they return from Hajj. They work!

Why would our drugs not work? And if they do manage to work, why do the diseases relapse after a few days/weeks? Don’t these evil manufacturers/importers have children or family members of their own?

We have treated many patients in the hospital with the medications listed in the medical books only for the patients to deteriorate or die on us. Money is squandered on useless investigations that should not have been ordered in the first place and on placebo-like medications which should not even be available for sales in pharmacies and on irrelevant autopsies to probe cause of death.

Some doctors have learnt to prescribe only specific brands of drugs – often foreign and above the reach of the average Nigerian. Patients do not buy them because they cannot afford them, or they buy the fake/substandard ones only to have minimal improvement, if any at all. Sometimes, they leave the hospital all together only to get scammed by unorthodox ‘herbal practitioners’ and profit-oriented prayer houses.

It is so frustrating as a doctor and makes patients doubt your competence when you prescribe drugs that do not work! Heck, it makes you doubt your competence! Most significantly, PEOPLE DIE!!!

How can humans be so evil?

Please, say a prayer for my child. May Allah heal him.

IN PLAIN SIGHT Q17:19-25

Edgar Allan Poe was reputed to have written, ‘The best place to hide is in plain sight.’ It is ironic how we always fall prey to that very thing we take for granted.

During the Eid holiday, I wanted to fry a couple of eggs for the family breakfast. This was in my in-laws’ house. I placed the frying pan on the kerosene stove to dry out then added vegetable oil from the unlabelled vegetable oil plastic jerrycan beside me and…

BOOM! FIRE!

I immediately turned down the fire and quickly transferred the frying pan to an unlit stove. The maid beside me rushed to open the door but I found a wide stainless steel tray to cover the flames and it died out – as promptly as it had begun.

I turned to look at my sister in-law in amazement and asked, ‘What was that?’

Of course she couldn’t answer at the moment. She just stared wide-eyed. I was amazed too, thinking of how Allah averted a disaster.

Then she said, ‘Hope you did not fetch the oil from that keg beside you.’

Of course, I had. It was a popular vegetable oil jerrican even though the label had fallen off.

‘It is kerosene that’s inside it,’ she informed me as my mother in-law entered the kitchen. We told her what had happened and she showed me the vegetable oil jerrican in the cupboard – same container but smaller in size with the label on.

A simple sniff of the contents would have alerted me to the unusual content of the unlabelled jerrican…

image credit: www.pitara.com

image credit: http://www.pitara.com

According to a survey by UK-based car insurance company Elephant.co.uk, about one in every three traffic collisions happen within a mile of a motorist’s home. This means that majority of the road-traffic accidents we are involved in happen a couple of miles from our residences, on those very roads we know like the back of our hands.

Our children are often molested by the very people we entrust them to. Adultery is often committed with those people we have become over-familiar with. Rape victims often point accusing fingers at someone they know quite well.

Between 1995-2013, for both college students and nonstudents, the offender was known to the victim in about 80% of rape and sexual assault victimizations. – US Department of Justice, Bureau of Statistics

Adam and Hauwa (Eve) [R.A.] ate from that very tree that they were warned about but took for granted. In the Islamic story, the tree did not seem to be hidden in some special reserved place in the Garden. It seemed to be in plain sight.

The recurring factor in these cases is that while focusing on something else, we miss what is right in front of us. When we feel too comfortable and let our guards down, Shaytan swoops down and we have fallen into error or sin. It could be complacency; it could be a false sense of security; it could be lack of attention; call it what you may but it all boils down to the fact that we should never be overconfident in ourselves or our abilities. We all have limitations and should always be careful, acknowledge our limitations and ask Allah to strengthen us, and open our eyes to avert calamity from our lives.

SUICIDAL BIKER Q4:93

I was at a bus park in one of the suburbs of Abuja, Nigeria two days ago. I hopped into the front seat of one of the vehicles going to my destination and buckled my seat belt. Some passengers entered behind me as we waited for the bus to fill before we could proceed.

Suddenly, there was a biker leaning back on his motorcycle with his arms outstretched and his legs stretched out on the asphalt while his bike spun with him as the pivot. This was right in the middle of a highway, and with no protective gear! We stared at the daredevil biker with our jaws slack and wondered if he was suicidal. Promptly, he jumped back on the motorcycle and sped away in the direction of traffic and was back riding while standing with his arms in the air, weaving through oncoming traffic like he was hoping for someone to hit him! We concluded he was definitely high on hard drugs!


Motorcycle stunts and impromptu car races are not uncommon in Abuja but they often occur in the main city itself. The publicity is done underground and yields a crowd of onlookers and kids of wealthy Nigerians showing off their cars and skills. It is not usually done for a fee or prize, but just for recognition.

Then he was back again – leaning back onto his bike as it made a couple more revolutions! Traffic grounded to a halt as no one wanted to be responsible for killing a suicidal biker. People began to gather and our bewilderment began to morph into uncertainty then fear. A female passenger echoed our thoughts aloud:

‘I hope this boy is not one of those Boko Haram people! Where is the driver o! I am not comfortable with this crowd!’

The once-quiet bus became noisy as we all began to talk and voice our concerns. You see, there have been recent bomb blasts in the suburbs of Abuja, Nigeria. The most recent happened a mere five days ago and these attacks are often in crowded places like markets and bus parks/terminals. The ISIS-affiliated Boko Haram claimed responsibility for these attacks.

We feared this young man could be a Boko Haram recruit seeking to detonate his bomb when the crowd had swelled to an appreciable size. As we talked, I unbuckled my seat belt and opened the door. One cannot be too careful, I reasoned. I might even have walked away but what guarantee was there that I was going somewhere safe? Passengers, irrespective of religion, began to yell for the driver to get us out of the park.

Meanwhile, the biker continued his stunts until an elderly (Muslim) man took a swipe at the young man as he whizzed carelessly past. I saw the biker park his motorcycle ahead and saunter back toward the senior citizen! The bus hushed temporarily. Was he going to fight the old man? We did not want to find out. The crowd was swelling considerably but we were able to see the two men talking.

Suddenly, news filtered to us that the biker was trying to sell CDs showcasing his skills. There was a huge sigh of relief but nonetheless, we couldn’t wait to get out of there. Some motor park touts took his CDs from vehicle to vehicle marketing them but none of us bought them. I wondered briefly if they would give him the proceeds from selling his merchandise.

As we finally left the park, everyone settled back into their shells and we barely spoke till we arrived at our destination.
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As usual, many equate the terrorists with Islam and paint all Muslims with the same brush. This shouldn’t be so. The vast majority of Muslims are simple humans with the same simple needs and a desire for safety for ourselves and our families.

This makes me so grateful for the narrative Brandon Stanton of Humans of New York is sharing on Facebook – the lives of the victims of terrorism, their fears, their tears and the utter desperation that moves that to migrate. May Allah reward him and his progeny with immense good for shining the spotlight on the brave victims, not the terrorising cowards!