Friday, December 30, 2011

The Death Scare

I got the shivers as I watched Grey's Anatomy, a show on doctors and surgeons who do their jobs and intermingle with life.

Tonight's episode revolved around deaths.

I got the chills.

Although I've never watched a full episode of the show before, today I think I was meant to watch it.

My eyes were glued to the TV. My son was sprawled on my lap as he tried to fall asleep. My heart wept. I wept.

I turned off the TV, put my child to bed and went to pray Isha, the night prayer, or the last prayer of the day. I felt the presence of death. The reminder of having to one day pass away.

In a hadith, saying of the Prophet Muhammad, he said we should not wish for death. Be optimistic.

Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "None of you should wish for death. If he does good, he may increase in it, and if he does evil, he may turn in repentance." [Agreed upon. This is the version of al-Bukhari]

In another hadith, the Prophet said, death is one of those things we can wish for when we feel like we are not doing our best. To me that means, there are times we all wish for death (although we may not mean it). Again, be optimistic, and wish for the best.

Anas reported: "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'None of you should wish for death because of some harm which has befallen him. If he has got to do something, he should say, 'O Allah, make live if life is best for me and make me die if death is best for me." [Agreed upon].

Knowing time is short makes us want to do the best things in life - in just the right time. The Prophet said, the smartest people are those who prepare for death, and use this time wisely.

Today I felt my prayer was more bonding with God. We all need a good "death scare" to waken us up spiritually.

What do you think? Share your experiences!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

To eat or not to eat?

My father-in-law went to the hospital a few days ago. He had just returned from a weeklong stay, 4-5 days prior. He was treated for anemia, possible pneumonia, and coronary heart disease. He came home yesterday after treatment for hyperklemia (high potassium), chronic kidney failure, anemia, gastritis, and other conditions.

He has diabetes, high blood pressure, hypertension, a pacemaker (he had several heart attacks). He takes nearly a dozen medications.

He's 80.

Usually when he gets home from his twice-a-year hospital stays, the family begin their lectures: don't eat unhealthy foods, drink more water, walk more. Sit up. Don't always sleep.

His diet is "kept under control" for 2-3 weeks after he returns from the hospital.
Then the complaining begins. He'll say he can't stand the food. No one cares about his feelings. He says, he is dying. He gives my mother-in-law a full-blast guilt trip. While my sister-in-law and I encourage her to ignore his bad food requests, he gives her the "You don't care about me, don't you?" speech.

In our culture it is understood if an old person wants to eat the way they want, their wishes are to be respected for they may not have long to live. In theory it is a beautiful treatment of our elders, while in reality it is a speedy way to get to death.

While the family repeatedly tell him to keep his health in check, it all goes away after a few weeks. They have their own health issues to worry about.

My mother-in-law gives us her own guilt trip. "You will understand someday..." she says, speaking of restrictions we may face in food eventually.

My brother-in-law is probably the only one who actively tries to keep his health in check in this home. It's hard in a house where food is loved and prepared with care. The tastier the food is, the happier spirits are. While some enjoy the food spicy, others cannot tolerate it. While some eat this, others rather eat that. It can be tough living with many people.

I have my own spicy-limit food tolerance. But I ignore it most of the time until my body shuts down. Having to prepare separate meals makes me anxious. Nervous.

Maybe my mother-in-law sees it the same for my father-in-law. Maybe it makes her uncomfortable to serve him "less tasty" food than the rest of the family." It almost seems as if he is being restricted from food altogether.

When we are allowed to eat something "better than him" we are reminded to keep it hush-hush.

Meanwhile the family will make their routine visits. Health tips will keep pouring in. People will go on with their lives. And so will he until his body cannot take it anymore. Once again. (God knows best).

May God give us the wisdom strength and perserverance to carry on.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Although Muslims and many others don't believe that December 25th was Jesus's true birthday, I thought I'd post story of Jesus's birth from the Chapter of Mary in the Qur'aan. I also posted a link below if you wanted to hear and read the entire chapter! The Arabic is quite soothing.

Happy Holidays! :)

Chapter of Mary: Verses 15-30.
وَاذْكُرْ فِي الْكِتَابِ مَرْيَمَ إِذِ انتَبَذَتْ مِنْ أَهْلِهَا مَكَانًا شَرْقِيًّا 
And remember, in the Book the story of Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place toward the east.
فَاتَّخَذَتْ مِن دُونِهِمْ حِجَابًا فَأَرْسَلْنَا إِلَيْهَا رُوحَنَا فَتَمَثَّلَ لَهَا بَشَرًا سَوِيًّا 
And she took, in seclusion from them, a screen. Then We sent to her Our Angel, and he represented himself to her as a well-proportioned man.
قَالَتْ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِالرَّحْمَٰنِ مِنكَ إِن كُنتَ تَقِيًّا 
She said, “Indeed, I seek refuge in the Most Merciful from you, [so leave me], if you should be fearing of Allah .”
قَالَ إِنَّمَا أَنَا رَسُولُ رَبِّكِ لِأَهَبَ لَكِ غُلَامًا زَكِيًّا 
He said, “I am only the messenger of your Lord to give you [news of] a pure boy.”
قَالَتْ أَنَّىٰ يَكُونُ لِي غُلَامٌ وَلَمْ يَمْسَسْنِي بَشَرٌ وَلَمْ أَكُ بَغِيًّا 
She said, “How can I have a boy while no man has touched me and I have not been unchaste?”
قَالَ كَذَٰلِكِ قَالَ رَبُّكِ هُوَ عَلَيَّ هَيِّنٌ ۖ وَلِنَجْعَلَهُ آيَةً لِّلنَّاسِ وَرَحْمَةً مِّنَّا ۚ وَكَانَ أَمْرًا مَّقْضِيًّا 
He said, “Thus [it will be]; your Lord says, ‘It is easy for Me, and We will make him a sign to the people and a mercy from Us. And it is a matter [already] decreed.’ “
فَحَمَلَتْهُ فَانتَبَذَتْ بِهِ مَكَانًا قَصِيًّا 
So she conceived him, and she withdrew with him to a remote place.
فَأَجَاءَهَا الْمَخَاضُ إِلَىٰ جِذْعِ النَّخْلَةِ قَالَتْ يَا لَيْتَنِي مِتُّ قَبْلَ هَٰذَا وَكُنتُ نَسْيًا مَّنسِيًّا 
And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm tree. She said, “Oh, I wish I had died before this and was in oblivion, forgotten.”
فَنَادَاهَا مِن تَحْتِهَا أَلَّا تَحْزَنِي قَدْ جَعَلَ رَبُّكِ تَحْتَكِ سَرِيًّا 
But he called her from below her, “Do not grieve; your Lord has provided beneath you a stream.
وَهُزِّي إِلَيْكِ بِجِذْعِ النَّخْلَةِ تُسَاقِطْ عَلَيْكِ رُطَبًا جَنِيًّا 
And shake toward you the trunk of the palm tree; it will drop upon you ripe, fresh dates.
فَكُلِي وَاشْرَبِي وَقَرِّي عَيْنًا ۖ فَإِمَّا تَرَيِنَّ مِنَ الْبَشَرِ أَحَدًا فَقُولِي إِنِّي نَذَرْتُ لِلرَّحْمَٰنِ صَوْمًا فَلَنْ أُكَلِّمَ الْيَوْمَ إِنسِيًّا 
So eat and drink and be contented. And if you see from among humanity anyone, say, ‘Indeed, I have vowed to the Most Merciful abstention, so I will not speak today to [any] man.’ “
فَأَتَتْ بِهِ قَوْمَهَا تَحْمِلُهُ ۖ قَالُوا يَا مَرْيَمُ لَقَدْ جِئْتِ شَيْئًا فَرِيًّا 
Then she brought him to her people, carrying him. They said, “O Mary, you have certainly done a thing unprecedented.
يَا أُخْتَ هَارُونَ مَا كَانَ أَبُوكِ امْرَأَ سَوْءٍ وَمَا كَانَتْ أُمُّكِ بَغِيًّا 
O sister of Aaron, your father was not a man of evil, nor was your mother unchaste.”
فَأَشَارَتْ إِلَيْهِ ۖ قَالُوا كَيْفَ نُكَلِّمُ مَن كَانَ فِي الْمَهْدِ صَبِيًّا 
So she pointed to him. They said, “How can we speak to one who is in the cradle a child?”
قَالَ إِنِّي عَبْدُ اللَّهِ آتَانِيَ الْكِتَابَ وَجَعَلَنِي نَبِيًّا 
[Jesus] said, “Indeed, I am the servant of Allah . He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet.