Bismillah Hir Rahman Ir Raheem
Peace and blessings be upon you all
After staying up most of the night and preparing for a practical exam in my 4th-year MBBS journey, after successfully scoring well in that exam, after meeting up with a friend for some shawarma and 2 hours before my call started, I managed to find some undivided time and attention to focus on my Deen.
When I started my MBBS career, I was apprehensive that I would lose my free time spent on worship, exploring Islam and my faith deeply, writing, hiking, traveling, baking, sports, etc. to pages and pages of medical textbooks. Most importantly, I worried about my Emaan; what if during this stressful and demanding routine, I would lose sight of my Ultimate journey and Destination that lies at the end of my life in this world? With time, I felt that I was losing my khushu during prayers, as I worried about the following academic tasks I had in mind that I had to complete at all costs. With time, I felt like the Quran wasn’t speaking to me as it used to within the narrow window of my routine that I was able to commit to reading it. With time, I lost time to read inspiring blogs/articles and listen to informative talks that were sharing wisdom. With time, I had planned to continue learning Arabic I had started during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the month of Ramadan in 2020 when the hope we had then was time. However as time passed, so had all the hard work I had put into the holy month, and every time I decide, “This is it, let’s keep this effort consistent from now on.” The very next day, I failed.
Hence, on the Blessed day of Friday, I stepped away from the tumultuous Dunya for two hours and prayed Zuhr in the mosque located in the hospital. It had been a while since I read Surah al Kahf regularly every Friday. Instead, I would recite the first 10 verses that I had memorized just to tick a box due to lack of time, so why not read it now? A woman handed me the Quran to put back on the shelf but instead, I sat down against the wall and opened the 18th chapter of the Holy Book. Usually, I would recite the first 10 verses of the Surah and then read the entirety of the Surah’s translation but this time, I wanted to be sure of my Khushu and Emaan. I wanted to feel Allah’s Presence, that Allah was speaking His words of wisdom to me. I wanted to know if Dunya had successfully entrapped me or if I still possessed strength in me and was on the right path. I knew the translation by heart but I wanted to experience Arabic take over my mind, heart, and soul once again.
As I recited in my ‘not-so-perfect-but-one-should-try’ accent, it felt like time had stopped. Everything was quiet. Allah had silenced the Dunya for me as I slowly took in every carefully written word, adjusted my tone to every harakat, roughened my voice to resemble the Arabic accent, and gave power to each recited alphabet in the Surah. Giving in all that effort and concentration, I felt waves and waves of solace rush through me, strong yet patiently trying to reach every corner of my being, gliding through the crevices of my mind, body, heart and soul and diving deep within me at places I didn’t know required nlightenment. All the khushu and tawakkul that I had been yearning for, far far away from the troubles of the world, came gushing back towards me and I was comforted by how much Allah cared for me from the start till the end of my recitation that when I was finally able to completely focus on His Words, Allah handled the rest. I felt heavy from all the waves yet light as a feather at the same time. Hope wasn’t lost, after all.
I also remembered one thing a friend of mine told me Islam is a Deen – a way of Life, not only a set of rituals. Hence, even if you feel that you do not have enough time to perform specific acts of worship, know that you can still make every deed you do in your regular life, every word you say, every information you choose to hear or ignore, every good deed you commend or bad deed you reprimand, etc. When you are careful about what you do every day while remembering Allah, that is a great act of worship because the purpose of reading Quran, fasting, praying, Hajj, etc. is to improve how we live in this Dunya.
“Indeed, your Lord knows, [O Muhammad], that you stand [in prayer] almost two thirds of the night or half of it or a third of it, and [so do] a group of those with you. And Allah determines [the extent of] the night and the day. He has known that you [Muslims] will not be able to do it and has turned to you in forgiveness, so recite what is easy [for you] of the Qur’an. He has known that there will be among you those who are ill and others traveling throughout the land seeking [something] of the bounty of Allah and others fighting for the cause of Allah. So recite what is easy from it and establish prayer and give zakah and loan Allah a goodly loan. And whatever good you put forward for yourselves – you will find it with Allah. It is better and greater in reward. And seek forgiveness of Allah. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.“Surah Al- Muzzammil (73:20)
After that spiritual revival and consolation, I picked up my bag and headed to the Obs/Gynae OPD for my call. When duty calls, as a practicing, faithful and honest Muslim, you respond.