Thursday, November 23, 2017

There is a blessing in each adversity

Abu Yahya Suhaib bin Sinan (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “How wonderful is the case of a believer; there is good for him in everything and this applies only to a believer. If prosperity befalls him, he expresses gratitude to Allah and that is good for him; and if adversity befalls him, he endures it patiently and that is good for him.”

[Sahih Muslim]

Obviously, our faith is tested when adversity afflicts us. It takes s very strong person to patiently endure a trial. A trial from Allaah (swt) is never an easy one. Allaah sees what one does at the first stroke of calamity. There is nothing more pleasing to our Rabb than His slave praising Him while facing the worst of circumstances.

How often can one claim to have heard - “Alhamdulillaah, I have been blessed with cancer.”? Alhamdulillaah, I have been blessed to hear this from a man who means the world to us.

My dearest father, who is not only a source of my existence, but also the source of our support and survival in this cruel world. After he was diagnosed with cancer, we were completely shattered. His wife and children went to meet him in the hospital room. We were short of words. We didn’t know what to say.  It was hard to control our tears. We were weak and tired having cried all night. He said salaam to break the silence. He then told us “I have been diagnosed with blood cancer. Now, I have no other option but to undergo chemotherapy. Medication is Sunnah. Life and death is in Allaah’s hand. But if I am to live, then I don’t want you people to get scared seeing me. Chemotherapy will make me weak. I would be reduced to half my size. Will lose all my hair and look like a hairless being (he smiled saying this)”.

He continued, “The doctor says that there are few chances of my recovery and survival. But I have full faith in Allaah that He will cure me. Alhamdulillaah, He has blessed me with cancer to save me from something which we can’t understand. The simplest possibility is that had I not been on this hospital bed, then maybe I would die due to a road accident.”

The doctor did not want to delay his treatment. It was Adult Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. A very rare kind to affect the elderly. My father, a 64 year old, had very poor chances of survival (medical stance). Treatment started from next day. The pain and suffering that he went through would take pages and pages to write, but that is not what I want to.

The treatment period which lasted for 1.5 years was very difficult. During this time we understood who our true friends are. We saw how many friends this man has! A bank takes time to give you loans. But people brought money wrapped under covers and offered us to repay when we can. Alhamdulillaah, we are working really hard to repay it all. But it was badly needed at that time.

 For a short period, He was completely bed ridden. He could not eat anything. He would say, “I feel my mouth is made of wood. I can taste nothing.” It was very painful to hear that. But all along, during this pain and suffering, his main concern was his beard. He didn’t shave it. But he knew that he might have to. He would take a look into mirror to see if it’s thinning. It did, but it’s only a miracle, it never fell off in patches. Alhamdulillaah, even for a moment he was not a beardless man. I know, he would not bear to see himself without a beard. It was his love, for it was the Sunnah of Allaah’s beloved (pbuh).

He was undergoing maintenance chemo and suddenly he started getting fever frequently. Slowly the fever remained constant and would reduce for few hours after taking paracetamol. In November last year his conditioned worsened. And we had rush him to hospital. The first suspect was of relapse. In such weak condition, the bone marrow test was a very painful thing. But he underwent it. The result was negative. Every possible test was carried out, but there was no clue to why he is constantly having fever and severe chills.

His oncologist, who was more than a doctor to us due to his commitment and consideration to patiently treat Papa,  called us to his cabin and expressed his biggest fear. His words still ring into my ears, “See, the fever isn’t reducing and there can’t be any other cause except a relapse.”  My world went dark. I couldn’t believe because I didn’t want to believe that my father’s Duas and faith in Almighty could be let down. I tried to interrupt and say that the report doesn’t show it. The doctor continued, “Early relapses are difficult to diagnose. His WBC count has dropped to 700 today. There can be no other reason why it has happened. And we have done all our tests only to find no clue. We need to go for a bone marrow test again. Maybe it will show a relapse.”  I was broken. My father had become sooooo weak that he couldn’t speak. He was in ICU. How could he bear that pain? I told doctor, ”Please wait for 2 days.” He replied, “I will wait as much as I can so that the reports are clear.” I can’t forget his parting words that afternoon, “It’s a RELAPSE! RELAPSE!”

I told my father that he wants to repeat the bone marrow test. Papa looked at me helplessly. He too asked me to ask for some time. I said I did already. I told him, “Papa please pray that your WBC count increases overnight.”  We  prayed for a miracle. We begged Allaah to have mercy on His slave who did not miss a single prayer even in the worst phase of his life. Our hearts assured us that Allaah is with us but the experience of doctors and circumstances were too scary. The blood counts were awaited the next day. It could only be a miracle. His WBC count after having dropped continuously for a week had increased overnight. It was 2500+, which was a safe range for a patient under chemotherapy. It once again reassured us that Allaah has taken control of everything. The full body MRI  was once more performed and this time it showed light infection-like spots in the lungs. Doctors could see nothing when they did it for the first time. He was immediately put on all viral, bacterial and fungal antibiotics. The treatment again was long and painful, but knowing that it isn’t a cancer relapse was a very big relief.

Now, when I recall this - I don’t know if it actually wasn’t a relapse or, Allaah turned that possible relapse into a lung infection and answered our Duas. Whatever it was, it was a miracle and I pray that Allaah never brings the hospitalisation phase into my father’s life ever again and reward him abundantly for all his suffering and forgive him completely for all his shortcomings and bless him with a long and healthy life (Ameen).

For anyone reading this and unfortunately facing a similar situation, I just want to tell you that Allaah doesn’t give us a problem to which He doesn’t have a solution. What matters is, how we approach Him. And He says, “I am to My slave as He thinks of Me.” This is exactly what He did to my father. He brought my father into complete remission, Alhamdulillaah. Although there are very high chances of a relapse, my father has full faith in Allaah that He will never afflict him or anybody from his family with such suffering again, In sha Allaah.

Today, he is weak. But his eemaan has grown stronger. His faith in Allaah, which was unshakable always, has become firmer. And he says, “The suffering is for my good, for our good. There is good in the time, money and health lost. If nothing, then it brought us closer to Allaah and this is everything for us.”

Alhamdulillaah, it is! An affliction that you bear with Tawakkul is a blessing in disguise.

~ UmmHashiR

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I am nobody, but a stranger, only a simple wayfarer,
My journey is this life till I reach the Hereafter..
Traveling all along the footsteps of my Teacher
For I have to, in time, reach the destination promised by MY