MuslimMatters would like to recognize Umm Yousuf as the latest “Positively Muslim in the West”
Yousuf, son of Shaykh Waleed Basyouni and Umm Yousuf, was diagnosed with leukemia in June this year. Umm Yousuf was in the bookstore, when she came across a Dr. Seuss book, carrying a photo of a bald kid who had a sad expression. She didn’t want Yousuf, bald due to the chemotherapy, to see the picture. But she didn’t stop there. She wrote up a Dr. Seuss type poem and dispatched it to Random House, the publishers. Her request was simple, the message powerful. Let the bald boy smile!
MM published the effort and while we were highlighting it on our pages, Random House acknowledged Umm Yousuf’s request and promised to take care of it. Thus, we recognize Umm Yousuf, not only for this positive act, but also for all her efforts and hardships in taking care of little Yousuf.
Interview with Umm Yousuf:
How is life as the Shaykh’s wife?
It has its advantages and disadvantages like anything. I would have to say definitely more advantages, of course. I love having fatwas answered at my convenience, but I also notice that I don’t strive as hard to gain knowledge as much, in Fiqh issues for example. People think because I’m married to a shaykh I must get SO much knowledge from him but unless I attend his classes like anyone else, I don’t get many other opportunities other than watching him, listening to him or an occasional help in him preparing for classes.
It can be difficult seeing him come and go so much but when I see him at work or hear others positive feedback, gifts and prayers it reminds me of what he’s out there doing and I feel happy and reassured.
When did you find out about Yousuf’s illness and can you share your reaction?
I knew he was sick for about week or so before he was diagnosed, which was June 22, 2009. Remembering that day creates so much pain in my heart and I don’t like to think about it much. Yousuf didn’t have usual ‘sick’ symptoms and since he’s been one to dramatize small minor aches and pains, I didn’t pay much attention to it in the beginning. If there was anything I could have done differently would have been to listen more and be there for him more even if he had been ‘dramatizing’ something minor.
I think his father had the best example of what an initial reaction is supposed to be, masha’Allah. For myself, I felt as though the world was spinning until I entered some imaginary world or dream. I cried right away and felt devastated despite the fact that it didn’t feel real. Like instead of “It’s too good to be true”, It was too bad to be true. When his father heard the news he was sitting and just slapped his hands on his legs ready to leave to go do what we needed to do with a big “alhamdulilah”. As the hadith says, “The real patience appears in your initial reaction when the calamity first strikes you.”
Being much weaker than him I just looked at him and wondered if he had heard the doctor correctly.
How do you deal with moments of despair and sorrow that must crop up at times, when you find yourself questioning the decree of Allah, “Why my child?”. What do you do at such times of despondency?
Firstly, I have it deeply imprinted in my heart that Allah (swt) does not decree for me something I cannot bear, therefore there is wisdom in it, even if I cannot see it sometimes due to overwhelming sadness…but deep down I know I will come through, insha’Allah. That’s also part of loving Yousuf, staying strong for him.
Secondly, I don’t ask ‘Why?’ in a negative connotation or as if I am questioning Allah’s Qadr, rather I start searching for the POSITIVE reasons and acting upon it. For example, our eating habits were extremely poor so I immediately starting watching everything I fed myself and my kids. I searched out nutritious and whole foods as well as those foods that are known to help fight cancer.
I’ve become active in areas that I didn’t really understand or experience the importance of before. For example, I helped coordinate a toy drive for the patients at Texas Children’s Hospital; I’m also arranging a blood drive to be held at our local Clear Lake Masjid, insha’Allah, next month.
Lastly, I cannot underestimate the support I have received from my husband. Whenever it starts to get too much for me or I need time away to rejuvenate myself he’s there to help with the kids while I get some time away. I think this is important for all moms, though, not just one’s with sick kids.
Is Youssef ever socially ostracized by other children, or ridiculed/laughed at? How do you deal with these situations?
I only remember one time when (on Eid) one of the kids at the masjid made fun of Yousuf’s hair…or lack thereof. I was fortunate that one of his older sisters was there to defend and stand right next to him so I didn’t have to do anything, alhamdulilah.
Another time he was playing with the neighbors (alhamdulilah, Muslim neighbors) and they were play fighting with swords and one ‘new’ kid said to Yousuf playfully, “I’m gonna kill you!” So the other boy, who knew about Yousuf, told him not to play like that because he has cancer. I thought that was really cute.
So obviously, Yousuf does notice some reactions from people and knowing that most people DO have hair so he has a hard time with it. He’s made many comments about how he doesn’t like it and sometimes wants to tear up pictures of himself when he had hair.
What is your advice for other parents in the same situation?
That is a difficult question to answer because none of us are in the same situation. Even among the many leukemia patients and their parents I share the waiting room with, each of our story is different. We obviously share a lot in common but our kids are each unique individuals and so are the parents. For me my healing came through writing which for some they said it makes the feelings of sadness that much stronger.
On the other hand, like with any test we should look at the reasons why Allah (Swt) might be testing us. There have been numerous aspects of my life that I have disliked considerably, but deep down almost every time I knew it was good for me. It was only the times that I tried to deny that reality and fight against that I would have a difficult time in my life. However, when I surrender to the Will of Allah and knowing he has chosen that, in which has the potential to bring out the best of me, though the test is still difficult, you still feel a sense of peace. We are only responsible for what we do and not what is done to us.
Referring to the Dr. Seuss situation,
a) How did you come up with the idea?
The idea to write a letter was just from my initial reaction when seeing the picture of the sad face drawn on a bald headed kid. The WAY of doing it (in the Dr. Seuss style) actually was not planned at all. I just sat down at my computer ready to compose a regular letter to them and jokingly typed in the first line with a rhyme. At first I was confused on what I was going to say in my letter since I wanted to sound as nice as possible. When that first line came out I smiled, pulled myself close to the keyboard and the entire letter just flowed out, subhan’Allah.
b) What was your reaction when you saw the letter from Random house?
Okay, so call me immature but I was holding the letter jumping up and down. I was happy and very shocked at the quick response.
c) Were you surprised by the support on MM and on your blog?
Yes, I was. Despite the fact that I was very excited about the idea I am not always sure how Muslims (being from so many different backgrounds) would interpret my approach to such a small matter and why I felt it was important. I was glad to see the positive feedback on that.
d) Should we expect more poems from you?
Not just poems but books, insha’Allah! I am aiming towards Islamic books for kids in a ….Dr. Seuss fashion?
As a convert yourself, when did you convert? I am sure you have been asked this question a thousand times, but we’ll ask anyway… why did you turn to Islam?
I don’t mind answering this question repeatedly…it serves as a good reminder to me and therefore is a sort of eeman renewal for me.
I was 19 years old when I declared my shahadah in the old Clear Lake Masjid. There were many different factors in what exactly drew me into the religion but simply put I was looking for direction not faith(because I already had that) and Islam offers both. I used to attend church twice a week and had many dreams in doing work for the sake of my Creator and my religion, one of those dreams was to travel across the world and spread belief to others. I didn’t have the means to do so so I just kept on praying for direction. I took the means by meeting with my church minister and asking him a million questions that I didn’t understand about Christianity. My father is a pastor of a church in another state but I didn’t want to ask him to think I was questioning my faith…but I was. The answers were always, “Pray and read the bible.” I would explain to him I was doing that but then what? He would just repeat the same sentence until I just tried to continue on doing that faithfully accepting what I didn’t quite understand.
It was at that time I started meeting Muslims, at my job, book stores and school. I thought my prayers were being answered but instead of traveling to meet people God had brought them to me to help guide. We would sit and have many discussions, most of which impressed me on how much Muslims knew about my religion more than I did. They were answering many of those questions that the minister could not answer and while making a lot of sense.
I was not going give up that easy. It was now my turn to go secretly research about Islam so that I had a better way to debate with them. I finally opened up a little to my dad so I would call him and ask him some questions. The one question I called and asked him that totally turned me off to Christianity and on to Islam was had the bible been changed? He said yes, of course. But the Qur’an had not.
I still did not convert yet, despite the fact that I could not find a single thing wrong with Islam and seemed to believe in everything I had learned about it. It was still difficult to take the religion seriously as the people who were talking to me did not practice what they preached. They were good hearted Muslims, who had struggles like anyone; but they still not wear hijab or refrain from mixing with the opposite gender.
It was finally when I met a Muslim woman who, masha’Allah, was very religious in her actions, dress and manners. It was her spirituality and emphasis on the love and mercy of Allah that finally brought me to the final decision. After asking her if I would be able to start over again pure with a clean slate and she said yes, I declared my shahadah silently to myself (as I had already memorized it knowing that’s what I wanted). A few weeks later I did it publicly.
What advice do you have for other Muslims in America in taking advantage of our rights as Americans and taking on the “system” as you sort of did with Dr. Seuss?
To definitely TAKE advantage of them! But for everyone’s advantage and not just our own and do so in a positive manner using the example of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.
What do you love most about living as a Muslim in the States?
Alhamdulilah, I’m just happy to be able to live as Muslim anywhere. I have only lived in the U.S. and cannot compare it to anywhere else. However, I do feel happy that my home country is one that I can practice my religion freely and connect with other Muslims, not only from here but from everywhere.
How can Muslims be a positive voice in States?
Be a good role model and follow the example of our beloved prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam in manners and behavior. The more we learn about him sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam and the history of his time the better we can know how to do that.
The more active we are in the community at large and are able to leave our “signature” behind the more doors will open, in positive ways, to interact with our neighbors in this country therefore creating better opportunities to make dawah. Muslims shouldn’t stick within our close network of people by belief but spread out and start focusing on the weaknesses of the community and aiding in making it better for everyone. Giving a good example IS dawah. Volunteering in shelters, nursery homes, hospitals, or even animal rescue services, all do the work of good deeds, setting a good example and establishing positive relationships with all our neighbors, Muslim or non-Muslim. I feel many people would understand or admit the logic behind Islam when they see and feel the spiritual side of the religion and Muslims.
Request for Help & Nominations for Future Awards
As mentioned in the post, Umm Yousuf is working on some children books. She is looking for some help with illustrations for the books. Please email us if you have the talent and can participate.
If you would like to nominate a positive Muslim in the West, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The main premise for the award is to recognize Muslims living as positive, contributing and integrated minorities.
May Allah reward Umm Yousuf, grant her child recovery and bless her and her family. Ameen.
Past Muslim Positives:
10 Steps Towards A Green Ramadan
The holy month of Ramadan is upon us. While people get excited and dedicate every minute they can to worshipping Allah , Ramadan is also a good time to create good habits that please Allah , and to better oneself in our daily routines. Making your Ramadan a Green Ramadan, is a pledge to reduce bad habits from previous years that we do not see as a concern. Here are a few simple suggestions (that we may be otherwise unaware of) of how to go green this Ramadan:
- Start Ramadan by making the right intentions.
The first thing we do is have the right intentions. What is your intention this Ramadan? Create realistic goals for yourself, and your community!
- Give up your CO2 contribution by traveling light and smart.
During Ramadan, our visits to the masjid increases, and for some people they can be making multiple visits a day. While driving is unavoidable, try and carpool to reduce emissions that harm our environment and health. Additionally, make it into an act of worship!
“حَدَّثَنَا زُهَيْرُ بْنُ حَرْبٍ، حَدَّثَنَا جَرِيرٌ، عَنْ سُهَيْلٍ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ دِينَارٍ، عَنْ أَبِي صَالِحٍ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم “ الإِيمَانُ بِضْعٌ وَسَبْعُونَ أَوْ بِضْعٌ وَسِتُّونَ شُعْبَةً فَأَفْضَلُهَا قَوْلُ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ وَأَدْنَاهَا إِمَاطَةُ الأَذَى عَنِ الطَّرِيقِ وَالْحَيَاءُ شُعْبَةٌ مِنَ الإِيمَانِ ” .
It is narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah said:
“Faith has over seventy branches or over sixty branches, the most excellent of which is the declaration that there is no god but Allah, and the humblest of which is the, removal of what is injurious from the path: and modesty is the branch of faith.”
Other options can include walking and biking to the masjid. Walking to the masjid is great as you can increase in zhikr (remembrance) of Allah .
حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو نُعَيْمٍ، حَدَّثَنَا سُفْيَانُ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ دِينَارٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ
عُمَرَ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم كَانَ يَأْتِي قُبَاءً مَاشِيًا وَرَاكِبًا.
Narrated Ibn `Umar:
“The Prophet used to go to the Quba’ mosque, sometimes walking, sometimes riding.”
حَدَّثَنَا الْحُسَيْنُ بْنُ الأَسْوَدِ الْعِجْلِيُّ الْبَغْدَادِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ آدَمَ، عَنِ الْحَسَنِ بْنِ صَالِحٍ، عَنْ أَبِي بِشْرٍ، عَنِ الزُّهْرِيِّ، قَالَ تَسْبِيحَةٌ فِي رَمَضَانَ أَفْضَلُ مِنْ أَلْفِ تَسْبِيحَةٍ فِي غَيْرِهِ .
“A Tasbihah in Ramadan is better than a thousand Tasbihah in other that it.”
- Spend meaningful energy, conserve wasteful energy.
Another way to enhance our worship is to be diligent when making wudu. Do not be wasteful and open the taps full on. Water is becoming scarce, and the way we make wudu is not of the Prophet .
حَدَّثَنَا أَحْمَدُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ حَنْبَلٍ، حَدَّثَنَا هُشَيْمٌ، أَخْبَرَنَا يَزِيدُ بْنُ أَبِي زِيَادٍ، عَنْ سَالِمِ بْنِ أَبِي الْجَعْدِ، عَنْ جَابِرٍ، قَالَ كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَغْتَسِلُ بِالصَّاعِ وَيَتَوَضَّأُ بِالْمُدِّ .
Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah:
“The Prophet used to take a bath with a sa’ (of water) and perform ablution with a mudd (of water).” [A mudd is roughly two handfuls of water]
Abdullah ibn Amr ibn Al-`Aas reported that the Prophet passed one day by Sa`d ibn Abi Waqas while he was performing wudu. The Prophet asked Sa`d, “Why is this wastage?” Sa`d replied “Is there wastage in wudu also?” The Prophet said, “Yes, even if you are at a flowing river.”
Consider conserving more water when making wudu. Conserve electricity by shutting off the TV and computer, and opening the Holy book.
- Have a healthy Ramadan through a proper diet.
Here we talk about our diets and how to implement a more prophetic one. We fast all day and can’t wait to eat. Our eyes become bigger than our stomachs. The sunnah is actually very different. It asks us for less not more.
حَدَّثَنَا سُوَيْدُ بْنُ نَصْرٍ، أَخْبَرَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ الْمُبَارَكِ، أَخْبَرَنَا إِسْمَاعِيلُ بْنُ عَيَّاشٍ، حَدَّثَنِي أَبُو سَلَمَةَ الْحِمْصِيُّ، وَحَبِيبُ بْنُ صَالِحٍ، عَنْ يَحْيَى بْنِ جَابِرٍ الطَّائِيِّ، عَنْ مِقْدَامِ بْنِ مَعْدِيكَرِبَ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ “ مَا مَلأَ آدَمِيٌّ وِعَاءً شَرًّا مِنْ بَطْنٍ بِحَسْبِ ابْنِ آدَمَ أُكُلاَتٌ يُقِمْنَ صُلْبَهُ فَإِنْ كَانَ لاَ مَحَالَةَ فَثُلُثٌ لِطَعَامِهِ وَثُلُثٌ لِشَرَابِهِ وَثُلُثٌ لِنَفَسِهِ ” .
Miqdam bin Ma’dikarib said:
“I heard the Messenger of Allah saying: ‘The human does not fill any container that is worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat what will support his back. If this is not possible, then a third for food, a third for drink, and third for his breath.”
We eat till we can’t move, and this impacts our tharaweeh prayers and standing before Allah . Ramadan is meant to be the opposite of this; it is a time to be humble, not extravagant. Allah says:
يَا بَنِي آدَمَ خُذُوا زِينَتَكُمْ عِندَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ وَكُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا وَلَا تُسْرِفُوا ۚ إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُسْرِفِينَ
“O children of Adam! Attend to your embellishments at every time of prayer and eat and drink and be not extravagant; surely He does not love the extravagant.” [Surah A’raf; 31]
Ramadan is a time to detox ourselves: mind, body and soul. Add more vegetarian options, do not over-eat, and use locally sourced foods. Avoid fizzy drinks, or anything high in sugar content – as an alternative use honey. Avoid deep-fried foods or enjoy in moderation (like once a week). Start and end your fast with green or herbal tea to cleanse the stomach after a day of fasting in order to help flush the toxins out.
We also don’t want to create more than what we could possibly consume, then the leftovers are at risk of being thrown out. Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
“With regard to bread, meat and other kinds of food, it is not permissible to throw them in the dumpster; rather they should be given to those who need them, or they should be put in a visible place where they will not be mistreated, in the hope that someone who needs them for his animals will take them, or they will be eaten by some animals or birds.”
5. Commit random acts of kindness
Try smiling at people that pass by, greet the street guards, or just randomly express your gratitude for a friend. Volunteer your time at the local mosque, or in the community for an initiative you are passionate about – or start a new one!
6.Celebrate Ramadan by breaking a bad habit
We all face our own challenges and bad habits. Ramadan is the perfect time to end that sugar or nicotine addiction, watch less TV, walk more, give up bad language, or even fix your sleeping cycle.
7.Charity is more than giving money to a good cause
For zakat, consider a local organization that is doing good work to protect the under privileged or the environment. Starting an initiative at your school, workplace or local mosque to make a real difference.
8.Host an eco-Iftar that will be the talk of the town
Show that you care for the environment and host an iftar that produces no waste, recycles, uses biodegradable cutlery and dishware, or invite others to bring their own dishware! Most importantly, serve a healthy, and locally sourced iftar meal.
9.Green your Eid, celebrate in style
By all means, treat yourself to a nice new outfit. Just try and ensure that you are supporting local industry, and that the dyes used are not polluting the water streams. When giving Eidi to children, highlight the importance of using it responsibly: buying nothing unnecessary or anything that will harm planet, your body or community, and to consider paying it forward to a local charity to earn extra reward.
10.Reflect on what you’ve achieved this month
By staying focused, observing your behavior, lifestyle and habits, you will have become much more mindful and aware by the end of the month. Make sure you stay consistent!
حَدَّثَنَا قُتَيْبَةُ، حَدَّثَنَا إِسْمَاعِيلُ بْنُ جَعْفَرٍ، عَنْ أَبِي سُهَيْلٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ “ إِذَا جَاءَ رَمَضَانُ فُتِحَتْ أَبْوَابُ الْجَنَّةِ ”.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah’s Messenger said, “When Ramadan begins, the gates of Paradise are opened.”
Ramadan is the most beautiful month, a month of worship, good deeds, family, and community. The gates of Paradise are opened, so take advantage of it. May Allah give us the opportunity to improve ourselves for His sake, to see Ramadan, and leave Ramadan with His pleasure upon us.
Shaykh Dr Hussain Sattar : A Celebrity In Medical Education
By Nancy Averett
When Hussain Sattar, MD, took a leave of absence from medical school to study Arabic and Islamic spirituality in Islamabad, Pakistan, he spent his days in a classroom that had walls made of clay and would heat up to 120 degrees in the summer. In the winter, the unheated classrooms were freezing — Islamabad sits at the foothills of the Himalayas — and Sattar, who was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, sat on the floor with the other students shivering and dreaming of summer.
It was a far cry from the University of Chicago, where he earned his undergraduate and medical degrees and later did his internship, residency and fellowship. Besides the lack of creature comforts, his instructors did not have fancy diplomas from prestigious universities. But there was a Pakistani teacher who made an impression on Sattar — one that planted the seed for Sattar’s wildly successful textbook and video series on pathology known as Pathoma.
“This teacher always came to class without notes,” Sattar said, recalling the instructor with the gray beard who smiled often and dressed in the traditional Pakistani garb of loose pants and tunic-like shirt. “He would say, ‘If I can’t tell you about it from the top of my head, then I shouldn’t be telling you about it at all.’” The man lectured passionately, as if there were 3,000 people in the room instead of eight, but what the young American medical student found most impressive was his skill distilling colossal amounts of material. “He had this ability to take vast amounts of information and summarize it in the most eloquent, simple, principle-based method,” Sattar said.
“He has this amazing way of explaining concepts. He simplifies things to the most basic elements.”
Fast forward nearly 20 years and that is exactly what thousands of medical students who use Pathoma say about Sattar. “He has a remarkable gift for clarity,” said Palmer Greene, a third-year student at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. “He can take the pathophysiology of any organ system and present the information in a way that makes the entire mechanism click in your head.” Lucy Rubin, a fourth-year at Tufts University School of Medicine, has similar praise: “He has this amazing way of explaining concepts,” she said. “He simplifies things to the most basic elements.”
It took years, Sattar says, to get to that point. After two-and-a-half years in the Middle East — he also spent time in Syria — he returned to Chicago to start his fourth year at Pritzker, worried that he had forgotten what he had learned while he’d been away. “When I came back, that was the hardest month of my life,” he recalled. “I remembered very little and I was thrown back into that medical school environment, in which there’s not much forgiveness for not knowing things.” Each night he focused on what he needed to know to get through the next day, eventually catching up.
At the same time, he started to look at his medical knowledge differently, realizing he had been memorizing details but missing the big picture. “I began to think, ‘Why don’t I rearrange this and reprocess this in this way?’” he said. “I did a tremendous amount of reading so I could see how different people were saying the same thing until I had it organized into different folders in my mind.” For example, he said, understanding the pathology of the different anemias was challenging until he came up with this method: “The way I think about anemia is I go back to biochemistry and focus on hemoglobin. That’s what a red blood cell is. It’s just a ball full of hemoglobin with a membrane around it. So I teach anemia based on hemoglobin and talk about different things that can happen to hemoglobin from a biochemistry perspective, how it relates to anemia, and how you can organize much of anemia through this overlying principle of understanding the biochemistry of hemoglobin.”
Building a career, writing day and night
At the same time Sattar was reorganizing his understanding of medicine, he was also building his career. In his fourth year, he completed a pathology rotation and decided he liked the specialty, in part because patient interaction was minimal, affording him more time for reflection. “I’m someone who needs to digest something before I can feel comfortable with it,” he said. “Pathology sort of lent itself to that.”
Sattar completed his residency at the University of Chicago Medicine, eventually joining the faculty as a surgical pathologist specializing in breast pathology. He is associate director of Clinical Pathophysiology and Therapeutics, a second-year course at Pritzker. He has earned a number of teaching honors — including Outstanding Basic Science Teaching and Favorite Faculty awards — and became a top-ranked instructor for Kaplan Medical, where he taught review courses for the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1.
It wasn’t until 2010, however, that he decided to try out the techniques of his Pakistani mentor combined with his own hard-won pathology knowledge. He asked Dean Holly Humphrey, MD’83, if he could teach an elective course for Pritzker students preparing for Step 1.
He sent out an email, imagining he might get 30 students to sign up. Instead he got 90. “I was teaching it the way I felt pathology should be taught, just me sitting and chatting with the students, no notes, nothing,” he said. “Just me talking about how I think about different principles of pathology and how I tie different basic science principles in with disease states. It’s about memorizing less and understanding more.”
After that, he decided to write the textbook that would become part of the Pathoma course, Fundamentals of Pathology. “I began writing day and night,” he said. “I literally hired someone to drive me back and forth from home to work so I could sleep in the car.” In his basement, with his wife and children upstairs asleep, he recorded the videos, turning off the furnace or air conditioner, depending on the season, so the noise wouldn’t affect the sound quality — he wanted to keep expenses low so that Pathoma would be affordable (it sells for about $100).
Nine months later, he published the book and videos — and no one bought them.
“I was so sad,” he recalled. “I hired my own editor, my own layout person, my own reviewers, I did everything on my own — to the extent of sampling the paper stock — because I wanted this to be exactly my vision.” After a few months, a student suggested that Sattar give sample lectures from Pathoma at other medical schools. The advice worked. Soon news of Pathoma went viral. Since 2011, more than 6 million hours of video lessons have been viewed online through the portal on pathoma.com. And students from all over the country and the world praise it on message boards, blogs and in social media:
Pathoma is the best thing i have ever done, i was an avg student that almost failed pathology in med school .. took step1 a month ago and ended up with above avg in path with star on the performance scale.
I’ll say it loud and clear: Pathoma is the best single patho(physio)logy system out there . . . It is well-organized, informative, and is as digestible as lactose to a baby.
The guy who made pathoma gets my kidney if he ever needs it.
Read rest here
Mosque: Back To The Future
On a scale of things that many non-Muslims wouldn’t want built anywhere near where they live, the mosque probably comes somewhere between a landfill and Ebola sanatorium. It’s not that they are racist, Islamophobic, or elitist (although a proportion are), but they are definitely afraid.
This stems from a fear of the unknown or a misunderstanding of who Muslims are. Mosques seem like strange places, where strange people dressed in strange robes go and recite strange words multiple times a day. They aren’t sure what exactly goes on in there, but their imaginations fill in the blanks. This is the same as when Harems in houses and palaces were imagined as degenerate pleasure dens as opposed to literally just the private section of a home. Because non-Muslims rarely ventured into one, their minds filled in the gaps and a trope was born.
Add to this the reality of violent atrocities carried out by Muslims ostensibly in the name of Islam and we have a recipe for disaster. After all, surely there must be terrorist sympathising mosque where these people are being indoctrinated, trained and sent out to carry out their carnage? What most people don’t realise is that extremism runs from the bricks and mortar of a mosque to the relative security of dark rooms or the anonymity of the internet.
So how do we reimagine the masjid into a place that people not only tolerate having in their neighbourhoods, but actually prefer? How do we achieve Mosques driving up house prices in a more pleasant way than the gentrifying Starbucks or Costa Coffee?
Well, the answer lies in the history of the Mosque itself. You see, to see a mosque as a place of worship is to see a smartphone as just a telephone. The original mosque, the mosque of the Prophet in Madinah, was so much more than just a musalla – a prayer space. It was a school, it was a community meeting place, it was a home for the displaced and so much more.
Mosques throughout the Muslim world continued this tradition and it reached its apogee in the Ottoman tradition of the Kulliye system where a Mosque complex would function on a variety of levels including hospice, hotel, soup kitchen, university, public baths, etc.
But somewhere in the chaos of the last few centuries, we’ve lost the versatility of the Mosque and turned it into a single function building. This had the predictable effect of making the mosque increasingly irrelevant to the lives of Muslims outside of prayer. It would be a place that you visited when you could for the sole purpose of prayer and if you didn’t pray – well then, there would be no need to visit it at all.
Non-Muslims had even less reason to visit a mosque. For a non-Muslim to visit a mosque, they had to go out of their way to humanise Muslims, to want to find out more and to have enough personal courage to overcome the fear of the unknown. As such, the majority of non-Muslims visiting mosques will either be tourists (if it’s a grand mosque), clerics from other religions (on an interfaith mission) or authority figures like politicians or police trying to get votes or reassure the community.
Enter the British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA.) Founded in 2013, BIMA aims to unite Muslim healthcare professionals in the UK and to inspire them towards service of the community. Not just the Muslim community, but the entire UK community.
So how does BIMA aim to achieve this? Well, there are many initiatives including conferences, diabetes workshops, creating a toolkit for Muslim female surgeons who need a hijab for theatre and health promotion activities, just to name a few.
One of the events that aim to get across the vision of BIMA is Lifesavers. This is a project in association with the British Heart Foundation, where we are working towards turning every mosque in the country into a training centre for Basic Life Support.
Britain, like most countries of the world, lacks a National Basic Life Support training programme. Some countries and states make sure it is taught in school like Denmark and the city of Seattle in the USA. The results from these few trailblazers is remarkable. In Denmark, out of hospital survival from cardiac arrest has tripled. Yes, tripled. 
More than 50,000 people have cardiac arrests in the UK every single year.  For the vast majority of these cases, there is no out of hospital CPR undertaken and it is solely down to the emergency services to initiate the chain of survival. If we were able to create the first and most comprehensive national CPR programme in the UK, it would undoubtedly save lives. This in itself would be a major achievement.
Making the mosques the venues for teaching CPR would have an added benefit in making the mosque not just a spiritual space, but a practical one. It would demystify the mosque to the surrounding community, it would encourage more Muslim healthcare professionals to get involved in their local mosque and it would show Islam and Muslims in a diametrically opposite light to what we are usually portrayed.
As is so often the case, we need to go back to our past to save our future.
If you would like to find out more or get your own mosque involved email email@example.com
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