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The Theme of Surah al-Fatihah

By Sh Ahsan Hanif

Surah Fatiha

Sūrah al-Fātiḥah is described as the ‘Mother of the Qur’an’ and the ‘Seven oft-repeated verses’. It is recited in every unit of every prayer. It is one of the chapters of the Qur’an that we memorised as children and one of the chapters that we will teach to our children. But just what makes this chapter so important? From the 114 chapters of the Qur’an, why is this the first chapter? What makes it so special? What is the message of this chapter?

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Each and every one of the 114 chapters of the Qur’an has a single theme and subject. Every topic within that chapter will then relate to that single theme. So what is the theme of Sūrah al-Fātiḥah?

Overview

The theme of this chapter covers the basic tenets of Islam, being; belief in Allah (swt), following the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and the purification of the soul and exalted character that those principles should bring about. In many ways, Sūrah al-Fātiḥah is a summary of the main themes of the Qur’an. The scholars have mentioned that the Qur’an is broadly divided into 3 main themes. A third of the Qur’an speaks about Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), a third about the Prophets and past nations, and a third about the halal and haram.

To know Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)

Let us analyse Sūrah al-Fātiḥah. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) dedicates the first three verses of this chapter to speaking about Himself. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mentions His lordship, His creation, His power, His Names and His Attributes. Allah (swt) says in the first three verses, “All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all that exists. The Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. Owner of the Day of Judgement.”

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All three of these verses are dedicated to increasing our knowledge of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), because through the increase in knowledge we increase in our love, devotion and submission to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). It is human nature to learn about what we love most, and to love what we know most about. It is for this reason that we often love our parents, spouses and children most. We often love and are patriotic to our countries as they are most familiar to us. In terms of food, we often rate our own cuisine as most beloved to us as we’ve known it longest. Yet as Muslims, our love for Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) should far outstrip all of the above. Indeed, this is a claim we often make, and for the most part sincerely. But in reality, and after deep thought, the question arises, what and how much do we know about Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)?

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) wants us to learn about Him and thereby come closer to Him. This is why Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) praises the scholars in the Qur’an, “Indeed only the scholars truly fear Allah”. This is because their knowledge of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), His names, attributes, power and abilities increases them in piety and righteousness. It is for this reason that most of the passages and chapters of the Qur’an which have added virtues relate to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Look at Āyat al-Kursī, the last two verses of Baqarah, Sūrah al-Ikhlāṣ, Sūrahs Falaq and Nās, all of them speak about Allah.

The pinnacle and height of that knowledge is to understand Tawḥīd; the abilities of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) which make Him alone worthy of all worship, and to seek nearness to Him by knowing, understanding and living by His names and attributes. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) shows this in verse number 4 of Sūrah al-Fātiḥah, “You alone do we worship and from You alone do we seek assistance”.

To follow the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) then speaks about the second principle of Islam; to follow the Prophet. This too requires knowledge and learning about the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), his life, character, sacrifices and way, as only through this can we increase on our love for him. That increase in love will then spur us into emulating him and clinging to his example. For this reason, Sūrah al-Fātiḥah only consists of one duʿā’, a duʿā’ which we make at least 17 times a day, “Guide us to the Straight Path”. The straight path is the path of the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and his Sunnah. A third of the Qur’an reminds us of the stories of the past Prophets and nations so that we may take heed from them. It is warning to not fall into the same errors as those nations who rejected their Prophets and a glimpse into the delight awaiting those who do follow them. The Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is the best of the Prophets, and for us the best example to follow.

Halāl and Harām

Adhering to these first two principles; love and submission to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and love and following the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) leads to a better character, a purer heart and soul and a greater example for others. These are the people who adhere to the commandments of Allah and stay away from His prohibitions, to which the third category of the Qur’an is dedicated; the ḥalāl and ḥarām. The results of doing this is attaining Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) favour, grace and blessings, whereas the results of turning away from this path is misguidance and Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) wrath and anger. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says in the final verse of Sūrah al-Fātiḥah, “The path of those whom You have favoured, not those who have earned Your anger nor those who are misguided”.

Conclusion

Thus the beauty and message of Sūrah al-Fātiḥah is the comprehensive summary of the message of the Qur’an. Each and every time we recite Sūrah al-Fātiḥah, whether in or out of the prayer, it should be a reminder of these three core principles of Islam, for which the Qur’an was revealed and the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) sent.

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Shaykh Ahsan Hanif, PhD, was born and raised in Birmingham, UK. He memorised the Qur’an at a young age and at the age of 17 received a scholarship to study at the Islamic University of Madinah, Saudi Arabia. As well as attaining an ijazah in the Qur’an and a diploma in Arabic, Shaykh Ahsan graduated from the Faculty of Shari’ah Studies in 2006. Upon his return to the UK he attained his PhD from the University of Birmingham.He is currently an imam at Green Lane Masjid, Birmingham as well as the head of the Qur’an & Hadith Studies Department for AlMaghrib Institute. He has spoken at Islamic conferences in various countries, published translations of Arabic works and is a presenter of IslamQA for Islam Channel.

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Maisa

    December 4, 2015 at 2:23 AM

    I have very little knowledge but what I know I would like to share. In the last verse, according to Arabic grammar , it will be translated as and not among those whom anger has been shown, as maghdoob is mafool, and it will not be translated as on whom you hv shown anger. If I m wrong plz correct me.

  2. Avatar

    Kent Bayley

    December 4, 2015 at 3:46 AM

    By halal you mean the barbaric and cruel practice of killing animals. I note to apparently Allah get pretty hostile if you do the wrong thing. I have no idea how you people turn failures into heroes and darken the world. Islam is a complete program of subjugation and this poorly written offering reinforces that cult like mentality.

    • Avatar

      fatih

      December 6, 2015 at 2:29 PM

      I dunno if this is barbaric and cruel…

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dU3O5rykwe4

    • Avatar

      Tadar

      December 8, 2015 at 10:11 PM

      Read “THE SECRET LIFE OF PLANTS”? All forms of being within creation have what we call life in it. And whether one believes in a Supreme Being or not does not change the fact that all living things must eat. And what do they eat, other things that have life, or had life in them. For one to live something must die. And when done with the proper attitude one avoids getting a big head about taking life. All cells are less than 1% different in their physical makeup, and they all communicate.

      • Avatar

        Kent Bayley

        December 9, 2015 at 2:36 AM

        What on earth are you going on about. I am talking about the barbaric way Muslims butcher cattle. Its cruel and primitive. I have no idea what you are talking about but I guess you must be a Muslim. Oh dear.

    • Avatar

      Abeerah

      September 4, 2016 at 5:05 AM

      I have a question if you think that about Islam then what are you doing in a Islamic site ???!!!!

  3. Avatar

    fatih

    December 4, 2015 at 3:47 PM

    @ maisa

    I think you are right, because “your anger” would be Idafah and that is not the case.

    I remember a Video of NAK when he said that Earned anger means that they have earned anger form evebody. Like Allah, the engels, past generations, future generations.

  4. Avatar

    Aafia

    December 5, 2015 at 1:24 AM

    @Kent Bayley
    May Allah guide you. Are you a Vegetarian?
    By the Way Halal Meat are healthy than other methods of Slaughtered Meat because the blood doesn’t coagulate inside the Animal.Morever since the Carotid Artery is cut the Animal doesn’t feel much Pain as it does in other Methods.
    You need more research brother.

    • Avatar

      M.Mahmud

      December 5, 2015 at 3:54 AM

      It is stunning insults to the Messenger are allowed on this forum.

      1) Animals must be killed in a humane way-Muslims do a nice clean cut which ought to remove the pain.

      2) if the animal shakes it isnt necessarily due to pain but it can be just a normal reaction after death.

      3) stunning isnt banned by all scholars and not all Muslims have access to stun gun technology. Muslims live in poverty. It does not mean they ought to stop eating animals

      3) as for civilization, the most primitive and savage of Muslims is better then the most “civilized” of disbelievers because the former is eligble for Paradise and the latter will never enter it.

      • Aly Balagamwala

        Aly Balagamwala

        December 5, 2015 at 6:26 AM

        Dear Mahmud

        It is stunning insults to the Messenger are allowed on this forum.

        They are not… just that moderators are humans and need time to get to comments that are in violation… usually it is once a day.

      • Avatar

        Kent Bayley

        December 5, 2015 at 3:57 PM

        You mean your imaginary paradise where the men get 72 virgins and the women get nothing. Is this the paradise to which you refer. Without love you will get nothing.

      • Avatar

        Mustafa

        December 6, 2015 at 10:21 PM

        (You mean your imaginary paradise where the men get 72 virgins and the women get nothing. Is this the paradise to which you refer. Without love you will get nothing.)

        Men and women will be completely satisfied. As Allah says,

        لَا يَسْمَعُونَ حَسِيسَهَا ۖ وَهُمْ فِي مَا اشْتَهَتْ أَنفُسُهُمْ خَالِدُونَ
        They will not hear its perceptible (hissing) sound, and they are eternally (abiding) in whatever their selves craved for. (Literally: lusted for) (Dr. Ghali)

        And the Muslims enjoying themselves in Paradise have eternity and wont JUST be busy with sensual pleasures 24/7. There will be family/friends fun and more. There will be plenty of other types of joy to add to it. That is for Muslims alone and no one else. Of course they have love-they are love one another and are loved in Paradise. They are the only people in the next life who are loved and have love.

        • Avatar

          Kent Bayley

          December 9, 2015 at 3:35 PM

          Oh dear……..you poor lost soul.

    • Avatar

      Maisa

      December 5, 2015 at 4:26 AM

      You must have seen some ignorant muslims who might be using barbaric methods to kill animals. But you must not have seen any muslim desregarding other religions and on top of it the Lord. What education your religion has given to you is very disappointing who is ready to degrade the lord for the animals without taking the pain to research. Actually when you see muslims doing something wrong you blame the religion , but it is simply that they havent studied their religion well. But islam is degraded. Then by seeing your mentality , it reflects the teachings of your religion who has love for the animals then the lord. Islamic method of sacrificing animals is the best method which gives least pain to the animals as compared to other religions methods who simply throw living animals in the machine or give them electric shocks . If by civilized nations you mean people humiliating God then than please change the definition of civilization.

  5. Avatar

    M.Mahmud

    December 5, 2015 at 3:49 AM

    The way you translated ulama can be a cause of confusion for Muslims
    Firstly, its possible the poor villagers who know little of Islam are the most fearful of Allah due to the knowledge of Himself He provided them

    Secondly, its possible many scholars are arrogant and self rightious and not fearing Allah.

    Allah alone judges which Muslim has more taqwa than another. Only the ones fear Allah are actually Ulama-and this can be a layman in a village or a faqih in a city.

  6. Pingback: » Why ‘The Cow’?

  7. Avatar

    shoaib

    April 2, 2016 at 5:17 PM

    @kent if you have an explanation of your denial than do provide them. and if you’re answer less in this manner than i assume its a debate between literate and illiterate. and from my point of view, you’re the one who’s showing illiteracy. as you are just denying without a valid reason. from my pont of view, you’re the lost soul. illiterate always speaks uselessly while the wise stay’s quite.

  8. Avatar

    Zia-e-Taiba

    November 12, 2016 at 7:48 AM

    Nice Article!! Everybody should also visit the link for complete online Quran Tilawat with Translation

  9. Avatar

    Hafiz saad

    June 21, 2019 at 2:06 AM

    The online Quran classes are all-encompassing and involves all the things in any field: all the spiritual strength and motivation that life needs, the principle of life, the rules, the principles of life, the principles of religion, the work from faith to merit, from society to life, from the individual to the collective, from moral character to etiquette, from command to prohibition, from the story to history, from economy to culture, education, It also includes aspects of astronomical geography, political-military, national, war and peace, science and art, biology, botany, linguistics, and more.

  10. Avatar

    Reading Quran in Arabic

    June 21, 2019 at 2:13 AM

    Learning Arabic and reading quran in arabic. what’s the end result wish you would like to attain from the learning? does one simply want to be able to speak to the native Arabs throughout your vacation, or does one wish to browse and perceive sacred writing or the classical text? in all probability you’re a lot of interested to jot down some easy sentences in Arabic. Please be terribly clear on the supposed learning outcome, as every outcome would require totally different learning intervention.

  11. Avatar

    Al Fatihah

    July 2, 2019 at 2:27 AM

    Quran Is The Blessed Kalam Of Allah Almighty. What Is The Great Status Of الحمد للـه رب العالمين Has That Quran Pak Starts With It? Starting Quran Kareem With It Shows Its Greatness.

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Aqeedah and Fiqh

Prosperity Islam And The Coronavirus Problem

Hadith: “Hasten to perform good deeds before seven events: Are you waiting for poverty that makes you forgetful? Or wealth that burdens you? Or a debilitating disease or senility? Or an unexpected death or the False Messiah? Or is it evil in the unseen you are waiting for? Or the Hour itself? The Hour will be bitter and terrible.

Islam encompasses all of human experience. We believe in the good and bad from divine decree. The ‘problem of evil’ is not a Muslim dilemma because the abode of this world is a test, and the next life is the abode of recompense. Those who do evil in this world may enjoy comfortable and pleasurable lives. Pious Muslims on the other hand may live in immense suffering and oppression.

One’s state with Allah is not known through worldly position.

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The Quran has lots of mention of suffering in this world and the reward for the pious is constantly in the hereafter. Distance from the Quran distances us from what our Creator told us about living in His world.

Habituation to feel-good religious programs and motivational talks has left us unable to know how to be serious. The Coronavirus pandemic should be all the motivation we need for serious learning and hasten to good deeds.

New-age religion and the prosperity gospel

Modern Islamic discourse intertwines notions of sulook (spiritual wayfaring) with new-age spiritual ideas which make spiritual progression a self-centering endeavor of ‘personal development.’ Missing from this discourse is submission to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), which entails doing what one is obliged to do- even if there is no apparent personal win. A self-centering religious perspective is antithetical to true religion, and ironically a spiritual pursuit becomes a selfish pursuit.

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Within this approach, we see our practice of Islam not in terms of fulfilling obligations or understanding we must develop virtues we lack; rather we approach Islam as consumers and form identities around how we choose to be Muslim. This is visible on marriage apps where Muslims will brand themselves around how often they pray, whether or not they eat halal, and how practicing they are. Once this identity is formed, such Muslims are less likely to experience contrition and ultimately improve. The self is then a commodity on the marriage market.

When it comes to worship, for example, giving charity becomes an ‘act of kindness’ to fill the quota of selfless acts to becoming a better person. In other instances, acts of worship are articulated in worldly language, such as fasting in Ramadan being a weight-loss opportunity. One can make multiple intentions, but health benefits of fasting should not be used to articulate the primary benefit of fasting. In other instances, some opt to not pray, simply because they don’t feel spiritual enough to pray. This prioritizes feelings over servitude, but follows from a ‘self’ focused religious mentality.

Much like the prosperity Gospel, Muslims have fallen into the trap of teaching religion as a means of worldly success. While it is true that the discipline, commitment, and work ethic of religious progression can be used for material success, it is utterly false that religious status is on any parallel with material status.

Too many Sunday schools and conferences have taught generations that being a good Muslim means being the best student, having the best jobs, and then displaying the power of Islam to non-Muslims via worldly success and a character that is most compliant to rules. Not only does this type of religion cater to the prosperous and ignore those suffering, it leaves everyone ill prepared for the realities of life. It comes as a shock to many Muslims then that bad things can happen even when you work hard to live a good life. The prosperity gospel has tainted our religious teachings, and the pandemic of COVID19 is coming as a shock difficult for many to process in religious terms. There will be a crisis when bad things happen to good people if we are not in touch with our scripture and favor a teaching focused on worldly gains.

Why it leads to misunderstanding religion

Tribulations, persecution, and events that are outside of our control do not fit the popular self-help form of religion that is pervasive today. Islam means submission, and while we must avoid fatalism, we cannot delude ourselves into idolatry of the self. An Islam that focuses on our individual life journey and finding ourselves has no room for the ‘bad stuff.’ This type of religion favors well-to-do Muslims who are used to the illusion of control and the luxuries of self-improvement. Those who believe that if you are good then God will give you good things in this world will have a false belief shattered and understand the world is not the abode of recompense for the believer.

Islam means submission, and while we must avoid fatalism, we cannot delude ourselves into idolatry of the self.Click To Tweet

Tribulations may then effect faith because it questions the often subconscious teachings of prosperity gospel versions of Islam that we are in control of our own destiny, if we are good enough we will succeed. If this is the basis of a person’s faith, it can be proven “wrong” by any level of tribulation. Having one’s ‘faith’ disproven is terrifying but it should make us ask the question: “Does this mean that Islam is not true, or does this mean that my understanding and my way of living Islam are not true?”

My advice is do not avoid struggle or pain by ignoring it or practicing “patience” just thinking that you are a strong Muslim because you can conquer this pain without complaint. Running from pain and not feeling pain will catch up to us later. Learn from it. Sometimes when we are challenged, we falter. We ask why, we question, we complain, and we struggle. We don’t understand because it doesn’t fit our understanding of Islam. We need a new understanding and that understanding will only come by living through the pain and not being afraid of the questions or the emptiness.

Our faith needs to be able to encompass reality in its good and bad, not shelter us from reality because, ultimately, only God is Real.

Unlearn false teachings

Prosperity religion makes it much easier to blame the person who is suffering and for the one suffering to blame himself. As believers we take the means for a good life in this world and the next, but recognize that acceptance of good actions is only something Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) knows, and that life is unpredictable.

Favor from God is not reflected through prosperity. It is a form of idolatry to believe that you can control God or get what you want from God, and this belief cannot even stand up to a distanced tragedy.

Responding appropriately requires good habits.

Tribulations are supposed to push us towards God and remind us to take life very seriously. Even with widespread calamity and suffering, many of us still have a very self-centered way of understanding events and do not hasten to good actions.

For example, reaching old age is supposed to be an opportunity to repent, spend more time in prayer, and to expatiate for shortcomings. Old age itself is a reminder that one will soon return to his Lord.

However, we see many of today’s elders not knowing how to grow old and prepare for death. Most continue in habits such as watching television or even pick up new habits and stay glued to smart phones. This is unfortunate but natural progression to a life void of an Islamic education and edification.

Similarly we are seeing that Muslims do not know what to do in the midst of a global crisis. Even the elderly are spending hours reading and forwarding articles related to Covid-19 on different WhatsApp groups. This raises the question of what more is needed to wake us up. This problem is natural progression of a shallow Islamic culture that caters to affluence, prosperity, and feel-good messaging. Previous generations had practices such as doing readings of the Quran, As-Shifa of Qadi Iyad, Sahih al-Bukhari, or the Burda when afflicted with tribulations.

If we are playing video games, watching movies, or engaging in idle activities there is something very wrong with our state. We need to build good habits and be persistent regardless of how spiritual those habits feel, because as we are seeing, sudden tribulations will not just bestow upon us the ability to repent and worship. The point of being regimented in prayer and invocations is that these practices themselves draw one closer to God, and persisting when one does not feel spiritual as well as when one does is itself a milestone in religious progression.

While its scale is something we haven’t seen in our lifetime, it’s important to recognize the coronavirus pandemic as a tribulation.  The response to tribulation should be worship and repentance, and a reminder that ‘self-improvement’ should not be a path to becoming more likable or confident only, but to adorn our hearts with praiseworthy qualities and rid them of blameworthy qualities. Death can take any of us at any moment without notice, and we will be resurrected on a day where only a sound heart benefits.

Our religious education and practice should be a preparation for our afterlife first and foremost. Modeling our religious teachings in a worldly lens has left many of us unable to deal with tribulations to the point where we just feel anxiety from the possibility of suffering. This anxiety is causing people to seek therapy. It is praiseworthy for those who need to seek therapy, and noble of therapists to give the service, but my point is the need itself serves as a poignant gauge for how much our discourse has failed generations.

Benefit from Solitude

We should use solitude to our benefit, reflect more, and ponder the meanings of the Quran.  Completing courses on Seerah, Shamail, Arabic, or Fiqh would also be good uses of time. What should be left out however are motivational talks or short lectures that were given in communal events. In such gatherings, meeting in a wholesome environment is often the goal, and talks are compliments to the overall atmosphere. When that atmosphere is removed, it would be wise to use that normally allotted time for more beneficial actions. Instead of listening to webinars, which are not generally building an actual knowledge base that the previously mentioned courses would, nor is it a major act of worship like reading and reflecting upon the Quran. In other words, our inspirational talks should lead us to action, and studying is one of the highest devotional acts.

The pandemic should serve as sufficient inspiration and we need to learn how to be serious. I urge Muslims to ignore motivational and feel-good lectures that are now feel-good webinars, and focus on studying and worshipping. We should really ask if we just lack the capacity to move beyond motivational lectures if we still need motivation in the midst of a global pandemic.  The fact that after years of programming the destination is not the Quran for ‘processing events’ or studying texts for learning is symptomatic of a consciously personality oriented structure.

Muslims struggling to process a pandemic (opposed to coping with associated tragedies, such as loved ones dying or suffering) show the lack of edification feel good talks can produce.

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Coronavirus

A Doctor And A COVID19 Patient: “I will tell Allah about you.”

Guests

By Dr Farah Farzana

I get bleeped at around 2.30am to review a patient. A Pakistani gentleman admitted with Covid19.

The lovely nurse on duty says, “He is on maximum amount of oxygen on the ward, but keeps on removing his oxygen mask and nasal cannula, very confused and is not listening to anyone.”

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I arrive as soon as I can to the ward. I stare at him through the glass doors of the closed bay, while putting on my inadequate PPE.

He looks like he is drowning, he is gasping for air, flushed and eyes bulging like someone is strangling him.

I immediately introduce myself, hold his hands and he squeezes my hand pulls it close to his chest. Starts to speak in Urdu and says he doesn’t know what is going on, he cannot understand anyone and he is so scared.

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I give him my Salam and start speaking to him in Urdu. His eyes fill up with tears and hope.

I explain to him he really needs to have his oxygen mask on as we are trying to make him feel better. He tells me he is suffocating with the mask and he doesn’t like the noise. I grab his arm help him sit up in his bed.

We exercise synchronising his breathing and I put the mask and nasal cannula back on.

He asks me Doctor, am I going to die? I cannot hear the voices anymore, they don’t come to visit, everything is quiet and silent, like Allah is waiting to take me to Him. I am lost for words and tell him we are doing all we can to make him feel and get better. He tells me he has been speaking to Allah, he doesn’t care for himself just his family. I know he is scared and feels so alone. I tell him I’m here with him and am not leaving yet. I monitor his saturations and surely they come straight back up. I tell him I am going to give him medications for his temperatures and fluid in his lungs.

He agrees to take them.

He asks me why I didn’t come to see him until now, because I am his own. He says when he speaks to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) he will tell Him about me and that I am a good person and I cared for him.

I get a little choked up.

I can’t gather my thoughts before my bleep goes off again. I have to leave now though I tell him I have lots of patients who need my help. He begs me not to leave, but understands after a while and lets me go.I take off my inadequate surgical mask (PPE) before I leave the bay I look back at him to smile and he smiles back. We both wave goodbye. I can see tears rolling down his cheeks.

I don’t know how he will do, how he is now but I cannot stop thinking about him. I always assume positive outcome if I don’t get called back during the night to see the patient again. Plus it was such a busy night I had no time to stop to reflect, and I continued with a smile.

I speak fluent Bangla and my Urdu isn’t very good. But that night Urdu flawed so effortlessly out of my mouth without any hesitation and I was able to say exactly what I needed to him *SubhanAllah*.

My heart breaks for the minority patients, with language barriers. They are fighting this battle more alone and scared than ever.
Normally, they would rely on family members to translate for them, but given the current situation they must feel helpless.

It’s not just the suffering it’s the suffering alone that pulls on my heartstrings.

‘Indeed, to Allah we belong and to Him we shall return’
Quran 2:156

When all this is over, please remember to appreciate the little things.

  • Appreciate your freedom.
  • Appreciate all the hugs and love.
  • Appreciate your health and your health service.
  • Appreciate your families and loved ones.
  • And just be grateful to be ALIVE.
  • Stay at home. Save lives.
    #stayhome #nhs #gratitude

Courtesy: Facebook post

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I Once Spent Ramadan Semi-Quarantined, Here’s How It Went

Even though it was over 10 years ago, the memory of that Ramadan is seared into my mind.

I’d just taken my first consulting job – the kind in the movies. Hop on a plane every Monday morning and come home late every Thursday night. Except, unlike in the movies, I wasn’t off to big cities every week – I went to Louisville, Kentucky. Every week.

And because I was the junior member on the team, I didn’t get the same perks as everyone else – like a rental car. I was stuck in a hotel walking distance from our client in downtown, limited to eat at whatever restaurants were within nearby like TGI Friday’s or Panera. This was a pre-Lyft and Uber world.

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MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

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A couple of months into this routine and it was time for Ramadan. It was going to be weird, and no matter how much I prepared myself mentally, I wasn’t ready for it — Iftar alone in a hotel room. Maghrib and Isha also alone in a hotel room. Suhur was whatever I could save from dinner to eat in the morning that didn’t require refrigeration.

Most people think that with the isolation and extra time you would pass the time praying extra and reading tons of Quran. I wish that was the case. The isolation, lack of masjid, and lack of community put me into a deep funk that was hard to shake.

Flying home on the weekends would give me an energizing boost. I was able to see friends, go to the masjid, see my family. Then all of a sudden back to the other extreme for the majority of the week.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about that Ramadan with the prospect of a quarantined Ramadan upon us. I wish I could say that I made the most of the situation, and toughed it out. The truth is, the reason the memory of that particular Ramadan is so vivid in my mind is because of how sad it was. It was the only time I remember not getting a huge iman boost while fasting.

We’re now facing the prospect of a “socially distanced” Ramadan. We most likely won’t experience hearing the recitation of the verses of fasting from Surah Baqarah in the days leading up to Ramadan. We’re going to miss out on seeing extended family or having iftars with our friends. Heck, some of us might even start feeling nostalgia for those Ramadan fundraisers.

All of this is on top of the general stress and anxiety of the COVID-19 crisis.

Ramadan traditionally offers us a spiritual reprieve from the rigors and hustle of our day to day lives. That may not be easy as many are facing the uncertainty of loss of income, business, or even loved ones.

So this isn’t going to be one of those Quran-time or “How to have an amazing Ramadan in quarantine!” posts. Instead, I’m going to offer some advice that might rub a few folks the wrong way.

Make this the Ramadan of good enough

How you define good enough is relative. Aim to make Ramadan better than your average day.

Stick to the basics and have your obligatory act of worship on lockdown.

Pray at least a little bit extra over what you normally do during a day. For some, that means having full-blown Taraweeh at home, especially if someone in the house is a hafiz. For others, it will mean 2 or 4 rakat extra over your normal routine.

Fill your free time with Quran and dua. Do whatever you can. I try to finish one recitation of the Quran every Ramadan, but my Ramadan in semi-quarantine was the hardest to do it in. Make sure your Quran in Ramadan is better during the month than on a normal day, but don’t set hard goals that will stress you out. We’re under enormous stress being in a crisis situation as it is. If you need a way to jump-start your relationship with the Quran, I wrote an article on 3 steps to reconnect with the Qur’an after a year of disconnect.

Your dua list during this Ramadan should follow you everywhere you go. Write it down on an index card and fold it around your phone. Take it out whenever you get a chance and pour your heart out to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Share your stresses, anxieties, worries, fears, and hopes with Him.

He is the Most-Merciful and Ramadan is a month of mercy. Approach the month with that in mind, and do your best.

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MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

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