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Common Word, Common Lord

Common Word, Common Lord

My Friend The Hero

In the Name of God: The Extremely, Eternally, and Everlastingly Loving and Caring

A woman in Chicago was pulled from her burning car by a Good Samaritan who stopped to help. He saved her life. That Good Samaritan was my very good friend.

Ahmed Elsayed, an engineer from Aurora, was on his way to an appointment with his 9-year-old son when he saw the smoke. He pulled over and ran to her window.

“I was just screaming for her to get out of the car, get out of the car. So when she did, I kind of grabbed her by the arm and pulled her towards my car and we got in and moved further away,” Elsayed said.

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The car went up in flames.

Ahmed gave me more detail about the incident:

I originally stopped to simply help her, thinking her car was overheating and then noticed the flames as I was walking towards her.

His walk then turned to a “frantic run to get her out of the car.”

The woman said afterwards: “I feel that I’m alive today because of him. And I owe him a great deal.”

After seeing this story, I wanted to post about how such stories about Muslims do not get enough play. I wanted to post about how, all over the world, Muslims do good like this, and no one hears about it. All anyone ever hears is the barbarity of savages who act in the name of Islam.

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When I posed the post idea to Ahmed, he refused. He said:

I’d be happier to leave faith and ethnicity out of this. I’m human, she’s human. I helped when I could.

He continued:

The sooner we can get over the labels and just help each other because it’s the right thing to do, the better this world will be.

Wow. How true.

It would be so nice to live in a world where people don’t see each other through labels; where people don’t see a woman wearing a headscarf and immediately think she can’t speak English or tell her, “Go back to your country!” It would be so nice to live in a world where people don’t judge you based on your name or color of your complexion. It would be so nice to live in a world where people do not kill in the name of religion and houses of worship are never attacked in brazen, vicious manners.

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Ahmed’s actions and his subsequent profound words of wisdom should teach us all to “get over the labels and just help each other because it’s the right thing to do.” It’s so easy to retreat to that corner of our minds where we see everyone else through their “labels.” It is much harder to see everyone for who they really are: fellow human beings who have dignity and deserve our respect and good will. I pray that my friend Ahmed Elsayed inspires us to do just that.

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Getting To Know Your True Self During Ramadan

In the Name of God: The Extremely, Eternally, and Everlastingly Loving and Caring

In a famous saying of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), it is said that the Devil and his minions are chained during the month of Ramadan, which is almost half way done at this point. Thus, the believer is spared from his constant and unrelenting whispers and temptations. While this is a good thing, it does leave open one disconcerting implication: any evil thoughts or actions during Ramadan can no longer be attributed to the Devil. They are all ours to own.

In fact, I have a big problem with the retort that “the Devil made me do it,” whenever one is confronted with their mistakes. The Devil does not make anyone do anything. He is quoted as saying this very thing in the Qur’an:

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And when everything will have been decided, Satan will say: “Behold, God promised you something that was bound to come true! I, too, held out [all manner of] promises to you – but I deceived you. Yet, I had no power at all over you: I but called you, and you responded to me. Hence, do not blame me, but blame your own selves… (14:22)

Whenever we want to blame the Devil for the things we have done, he will sell us out every time. We have to take responsibility for all the evil we have wrought. The Devil is not a puppeteer that controls our every moves. He is only an evil whisperer – a weak one at that – and we are the ones who choose to heed his evil suggestions.

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But now, with the Devil being chained in Ramadan, we will have to come to terms with our true selves. And we may not be very happy with whatever base desires that our own selves may conjure.

Yet, that is the whole purpose of the fast of Ramadan. It is an opportunity for us to get to know our true selves and – armed with the spiritual power of fasting, prayer, and reflection – learn to overcome those temptations and make ourselves better people. And when Ramadan is over, and the Devil returns to his evil whispering, all the fasting and prayer we have done will make us steadfast in the face of his temptations. This can only be a good thing, and it will make all those long hours of hunger and thirst worth it.

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Andy Grammer’s “Honey, I’m Good”: A Refreshing Message of Fidelity

In the Name of God: The Extremely, Eternally, and Everlastingly Loving and Caring

My daughter first told me about the song, and I really had no idea what she was talking about. But, I had a chance to listen to the song on a long drive back home after a short trip with the family. And I really liked the song’s message:

It’s been a long night here, and a long night there
And these long long legs are damn near everywhere
(hold up now)
You look good, I will not lie
But if you ask where I’m staying tonight
I gotta be like oh baby, no baby, you got me all wrong baby
My baby’s already got all of my love

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So nah nah Honey, I’m good
I could have another but I probably should not
I’ve got somebody at home, and if I stay I might not leave alone
No, honey, I’m good
I could have another but I probably should not
I’ve got to bid you adieu
To another I will stay true
(oo oo I will stay true)
(who who I will stay true)

The beginning of the second verse is really awesome as well:
Now better men, than me have failed
Drinking from that unholy grail
And it is truly an unholy grail. And to top it off, the narrator of the song tells off his would be temptress with this:
Oh, I’m sure ya, sure ya will make somebody’s night
But oh, I assure ya assure ya, it sure as hell’s not mine
You can read the whole song’s lyrics at: Andy Grammer – Honey, I’m Good Lyrics | MetroLyrics

What a refreshing message of fidelity! In this day and age, the concept of staying true to one person for life has been steadily dwindling. How many songs talk about relationships as a “test drive”? For so many people, cheating on a spouse or partner is no big deal. In fact, some aspects of popular culture even glorify infidelity.

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But, infidelity is a big deal; a horrible betrayal; and a very hurtful and harmful thing. While I understand that some people make mistakes, with infidelity being among them, but at least, let’s not have an unequivocal attitude towards infidelity. It is wrong. It always has been, and it always will be, no matter how many people do it.

And I really love that the song makes fidelity cool. It makes being loyal to your mate desirable. I love it that it says, “I’ve got to bid you adieu/To another I will stay true.” How refreshing!

And the video is really, really awesome. Check it out:

YouTube Preview Image

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Being A Believing Doctor In The Intensive Care Unit

In the Name of God, The Extremely, Eternally, and Everlastingly Loving and Caring

This past week, we commemorated “Critical Care Week” at our hospital, which celebrates the women and men who dedicate their lives to taking care of the sickest and most critically ill patients: those admitted to an ICU. They are nurses, physicians, patient care technicians, among many others, and I am blessed and forever grateful to be counted among them.

Because these patients are the sickest of the sick, God and faith are frequent topics of discussion, especially when having to discuss the difficult reality that a patient may not get much better. So many times, patients’ family members have told me, “Well, I believe in God,” as if I do not believe in God or, somehow, I am a skeptic of religion and religious faith.

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Indeed, there are many physicians that either do not discuss religion and spirituality with patients or, perhaps, are truly skeptics themselves. Indeed, in an article in the Chicago Tribune, it said:

[Experts] believe that as the gap between health care and religion has widened, the quality of care for patients has diminished.

Still, although there may be this gap between medicine and religion, when patients’ families say to me, “I believe in God,” my response to them is, “Well, I believe in God, too.”

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I suspect that by telling me “I believe in God,” they are sending me the message that it is He, and not me, that will heal their very sick loved one. Well, I believe the very same thing. I know that, ultimately, it is God that heals and not me.

Now, this does not mean that I will not exert every single effort to help a patient get better. There is nothing I will not do to help my patients. I will stay longer after my shift; stay up for hours on end; and either do my own research or ask other colleagues about something I do not know. I have lost count of the number of times I have been unable to sleep because I have been thinking about my patients’ cases.

All this, and I still know that, at the end of the day, it is God who is the Ultimate Healer. It is God that saves lives, not me.

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Thus, when a patient’s mother or wife tells me, “I believe in God,” I am not offended. In fact, because I believe in God, I am very comfortable speaking the language of faith, and this puts those family members who are religious at ease. 

So many times I have said to families, when it is inevitable that their loved one will pass on: “Let your loved one go back to God,” or “Because your loved one is a child of God, let them die with dignity, not connected to tubes and machines.” And because we have this connection of faith in a common Lord, these difficult discussions are much easier to have.

Although I am very careful not to impose my religious faith unto my patients, and I am equally careful not to let my personal religious convictions cloud my medical judgment, I believe being a believer in the Intenisve Care Unit has only enhanced my skills as a physician. And it has made me all the more grateful than ever for being blessed to be in Medicine. 

 

Previous Posts

My Friend The Hero
In the Name of God: The Extremely, Eternally, and Everlastingly Loving and Caring A woman in Chicago was pulled from her burning car by a Good Samaritan who stopped to help. He saved her life. That Good Samaritan was my very good ...

posted 12:24:24pm Aug. 01, 2015 | read full post »

Getting To Know Your True Self During Ramadan
In the Name of God: The Extremely, Eternally, and Everlastingly Loving and Caring In a famous saying of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), it is said that the Devil and his minions are chained during the month of Ramadan, which is almost half way ...

posted 11:59:13am Jun. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Andy Grammer's "Honey, I'm Good": A Refreshing Message of Fidelity
In the Name of God: The Extremely, Eternally, and Everlastingly Loving and Caring My daughter first told me about the song, and I really had no idea what she was talking about. But, I had a chance to listen to the song on a long drive back ...

posted 11:56:45am May. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Being A Believing Doctor In The Intensive Care Unit
In the Name of God, The Extremely, Eternally, and Everlastingly Loving and Caring This past week, we commemorated "Critical Care Week" at our hospital, which celebrates the women and men who dedicate their lives to taking care of the sickest ...

posted 7:50:38pm May. 15, 2015 | read full post »

"Go And Cling To Her Feet, Because Paradise Is There."
In the Name of God: The Extremely, Eternally, and Everlastingly Loving and Caring The title of this post is the response of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to a man who expressed a desire to perform jihad in the path of God. It is likely that ...

posted 4:08:56pm May. 08, 2015 | read full post »

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