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Common Word, Common Lord

Common Word, Common Lord

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. 

 

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“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 this man was thinking about a military battle. The Prophet (pbuh) instead asked him, “Is your mother alive?” When the man replied in the affirmative, the Prophet (pbuh) replied, “Go and cling to her feet, because Paradise is there.”

The duty we have to our parents in general, but to our mothers in particular, is enormous in Islam. The Qur’an is full of references to the duty we have to our parents:

For your Lord has ordained that you shall worship none but Him. And do good unto [your] parents. Should one of them, or both, attain to old age in your care, never say [even] “Ugh” to them or scold them, but [always] speak unto them with reverent speech and spread over them humbly the wings of your tenderness, and say: “O my Lord! Bestow Your grace upon them, even as they cherished and reared me when I was a child!” (17:23-24)

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Now [among the best of righteous deeds which] We have enjoined upon humanity [is] goodness towards parents…(29:8)

AND WORSHIP God [alone], and do not ascribe divinity, in any way, to aught beside Him. And do good unto your parents…(4:36)

Say: “Come, let me convey unto you what God has [really] forbidden to you: “Do not ascribe divinity, in any way, to aught beside Him; and [do not offend against but, rather,] do good unto your parents…(6:151)

And here, the Qur’an speaks more specifically about mothers:

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NOW [among the best of the deeds which] We have enjoined upon man is goodness towards his parents. In pain did his mother bear him, and in pain did she give him birth; and her bearing him and his utter dependence on her took thirty months. And so when he attains to full maturity and reaches forty years, he [that is righteous] prays: “O my Lord! Inspire me so that I may forever be grateful for those blessings of Yours with which You have graced me and my parents…(46:15)

And [God says:] ‘We have enjoined upon man goodness towards his parents: his mother bore him by bearing strain upon strain, and his utter dependence on her lasted two years: [hence, humanity] be grateful towards Me and towards thy parents, [and remember that] with Me is all journeys’ end. (31:14)

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The Prophetic literature is also full of other traditions stressing the importance of honoring the parents. One of the greatest sins, according to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is disobeying and maltreating one’s parents. Once, a man came to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and asked, “Who amongst my near ones has the greatest rights over me?” The Prophet replied, “Your mother”. The man then asked, “Who after that?” The Prophet replied again, “Your mother”. The man then asked a third time, “Who after that?” The Prophet said a third time, “Your mother.” The man asked again, “Who after that?” At this, the Prophet said, “Your father.”

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Once, a young man was dying, and he could not utter the testimony of faith prior to death. They brought this to the attention of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and he asked, “Did this man offer his prayers?”, and they replied in the affirmative. He then asked for his mother to be brought to the dying man’s house. He asked, “Respected lady, is he your son?” She replied in the affirmative. He then asked her, “O respected lady, if we threaten to throw your son in a raging fire, will you recommend him to be forgiven?” She replied that she would definitely do so. The Prophet then said to her, “If so, declare, making God and me your witnesses, that you are now pleased with him!” The old woman readily declared, “O God, You and your Messenger be my witness that I am pleased with this beloved son of mine.” After this, her son was able to utter the testimony of faith.

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This man was persistently disobedient to his mother, and this story tells me that my salvation is at stake when I disobey my parents, especially my mother. And you know what, they deserve it. I will never understand what it is like to be a mother. Sure, I love my children, but my love will never reach the love that my wife has for our kids; never reach the love my mother has for me and my siblings.

Truly, truly, it is fitting that Paradise lies at the feet of our mothers. Although every day should be Mother’s Day, at the very least, let us all reach out to our Moms this Sunday, kiss their hands, and tell them “Thank You for all that you have done!” And if our Moms are no longer with us, then let us pray to Our Beloved that He bless them with eternal bliss and Paradise. Amen.

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Oklahoma City Bombing Anniversary Reminds Us That Evil Comes In All Forms

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

I scanned the major headlines on a news search engine today, and there was barely a mention of the Oklahoma City bombing, which occurred on this day 20 years ago. Of course, there was a headline about the savages of KIL (which I will not link here). Yet, the tragedy that was the Oklahoma City bombing still causes daily pain to all the families of the victims, especially those parents who lost children on that day. That pain – the pain of the loss of a child – never goes away. I know that all too well. I pray for all the victims of that terrible bombing, that the Lord our God brings them comfort from their grief.

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Nevertheless, the tragedy of Oklahoma City, just like 9/11, reminds us that evil comes in all forms. Many want to have you think that the evil of terrorism comes only in the “Islamic” form. Time and again, the facts have borne out that this is simply not true. While every act of violence against the innocent is terribly tragic – and should be condemned in every way, shape, and form – we cannot let fear get the best of us. In 2014, depending on which definition you use, there were anywhere between 24 and 283 mass shooting incidents with four or more casualties. These incidents had nothing to do with “Islamic terrorism.”

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Evil comes in all shapes and forms. Yes, many people commit terrible atrocities in the name of God. But, they are not exclusive or unique. Criminals have various motivations, but in the end they are all the same: criminals who deserve justice and punishment. The bombers of Oklahoma City faced their justice in this world, and they will face Ultimate Justice in the next as well. So will the savages of KIL (aka ISIS), Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Boko Haram, the Lords’ Resistance Army, and others.

God is in charge, reminding us of this clearly in His Word:

And do not think that God is unaware of what the evildoers do: He but grants them respite until the Day when their eyes will stare in horror. (14:42)

He is the King and Master of the Day of Judgment, and everyone will be brought before Him to answer for what he or she has done. In this, we should all feel comfort. But, also, in this, those who do wrong should be shaking in fear.

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Boston Marathon Bombing Trial: Tsarnaev Should Not Be Sentenced To Death

In the Name of God: The Extremely, Eternally, and Perpetually Loving and Merciful

The trial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is set to enter jury deliberations this week. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the jury is going to convict Tsarnaev. This should come as no surprise to anyone. He is clearly guilty. Even his defense attorneys know that. Their main job is to persuade the jury to spare his life.

Thus, it is my sincere hope and prayer that he be not put to death. This is not out of any sort of sympathy for the savage. He deserves to be put to death for the terrible pain and suffering he and his brother caused on that terrible April day two years ago. Yet, that is exactly what Tsarnaev wants: he wants to die as a “martyr.” He said so himself:

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As [Tsarnaev] hid, he used a pencil to scrawl what prosecutors called a “manifesto,” in which he said he was jealous of his brother for dying as a martyr and reaching paradise. He also lashed out at the United States for policies he said killed Muslims, writing, “I can’t stand to see such evil go unpunished. We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all.”

First of all, he does not speak for me or the billions of other Muslims around the world. We reject his act of savagery in the name of our faith. He is a low-life criminal, thinking that he was doing “God’s will” by killing innocent men, women, and children. In fact, he acted against God’s will. He is no “martyr.” He is a murderer.

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And as such, he should rot in jail for the rest of his life. He should be locked up and never released. He should never know freedom again. This is the best punishment you could give him. Executing him would be easy, and it may give him some amount of joy, in a sick sort of way. Yet, even that small amount of joy should be denied him. He should sit in a jail cell, humiliated, until God’s takes his life at some point in the future. And it will not be long before no one will care about Dzokhar Tsarnaev.

And after all that time, he will face justice again. This time, however, it will be Ultimate Justice for the crimes he committed. He will stand before the King and Master of the Day of Judgment and account for his murders. He will be asked why he killed children, when God’s word said he could not. He will be asked why he shed the blood of innocent fellow Americans, when God’s word told him that this was forbidden. He will be asked why he felt killing people watching a marathon is “justice” for the injustice dealt to Muslims thousands of miles away.

And I suspect he will have no good answer.

It is natural to want to see this savage killed for what he did.  Yet, that is what Tsarnaev wants. Thus, we should do the exact opposite: let this “holy warrior” live out the rest of his days in a jail cell. It is a fitting recompense for all the suffering he caused.

Previous Posts

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 »

Oklahoma City Bombing Anniversary Reminds Us That Evil Comes In All Forms
In the Name of God: The Extremely, Eternally, and Perpetually Loving and Caring I scanned the major headlines on a news search engine today, and there was barely a mention of the Oklahoma City bombing, which occurred on this day 20 years ago. ...

posted 12:31:15pm Apr. 19, 2015 | read full post »

Boston Marathon Bombing Trial: Tsarnaev Should Not Be Sentenced To Death
In the Name of God: The Extremely, Eternally, and Perpetually Loving and Merciful The trial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is set to enter jury deliberations this week. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the jury ...

posted 9:45:19pm Apr. 06, 2015 | read full post »

A Doctor on Doctor's Day
In the Name of God: The Extremely, Eternally, and Infinitely Loving and MercifulToday is National Doctors' Day, and all around the country, hospitals and medical offices are celebrating by thanking the thousands of physicians that work hard ...

posted 5:32:39pm Mar. 30, 2015 | read full post »

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