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Common Word, Common Lord

Common Word, Common Lord

“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.

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A Doctor on Doctor’s Day

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

Today is National Doctors’ Day, and all around the country, hospitals and medical offices are celebrating by thanking the thousands of physicians that work hard every single day to help patients feel better. Our hospital’s celebration was last week, and it was very nice to be appreciated in such a nice fashion. 

Becoming a physician is not easy. It takes eight years of schooling, and anywhere between 3 and 6 years of post-graduate training before one is allowed to practice medicine. That does not count the many licensing examinations that must be passed if one wants to get a license in the United States. 
When I went through training, there were no work hour restrictions that exist today. I would frequently work 30 hours in a row and nearly collapse from exhaustion. Now that I have been practicing for ten years, the challenges that face our field have never been greater. 
Our hours are long. Our work is tough. Just last night, I had to come back to the hospital at 4 AM to tend to a very sick patient in the ICU. 
We have to comply with endlessly changing regulations and rules, and there are not enough hours in the day to finish the enormous paperwork sometimes. In addition, the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” has thrown so many uncertainties into the future of Medicine. All this does not even mention the constant threat of malpractice litigation that looms over every physicians’ head. 
The pressure can be overwhelming at times, and many physicians have cited dissatisfaction with their careers. In fact, I have heard so many of my colleagues say that they would not advise their children to pursue a career in medicine. 
I have not been immune to this pressure. Yet, despite all of this, words cannot express my gratitude to the Lord for being a doctor. Ever since I was a young child, being a doctor is all I ever wanted to be. It’s the only career I envisioned for myself, and I never stopped thinking about it. 
Yes, it is hard work. Yes, the hours are long. Yes, the pressure is enormous. But to help a patient come back – by the grace of the Lord – from the brink of death gives me a feeling that is truly indescribable. The Quran says that saving a life is like saving all of humanity. I get to do that for a living. The privilege is truly extraordinary. 
Thanks be to the Lord, we have many, many more successes than failures. The overwhelming majority of our patients do well. Yet, sadly, sometimes they do not. And at that moment, I am given a chance to comfort the patient’s family which faces the horrific reality that their loved one will pass away. Moreover, if I can help relieve the suffering from that patient who will, unfortunately, not get better, it is an enriching experience as well. 
I am very grateful that I have been chosen to be a physician, for, truly, healthcare is a calling. Like most of my colleagues, I share the anxiety that comes with an uncertain future of healthcare in America. Yet, I would not want to be anything else but a physician. 
Over the years, I have heard so many physician colleagues sarcastically say – when asked how they are doing – “I’m living the dream.” I know they say this out of the enormous frustration that comes with being a doctor today. But for me, I am truly living my life dream each and every day. 
And I can never be fully grateful to the Precious Beloved Lord for it. 
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