Saturday, 14 May 2011

Scares and Prayers

For nearly a year, I spent more time than I needed worrying about whether or not I had stomach or colon cancer, because test results were coming back inconclusive.  I'm happy to say that all the biopsies came back negative and in fact there was nothing at all in my intestinal tract that wasn't supposed to be there.  There, were, however, a couple of large polyps in my stomach, which turned out to be benign, and are in the class of "I had a stomach infection which didn't turn up in any other way and wasn't treated and irritated my duodenum and have been given a course of antibiotics to take care of any bacterial infection that might be left."

But to spend that time worrying that you might have cancer, the not knowing, and the places that your imagination can go has the potential to invade your every thought, especially when you're not occupied with something else.  The mind never seems to jump to the positive, usually the negatives.  What if I have cancer?  What if it's not curable?  What will my family do without me?  Will my children grow up without a mother?  Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) really is the best of planners, but sometimes, we cannot understand why Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) has given us these challenges.

I thought more about this today when I read the blog post of a dear friend who is undergoing tests for uterine cancer.  The cancer that her mother eventually died of began as uterine cancer.  And I thought about the tests that Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) gives us throughout our lives.  The loss of parents, the loss of children far outweigh the loss of material goods that we may come up against due to floods, tornadoes, earthquakes and tsunamis.  When we come away with our lives and little more, we often look around us and say "what have I done to deserve this?" when sometimes, I think we need to say "God, you've given me this challenge to show me how strong I am, when I most doubt the strength that you have given me.  My life is not mine, but yours."  To those not religious, to those that doubt or completely disbelieve the existence of God (astaghfirullah) it is a concept that is hard - if not impossible - to understand.  But to those of us who do not doubt the existence of God, who know that ultimately our lives are in His hands, it's still hard to come to terms with in times of great disaster and need.

In thinking about this, I found this passage from the Holy Qur'an - 

And surely we shall try you with something of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth and lives and crops; but give glad tidings to the patient, who says, when afflicted with calamity: "To Allah we belong, and to Him is our return" : They are those on whom (descend) blessings from Allah, and mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidence (Al-Baqarah 2:155-157)

And it is true.  We will be given trials from God. We will be given trials of fear (of the fear of horrible and scary medical results, of our children joining the military and possibly going off to fight in a war we may not believe in, and of other, smaller things).  We may be given trials in our lives where we go hungry - physically or spiritually.  We may loose our wealth - monetarily or in things we already own but loose due to loss of jobs, floods, fires or other disasters.  

We may have a friend or family member loose their lives due to illness, violence or other unexpected circumstances.  

He who created death and life, that he may try which of you is best in deed: and he is the exalted in might, oft-forgiving.  (Al-Mulk 67:2)

And, growing up in farm country, I understand the loss of crops all too well.  And those loss of crops then affect the rest of the world in the cost of their food and whether or not they have access to it, leading right back to the trial of hunger.  

And sometimes, many times, the trials that have come upon us are a result of something we ourselves have done.  Or, as in my life, something someone in the family has done directly.  There is a saying that goes "every action has an equal and opposite reaction."  To which I like to add "so think before you act."  What you do doesn't only affect you, but your family, and your future.  The past cannot be changed, but we do have the power to change the present, and possibly the future, by one simple act that we know we should not be doing (ie breaking the law).

Whatever misfortune happens to you, is because of the things your hands have wrought, and for many of them He grants forgiveness (Ash-Shura 42:30)

But with the help of God, we can overcome those trials.  

So, verily, with every difficulty, there is relief.  Verily with every difficulty there is relief. (Al Inshiriah 94:5-6

It may take time, it make take energy, and in the end, it may look like we've lost.  And to some, this loss will make them doubt the existence of God, if not give up on Him altogether.

There are among men some who serve God, as it were, on the verge: if good befalls them, they are, therewith, well content; but if a trial comes to them, they turn on their faces: they lose both this world and the Hereafter: that is a loss for all to see!  (Al-Hajj 22:11)

But to lose here on earth is not necessarily to lose.  To lose here on earth only means that we have done and given what God expects of us and he has called us to paradise, to jannah, to heaven.  

And we shall try you until we test those among you who strive their utmost and persevere in patience; and we shall try your reported (mettle).  (Muhammad 47:31)

But while here on earth, we can do nothing but our best, and to continue on, with prayer and hope, and to remember that nothing - absolutely nothing - is promised to us for the future.

1 comment:

  1. Asalaamu Alaikum

    This is always on my mind especially as I await results from a medical test. Everything that was meant to hit will never miss and everything that was meant to miss will never hit. All these things were meant to happen and we can never say if only I did such and such (not referring to sin here) then this wouldn't have happened as it opens the door to satan.