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‘So what does it say then, doc?’
Dr Henna Khan


‘So what does it say then doc?’

Her eyes twinkled for a jiffy and then the glow vanished. I probably was unable to conceal the melancholy in my expression.

‘Don’t worry! We’ll come to that in a minute, Sarah. Where is your husband today?’ I wished I didn’t have to be the bearer of bad news. I wished I wasn’t in the gynecology clinic that day. In spite of having years of experience of handling such sad situations, it’s still difficult for me to remain untouched by them. My professional innate guidance directed me to wait until someone close to her accompanied Sarah.

‘Don’t ya worry doc. ‘E’ll be ‘ere in a minute. Just went ta grab ‘is coffee.’

I felt as if Sarah was trying to avoid the news as well, of which she seemed to have some idea by now.

‘There ‘e is! Ay’ John, doc. ‘as been waiting fa ya.’ Sarah announced as soon as her husband entered.

‘Hi there John! How have you been?’ I welcomed him cheerfully, preparing to convey Sarah’s uterine cancer’s news at the same time.

As words left my mouth, the couple looked blankly at me and then at each other.

The silence in the room was as irksome as I always found in these scenarios.

After a discussion of about 15 minutes, about prognosis, chances of survival, further plans and a lifespan with only a 5 year survival rate of 30%, according to the stage of tumor, I concluded my discussion as I always made sure to do, by holding Sarah’s hand gently, looking into her eyes and telling her firmly, ‘I understand its’ easy saying than doing Sarah, but I would still advice you, my dear, not to take all the stress upon yourself. Leave some worries to someone up there as well’. I gazed towards the roof.

‘I try ta believe in God doc, bur where is ‘e, ai?’ A long controlled tear rolled down her cheek whilst John held her tight trying to conceal his own.

‘Why can’t I see ‘im? I‘ve never seen ‘im. I wish ‘e was there to stop so many other things goin’ wrong around. People are dyin’ of so many problems, wars.’

At least Sarah said something on this topic because in her previous visits, she never used to be interested. John just nodded, gazing down, as if trying to pierce the floor with his eyes.

‘Have you ever seen an atom or a nucleus, or electron, Sarah?’ I didn’t want to prolong the discussion at this occasion but wished not to miss the opportunity when hearts were tender, as well. ‘Ai?’ She rubbed her eyes. ‘But you do see the energy it produces in various forms?’ I didn’t feel appropriate to wait for her detailed reply.

‘So look around yourself and you will find God everywhere in His signs: the people, the sun, the moon, the trees, the rivers, each and every thing is calling us to our Creator.’ John and Sarah looked fully attentive with gloomy faces, and looked as if they returned as losers from a long race.

It wasn’t the first time that I felt that tenderness of hearts when calamity touched them. This is what Allah has mentioned in the Qur’ān:

When they are trapped in a sea storm, they call their Lord for help, but when they reach the shore, they start ascribing partners to Him.(10:22)

Why does this happen? Again, Allah says because man thinks he is self-sufficient (Qur’ān). But in this roller-coaster of life, we do encounter turns where we feel that without the safety belt of faith, we would easily stagger. 

Why does the highest technology fail at times? Why does it happen that after years of research, with millions of dollars, when we find a vaccine for one strain of a deadly virus like that of the human immunodeficiency virus (AIDS), a new strain develops, bringing us back to step one, as if being amused of our state and shouting, ‘Go on then! Fight with your Creator, you silly people. He has created me as a lesson for you: the secret is not that you keep listening to your desires and expect solutions. You need to listen to His call and understand why He is doing this.’

Who is controlling all this?

We may say: ‘Obviously, that’s God. We are Muslims and we believe that’. But do we really? We do witness that even non-believers cry out for Him, when touched by a tragedy, but this is not what our Lord expects from us believers. He expects us to remember Him, both in good and bad times. We never know what the next turn will be like. That smooth looking pathway may change its pattern at the very next junction. The fast traffic may face horrible congestion at the next exit.

So don’t relax even when the sky is clear and blue; thunder and rain may be around the corner. Do what you have to, in this sunshine, before its dark.

The blessings of time and health are the most forgotten and misused ones according to a saying of the Prophet Mohammad (sws). Look around yourself. Come out of that comfy box of yours! There may be so much reward awaiting you, by doing just a mere act of charity, by helping someone in a hitch, by your kind words, by spending a few pennies for the work of Allah – which may leave your pocket tomorrow anyway –  by inscription of some words of wisdom, by sharing the secret of life, we have known through the Book of Wisdom, with others. We need this reward for our journey to an interminable destination. And bear in mind, we only have a few moments for all this.


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