The gravity of Salah (prayer) truly affected me when someone was trying to talk to me and I wouldn't respond. Hospitals are busy and finding the time and place for Salah is challenging. I have found that during residency, ironically, it is best to pray right on time rather than resort to the window of time because so many things can happen unexpectedly. The interruption was not an emergency or anything that needed to be attended to at that moment, but the situation forced me to think that no one can interrupt one of the most fundamental acts of submission and devotion to Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala(SWT): Glorified and Exalted is He(Allah)). When one is standing before Allah(SWT), only Allah (SWT) commands all of your attention and you only recite the most beautiful speech-the language of the Quran Kareem. Furthermore, each Salah defines the course of the intervals between Salah.
After I finish each Salah, I know that I'm returning to try to improve to the best of my ability only perhaps a very small portion of one of the greatest machines-the human body-though even all the greatest physicians since the beginning of time combined could never return the human body to its original perfection created by Allah (SWT). I recently had a conversation with one of my colleagues whose initial stance was that science is not compatible with religion. First, Islam is a way of life and the principles permeate every facet of your life. Allah (SWT) has created everything with the ultimate order, harmony, and perfection. Not even one electrolyte, potassium, can be abnormally high or low for danger of causing abnormal heart rhythms that can prove fatal.
My colleague was persistent in questioning the Oneness of Allah (SWT), Prophet Muhammad's(sallallahu alaihi wasallam (SAW): peace and blessings be upon him) Message, and certain principles of Islam and after a clear explanation was given, he would move on to something else. So, I finally asked him about a subject he knows very well, "How many physiologies of the human body are there?" He looked at me and with full conviction, he said, "Only one." I then asked, "How many pathologies are there?" He looked at me and again with full conviction, he said, "So many." "So many" is an understatement. He finally acknowledged that science emphasizes the Oneness of Allah(SWT) and the Message of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and he said, "Islam must be a way for everyone to live a better life." He then added that too much sacrifice of one's social lifestyle is involved in being Muslim. I asked him, "How much did you sacrifice to become a doctor?" He quickly replied, "Too much." Allah (SWT) allows one to see the fruits of one's hard work in this dunya(world) and in this case, in the form of a very comfortable salary. However, the ultimate reward for good deeds and punishment for wrong doings that Allah (SWT) has clearly established in the Quran, one will see in the Akhirah(Hereafter). Like anything in life, to achieve the most honorable status entails the most commitment and dedication. Prophet Muhammad (SAW)'s life was mired in adversity from the day he was born. He was born with the smallest of means and with the beginning of his Prophethood to spread the Message of Islam to all of humanity and uproot the established foundation of corruption, not a moment of his life escaped the perpetual clouds of sorrow and the scent of death by those who opposed the eradication of wrong doing. Not once did a breath of complaint escape him, let alone an expression of grievance enter his heart. Who are we in comparison?
I asked my colleague, "How much do you look into details regarding your future career, spouse, or home?" He replied, "A lot." I then asked, "So shouldn't one look into the most important thing in life-one's purpose here?" And, he replied yes. In Islam, ignorance is not an excuse. Regardless of one's family background, one should look into what is true and what is not. Principles are learned and practiced, not inherited. Furthermore, one may believe that one is on God's side. The bigger question is, "Is God on your side?"
The principles of Islam emphasize seeking knowledge because knowledge reflects the Oneness of Allah (SWT) and the Message of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Since studying Medicine, I am embarrassed and find it difficult to lift my head from sujud(prostration) during Salah. Only Allah (SWT)'s Mercy allows us to lift our head from sujud to go about the rest of our day. Otherwise, we would all eternally be in sujud. It is one thing to not be willing to sacrifice your lifestyle whatever it may be. It is entirely another issue to question the Oneness of Allah (SWT), the Message of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), and the truth of Islam. For the latter, I can only say, "Produce your proof."
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