Monday, September 8, 2014

Hospital' to treat the 'sickness of the heart'?

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. 


Surah 114, An-Nas, the second of the two cries for refuge and protection, takes its name from a recurring word which marks the rhythm in the Arabic. In this case protection is sought especially from the evil in a man's own heart in the hearts of other men. An early Meccan revelation 


Revealed at Mecca 

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.  1. Say; I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind,  2. The King of mankind, 3. The God of mankind, 4. From the evil of the sneaking whisperer,  5. Who whispereth in the hearts of mankind, 6. Of the jinn of mankind. 

(The Meaning of the GLORIOUS QUR'AN, The Final Revelation, An Explanaory Translation by Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall) 

DEAR editor, sorry for being late in sending this article. On Thursday morning, 28th August (deadline for sending articles to English Section) I had to rush to the Melaka Hospital for my mother's appointment and one big problem there never to be resolved until this day is regarding its parking facility.

Even though a new several storey parking building is being readied, the situation is getting worse with some visitors giving negative comments on Facebook such as "Avoid parking here. Unless 'u' want to get hypertension...then can get admitted immediately!", "The parking is crazy and the hospital area is huge with 6 entrances! You must know where u r heading to!", "Spend almost one hour to find one although you got there a condo-sort of parking but still not enough" and "As always, parking took a year to get."

Once, after 'circling' a few times around the hospital compound looking for a free parking lot, I was relieved to see a man who was about to enter his car. I signaled and waited patiently for him to reverse his car but when I was about to enter the parking lot, a car from behind overtook me and swirled inside the box, leaving me gaping, helplessly!

"Take it patient," I tried hard to contain my feelings. "Do not be not be angry..." coaxing words ringed inside my mind as I refreshed myself with the meaning of a 'hadith' I often hear from several 'ustazs' (religious teachers) on the subject: "A man said to the Prophet, ‘Give me advice.’ The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, ‘Do not get angry.’ The man asked repeatedly and the Prophet answered each time, ‘Do not get angry.’” (Related by Imam Bukhari and Muslim)

Again, I coaxed myself not to be angry as I went my way to search for another parking lot.
A hospital is place for us to treat our physical illnesses such as fever, broken limbs, and other disorders of our internal organs such as the kidney, liver and heart. Well, physical illness of the heart could be treated at hospitals but are there 'hospitals' to treat 'sicknesses of the heart' such as having negative traits like being greedy and having selfish attitudes as portrayed by the driver who upended me?

"Unfortunately, there's no hospital to treat sicknesses of the heart," said an ustaz who lectures weekly at a masjid near my house. "This is a big problem, our society or perhaps every government of the world only provides facilities to treat physical illness such as fever and  injury in clinics and hospitals but there's almost no place to treat 'sicknesses of the heart' such as being greedy, selfish, envious, jealous, arrogant; proud, pretending, liking to show off and so on.

"The problem is that we do not even know if we have been infected by 'these sicknesses'...only some people realize they are affected with these negative traits, and only a few people try to 'cure' themselves from 'these diseases'."

The ustaz said, for the physical illness, we can feel them; if we feel unhealthy, for example down with fever, cold or have problems with our internal organs such as our hearts (symptoms shown such as having difficulty in breathing) then we could go to a clinic or hospital for examination and have treatment.

But who knows they have 'hearts which are sick'? How could we know that we have 'problematic hearts'? How are we to know that greed has overpowered us; we are greedy for money, greedy for power and fame, greedy for everything. How are we to know that 'other bad traits' such as arrogance, pride and jealousy have affected our hearts and become a part of us?

The ustaz gave some of the ways to know and realize the negative traits inside us and that would be by attending learning circles of knowledge gatherings such as 'tazkirah' and 'kuliah' (lessons) at masjids, reading and learning the Qur'an, being awake at the wee hours of the night to do some reflection, saying the 'tahajud' recommended prayers and to get into personal touch with 'truthful' religious teachers who could point out our inner bad characters.

"And pious and sincere persons around us such as our fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, children and even friends, could tell us about our bad traits, for example a very good friend telling his friend that he had gone the crooked way such as by being too 'bossy' or ignorant in the office. Of course only a sincere person, for example between a husband and a wife, would have the courage to tell us about our bad traits.

"After knowing that we 'are down' with 'sickness of the heart', are there 'hospitals' to treat them?"
The ustaz said, there was no such hospital; after realizing the bad side of us, we have to do some 'mujahadah' (struggle to overcome desires or engage in a  spiritual struggle) to cleanse ourselves from the bad traits.

"Again, we have to learn or have knowledge on our 'nafsu' (nafs or desires) from the lowest rank that is 'ammarah', 'lauwammah', 'mulhamah', then 'muthmainnah', 'radliyah', 'mardliyah' and 'kamilah' being the highest that was attained by the Prophets.

"Reaching the 'muthmainnah' level is good enough because in Surah Al-Fajr (The Dawn, 89: 27-30), Allah SWT says with the meaning; '[To the righteous it will be said], "O reassured soul, Return to your Lord, well-pleased and pleasing [to Him], And enter among My [righteous] servants, And enter My Paradise."

Being unable to control our anger is in the category of ''lowest nafs' - 'ammarah' - so after following some lessons about 'sickness of the heart', I tried my best to contain my anger during 'the parking incident'.

To be successful in this world and the Hereafter you have to have 'sabar' (patience); isn't this mentioned in Surah Al-'Asr (The Declining Day, ayah 1-3) with the meaning: "By the declining day, Lo! Man is in a state of loss, Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance."

And to those still with 'nafs ammarah' (I too had this 'nafs') such as being greedy for power, fame and position and being selfish (such as the driver who darted his car in front of me), let us begin correcting ourselves before it is too late and when we are 'six feet underground' (dead).

Unfortunately, there is no hospital to treat 'sicknesses of our hearts' we must begin with pleading to Allah SWT to show us His true path as we read 'Ihdinas siraatal mustaqeem' (Guide us on to the straight path) at least 17 times during our 'solat' (prayers).

'Insha-Allah' (God Willing), He will guide and show us the way to lead a life with us at least commanding 'nafs muthmainnah' which would enable us to enter His Paradise. Ameen.

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