Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Heart Surgery : An Analogy

Being a heart patient and having gone through a quadruple bypass, I have taken many lessons from the experience of ill health and cardiac surgery…

One lesson is analogous to the present condition of the Ummah.

In the initial stage, the heart’s condition begins to weaken and one suffers from Angina, where there is a lack of oxygen to the heart and there is a feeling of heaviness and crushing pain in the chest, accompanied by shortness of breath, fatigue, etc. On consultation, one’s doctor prescribes medication, healthy diet, regular exercise and avoiding stress.

If one takes the required care, then a little medication clears the problem. If one is negligent in respect to the prescription, then the condition of the heart will deteriorate and this leads to heart damage.

If the heart is severely injured, then a heart attack occurs, where there is a blockage in one or more of the arteries – which does not allow blood to flow to an area of the heart. The person needs to be hospitalized and requires a period of rest, together with medication, diet, etc. Sometimes an Angioplasty is necessary to clear the blocked arteries or widen the narrowed arteries, enabling the flow of blood, which contains oxygen and food for the tissues.

If this prescription is also not followed through, then the cardiac condition will worsen and reach a stage where neither medication nor an Angioplasty will help. The solution is either a bypass or in the extreme circumstance, a heart transplant.

I had reached the stage where four arteries were blocked and an artery bypass was regarded as the only option. Alhamdulillah, the operation was very successful. However, the analogy that came to mind was that this damage of the physical heart and blockage of the coronary arteries is exactly the situation with the Ummah…

In the final analysis, we have severely injured the spiritual heart with sins and we have blocked the arteries of Aqaa`id (beliefs), Ibaadaat (worship), Mu`aamalaat (Business transactions and dealings), Mu`aasharaat (Social dealings) and Akhlaaq (character)[1] with our ignorance, indifference, negligence, as well as in adopting un-Islamic culture, dress, and practices. …Our business dealings, our relationships with wives, parents, children, neighbours, Muslim and non Muslim, does not in any way reflect the beauty and purity of Islam.

The ‘ECG’ (electrocardiogram) for the spiritual hearts has disclosed the spiritual heart failure of so many due to their statements reflecting weak faith, or faith on the threshold of kufr[2] or outright rejection of the teachings of Qur`aan and Sunnah[3].

Since we did not heed the warnings of the righteous Scholars of Islam and ‘Ulama[4] and Mashaa`ikh[5] in the initial stages, the spiritual heart is now so damaged, that speeches upon speeches, quotations upon quotations from the Qur`aan Shareef and Sunnah do not cause any change, except in a few. The only solution is the transplant of the spiritual heart.    

What is this transplant of the spiritual heart? …It is sincere Taubah as well as ‘return’ to Allah Ta’ala (Rujoo Ilallah) and obedience to Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi waSallam).

Why should we wait for punishment to hit us in the form of earthquakes, tornadoes, bombs and other disasters? Let us employ the protection given to us against punishment: Sincere repentance and mending our relationship with Allah Ta’ala and His Rasul (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi waSallam), with obedience. 

When we are going to make use of the prescriptions of sincere Taubah, Du’aa and Zikrullah[6], which is the food and oxygenated ‘blood’ for the spiritual heart, then we will gain in spiritual health and strength, and we will not suffer spiritual imbalance. The arteries will become unblocked without the pain and discomfort of a transplant or bypass.

However, just as a heart patient has to submit himself to a surgeon, so is there a requirement that we submit ourselves to a pious, learned, qualified, spiritual mentor, guide and specialist; whom Allah Ta’ala uses as the medium in the bypass or transplant of the spiritual heart.

After an operation, there are follow-up assessments, visits to the doctor and an ECG is done, at least once a year. In the same vein, there has to be very regular visits and correspondence with one’s spiritual mentor for assessment of one’s internal condition.

We should understand that an attack of the physical heart, at the most, only leads to death, whereas that of the spiritual heart leads to death of Imaan and loss in the Hereafter.

By Hazrat Maulana Yunus Patel (RA)

[1] This is an analogy of the 5 branches of Shariah :
Π Aqaa`id : Beliefs 
Π Ibaadaat : Worship
Π Mu’aamaalaat : Business transactions and dealings.
Π Mu`aasharaat : Social dealings
Π Akhlaaq : Character
[2] Kufr : Rejection
[3] Sunnah : The practice of the Prophet Muhammad e and his noble companions j.
[4] ‘Ulama : Scholars (of Islam)
[5] Mashaa`ikh : Spiritual mentors and guides
[6] Zikrullah : The Remembrance of Allah Ta’ala.