Thursday, June 7, 2012

Uwais Al-Qarni

Today on 4th of June 2012, i'm doing some email cleaning due to i got warning that my mailbox is almost full... hehe but then i found an email about a man named Uwais Al-Qarni. A very interesting story about this man that i want to share it with you.  I received this email a long time ago but never get bored reading it. Everytime i read his story, i can't help my teardrops flowing down my chubby cheeks. I wonder if i can be like him. What a great man he is. By the way, the article was in malay language. But don't worry, i'll translate them for you. Before you read it, i apologize in advance if my literal translation from the original article is not as good as it is. I try not to jeopardize the original meaning of the article. So, here goes,

" In the Prophet's time, there was a young man with blue eyes, red hair, broad shoulders, quite handsome appearance with reddish skin. Sticking his chin on his chest as he always looking at the place of sujud/sujood (The act of bowing down to Allah in worship. It is a necessary act during salat (worship). The hands, knees, feet and the forehead touch the ground.). His right hand, riding on his left hand. An expert in reading the Quran and always crying, he wore only two pieces of clothes which had worned out, one to cover his body and the other used as a shawl. No one has paid attention to him, he was not known among humans, but very famous among the people of the sky.

When the Day of Judgment comes, and when all worshippers are called to enter Paradise, he thus called to stop for a moment and asked to give his blessing. It is clear that Allah gave him permission to intercede for a certain number of qabilah Robi'ah and qabilah Mudhor, all admitted to the Garden and no one left behind by His permission.

He is 'Uwais al-Qarni' who is nobody in the human eyes ...

Not many know of him, let alone to know his life. Many voices deride, making fun of and mock him.Some also accuse him of being a blarney, a thief and many more. A lot of calumny and censures by the people towards him.

Once, a fuqoha' state of Kuffah, came and wanted to sit with him. He gave Uwais two pieces of clothes as a gift. However, the prize Uwais did not want to receive the clothes and returned them to him. Uwais said: "I fear, soon people will accuse me, from where did I get the clothes? If not by enticing sure of stealing."

Uwais has long been an orphan. He does not have any relatives, except his mother who is old and paralyzed with her remaining blurred vision.To survive his day-to-day life, Uwais worked as a shepherd. Wages he received only enough to meet the daily needs with his mother. When he earned a little bit more than usual, Uwais will use it to help neighbors who live in poverty and deprivation. Even though he was busy as a shepherd and treating her paralyzed and blind mother, that did not influence his persistency to worship Allah. During the day he was fasting and did his supplications at night.

Uwais al-Qarni had converted to Islam when the Prophet Muhammad's call came into the land of Yemen. Rasulullah had knocked their hearts to worship Allah, God Almighty, Who has no associate to Him.

Islam teaches every adherents noble character. The Islamic guidelines captured Uwais's heart. When the call of Islam came to Yemen, he immediately embraced it, because all this while, Uwais always miss the truth. Many of his neighbors who had converted to Islam, went to Medina to listen to the teachings of Prophet Muhammad directly. Upon their return toYemen, they renewed their life with Islamic way of life. How sad Uwais was to see each neighbors return from Medina. They had been visiting and meeting with beloved Prophet Muhammad, and he had no chance.

His loves grew stronger to meet our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH. But what can he do, he did not have enough money to go to Medina. More importance was his mother is sick and needs to be treated. Who will treat his mother during his absence later?

It was told that during battle of Uhud, the Prophet had his teeth broken due stones flung by the enemies. This news came to Uwais. He immediately hit his teeth with a rock till broken. That was done to proof his love towards Prophet Muhammad even though he had never seen him.

Days and seasons passed, he cannot suppresed his desire to meet Prophet anymore. Uwais reflected himself and started to ask, "When will I be able to visit Prophet PBUH and meet him up close and personal?" Did not he has mother who are in need of attention from him and he's not willing to leave her either. His heart is restless day and night longing to meet the Prophet of Allah. Finally, one day Uwais told his mother and poured his heart out. He sought permission from her to go visit the Prophet in Medina. His mother, despite being ill, was moved when she heard his request. She understood well her son's conscience, Uwais and said, "Go, O my son! Meet the Prophet at his house. After the meeting, you must return home immediately." Happily he packed up his stuff and departed. He did not forget to prepare his mother's necessities  and advice the neighbors to accompany her during his leaving. After completion of all preparations, Uwais kissed his mother goodbye. 

Uwais then headed to Medina which was about four hundred kilometers (nowadays 1,393 km with 16 hours and 54 minutes driving) from Yemen. He passed through a very hot journey. He did not care about  the bandits, the steep hill, a vast desert which can be misleading and too hot during the day, and so cold at night. He did all that to meet up closely with Prophet that he always miss. Uwais al-Qarni arrived in Medina. Immediately he proceeded to Prophet PBUH house, while knocking on the door, Sayyidatina 'Aisha was out to greet Uwais RA. He immediately asked her if Rasulullah was at home, just to find out that he was at battlefield. He was so dissappointed, he came to Prophet PBUH from a far but the one he miss so much was not at home. In his heart, he would want to wait for the Prophet from the battlefield. When will he return? While his mom message is still buzzing in his ears to quickly returned to Yemen."You must hurry back." On obedience to his mother, her message defeated his conscience and will to wait and see the Prophet SAW. He eventually informed Sayyidatina 'Aisha RA that he had to return home. He sent his greeting to Prophet SAW and walked home with a sad heart. Upon his return from the battlefield, Prophet inquired about the man who came looking for him. Prophet Muhammad explained that Uwais al-Qarni was a loyal son to his mother. He is the occupier and very famous in the sky. Hearing those words from Prophet SAW, Sayyidatina 'Aisha RA and his friends were amazed. According to Sayyidatina 'Aisha RA Yes, the Prophet was right, there was a guy looking for Prophet SAW and immediately return back to Yemen because his mother is old and sick that he could not leave her too long.

The Prophet said: "If you want to see him (Uwais al-Qarni), observe, he has a white mark in the middle of his hands."

After the Prophet looked at Sayyidina Ali and Sayyidina Umar RA and said: "At one point, when you meet him, ask for his prayer and istighfar, he is the occupants of the skies not the earth."

Years passed, and not long after the Prophet SAW died, right up until the time of the caliph Sayyidina Abu Bakr as-Shiddiq RA has been replaced by the Caliph Umar RA.

Once, Caliph Umar RA remembered the sayings of Prophet SAW about Uwais al-Qarni, the occupier of the skies. He immediately reminded Sayyidina Ali KW together to find him.

Since then, everytime there were caravans from Yemen, they would asked about Uwais al-Qarni, whether he was with them. Among the caravans, some wondered what exactly happened till Uwais was searched by the two.

Caravans from Yemen to Sham come and go, carrying their trades. Once, Uwais al-Qarni had joined a group of caravan to the town of Medina. Seeing a group of caravan from Yemen, Caliph Umar RA and Sayyidina Ali KW mmediately went to them and asked if Uwais also with them. The delegation said that he is and taking care of their camels at the city border. Hearing the answer, they hurried to meet Uwais al-Qarni.

Arriving at the tent where Uwais is, Caliph Umar RA and Sayyidina Ali KW greeted salam to him. But apparently Uwais is praying. When he ended his prayer, Uwais replied the greetings of both great guests and shaked hands with them.While shaking hands, Caliph Umar RA quickly reversed Uwais hands, to prove the truth of a white mark on his palm, as told by Rasulullah. It was true! He is the occupant of sky. He was then asked by both Sayyidina Umar RA and Ali KW, "What is your name?". "Abdullah.", answered Uwais.  The two friends then laughed and said, "We are also Abdullah, the servant of God. But what is really your name?" Uwais then said, "My name is Uwais al-Qarni." In their conversation, it was known that Uwais' mother had died. That was why he participated in the caravan trade delegation that time. Finally, Caliph Umar RA and Sayyidina Ali K.W. requested Uwais to pray for them. Uwais refused and he said to the Caliph, "It is me who should request prayers from you." Hearing the word of Uwais, Caliph said, "We came here to ask you to pray and asking forgiveness for us." Due to insistence from both sahabah, Uwais al-Qarni finally lifted his hands, prayed and asked forgiveness for them.

Then the Caliph Umar promised to donate money from the state treasury (Baitulmal) to Uwais, for his life betterment. Immediately and discreetly he rejected by saying,"I beg you that I be known only for today. Let me the  unknown poor to others after this. "After that incident, the name of Uwais submerged and not heard anymore.

However, there was a man who had met and being assisted by Uwais. We were on the ship heading to the Arab with all the traders. Unexpectedly a strong typhoon blew turbulently. As a result, the strong waves hit our ship till the water got into the ship and caused the ship to be heavier. At that time, we see a man who impose fur blankets at the corner of the ships that we boarded in, then we call him. The man got out of the ship and kept prayering on the water. We are so surprise to see the incident."O Waliyullah, help us!" However, the man paid no heed. Then we cried again,"By Him Who has to give you strength of worship, help us! "The man turned to us and said,"What happened?" "Do you not see that the ship was blewn and hit by the waves?" Ask us."Bring yourself to God all of you!" He said."We have to do it." "Come out from the ship and read Bismillahirrahmaanirrahiim!" We came out of the ship one by one and assembled. At that time we were in total of five hundred and more. It was miracle, we did not sink, while our boat and its contents sank into the sea.Then he said to us,"It doesn't matter you lost your properties, as long as all of you are safe." "For Allah sake, we would like to know what is your name?" Asked us. "Uwais al-Qorni." He answered quickly.Then we said to him,"Indeed, the properties is that ship are owned by poor people in Medina sent by the Egyptians." "If Allah bring you back the wealths, will you distribute them to poor people in Medina?" He asked. "Yes!" we answered. He then performed 2 rakaah prayer on the water, and prayed. Uwais al-Qarni after giving his salam, the ship suddenly came to the surface, then we board on it and moved on. On arrival at Medina, we divide the whole properties to the poor in Medina, no one was left.

Some time later, there was news spread that Uwais al-Qarni had passed away. Oddly, when he was about to be bathed suddenly there were a lot of people fought to do it. Then when he was on bed to be shrouded, there were people waiting to do it. Similarly goes to when people go to dig his grave. There was already people who had dig his grave through to completion. When the bier carried towards the cemetery, remarkably many people fought to carry him. Sheikh Abdullah bin Salamah explained,"When I go to manage his body until I came back from sending his remains, then I return to the grave to mark the grave, the grave was gone, not even a mark can be seen" (Sheikh Abdullah bin Salamah is one the martyr who go to war with Uwais al-Qarni in the reign of Sayyidina Umar RA)

Uwais al-Qarni's pass away shocked the the whole Yemeni city community. A lot of unusual things happened. So many people who they do not know came to manage the funeral and burial, whereas he is only a poor Uwais who did not own anything. From  the bathing of his body till to lowering body into the grave, there are always people who ready to do them first. Yemen townspeople were stumped. All of them were wondering, "Who is actually Uwais al-Qarni? Uwais that we know, only a poor man who do not have anything? He's only a shepherd?" "However, on your last day on earth, you have shocked the people of Yemen of the presence of foreign people who are anonymous to us. They come in such a huge amount. "Perhaps they are the angels who descended to earth, only to manage his body and his funeral.

At that time, then the people of Yemen knew who is Uwais al-Qarni. "He is Uwais al-Qarni, not known on earth, but very famous in the sky."

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Life, work ethics, attitude...

I was in the mid of translating a good great story but i have to stop for a while and nag about this story of my life first. Last 2 to 3 weeks my dad was hospitalized because of 2nd stroke attack.  Due to panic, mom sent him to Hospital Serdang. But that hospital located nearby our house, so it make sense too. But dad was treated at Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) during his first stroke attack. Even though most of the nurses there were not as friendly as they supposed to be but they have lots of experience handling patients from various diseases background. Dad was there for only 3 days before he can walk and recovered fully! Alhamdulillah...
I don't know if i can still find smiling doctors and nurses anymore in hospital
But this time around at Hospital Serdang, it was not like HKL. The nurses and doctors who ran the hospital were a lot younger than HKL. What i am so dissappointed is about their attitude and work ethics. I would say individual attitude contributes more towards work ethics. When we work for salary or title alone, there come many obstacles and difficulties. Your work is not my job, my job is not your business. At last, patient has to mind their own business! Doctor and nursing job are suppose to be a very noble job in the world besides teaching. But when ethics and good attitude vanish in this reality world then both job will down to the ugliest one. Seriously, my childhood dream is to be a doctor. Because helping people is human nature, we'll feel love giving and sharing, isn't it beautiful?

Dad was admitted on 21st May 2012 to emergency ward after we registered him in. They left him in the passage way due to they had to attend other most critical cases for quite a while. I guess stroke is not a critical disease. Then after several hours waited they bedded him in that very same ward. A couple of doctors came by to check on him. If I'm mistaken 4 doctors kept repeating the same questions on how my dad got his attack! We had to repeat the same story again and again. I thought they jotted them down and when new shift doctor came in they just read the report! For God sake, we swallowed that experience down our throats, and kept silence. We tried to understand and respect their jobs. Due to full house that day, my dad couldn't get any bed in normal ward. So we had to wait till almost midnight, approximately 11.30 pm when they called us to transfer my dad to ward 7C. By the time we reached the ward, nurses just getting started to clean up the bed, change the bed sheet bla bla bla... so we waited for another what 30 minutes watching them leisurely doing their jobs.

Oh by the way did i tell you that they did not my dad eats or drinks anything for about 2 days because he needs to fast due to his condition. They only give about a bag of water for a day. But they kept coming to take his blood  like a vampire. Bruises are all over my dad's left and right hand due to their (young doctors) inexperience during blood-taking or blood collection. They never told us what they did with the blood.
I don't know what happen on the 3rd day, i got phone call from my mom that dad had seizure! I was at home at that time packing stuff to sleep at the hospital replacing my mom. Me and my sisters rushed to the hospital. Upon our arrival, dad already unconcious, I saw 3 or 4 doctors chatting while attending my dad through an open curtain. They closed the curtain during their treatment to my dad told my mom, so we cannot see what they did. After a while, a young female doctor came to us and told us dad had seizure, I asked why suddenly he had seizure? Plus, he had another stroke attack during the seizure. She replied that it was common to a stroke patient to have seizure. I told her, but during his first stroke he did not had any seizure, why now? She kept repeating her first answer.  I quickly browse the internet about it, and it is known to me that there must be something that trigger seizure. It don't suddenly happen. Normally seizure or epilepsy happen repeatedly to a person. I read it here in case you want to know too: The point is, we are living in a  modern world where information at our fingertips. So doctors and nurses, please don't take us for granted.

On the 4th day, my sister who is a nurse in one of the hospital in Riyadh arrived. She immediately checked my dad's condition. To my surprise, she asked us who install the feeding tube? I told her one of the nurse. I don't know because i was at home packing stuff. She told us that the tube did not reach his stomach, so when we pour in water or medicine, it will go into lungs and develop pneumonia. How she knew it? Because she said there is calculation on how much length should be left out. And it seems that the outside length is longer. Oh my God! Luckily that day my dad had CT scan, so my sister asked the doctor to scan and take a look at the tube too. And my sister was right! We complained to the doctor who did her routine the next morning. Guess what, she did not admit it and called her nurses. There came 2 of the nurses and replied, it was not me! No apologize at all. She just said we'll give antibiotic to cure the pneumonia. Just as simple as that! In addition, at the same time the doctor answered her phone call and arguing with her other colleague on who should round the other ward, bla bla bla.... in front of us! How unethical!

After that, we take turn taking care of dad at the hospital. And the nurses? They never assist at all to change diapers, change the bed sheet or do feeding. It was different at HKL where nurses fed my dad and slowly taught us. Here, nurses only came to check dad's blood pressure and handed us the medicine. We even helped an auntie to move her husband who suffered stroke too to toilet, because nurses were 'busy'. And not to forget, mom had to wait the whole day for nurse to change dad's feeding tube (after 3 weeks when it should be replaced after 2 weeks according to one of the staff there!). My mom even chased the nurse and doctor in the ward. The doctor was chatting with nurses and other colleagues. She made a hand sign to my mom to wait! My mom waited not for 15 mins but the whole day! And dad did not eat anything because of that. He can't swallow thing down his throat because his right side is very weak.

Lastly, we decided to take dad home, even though the doctor tried to convince us to let dad stay for another 1 month! Crazy people! The ward had high mortality rate, during my mom and me stay at the hospital for a week, 10 patients had died. All that they said, they had done their very best, maybe it's already the time!

My dad can speak and walk when he admitted into hospital, but now he can't speak at all. It is understood if he can't walk or speak properly due to his stroke. But can't speak at all, that's really....

Seriously, when you work for money and title, you only care about yourself. Look at our veteran doctors and nurses. They have different attitude and objective as being a doctor and nurse. I don't have to look further, my aunties and cousins are part of these professions. They too complained about it when they came to visit my dad. Sincerity is important. If you work for people then you'll feel tired but if you work for the sake of Allah, you'll never get exhausted. Because His reward is far more better than human rewards, the Paradise. When you attend others need, Allah will attend to your needs. trust the Prophet, trust Allah.