Thursday, 22 July 2010

Losing a friend

I firstly would like to apologize for not posting any entries in my blog for the past 2 weeks. Not that I have lost the enthusiasm to write, or that time has been running rather tight lately. My health has not been at its best recently, and given the lymphoma I suffer from, it is understandably more difficult for the body to starve off any infections as compared to a healthy person. Sickness is always an opportunity for the cleansing of the sinful soul, and I pray that Allah forgives me for the wrongdoings I have committed.

Two days back, my heart wrenched with sheer sadness having heard that one of our fellow cancer fighter, Kak Dalilah Tamrin has passed on. Almarhumah Kak Dalilah, famously known for her Onebreastbouncing blogspot, will always be a person every cancer sufferers look up to for source of strength and motivation. Almarhumah died of breast cancer.

The one thing I will always remember of arwah Kak D was when she emailed to me a document containing the verses in the Quran that should be read by cancer sufferers as a form of remedy (shifaa'). During then, we had never met or known each other personally, yet having found out about my blog, she took the 'responsibility' to share. In Arwah Kak D, I found the marks of a true friend.

Losing a fellow cancer fighter is never easy to swallow for any of us with similar predicament. Cliche it may sound, her lost was similar to losing a fellow comrade in a war against your enemy. And losing Kak D, in particular, was almost like losing the one soldier you bet against faltering in any battle, the strongest soldier in your batallion. Her loss, somehow tainted the strong hope every cancer fighter has on battling against their disease, affecting our fortitude and perseverance.

To the family of almarhumah Kak D, many condolences and may Allah grant all of you the patience of a Mukmin (believer). Indeed, the passing on of Kak D serves to remind us yet again that death is a MUST for each and every one of us, and woe to those who remain oblivious to his/her preparation for the Hereafter having heard and seen such a clear SIGN from Allah. May we not fall into such traps, naudzubillah.

For such loss, never forget to say "Innalillahi wainna ilaihi rojiuun', reminding ourselves that we all belong to Allah and it is to Him indeed that we shall return. Emulating the story of Ummu Salamah (one of Prophet Muhammad's wife) as recorded in Tafsir Ibn Kathir, one should not forget to supplicate the du'a below whenever they are tested with the lost of their loved ones.

اللَّهُمَّ أْجُرْنِي فِي مُصِيبَتِي وأَخْلِفْ لِي خَيْرًا مِنْهَا

"Allahumma ajurnii fii musibatii wakhlifli khoironminha." [O Allah! Reward me for my loss and give me what is better than it.]

Ummu Salamah recited the du'a having heard the news of the death of her husband, Abu Salamah. By Allah's will, the loss of her husband was later compensated with a person better than she could ever imagine. It was the Prophet Muhammad, Peace Be Upon Him. SubhanAllah.

To Arwah Kak D, the lost of you shall remind me that my time will eventually come too, and I hope that both of us will meet each other in Jannah, insha Allah. And to the family of arwah Kak D, may Allah reward all of you with what is better than the loss.


Friday, 2 July 2010

Can you feel His Love?

Now and again, I engage myself into a so-called 'retrospective session'. Thinking about the many whys for all the things that have been happening to me ever since I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkins Lymphoma back in December 2008. Asking myself why have I suffered this disease at the first place, having been so fit and healthy previously. Asking myself why have the cancer relapsed so soon after my initial chemotherapy sessions finished back in June 2009. Asking myself why hadn't the stem cell transplant I had back in December 2009 work.

Not that I'm questioning Allah's plannings on me. Rather the whys I made up for myself were more towards making sure that I don't repeat the same mistakes that could have possibly lead to all this. Making sure that if 'X' had been one of the causes for the immediate relapse of this cancer, then I would need to eliminate 'X' as part of my holistic approach against the disease.

Try as I might, more often than not, I fail to figure out most of the answers to my whys. Which makes it quite frustrating, as it feels like you've run yourself into a stumbling block, preventing you from reaching the end of the path you're threading. Having said that, it's true when they say that in every cloud there will always be a silver lining. And I believe that I've found my silver lining.

I believed that, although I may never know the answer to all my whys, at least I do know that God has used this illness to show me His great love. Thus the saying, "Allah certainly has unique ways to show His love".

When I made the decision to continue my treatment in the UK back in July 2008, there were concerns financially. By July 2008, I was no longer funded through scholarships by my sponsor, thus I had to rely on the savings I have in my bank account. That was when Allah showed that I should put my trust on Him alone. My friends, all over the UK and Ireland, started a donation drive and by the end of it, managed to collect a few thousand pounds to help me during my stay in the UK for treatment. Not only that, I could use the money to support some of the travel expenses incurred by my family members who came from Malaysia to accompany me every now and again when I had my treatment.

Not only that, when I was recovering at home from a recent chemotherapy session, people would come on a daily basis to bring meals. I never had to worry about what to eat, as the Malaysian community in Sheffield had kindly prepared a roster-like list of people in charge of bringing over foods during my recovery period at home.

When I could not go to the masjid due to my health, I often felt like the masjid was brought to me. An astounding number of people supplicated for my well-being and continued to do so in each of their prayers. I can feel Allah's love showering down on me via the endless prayers of His servants.

The one day when I truly felt Allah's great love was the day when the masjid organised a farewell-like gathering for me the night before I left Sheffield for Malaysia back in January 2010. The main praying area of the masjid was full with people, you hardly notice any empty spaces. What made it more emotional to me was the fact that it wasn't just Malaysians who came, but also Arabs, Asians, Turkish, to name a few. All in the name of Muslim brotherhood. It certainly was a gathering I'd never forget, one that will remain embedded in my heart.

Even when I have returned to Malaysia for good since February 2010, I can still very much embrace Allah's endless love emanating through the support and assistance of His servants. Every now and again, friends be it old or new come by to pay a visit and say their well wishes. Not only that, a lot of the alternative treatments I'm currently on are recommendations I received through phone calls, emails and text messages from fellow friends and acquaintances. Some suggestions even came from people I hardly know of, who kindly offered their help having found out about my plight. I took all these as reflection of the beautiful blessings of Allah, one that teaches me a valuable lesson in life:

I can only find contentment in my trial and tribulation by putting any negatives aside, and start thanking Allah for the blessings He has showered me with.

Being able to feel Allah's love embracing me has been pivotal in keeping my strength during my times of ups and downs. Which is why I have always reminded myself to not act in ways where I might possibly 'lose' the eligibility of receiving such love. Therefore, I know I need to remain:

1. Steadfast, for Allah loves the steadfast.
…God loves those who are steadfast” (Surah Al-Imran, 3:146)

2. In reliance to none other but Him alone.
“…God loves those who put their trust in Him” (Surah Al-Imran, 3:159)

3. Avoid committing sins, and to immediately turn to repentance.
…God loves those who repent to Him, and He loves those who keep themselves clean” (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:222)

When you feel like everything seems to go against your way, just take 5 minutes to sit down and reflect on all the blessings you have in life, and the things that actually went your way. May then, the smiles will return, the sun will break out, the music will play, and you will finally be able to move forward the life that God intended for you with grace, strength, courage, and confidence.