“I repeat! If you’re a doctor, please identify yourself to the cabin crew immediately!”
We were flying amidst the high clouds on one of those large planes, and yet surprisingly there was not even one doctor on board!
I found out a few seconds later that a passenger was having a heart attack. His name was ‘Ahmed’ and he was traveling alone. As no one had any information about his condition, the flight attendants were panicking, running back and forth with portable electric paddles and walkie-talkies, while the pilot frantically announced the dire need for an emergency landing.
“Are you a doctor?” The flight attendant asked me when I stood up.
“No, but I think I can help!” I blurted out.
“We’re losing him!” I heard a voice call out.
“Please!” I begged. “Let me come read him some Qur’an. I won’t interfere with your guys’ job”.
“Ma’am. I’m gonna have to ask you to sit down!” The woman demanded aggressively.
I didn’t know what to do. I waited in my seat and saw one of the younger flight attendants shaking and crying hysterically. Out of sheer desperation, I decided she was perfect bait for emotional blackmail, and I grabbed her by the arm when she crossed by me.
“This man is a Muslim and he’s obviously in BAD condition! He’s alone and probably scared out of his mind! Let me help him recite ‘shahada’ just in case! If something happens to him, you’ll never forgive yourself for detaining me!” I said in a strict tone; I think I scared myself a little bit!
“Come with me.” She replied.
Picking a specialty
There are over thirty different types of doctors worldwide, and chances are some of them applied for a medical degree solely for the sake of their parents (forcing them). Saving lives has nothing to do with the status or the ‘Dr.’ before your name, rather how much you have selflessly tried to make a difference. How much my pain affects you and your pain affects me. How we are all eternally bonded by those of us who have compassion.
Allah’s Messenger said,
“You see the believers as regards their being merciful among themselves and showing love among themselves and being kind, resembling one body, so that, if any part of the body is not well then the whole body shares the sleeplessness (insomnia) and fever with it.”
These people live amongst us, and maybe (or most probably) you are one of them. They are the real specialists! Their greatness stems from a greater purpose. It is in making a difference… one life at a time.
Perhaps, one of the noblest specialties in the world centers around the heart – the aching heart, the lonely heart, the broken heart…
Sadness is emotional cancer spreading out inside our bodies and suffocating the life out of us. And believe it or not, it is those same wounds in your heart that empower you with a special healing touch. It is those same tears of loneliness that spring a fountain of compassion in your soul. It is the hurtful memories of your past that urge you to help change someone’s future. You are a specialist because you have been there! You truly understand how much it hurts and know exactly the kind of care you yearned for at that time.
Drawing a smile on someone’s face can sometimes weigh more than all the treasures of the world put together. Greeting someone with a smile is a form of charity because it makes that person feel ‘seen’, and sometimes that is all the healing we could ever need. And, the quickest way to bring yourself up again is to help someone who is feeling down. Because when you take care of others’ hearts, Allah will surely take care of yours.
Think of that one person you call during a crisis, be it a missing ingredient in a recipe or a car accident in the middle of the night. On-call-ogists live their lives to ‘pay it forward.’ If you are sociable, well-connected and find ultimate joy in serving others, even if it is just by calling a potential employer to put in a good word for someone in need of a job, or by taking a home cooked meal to the new neighbors who had just moved in, then you have probably already chosen your specialty!
Yes, it is ‘On-call-ology’, no doubt on it!
This type of doctors walks in when everyone else walks out. They are more like Trauma Surgeons; not necessarily the overprotective cuddly type, but they are there when needed. They will stop on a highway to help with a flat tire, offer you money when in debt, or jump in the cold icy water to save a drowning child.
They are righteous, ethical and brave. They restore our faith in humanity when we watch them protecting perfect strangers. They will anonymously remove broken glass from the ground, or shoot a scary look to a group of boys about to harass a helpless girl, like fearless guardian angels.
Obstacle-tricians work silently and independently. They have nothing to prove, and yet their existence is a proof enough, there is still good in this ‘ummah’ (Okay, why am I suddenly jealous?!)
So this type of doctors have a signed certificate on their wall, stamped with a golden seal. The award quotes our beloved Prophet in saying:
“Religion is good advice” [Tirmidhi]
You will go to them with a heavy emotional baggage, sweating and panting, and leave with a joyful heart as light as a feather, a smile and sometimes, a chocolate chip cookie (you know, if you are really lucky.) Those specialists, I don’t know, there is something about them! Like they ooze of sweetness or emit a soothing vibe that makes you wonder why you spent all this time worrying or being sad in the first place. They are generous, understanding, humble and positive. They say all the right words and have all the right keys to all complicated problems, masha Allah! They are the talk therapists, the loved ones, the best friends, the mentors and the light sent to us in the pit of darkness.
Oh, thank You, Allah , for all our beloved ‘Advice-iologists!’
These people literally specialize in being role models. They are soft-hearted, always smiling, easy going, generous and experts at controlling their anger! They are usually the best at anything they do, and they are what we all hope to become one day!
What is their secret that you ask? They just are the best version of themselves, for again they follow Prophet Muhammad’s timeless advice:
“The best among you are those who have the best manners and character.” [Bukhari]
You-rologists artfully conceal faults and bring out the best in others, and while around them, you slowly realize that being ‘you’ is enough inspiration for us to be the best ‘us’ can be! (Does that make sense? Lol)
It was the effect of one special ‘You-rologist’ in my life that made me stow my shyness in the overhead compartment, get up and go try help Ahmed, the passenger with the heart attack. I believed in myself and was grateful for the chance to make a difference.
But, by the time I reached his seat, it was too late! Suspended somewhere between the ground and the skies, Ahmed died wordlessly amongst a bunch of strangers. The captain broke the deafening silence with an announcement of his decision to resume the original route, and the flight attendants covered the corpse with a black plastic bag, before serving the onboard meals.
My tears flowed down uncontrollably. Never in my life did I wish to be a doctor like I did at that time. And, then, I realized, a medical doctor could not have saved him! It was Ahmed’s time! What he needed was a completely different kind of saving, that only people like you and me truly understand. It requires no degrees or extensive training. It is only a genuine feeling from the heart and, true belief and trust in Almighty Allah
I was not able to help, but I have a feeling Allah had more blessings saved for Ahmed, for now after reading this, thousands of Muslims will send him and his family their silent prayers. You will remember him and it will compel you to help save or heal the next person you meet, in sha Allah. Because you are a doctor, and you know it! You just don’t know you know it…
What kind of a doctor are you? Please share with us your experience as/with a doctor in comments.