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Yemeni Journey

To Breathe

This afternoon I sat in the backyard and breathed. I breathed in the sound of cicadas surrounding me with a swirling crowd of pure joyous sound. I breathed the fur trees at my back, bending to whisper in each other’s ears, words lost on the low moan of the wind. I breathed the light of the sun and the cool of shade and my daughter’s distant laughter carried through an open window. I breathed, and remembered how to breathe, something so easy to lose in the always moving, always changing, always hurrying world I so recently re-entered. Sometimes my years in Yemen seem almost like a dream; but I know in my heart that they were real, and that this hustle and bustle and rush only give the illusion of reality. The truth is still there, where it always has been, under the voices of chaos that shout so loudly for attention.

Today as I breathed, and reminded myself of who I am and why I am here and what is truly important, I remembered another day, another breath, taken at a time when I was not so sure that there would be many days of breath left to me. I was struggling through yet another attack of the typhoid-like illness that eventually brought my days in my beloved mountain village to an end. My eldest son, Mujaahid, had helped me walk to the small clinic that served the villagers, and then had hovered by my side while my blood was taken and the doctor listened to my heart and asked me the same questions he’d asked me many times before. Afterwards, he took me out to the small covered area in front of the low cement building and helped me to sit down on the edge where concrete met dirt, my arms hugging my legs and my head resting on my knees. He went back inside to consult with the doctor over my treatment. I listened to the voices around me. An old woman spoke querulously to her equally aged husband, who nodded and absently grunted an affirmative every once in awhile, his thoughts clearly a hundred miles away. A young boy sang off key as he walked along the edge of the porch where I sat, detouring around me, his passing causing the air to gently stir the edges of my overgarment. Far off came the sound of schoolboys reciting, their words too distant to be understood.

I knew what the doctor was going to say. More medicine, which we could hardly afford, and which the germs in my body were resistant to already. More protein, the doctor recommending chicken or meat daily, not realizing that an egg a day stretched our budget to the limits. More of everything, that really ended up signifying more of nothing. Ultimately, I knew, I had to rely on Allaah, and Him alone, to get me through this whole and healthy once again. I had to let go in order to hold on.

I pulled my text of the Qur’aan out from under my jilbaab and opened it to the verses Sheikh Bin Baaz recommended for the one who feared that he had been cursed or had witchcraft performed on him. I read them once, twice, and again before the sound of Mujaahid’s voice telling me it was time to go broke through my concentration. I shut the book and put it away. I had been reminded of where I had to go, and Who I had to look to, and it made all the difference.

I breathed the cold, dry air. I breathed in the sound of recitation and the old woman’s shrill voice. I breathed in the young boy’s song. I breathed in the village and the masjid and the center of learning I called home. I breathed the dust of ages past and the sunshine that had warmed the Earth since Allaah had decreed that it be so.

I stood, and breathed, and, finally, went on.

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Reply to Rumaysa Umm SincereCancel reply

8 comments

Holly on August 30, 2012 1:41 pm Reply

May Allah reward you for your struggles and continue to bless you ameen.

Rumaysa Umm Sincere on August 31, 2012 3:15 am Reply

As’salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh! Umm Mujaahid, where can we find these ayats Shiekh Bin Baaz recommends? Alhmadulillah, may Allah azza wa jal bless you and your family -Ameen.

I needed this reminder, to breath, look to the One who is in total control and give my worries to him and to step forward. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our fear, worry and grief, that we stand still and it seems we hold our breath (at least for me). Sometimes when calamity strikes we forget to look to Allah FIRST and put our full trust in Him! This reminder was right on time, as recently I’ve lost my son in a sense. Alhamdulillah, he’s still living, but I question the care I left him, but I have to trust that Allah is the best of planners, not me. The Qadr is not a mistake. Just the yesterday morning the thought literally popped into my head to put my trust in Allah, make du’a and don’t ever stop!!!!!! Whenever I think of my son, make du’a that Allah turns his heart and return him to me as a person who wants to be a believer! I need to breath, I need to move forward because I have other children that need my care

I am in no way comparing my situation to yours as yours was a real matter of life and death and mine a mere matter of the heart. But as I read your passage, I want to learn those ayat or du’a the Sheikh Bin Baaz recommended. In the meantime, I’ll just keep reading Allah’s Word’s. They remind me of why I need to be firm in my beliefs and practices and give me hope that even though I feel like I lost one child and possible may lose another that if I put my full trust in Him I can find peace. And if He wills my loved ones can return loving Allah and we love each other first and foremost for his sake!

Khadijah on August 31, 2012 3:58 pm Reply

Wa Aleikum Assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu
Alhamdulillah, barakAllaahufeekee for sharing this, and may Allaah make your way easy and guide your son and bring him back to you, making him a cooling for your eyes. Ameen. I think most parents go through similar things, mash’Allaah. I read a quote once, I can’t remember where (not from a Muslim) who said something like, “Motherhood means agreeing to walk around with part of your heart outside of your body for the rest of your life.” Mash’Allaah!

Amina bint Said on August 31, 2012 3:16 am Reply

Assalamu `alaykum wa Rahmatullaah,

Beautiful writing maashaa’Allaah tabaarakAllaah. May Allaah ta’ala make it easy for you to return to the place you called your home. Aameen!

Khadijah on August 31, 2012 3:53 pm Reply

Sheikh Bin Baaz on magic (sihr) and its treatment:

Praise be to Allaah.

Whoever is affected by sihr should not treat it with sihr, because evil cannot be removed by evil, and kufr cannot be removed by kufr. Evil is removed by good. Hence when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was asked about al-nushrah (treating sihr with sihr), he said: “This is the work of the Shaytaan.” Nushrah means removing sihr from a person who has been affected by it by using more sihr. But if it is treated by means of the Qur’aan and permissible medicines or good ruqyahs, there is nothing wrong with that, but treating it with sihr is not permitted, as previously stated, because sihr means worshipping the shayaateen (devils). The saahir (magician, practitioner of witchcraft) does sihr or learns sihr only after worshipping and serving the shayaateen, and drawing close to them by means of the things that they like. After that, they teach him the means of sihr. But, praise be to Allaah, there is no reason why the person who has been affected by sihr should not be treated by means of reciting Qur’aan and the prayers for refuge with Allaah that are prescribed in sharee’ah, and permissible medicines, just as patients with all kinds of sicknesses are treated by doctors. The patient does not necessarily recover, because not every sick person does recover. A sick patient might be treated and then recover if his appointed time (of death) has not yet arrived, or he may not recover and may die from this sickness, even though he may be been seen by the most skilled physicians and knowledgeable doctors. When the appointed time of death comes, no medicine or treatment will be of any avail, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And Allaah grants respite to none when his appointed time (death) comes”

[al-Munaafiqoon 63:11]

Medical treatment is of benefit when the appointed time has not yet come, and Allaah decrees that His slave should be healed. The same applies in the case of one who has been affected by sihr; Allaah may decree that he should recover, or He may not decree that, as a test and a trial, or for other reasons which are known to Allaah. Among those reasons may be the fact that the one who is treating him does not have the right treatment for this problem. It was narrated in a saheeh report that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “For every disease there is a medicine, and if that medicine is applied to the disease, he will recover by Allaah’s Leave.” And he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah has not sent down any disease but He has also sent down the cure; the one who knows it knows it and the one who does not know it does not know it.”

Among the treatments prescribed in sharee’ah is the treatment of sihr with recitation of the Qur’aan. The greatest soorah in the Qur’aan, which is al-Faatihah, should be recited over the person who has been affected by sihr. This should be repeated several times. If it is recited by a believing, righteous reader who knows that everything is subject to the will and decree of Allaah, that Allaah is in control of all things, that when He says to a thing ‘Be!’ it is, if the reciting is based on faith, taqwa and sincerity, and is repeated several times, then the sihr may be removed and the person may recover by Allaah’s Leave. Some of the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) passed by some Bedouins whose shaykh, i.e., their leader, had been bitten. They had done everything they could but he had not gotten better. They said to one of the Sahaabah, “Is there any raaqi (one who performs ruqyah) among you?” They said, “Yes.” So one of them recited Soorat al-Faatihah over him, and he immediately got up full of energy as if nothing had happened; Allaah healed him of the ill-effects of that snakebite. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There is nothing wrong with ruqyah so long as it does not involve shirk.” He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) performed ruqyah and had it performed for him. There is a lot of good in ruqyah, and a great deal of benefit. Al-Faatihah, Aayat al-Kursiy, “Qul Huwa Allaahu Ahad”, al-Mi’wadhatayn and other aayahs may be recited over the person who has been affected by sihr, as well as good du’aa’s narrated in the ahaadeeth from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), such as the du’aa’ he said when he performed ruqyah for a sick person and said, “Allaahumma Rabb al-naas, adhhib il-ba’s, washfi anta al-Shaafi laa shifaa’a illa shifaa’uka shifaa’an laa yughaadir saqaman (O Allaah, Lord of mankind, remove the harm and heal him, for You are the Healer and there is no healing except Your healing, with a healing which does not leave any disease behind).” This may be repeated three times or more. And it was also narrated from him (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) that Jibreel (peace be upon him) performed ruqyah for him and said three times: “Bismillaah arqeeka min kulli shay’in yu’dheeka, wa min sharri kulli nafsin aw ‘aynin haasid Allaah yashfeek, bismillaah arqeek (In the name of Allaah I perform ruqyah for you, from every thing that is harming you, from the evil of every soul or envious eye may Allaah heal you, in the name of Allaah I perform ruqyah for you).” This is a great ruqyah which was narrated in a saheeh hadeeth from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). It is prescribed to perform ruqyah for the one who has been bitten or stung, and the one who has been affected by sihr, and the one who is sick. There is nothing wrong with performing ruqyah for one who is sick or has been affected by sihr or bitten or stung, by reciting good du’aa’s, even if they were not transmitted from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), so long as they do not contain anything that is haraam, because of the general meaning of the hadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “There is nothing wrong with ruqyah so long as it does not involve shirk.”

Allaah may heal the sick person and the person affected by sihr, and others, without any ruqyah and without any action on the part of other people, because He is Able to do all things, and He is Wise in all that He does. Allaah says in His Holy Book:

“Verily, His Command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, ‘Be!’ and it is!”[Yaa-Seen 36:82]

To Him be praise and thanks for all that He wills and decrees, for He is wise in all that He does.

The sick person may not be healed if his appointed time has come and it is decreed that he should die from this disease. Among the things that may be used in ruqyah are the verses which speak of sihr, which may be recited into water. These are the verses about sihr in Soorat al-A’raaf, where Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And We revealed to Moosa (saying): ‘Throw your stick,’ and behold! It swallowed up straight away all the falsehood which they showed.

Thus truth was confirmed, and all that they did was made of no effect.

So they were defeated there and returned disgraced

[al-A’raaf 7:117-119]

And in Soorat Yoonus (interpretation of the meaning):

“And Pharaoh said: ‘Bring me every well-versed sorcerer.’

And when the sorcerers came, Moosa said to them: ‘Cast down what you want to cast!’

Then when they had cast down, Moosa said: ‘What you have brought is sorcery, Allaah will surely make it of no effect. Verily, Allaah does not set right the work of Al-Mufsidoon.

And Allaah will establish and make apparent the truth by His Words, however much the Mujrimoon may hate (it).’”

[Yoonus 10:79-82]

And in Soorat Ta-Ha (interpretation of the meaning):

“They said: ‘O Moosa! Either you throw first or we be the first to throw?’

Moosa said: ‘Nay, throw you (first)!’ Then behold! their ropes and their sticks, by their magic, appeared to him as though they moved fast.

So Moosa conceived fear in himself.

We (Allaah) said: ‘Fear not! Surely, you will have the upper hand.

And throw that which is in your right hand! It will swallow up that which they have made. That which they have made is only a magician’s trick, and the magician will never be successful, to whatever amount (of skill) he may attain.’”

[Ta-Ha 20:65-69]

These aayahs are among the things by which Allaah causes the ruqyah against sihr to be beneficial. If the qaari’ (reader) recites these verses into water, and also reads Soorat al-Faatiha, Aayat al-Kursiy, “Qul Huwa Allaahu Ahad”, and al-Mi’wadhatayn into the water, then pours it over the person who he thinks has been affected by sihr or is being prevented by magic from having intercourse with his wife, then he will be healed by Allaah’s Leave. If seven lotus leaves are ground up and added to the water as well, this is appropriate, as was mentioned by Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Hasan (may Allaah have mercy on him) in Fath al-Majeed, quoting from some of the scholars in the chapter entitled Ma jaa’a fi’l-Nushrah. It is mustahabb to recite the three soorahs, namely Qul Huwa Allaahu Ahad, Qul A’oodhu bi Rabb il Falaq and Qul A’oodhu bi Rabb il-Naas. The point is that these and similar treatments which are used to treat this problem of sihr, may also be used to treat the one who is prevented by magic from having intercourse with his wife. This has been tried a great deal and Allaah caused it to yield results. A person may be treated with al-Faatihah alone and be healed, or with Qul Huwa Allaahu Ahad and al-Mi’wadhatayn on their own, and be healed. It is very important that the person performing this treatment and the person who is being treated should both have sincere faith and trust in Allaah; they should know that He is control of all things and that when He wills a thing it happens, and when He does not will a thing it does not happen. The matter is in His hand, whatever He wills happens and whatever He does not will does not happen. When both the reader and the one who is read over have faith and are sincere towards Allaah, the sickness will disappear quickly by Allaah’s Leave, and both physical and spiritual medicine will be beneficial. We ask Allaah to help us all to please Him, for He is All-Hearing and is ever Near.

Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Maqaalaat Mutanawwi’ah li Samaahat al-Shaykh al-‘Allaamah ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him), p. 70

Khadijah on August 31, 2012 3:54 pm Reply

responding to myself to add that this was not taken from the book I was reading that day, but from another source, as noted.

umm omar on August 31, 2012 11:34 pm Reply

Thank you for inviting me to read this (via twitter). A wonderful post and a great reminder of not only what is truly important but also that every breath is a blessing and never could we thank our Lord enough – the Exalted and High – for His endless mercies.

Baarakallaahu feeki Umm Mujaahid- looking forward to reading more of your posts! Hafithakumullaah.

Mai on September 1, 2012 1:52 pm Reply

As salaamu alayki.

I always find it wondrous how Allah moves us to different places when we, left to our own devices, would not go. Sometimes the hardships we face and the lessons we learn become extremely hard before we finally see His Will clearly.

As I read this, knowing the other bits and pieces around the situation at that time, I felt the enormity of the situation for your husband. Such a heart-wrenching test to have one’s wife go through so much and neither be present or able to help in the way(s) the doctors prescribe.

Your children also experienced something during your time of illness and the relapses, that I’m sure they (the older ones at least) will never forget.

Subhaan Allah, how these tests reach the very depths of everyone involved! Subhaan Allah what a blessing that Allah, in moving us onwards to different horizons, even in continued constrained circumstances, gives us appreciation of the incremental improvements and the relative ease that comes with them.

In truth, you would not be benefiting others anymore without these life moves, because they were exactly that – moves that saved your life, and Allah knows best. For this, I say al hamdul’Illah that you can breathe in the clean scent of fir trees and sound of cicadas in an environment that will nurture your well-being, mashaa’Allah.

You know, I love it when you breathe. Breathing is SO beneficial (SMILE).