I am a believer in miracles. Yes, I was a chemistry major in college. I saw and still see this world as a conglomeration of atoms and molecules that follow the precise laws of nature in a symphony that defies the notion of miracles. I am in a profession where treatment must be evidence-based—a calculated evaluation of patient parameters where the data takes precedence over a doctor’s hunch. Yet, there are so many moments in life when I can only describe the gifts of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) as miracles—signs of His Power, Mercy and Grace.
It all started when I was a little girl in Bangladesh. I saw the servant girl removing the stems of dried pepper on the rooftop of my grandfather’s house and decided to help her. It was fun, until my hands started burning as if they were on fire. I could not stop crying. Being only five, everyone in the house was by my side as I started bawling. I sat on my mother’s lap with my hands immersed in a jug of cold water, but the burning simply would not go away. Then my grandmother had an idea. She turns to my grandfather and goes, “Why don’t you read the du`a’ (supplication) that Ibrahim `alayhi as-salaam (peace be upon him) read when he was thrown into the fire by Firawn?” So I took my hands out of the water and held them in front of Nanabhai (Grandfather) as he repeated the du`a’ of Ibrahim and blew on my fingers.
“Sufficient for us is Allah , and [He is] the best Disposer of affairs.” (Quran 3:173)
Suddenly, the pain was gone! It was not a gradual decrease of pain the way we normally expect; but an instant relief. I remember laughing in disbelief at that amazing miracle. In my five years of existence, it was the most wonderful act of God that I had ever witnessed. Subhan’Allah (Glory be to God), there is no cure like Allah’s cure. It is a beautiful memory that still lives within me today and makes me a believer in the power of du`a’.
Du`a’ is difficult to make if you do not believe in its power to be accepted. When I was five, I believed with all my heart that my Nanabhai’s du`a’ would cease the burning of my hands and alhamdulillah, (praise be to God), it did. However, as an adult, I wonder, do I still have that same pure conviction, the same reliance on Allah’s divine help?
Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an, “And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein,” (Quran 50:16). Allah (swt) knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows our thoughts, our fears, our desires and our hopes, and therefore, He grants us our du`a’ in a manner that is best for us. Allah (swt) responds to every du`a’, but we lack the clairvoyance to appreciate the journey that is necessary to receive the gifts that we desire.
Although we are encouraged to make du`a’ for many things, we will probably not live long enough to see the full effects of the du`a’ that we make for our children, community, and the world. Other types of du`a’ we are encouraged to make are for our afterlife: to be in the shade of Allah’s Throne on the Day of Judgment, to be entered into Jannah (Paradise), etc. Although these du`a’ are for the future, there are still times, when the answer to my du`a’ is so instantaneous that it knocks me to my knees. I end here with another story.
When I was a third-year medical student, I was observing the final moments of a woman’s delivery. After thirty hours of labor, she screamed in pain as it came to the final push to the birth of her first child. Nurses and physicians smiled as the baby was finally born and we all cocked our ears for the first cry. Except the baby did not cry. The delivery room turned chaotic as pediatric intensivists rushed in to take care of the newborn. I looked at the mother and all I could see were silent tears streaming down her face. The hope that sustained her for nine months of pregnancy and thirty hours of labor had turned to devastation in the blink of an eye. I held her hand and started making sincere du`a’. Everyone in the room was silently praying. After some agonizing minutes, the baby started breathing by the mercy of Allah (swt). Alhamdulillah. You may say it was by medical intervention, but I believe it was a miraculous response to du`a’. For every human effort there is a chance that it will fail; its success is only with the permission of Allah (swt).
Lusana is currently a medical student at SUNY Downstate Medical Center working towards a career in internal medicine. Raised in the Big Apple, she is a city girl who is also in love with nature.