By Aisha Nadeem
Almost two years ago, I was admitted to a hospital in Pakistan in an emergency situation. Long story short, my body had become too weak to handle anything I was dealing with anymore. When I was finally conscious, I found myself lying on a worn out, dirty hospital bed. I saw the IV in my arm and cried. I was so angry with myself and asked Allah why I was in this condition, why I had let myself get so weak.
It was then that my uncle let go of my hand and went across the room to the corner bed where an old lady was lying down quietly. She seemed scared when he approached her, but minutes later, he brought her food. I didn’t think much of it because I was selfish at that moment, so concerned about why I was there and why life had made it so difficult for me to this point.
It was later on that my cousin told me about that lady. She had been lying in that bed for 3 days without any food or any comfort. She had three grown up children who became too busy to take care of her. She had not said a word and no one had given her anything for three entire days! My heart sank and I lifted my head to look at her. She put so much effort into just sitting up and ate the food with trembling hands.
My cousin told me, “Aisha, she is finally getting food because of this incident. Imagine if we had not come tonight… what if she had gone on being ignored? These hospitals let people lie around” I was feeling horrible thinking all these things when my cousin said something that made me stop “Aisha, do you wonder why Allah picked you of all people to be here?”
Four hours later, I was stable enough to get up and get ready to go home. I was walking past and then stopped. I asked my uncle to come with me to go see her. She looked up at me with the most innocent expression and put her hand on my head (sign of giving love to a younger one). She said in my language, “So this is your daughter. Thank you so much for the food. I was sitting here for 3 days and no one helped me but now I know that she was sent to me from Allah”. My eyes filled up with tears quickly and I hugged her.
How selfish was I for the past couple months, so upset with how my life wasn’t working out the way I wanted it. Even when I was rushed to the hospital, all I kept asking was why Allah gave me more pain than I could handle, or what did I do to get in this condition. I had a million nonsense questions running through my mind, as I kept whispering for Allah to give me the strength to overcome this and understand it.
My mind was so complicated and doubtful, while Allah’s answer was so simple. I was sent so this helpless woman could get the food and comfort she needed. I kept asking why it was happening to me, forgetting that Allah had a bigger picture painted for me to look at. My pain and concern was worth this woman getting her food and getting the medicine she needed (my uncle paid for her medicine).
It has been 8 months since this incident, and it has changed me in ways I can’t believe. Things got better and worse since then, but there wasn’t a moment where I questioned why things were the way they were. Even more, I became strong enough to handle what happened after and what is ahead of me- putting all my trust in the fact that Allah has greater plans than a human mind can even understand. I found the answer to my cousin’s question: Allah picked me that night not because I was special or some gift sent, but simply because I called out to Him and needed Him. When I think back to this incident, I ask myself: Was I really sent for her, or was she sent for me?”