(Allah will not give anyone more time, once their time has come. Allah is aware of what you do)–Surat Al-Munafiqun, ayah 11.
A few months ago, I had one of the most extraordinary and frightening experiences on the train on my way home. As my daily routine, I finished class, walked to the train station, and was able to catch an earlier train that I usually missed. I settled in my seat, pulled out my pharmacology notes, and proceeded to study for the upcoming exam quietly. Two stops later, a young gentleman entered the train, and sat across the aisle from me. After a few minutes, a woman sitting in front of me turned around to ask if I had a napkin. I handed her one, and watched as she gave it to the man, whispering to me that his mouth was bleeding as I noticed his swollen cheek. He inclined his head to me in thanks, then spit out a wad of blood soaked cotton into a plastic bag and stuffed the clean napkin in his mouth. Naturally, I assumed he had gotten into a fight given the fact that this was a city noted for its high crime rate, and decided not to make much of it as he seemed fine.
However, the bleeding scenario continued and progressively became worse as the man started to bleed profusely from his mouth. I looked up from my notes to see his face ashen and his hands shaking. SubhanaAllah, the words “he’s coding” popped into my mind as I watched his eyes roll and his body slump into the lap of the passenger sitting next to him. A nurse who happened to be sitting behind leaped into action and began performing resuscitations as the conductor stopped the train and called 911. As the man began seizing, he became pulseless, and numerous people began to shout, “pray to God!”. Alhamdulillah, his pulse returned, and the ambulance was able to transport him to the hospital.
No, I did not jump into “doctor mode” and attempt to save the man’s life. It would make a great story if I did, but there was an experienced nurse who took charge of the situation better than I could have at this stage in my education:) However, this incident really forced me to reevaluate myself and my approach towards life. This was a young guy, in his mid twenties, who (as I found out later) had a minor dental procedure that did not clot properly. A simple injury lead to what could have been dire consequences for this young man.
We can die at any moment, but are we prepared? When I heard the people shouting at the man to pray to God, I thought of how when one is dying, you may be unable to even say the Shahadah. Not only that, but it’s also too late to repent, and you will be resurrected on the Day of Judgment in front of Allah SWT in the last position that you held when you died. We as medical students have tons of information to study for and so little time, but we need to stop and reconsider if we would rather meet Allah SWT while holding our lecture notes and delaying Salah, or taking a study break to pray and meeting our Lord while in sujood? As a tip from someone who has been and is still there, when you take those few minutes from studying to pray on time, the amount of baraka and blessings in the time that you use to study will become tremendous. The notes that you struggle to memorize will become effortless, and what you thought would take you several hours to accomplish will be completed in half the time.
If the man had died that day, people would have mourned that he was so young and had his whole life in front of him. But as Muslims, we know that’s not true. Allah SWT doesn’t cut anyone’s life short, but we are to make the most of it with the limited time that we have. Like an exam, there’s no extra time to be given. We don’t know which breath will be our last, but let’s make it a point to make it one in which we will be pleased to meet Allah SWT with.