Monday, 27 June 2011

Islamic Articles: ODE TO A BELOVED UNCLE



His talent, his knowledge, and the art-now lost forever!!

As muslims, we have been fore-warned that as time passes, and as the Judgement Day draws near-as the Hour has been established-so will the beneficial knowledge decrease. Scholars of Islamic teachings have interpreted this through the ages to mean not that knowledge will be picked from our brains and removed as one picks and removed berries from a bush-but rather that those blessed souls who have been endowed with knowledge and a special talent or a gift will die off, without-for some odd reason or another-having passed on that knowledge or talent for future generations to benefit from and develop upon.

And so this happens now as I am a sad witness to it.

The passing of Uncle Abdallah is a sad blow on so many. It is always typically selfishly sad for us when a loved one passes along. Out of our natural human inclinations, we cry out of the sorrow of looking towards the moments to come when we will miss the presence of our loved one in our lives. A presence which we had become accustomed to, and which we selfishly dread when faced with the reality of this immediate future void. That is in reality a reflection of the love of one's self, not of the loved one who has passed along. How many times-at the death of a loved one-have you heard those remaining cry out for fear of the unknown which the deceased must be entering??

Uncle Abdallah was well-trained and professionally versed in the age-old art of what might be called 'traditional orthopedics'. He was not a lettered man. Nor did he go through anything anyways near a conventional medical school. But he knew how to read, understand, and interpret an x-ray. And even more important-he knew in his brain and heart where and how to guide his crafted yet strong hands to set straight even the most peculiar bone and/or muscular deformities, fractures, slips, sprains, and strains. In the Arabic, his craft is known as one of the many branches of 'arab medicine'. This term is a wide-encompassing term meaning in general traditional treatment passed down through the centuries and generations. In encompasses a wide range of treatments from the usage of herbs and spices and home-made remedies of mixtures of ointments and lotions as well as various herbal potions, and of course, not excluding the physical treatment of setting straight orthopedic ailments.

His practice could perhaps be compared to the more modern development of chiropractic treatment, but only in a vague way. This is an art encompassing much more than mere chiropractic practices.

And so sad for the remaining community-his craft and this gift from God has been lost now forever. Unless and until God should grace yet another soul miraculously to begin all over again. But it is a feat not easy to achieve. For the knowledge that Uncle Abdallah acquired and went to his grave with was not something he merely woke up with one day. No; it had accumulated painfully and slowly through the ages; passed down from generation to generation, to apparently diminish and disappear now in this age. So sad for those remaining.

So many knew him far and wide. He had no need to advertise. The simplest and most ancient form of advertisement-word of mouth-was plenty to assure him of even the most distant customers, day and night, all through the year.

Severe cold or rain would not discourage them from waking him and his family at any hour of the day or night. Nor would great distances or miles be a hindrance for those seeking an option to long periods of uncomfortable casts or invasive surgery using steel implants, which would require even more eventual surgery. And, unlike the various modern-day treatments, his age-old practice proved to induce good, strong, proper, and even healing of the bones, muscles, and related tendons and fibers.

A dearly lost art indeed. And a man greatly missed by so many.

He was widely known as fair and just in all matters. Extremely generous, he would jump at the chance to entertain and feed the guests. He was well-known to even compete with others in attaining guests for entertainment, so deeply rooted was his inclination towards generosity towards the guests.

And so loving and caring for his family. Always ensuring to provide the best he could for them, and more. And although he had no dependable monthly income, he was never one to be known to be miserly towards his children or his wife. Yearly ensuring a trip to Makkah and then to Madinah for witnessing the completion of the fast of Ramadhan and the celebration of the eid. And providing for his wife not only the enjoyment of the trip, but as well gifts for her to take back home for herself, and plenty of shopping money for her to buy gifts for her loved ones back home as a treat of her return from traveling.

Such a loving and generous man indeed. Even in the late years, when the two (i.e. man and wife) had become rather slow and weak in their movements, he was so daunting on his beloved wife to take her himself personally to visit her sisters or other loved ones, keeping her hand in his to guide her in and out of the car to the door of the houses, and back. And now, the surviving wife is left to face the emptiness of her house, the evolving emptiness of her life without her life-long partner, and the upcoming excruciating moments when she must clear his possessions out of the house out of her view. Going back into her bedroom now, the pain only begins over and over again, as she notices his cloak hanging in the closet, his clothes hanging on the hook on the wall, and the thin cane he customarily carried along with him, all painful physical evidence of his one-time presence in this worldly life. Letting go is always a drawn-out and painful process. But it is something that we all must face eventually.

Of those he treated, I will narrate briefly to you of only a few to demonstrate his explicit talent. One-a young man-was in a devastating car accident. It was a miracle that this young man did not die in that accident, nor was he more seriously hurt than the fractures that he encountered. But he came out with a broken thigh bone, and a shattered hip and joint. The doctors prescribed a sequence of surgeries to reset the break, and to reconstruct the shattered hip and joint. The young man and his mother so wisely opted to try Uncle Abdallah's traditional treatment. And so he proceeded in his usual manner of first washing the injured area with warm water and soap. And then his hands began with the knowing pressure and pulling, advising those standing by to hold the man down as the pain would rise, until he got the fracture and the dislocations and the shattered bone fragments all set in the proper places. Then he would wrap the region with perhaps a strap of leather, covered by some gauze, after first applying a mixture of a ghee and honey rub as a soothing ointment which also helps induce the healing process. And before leaving the patient, he would first instruct the patient and family on how long the wrap should remain before removal or his next visit; and also on how or when the patient can bath; and he would remind them also of the importance of healthy diet to help induce good healing: fresh meat broth, fresh fruits and juices, etc.

As for the young man, the treatment consisted of several such repeated visits over a span of several months. And, finally, when the healing was complete and all wraps removed and he could easily walk again, he returned to the doctor who treated him those first days and nights at the hospital. That same orthopedic surgeon who was so insulted by the young man's insistence to exit the hospital, fractures untreated, on his own accord and accepting his own responsibility for any adverse reactions to his own option for refusing conventional treatment.

The doctor could not believe his eyes: the young man was walking again-only several months after the accident-with only a slight limp, no sign of any distortion of the leg, nor any sign of surgical entrance. How could this be??? Could it be true???

The doctor asked the young man to agree to a new x-ray, as well as he asked medical records for his chart and previous x-rays to make a study comparison between the two sets of x-rays.

It was truly amazing! Without any invasive surgery; with only his skilled hands, experience, and knowledge, Uncle Abdallah was able, by the grace and permission of God, to renew this young man's leg into a miraculously healed and useful leg!!

All praises and thanks be to God Almighty. And may He shower His mercy on Uncle Abdallah and let him rest in peace.

As for uncountable others-truly countless breaks, dislocations, deformities, sprains, and strains, have all been successfully set straight by Uncle Abdallah.

But now to be no more. He and his art and his heart are lost to us all now forever.

But the memory of him, of his talent, of his love and care for his fellow man, will carry on in so many of our hearts for a long time. As well as the memory of so many witnesses to his attention and attachment to worshipping God in the best possible manner.

If I had the chance to relay to Uncle Abdallah a message-I would say: 'We miss you dearly, O father!! Not only for the great service you provided to so many, and the odd hours that you would- without any complaint- jump to help others, but for your deep and caring heart, for your strength, for your love and kindness. I pray that you will rest in peace and comfort now, with no more pain or discomfort, and that you will be admitted into the most beautiful and wide expansive Heavens!! Ameen!!!'


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