The scene is grim, the circumstances dire. A grandmother anxiously waits outside the delivery room door. Her daughter was just rushed in for an emergency C-section.
The hallway is eerily silent. However, the silence is soon shattered with screams. The delivery door bursts open and an intern races out with a limp baby in his arms. The umbilical cord is still attached as it whips against the walls, splattering blood wherever it hits.
All the old woman can see are the backs of the intern’s shoes as he frantically sprints up the stairs to the ICU, with her grandchild in his arms, before the door swings shut. She has no idea if the baby is a boy or a girl or even if it will live long enough for her to see it.
The year was 1973 and the baby was me.
I was born two months premature and as a result, my lungs did not fully develop. Right after birth, I went into respiratory distress. The walls of my lungs were stuck together.
Luckily, the intern recognized the condition and quickly raced me to the ICU. He risked his career and future by taking matters into his own hands. If he had not, I would have died.
The intern quickly cut my chest open and inserted a vacuum into each lung to mechanically inflate it. My lungs rose and collapsed eleven times. I, clinically, died eleven times. But finally, my lungs began working on their own. I spent my first three months in the hospital.
The intern who saved my life visited often. However, my primary care pediatrician told my mother that I would be mentally retarded, blind, deaf, and would never be able to walk since my brain had been deprived of oxygen for so long.
By the grace of Allah Almighty, I made a full recovery and thrived from the moment I left the hospital. I did not suffer any ill consequences despite my precarious entry into this world and I forged a loving relationship with the grandmother who first laid eyes on me when my life most assuredly hung in the balance.
Throughout my life, I would hear members of my family refer to me as a “miracle” or say just how “lucky” I was. Even as a small child, I possessed the knowledge that chance had nothing to do with my existence. I lived for a reason known only to Allah.
It would take me years to find out what my purpose in life was. As a small child I can remember playing with my Barbie dolls while contemplating upon why I had lived.
As the only member of my family to go to college, I remember sitting in philosophy class pondering upon why I had survived birth and been blessed enough to get a higher education as I quickly jotted down class notes.
I spent the greater part of my life searching for the meaning of why I lived until my journey came to a screeching halt the day I decided to begin reading the Holy Quran. I read and read feeling as if I had found the truth, which had for so long eluded me. And then I came to a verse that answered the question that I had so long asked myself and others.
Allah Almighty says in the Quran:
I created jinn and mankind only in order that they might worship Me. (51:56)
In a mere thirteen tiny words, I finally found my purpose in life. I lived so that I might worship Allah as a Muslim. It really is that simple.
From the moment I took Shahadah declaring my faith in God alone without partners, I have used my life to not only tell others about Islam but also teach them about it by providing true information about the fast-growing religion and the world.
I’ve also made a point to annihilate stereotypes, misinformation, propaganda and Islamophobia (which is in abundance in the popular media) with the most technologically advanced creation known to man: the pen.
All humans share a common purpose in life. However, not all humans heed the inner inclination that pulls them back towards their Creator.
I was chosen to be a Muslim and am thankful that, when the call came, my heart was open to receive the blessing.
And that is the only purpose that matters in this world.
(This article is from Reading Islam’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.)