Nowadays, preaching takes many forms. Everyday, it’s in the inbox that is conveniently forwarded to the trash box. It’s on the radio while driving the car. It’s on the TV as we swap the channels to escape those irritating ads. In the shopping malls and supermarkets are distributed leaflets by the volunteers. Everywhere is preaching and preaching, although towards the heart is it hardly reaching.

But the preaching of another type made much appeal to Jaihoon, that he held it dear as a moment of fortune.

This time too it was preaching. As a member of the self-assigned voluntary group, the mission was only to visit the sick and comfort, if not disturb, them. And possibly render some advice on establishing prayers and remembering the Creator. So as per this equation, the patients were at the audience level and we at the preaching level. For me, like others in the group, confidence was at the forefront as we proceeded towards the hospital.

All went fine, until my confidence began to drain. As soon as I saw the burnt legs and bleeding hands, the surgically removed toes due to heightened diabetes and the case of damaged kidneys- the confidence plummeted faster than the stocks.

The preaching equation, all of a sudden changed the direction- the patients started to preach at me rather than me at them. I preached with my knowledge based on textbooks; they preached using their burnt legs and broken hands. While I reminded them about Lord’s reward for the sufferings (with no solid evidence), they silently reminded me about His blessings.

Maybe it is human on our part to remember our possessions when we witness others without it. We remember the Divine provided food- be it biriyani, burger or bhelpuri- when we see on TV the starving children of African continent. We remember the value of natural safety when we read about the flood-devastated villages of South Asia. We realize the worth of political freedom when we observe the killing of Palestinian children. We appreciate the faiths of East when we sympathize with the spiritual perversion of West.

Every patient indirectly reminded me what God has reminded mankind in His Book- ‘Then which of the favors of your Lord will you deny”?

The fresh air to breath, or the soft and burn-free colored skin, or a healthy pair of hands or legs, or fairly designed toes and fingers, or black and white optical but wonderful pair of sense- or the living amenities: family, home, car or most importantly the blessing to be guided- the very opportunity to know HIM: to be fed by His consciousness unlike those starving without being able to realize and convince oneself of that One Being, Most Powerful yet the Most Merciful who, unlike we humans, love to forgive and forgive and forgive every time we sin and sin and again sin.

Visiting the sick one, no matter on what creed does his heart feed, brings in the visitor a sense of humility. Perhaps it will refine the believer’s heart better than listening to a mind-blowing seminar delivered by an expert on religion.

When everything is fine in terms of health and wealth, we ought to pray thus, “Our Lord. Help me to give thanks for the favors you have bestowed upon me and my parents and help me to perform good deeds which please you and enter us by Your Mercy among Your righteous servants”.

And we need to thank Him for being able to be grateful to Him. For, a ‘kaafir’ is one who denies Him or is ungrateful to him.

While on the way back, an incident came to be placed on memory’s rack.

There was once a Jewish girl at Madina
Who threw thorns in the path of Mustafa

One day the girl fell very sick
And, Mustafa’s feet could she no longer prick

But the Worlds’ Mercy paid her a visit
And asked if there was anything to assist

Seeing his gesture of generosity
The girl waited not any longer to testify

‘Except Allah there is no God
And His Prophet is Muhammad ‘

sallallahu ala Muhammad sallallahu alaihi wa sallam.

Written on August 25th 2002 about a visit to a hospital in Sharjah