She stared with her eyes wide open at the man sitting in front of her in that examination room. She couldn’t believe the words coming out of his mouth. But she did know that the man wasn’t lying. He was Muntaha's doctor, Dr.Salaar.
After getting control of herself she finally asked:
“If I don’t do this Doc ...
“You have no choice. If you don’t do this Muntaha, I’m afraid you won’t survive."
Dr.Salaar cut her speech. She was being blinded by the tears in her eyes now. He patted her shoulder.
“I’m sorry Muntaha, but you need to be strong. We’ve been friends since childhood and I tried every possible treatment but this is the only way you can live, otherwise......"
"Yeah..." she said stroking her nose as she tried to catch her breath.
"I get it.... this is just another trick... I know He is playing with me...." she hiccupped.
She got up furiously and kicked the chair away.
"From the day I was born, I’ve been tricked by Him......" she busted into tears.
First, HE took my dad away, then mama and now He plans to snatch my eyes away…… and if I won’t surrender……. He'll take my breath way....... ", she continued weeping.
Dr.Salaar stepped forward to console her but she ran out of the examination room.
It was foggy outside the hospital. The surrounding streets were vociferous with traffic and pedestrians. Muntaha was feeling a bit calm then. But while walking on the street, she seemed vague as if benumbed. The lights entered her eyes in the form of dispersed rays, thwarted by tears in her eyes. She wiped off her wet eyes from the sleeves of her jacket. Her eyes were now smudged with the kajal she was wearing. She held her disheveled hair and straightened them on one side of her shoulder. Then she had walked towards a fountain situated at the side of the road. Sitting on its cold marble she looked at her reflection in the water.
"You have your father's eyes,” she recalled her mother's words. Muntaha had deep blue alluring eyes, just like her father. Her father was an opulent business man and her mother, a surgeon. They both belonged to a very eminent religious family. So Muntaha was also very religious. Moreover, being the only child of her parents, she was very much loved and was very willful. But when she was eight, her father died in a car accident. This unfortunate event was like a bolt from the blue for the family. Although they were still financially stable, by the courtesy of her father's handsome bank balance, but as Muntaha was very fond of her father, she was dumped down in the mouth. Moreover, after 5 years, her mother also died of heart attack. She was left alone in a situation of “me myself and I" in her early teens. She became hopeless and it was then that she became fed up from Allah. She decided never to pray again. Therefore, she grew up to be a very stubborn woman. Now she was 26. Clubbing, shopping, drinking and smoking were part and parcel of her life. She had never prayed since the death of her mother. She always thought that Allah is her enemy. She didn’t trust Him anymore. Pragmatism was her new religion. And now, when she was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, she kvetched about Allah even more.
The traffic horns returned her from the flashback to verisimilitude. She was still looking at her reflection. Salaar had told her the prophylaxis that, she loses either the cancer or her life.
The reality was damn too hard to assimilate. She toiled to stand but her legs felt like concrete. She couldn’t move.
“May be the cold has made them numb…”’ she thought.
She made another attempt to stand. But the world felt like, it’s circling around her as if she was the axis around which the earth seemed to revolve. She couldn’t get control over herself. But still after a few minutes of struggle, she managed to stand. She did not want to go home. Of course, no one was there waiting for her. She kept on trolling. Muntaha felt her throat as dry as thorns. She felt very frustrated. She was overwhelmed by her thoughts again.
“If He wants me blind, humiliated……. If He wants my repute destroyed, if HE plans this for me, I won’t let HIM succeed….. I’d prefer death.” She groaned in her thoughts………..
“Yes …..” she smiled sarcastically while weeping.
She didn’t stop. Rather, she kept on walking without the care where she was heading to. She was then walking beside a footpath, by a road clamoring with heavy traffic. The path was crowded. She could see how alone she was in this world. Strangers walked pass her to and fro nonchalantly.
Unanticipated, a woman bumped into her.
“Sorry dear…” said the woman, as she tried to prevent herself from stumbling.
Muntaha saw that she was blind.
“It’s okay.”…. she stared at the woman. Her face looked FAMILIAR but at the same she was sure that she didn’t know the woman. The woman’s “no-sight” condition made her feel even more miserable about the operation she would have to undergo.
“May I help you cross the street?”
She was never the “helping” kind of girl but something made her curious about this woman.
“Oh dear, May Allah bless you” the woman answered kindly.
Muntaha held her hand and took her across the street.
“Will you help me sit somewhere?”
She took her to a nearby bench and made her sit there. The thought of living without her sight quivered her whole body.
She couldn’t resist asking.
“Umm…. may I ask how you lost your sight? Of course…. if you don’t mind….?” She hesitated.
“Why would I mind?” the blind lady chuckled, showing her broken canines.
“Alhamdullilah, it was planned by my Allah.”
“How can you thank Allah when He has brought you to this condition?” Muntaha frowned.
“At least, I’m alive. I had pretty blue eyes, alike my father. I was a very rich woman. But since my teens, I had been living a life as a child without parents. I was very sinful. But still, Allah was kind enough for not making me dead.” The woman said contentedly.
“Unfortunate for me that I realized it after I got blind. After everyone left me alone. But, Allah is still with me. In my heart.”
The woman now stood up and started walking away.
“Wait. You didn’t tell.” Muntaha shouted from behind.
“What my dear?”
“How did you get blind?” she lowered her voice.
“It was retinoblastoma…… They removed my eyes.”
Muntaha stood as if someone has dropped a bombshell on her.
“Wh..What?” she could feel her jaw dropping.
She tried to catch her breath and asked,
“ …F,,, for HIM,,,,, wer,,,,, were you too late for Allah?” she stammered.
“It’s never too late….. Muntaha…… Your heart is beating in the right direction but your mind is not letting you move into one. Look to the sky. Pray and He’ll answer…… ALWAYS.”
She said pointing at the sky. Muntaha’s eyes followed her finger and looked at the sky.
“But … how…. How do you know my name…?.”
She looked down at her then………….
She wasn’t there.
Muntaha was knocked her socks off. She felt as if her worst fears were coming true.
She almost fainted but getting control of herself sat on the bench……….
“What’s happening to me……??” she busted into tears…..
“…………..He loves you more than 70 mothers, Muntaha honey. He won’t let you down….. ever……..”
Her mother’s voice whirled in her mind.
She busted into tears again.
“…and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know……….”
She heard a man’s voice. It was coming from a nearby masjid.
She continued to listen ………….
“………….Things aren’t always as they seem. The Mother of Musa (Alayhi Salam) Umm Musa was told to throw her son in the river, Yusuf (Alayhi Salam) was left for dead in a well, Maryam (Alayhi Salam) delivered a child alone, Yunus (Alayhi Salam) was swallowed by a whale, Ibrahim (Alayhi salam) was thrown in the fire, Muhammad (Salalahu Alayhi wa Salam) lost the love of his life Khadija (rasiallahu anha), Yet look at how it turned out for them in the end…………………..
So don’t forget……………, ALLAH HAS A PLAN FOR YOU"
She felt her hackles rise. She was stunned by the reaction she was showing to these words.
She tried to have a hang on herself but could feel her body shiver.
She fell to her knees. This time not in frustration and hopelessness.
Rather, this time she knelt down in SUBMISSION to Allah.
Rather, this time she knelt down in SUBMISSION to Allah.