[This reminder is extremely personal. I was debating with myself whether I should even post this, but I believe it may benefit others and serve as a good reminder inshaAllah.]
Ramadan just started, and some people are already becoming lazy in their worship of Allah. This saddens me because it is a reminder that we take this life that Allah has bestowed upon us for granted. On the Day when there is no shade except the shade of Allah, we will regret this. I want to discuss with you the importance of living this Ramadan as though it is your last, because I almost did not make it to this Ramadan.
Almost three weeks ago, I was on my way to do the sisters portion of the WhyIslam Ansar program, "The Basics of Ramadan for Reverts," when I got into a major car accident.
I was driving next to the carpool lane, suddenly a white SUV from the carpool lane swerved into my drivers side. This forced me to go into the next lane over to my right. I was there in lane two for a few seconds when another big van who came in from the third lane to the right of me, hit me from behind, and sent my car spinning. I then hit the wall or the divider next to the carpool lane that separates opposing traffic. The first thing I remember thinking about was the Shahadah (There is no Deity worthy of worship except Allah, and Muhammad [peace be upon him] is His Messenger). So I kept repeating it. Even though I had a seat belt on, I was jerked side to side in my car. My neck was in pain and my head felt like it was going to explode (I know I shouldn't be talking about explosions, I'm Muslim). But really, I thought I was hemorrhaging. (For some reason, nursing school got me paranoid. You learn about so many diseases and conditions you begin to think you have them all). I had never imagined myself dying in a car accident; that's how my brother died. In that moment, I began to think about how this was so far away from how I had asked Allah for my death. There was no sujood, no Friday, not in Hajj or Madina, or tahajjud, any holy place, time, action or state a Muslim would be pleased to die in. This made me sad and my eyes welled with tears. I couldn't do anything about it so I accepted that this is how I was going to die.
I looked out my windshield, the hood of my car was crippled, and saw people had come out of their cars staring with mouths dropped and some running towards me, asking, "ma'am, are you ok?!" I heard them saying the ambulance was on its way. A very nice Hispanic couple stayed with me until the firetrucks got there. The wife held my hand, and kept telling me to stay awake, and keep my eyes open. My neck was in pain, and the first thing I thought about was paralysis and not being able to breathe. My arms and legs were numb, sometimes tingling. My body felt lifeless, although I did stabilize my neck and lowered my seat a bit so that my neck wouldn't suffer further injury. The lady's name was Laurie and she asked if I wanted juice or pineapple. I thought, if the car accident doesn't kill me, for sure the pineapple will...I can choke and die! But I knew she meant well, and her kindness and innocence reminded me of my mother. She continued to hold my hand until I heard sirens somewhere far away. I asked her if she could get my phone and call my parents so I could ask them for forgiveness. She couldn't hear me. She moved her ear close to my face and I repeated my sentence. I had to repeat myself about ten times, and she still couldn't hear me. It turns out, nobody could hear me! The paramedics and firemen kept asking me the same questions over and over, but I couldn't make myself talk louder. I have been told I am a low-talker, but this really frustrated me. I was about to die, and I wouldn't even get a chance to ask my parents for forgiveness. I know my parents love me and think I'm a G lol, but trust me, I have not been an easy child to raise, so I needed that forgiveness in what I thought were my last moments.
I wasn't crying or bawling, but I still couldn't control my tears. I also couldn't control my breathing. For the first time, my thoughts and my body were not in-sync. I was hyperventilating. In the ER, my heart rate was off the charts and my oxygenation went down to 78%! That's bad! They said I was in and out of consciousness, and I don't remember everything that happened. What I do remember is how the most important aspects of life were re-emphasized and suddenly prioritized themselves before me, and I was once again reminded. Alhumdulillah, I have no fractures, paralysis, and no, I was not hemorrhaging, although there was a bleed on the back of my head. However, the multiple spinal disc protrusions, disc desiccation, and head contusions, constant headaches, dizziness, neck and back pain makes it difficult to live Ramadan the way I had intended to. I can't sit, stand or bear any position too long. I feel broken. I have to do taraweeh in a chair, and even that is painful. You see, nothing is guaranteed, especially our health. So if you think you can worship Allah later on, and disregard or neglect His commandments now, you need to rethink your understanding of this life and truly reflect upon your purpose in this world. Ramadan is the perfect time to do that.
Even though both cars that hit me ran off, and my poor car is totaled, I was touched by kindness that day. From the Hispanic couple to the paramedics, firemen, doctors, and of course all of the nurses...I am grateful. I ask Allah for their guidance.
I don't know at what point I was thinking this, but I remember being aware that I was still alive, and this made me sad. It gave me anxiety. It's not that I wanted to die, rather I was relieved that I had at least said the Shahadah, and I felt this was a good sign that maybe I could still make it to Jannah. However, knowing that I was still alive, there was still a chance that Allah would be disappointed in me, and that I might become so far lost and gone astray that I may not be able to say the Shahadah when the time for my destined death does come. May Allah protect me from going astray and help all of us proclaim the Shahadah in our last moments. Please, let's not waste the blessed days of Ramadan or let them pass us by idly. Live purposefully. Live deliberately. Live as though this is your last Ramadan. It may very well be. May Allah forgive us. Ameen.