I visited him at his house in Damansara. My long time colleague and confidante during our GHKL days and in Subang. He looked gaunt and schrivelled up. In his days he must have been the best brain in neurology. No, not actually the best , since best in any medical field is very relative. The most 'honest' would be the best description. 'Intellectual honesty' in rarefied medical fields like ours is a definite premium.
I diagnosed him with advance cancer of kidney some five years ago, 'renal cell carcinoma stage 4, with metastases to liver and lung'. Alhamdullillah with state of the art targeted therapy and 'nephrectomy' [ removal] of the involved kidney, he has had a long honeymoon of five years. Five years of continued work with long period of reflection, repentance and remembrance. Insyaallah!
He has been bed-riddened for two months now, with cancer in all organs except the brain. A small peanut size spread in the spinal cord is causing him paraplegia in the leg and a neurogenic bladder.
Otherwise he is as forward looking and cheerful as ever.
" Nik, God is Great! Of all the thing now I have a bladder and two legs that refuse to listen to my brain. All my life, I have been intellectualizing and advising people on all these things! "
"Mashaallah Doc, you are telling me one day I may be lucky to end up with a massive acute MI. That may be a kinder way to go , just maybe, from the perspective of the 'unschooled' . I remember writing on you some three years back, writing all those jazz about kaffarah , time for reflection and atonement and all that..."
" Yeah...thank you very much for reminding me. I was so engrossed with self pity and denial that time that initially I was quite cross with you. How can this young punk say cancer is good at any age! But after weeks of soul searching, I appreciate your viewpoint. Thank you.
No, Nik, All these time I have been busy looking after people , I have no time to ponder on the unponderables. But now since I am like this, I would not be totally honest if I tell you I am not worried about the next life.......the uncertainties, the 'alam barzark and all that "
That was my window of opportunity, I felt for the bulging envelope in my trousers and gave it to him.
We bade farewell with a promise to see him again. The bladder catheter needed to be change next week.
The Envelope :
Both of us are recognized experts in our fields but other than that we are very 'unschooled'. Very unschooled in the ugama. I am not ashamed to tell you that even now I read the Qur'an like a 'bloody....' mualaf. The little doa I learn here and there, I remember by heart and I keep my doa very short and precise. Like you, I cherish my 'relative independence' from being 'ter-ikat to any 'tarikat' group , so to speak, but there is a down side to that as well. finding a 'real' tok guru nowadays is not easy. i am pretty sure it also work the other way round as well, from the tok guru perspective...finding the right 'anak murid' is very rare.
Being without a 'shaykh' or a specific 'tok guru' , put us down to not having a definitive awrad or wirid to follow with when we do our zikrullah. We collect several 'bits' and 'pieces' along the way . Both of us are still looking for our mushyid and before that we have to make do. But Doc Sabri, do not despair, for there is a not too well known tradition that concede that for those without a Murshid Tok Guru, if we 'selawat to the nabi' constant enough and of enough 'volume', the Prophet [ pbuh ] himself will act as our murshid. He will be waiting for us at the al Kauthar!
Let me not beat about the bush,my dear friend!
You are in a dire straight with respect to your health and your life is currently in the balance. With due respect, you will agree with me that you are now more 'there than here'. This is critical time for you.
The 'whisperer' can appear to you in your semi-sleep state as your long gone parents. That is the most dangerous part and 'they' turn your aqidah upside down in the last minute. We have talk about 'suul khatimah' and 'husnul khatimah' before and this is the critical time. In order not to give time and space for the 'whisperer' I feel it is of paramount importance for you to be in continuous zikrullah in all your waking hours. If you do it constantly enough you will find you wakes up in zikr!
If you have not yet have a 'modus operandi', let me humbly suggest this one.
It is important we keep our mind focused on Him and not give'space' and time for syaitan and iblis to creep 'inuendoes' and 'doubt', especially in your case now Doc,, with your brain just intact, with no movement in both legs and even no sensation in your bladder.
the awrad i am proposing now is mainly from imam al ghazali's 1st volume of his voluminous 4 volume opus magnum, " ihya ulumiddin", with a smattering addition here and there from 'this shaykh and that shaykh' whom i have the priveledge to cross path in what i may term as 'my mainly secular life pathway and trajectory'.....so far.
Start with your morning , say at 5 am with:
1. Astagfirullah hal Azim. Astagfirullah hal Azim.....Atagfurullah hal azim......[ punctuated by ] Astagfirullah hal Azim allazi laila hailla huwal Hayyul Qayyum wa atu bu ilaik. Rabbir firli waliwa lidayya wal mukmini wal mukminat. Nayau mayaku mulhisab.............x70 will be best.
[ Oh Allah forgive and bless me..........Forgive and bless both my parents, and muslimin and muslimah on the day of al Hisab] x1 , x3, x7 or more up to a hundred time if you like, the more the better, if you have the time, motivation and the mental energy. After sometime, it become second nature and if time allow, the more the better. A 100 time will do for istiqamah
The second part of this doa is actually doa nabi Ibrahim.
'waliwa lidayya wal mukmini wal mukminat', was taught to me by, personally by a shaykh teaching ugama in the masjidil haram, 33 years ago. he opined that this is the best doa and thing you can do for your parents. i never stop doing it in all sujud and my prayer doa for 32 years. such a simple but profound doa it is. i have forgotten the shaykh's name. i think it was something something al banjari....he must have started teaching even when you were there in the early seventies!
2. subha nallah wal hamdullillah wala ila haillallah huwallah hu akbar , wala haula wala kuwwata illa billa hil aliy yul azim x 100 would be best
[ 1 and 2 are exceprt from ihya's volume 1 on recommended wirid by imam al ghazali ]
rise to do your tahajjud, 2 rakaat , 4, 6 or 8, oryour sunat fajar prayer
while waiting for fajar prayer [ in the context of a congregational subuh prayer in the masjid, which does not apply to you know doc sabri, repeat 1 and 2 ]
and after fajar prayer
another series of astagfirullah , x3 or x7
3. Allahumma ajirni minannar
[ Oh Allah, keep me away from the hellfire ] x1, x3, x7 or more
4. Allahumma antasalam ,wa min kas salam, wa alaika ya u' dussalam, wa adkhilna jannata daras salam, ta baa rok tarabbana wa ta allai taya Zal jala liwal ikram.
5. Al Fatihah x7
6. An Nas x7
7. Al Falak x7
8. Kul Huwallah x7
9. Kulya ayyuhal kafirun x7
10. 1st 5 ayat of surah al baqarah x7
11. Ayatul Kursi x7
12. Last 2 to 3 verses of surah al baqarah x7
13. Selawat to the Nabi [pbuh ]:
Allahumma sallaliala sayyidina Muhammmadin nur'i wa ahlihi [ x1, x 3, x 100 or more ]
[ footnote: item 5 to 12, is the opening 'gambit' of a zikr handed to me by Shaykh Ninowy of the Shadili Rifa'i Qadiri Sufi Order. it is also recommeneded by imam al ghazali in his ihya..........as the story went, one karaz bin wabrah an abdal of the early century around al ghazali's time related that he was given this wirid by ibrahim at taimi, a well known wali of his time. ibrahim at taimi , according to al ghazali got it in dream from al khidr himself, and al khidr got it from our nabi........if you belong to a wahabbi type of thinking and very partial about wali getting good dreams , and think it is an impossibility, you can of course forget about this. your ugama is still safe, except it is high and dry, 'sanitized' would be the exact word, devoid of sublime pleasure.....etc and etc ]
14.. La ila haillah antasubha nakainni kuntuminazolimin [ doa nabi Yunus ]
[ My favourite and my Tok Guru's favourite. It represent both 'tasbih' and 'taubat' ] x3, x7, x100 or more if you please ]
[ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HL1v7Av63qo ]
15. Laila haillah huwahdahu la shari kalah lahul mulku walahul hamdu wahuwa ala kullishai in' Qadir x7 , x100
[ according to one well known tradition, your 'estate' in jannah is 'flat and empty', whatever it mean. This zikr are your 'trees' and 'garden' in jannah ! Allahualam ! ]
16. Allah humma innaka affuwon tuhibbul afwa wa' fuanni x7
[ Oh Allah, only You can forgive, forgive me ]
17. Allahumaya mukalibal qulub thabit qalbi ala ka di nik
[ Oh Allah, the One who changes hearts, firm my heart on your Din ] x7
18. Allahumaya mukalibal qulub thabit qalbi ala ka ta'atik
[ Oh Allah, the One who changes hearts, firm my heart in your obedience ] x7
19. Allah humma adhilni jannatul firdaus
[ Oh Allah grant me your Highest Paradise ] x7
20. Ashaduanla ila haillallah huwah dahu lashari kalah, wa ashhaduan na muhammadan abduhu warasuluh x3, x7 or [ x 100 ], if you like
21.. Subha nallah wabihamdihih subhanallah hil Azim x100
[ another powerful zikr ]
22. ya Allah
23. Ar Rahman nya Rahim x100
25. ya Hayyu ya Qayyum x100
26 ya Rabb ya Zaljala liwal ikram x100
27. Ya Fatah , Ya Razak, ya Wahab, ya Ghoni, ya Mughni, x100 or more
28.. Ya Qhodeem [ no beginning, eternal ] , ya Daim [ no end ], ya Ahad, ya Wahid, ya Samad
[ item 27 and 28 handed to me some 20 years by a local tok guru in a tarikat operating somehwere in Ampang at that time. We used to ahve many 'happy' hours of group zikr then ]
29. ya Latif x129 or 133 or more
30. . Laila haillallah [ the best of them all! ] . x100 , x1000 or more
[ The most powerful statement in the whole wide universe.]
[ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8zgt6ZKvqk&spfreload=5 ]
31 . And lastly, your private doa for salvation and Robbana atina fiddunya hasana....................
[ after all the zikr ,followed by a substantial series of HIS really big Names, insyaallah your doa will be heard ]
Well Doc, both of us are 'unschooled' in this things. These wirid I collect from here and there along the years. I am sure there are better ones out there but this one is the best I can think of, from my very limited knowledge in these things. .
Both you and me , we ignoramus and cannot remember long zikr and long doa.
If you do these very well, by the time you finish with it, it will be time for solat sunat Israq. The whole process actually will take a good one and a half hour at least.
And if for the next, you can attempt a longer cycle, by the time you finish, it will be time for solat Dhuha. After Dhuha, carry on your zikr to Zohor, and so on and so forth. With practice , you will find when you wake up you are in zikrullah!
[ ...if we go by imam al ghazali, it would be good to repeat the whole gamut of zikr and doa again around asr time....why you may ask?
the people of the higher circle have their 'shift' around asar and subuh, that was the answer.
It is critical that in your condition now, you dont give space to the 'Whisperer'.
In your condition ,get your son to help you to be in 'perpetual ablution.
May you and me, in our 'final hour', be granted hasnul khatimah.
May our life past and present be a blessed one.
May our friendship remain 'dunia dan akhirat'.
May God bless you.
Dr Sabri Rejab went on to join 'the realm of the Beloved', at 4 am, 25th December, surrounded by wife, and family at his last hour. He lived a life of grace and died also in grace.
He was in continuos zikr right up to the moment of loss of conciousness, I was told.
At 2 am thereof he woke up his semi comatosed state, said the shahada, and still able to ask his son to check on the correctness of his shahada, and then slipped into coma again.
Innalillah hiwainna ilaihirojion.
His demise left a big gapping hole there in my heart.
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