True story of a good Samaritan of Makkah

narrated by Shaheen Nazar, Saudi Gazette, Jeddah

First published in the journal "Haj and Umrah"

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HAJ is one occasion when the true spirit of brotherhood is evident everywhere in Makkah and its surroundings. Serving guests of Allah is the way of life in the city from where Islam spread in every nook and corner of the world. Those living in Makkah – local as well as foreign residents – take pride in helping pilgrims. So the city is full of stories of charities, voluntary works and sacrifices done with just one intention – to please Allah Almighty and get rewarded on the day of judgement. Nearly one million people live in Makkah. And all of them play host to pilgrims in one way or the other. Those whose relatives and friends come to perform Haj or Umra specially get the chance of showing their hospitality.

Here is the story of Dr Abdul Moiz Shams who not only served his relative but also performed Haj on his behalf when the relative died before Haj. Syed Suhail Yazdani was among the first batch of Indian pilgrims who landed in Madinah with his wife.

He was a retired professor of entomology at an agriculture college in the eastern Indian city of Muzaffarpur. He fell sick immediately after arriving in Madina. He had heart problem but he never realized this. He was wrongly diagnosed as asthmatic by doctors in his native place and he has been taking medicine for that only.

“He had actually cardiac asthma and not bronchial asthma for which he was being given medicine even in India. When he consulted doctors in Madinah they also gave him injection and medicine for bronchial asthma,” said Dr Moiz who is related to Prof. Suhail through his wife. But the two men had never seen each other. They met for the first time in Makkah when Prof. Suhail and his wife arrived in the city after staying for ten days in Madinah.

“He was sick and frail when I saw him. There was swelling all over his body. Since I was meeting him for the first time I did not know whether he was puffy faced or it was really a swelling. I asked his wife who is a relative of mine ‘has he been like that ever?’ “She as well as her husband was very cool about it. They said may be it was because of long bus journey from Madina,” Dr Moiz recalled.

For a moment Dr Moiz was convinced. The normal five-hour Madinah-Makkah journey takes double the time during Haj. Even normal people get exhausted. But being a doctor he remained suspicious and took Prof. Suhail to his hospital. A team of doctors thoroughly examined him and discovered that he was suffering from congestive cardiac failure. His heart was found to be enlarged (cardiomegaly). He had generalized edema (swelling) and mild chest infection. He was unable to breath while lying down (orthopnia). In this condition one cannot perform Haj, doctors pronounced. They told him that if he goes for Haj there would be chances of infection and exhaustion. Therefore, it was advisable to avoid it for now. It was shocking for both the husband and the wife.

People, specially those coming from the Indian subcontinent, wait for whole life to fulfill this religious obligation. They spend their life saving on this journey. One can imagine the plight of a person who is already in Makkah and he is told that he cannot perform Haj. Prof. Suhail began to look for someone who could do it on his behalf. Dr Moiz was the only person whom he could ask to look for such a person. It is not easy to find someone like that, specially when the Haj was just ten days away, said Dr Moiz. He himself was on emergency duty in his hospital so he was not in a position to make any commitment. Seeing his condition Dr Moiz did not let him go to his accommodation near Haram. Instead he brought him to his residence to observe his condition closely and also to provide him comfort in whatever way possible. But according to Dr Moiz, the response of the treatment which started immediately was not encouraging.

“He stayed with me for two days. I observed that his health was deteriorating. So with the consultation of my colleagues I decided to get him admitted to King Abdul Aziz Hospital in Makkah,” he said.

It was 28th of Dhul Qaida. He brought to hospital at 9 a.m. and by 4 in the afternoon he died. It was a trying moment for his wife, naturally. But Dr Moiz and his colleagues, too, were overwhelmed with grief. They have been trying to save a life but the destiny had decided otherwise.

As if the plight of Prof. Suhail’s wife was not over. On the 7th of of Dhul Haj, just a day before the voyage to Mina, the widow broke her hand when she had a slip in the Haram. Now she was also on the verge of missing her Haj. Once again Dr Moiz came to the rescue. He brought her to his hospital and gave necessary treatment including a plaster on her hand. This at least enabled her to perform Haj in a state of physical as well as mental pain. But the problem of finding someone to perform Haj on behalf of Prof Suhail was still unsolved. Though his widow did not say anything, Dr Moiz seeing the emotional situation volunteered himself to perform Haj at the last moment. Luckily his hospital is very close to Mina, he managed to do it along with his duty. His doctor colleagues and administration people also cooperated with him in this noble cause.