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October 19, 2004

Hospital Anecdotes, the Death of Veerappan, and Questions Never to Ask a Shaykh

This week has been pretty cool since we’re out in the hospital with some real patient contact instead of drudging through boring basic sciences lectures and filling our heads with useless facts such as there is a strong correlation between HLA-B27 and ankylosing spondylitis. Exactly… useless info like that. But this week has been great, not only because of the actual clinical exposure, but we’ve also had an extremely relaxed schedule (we only go in for about 3 hrs a day) that is Ramadan-friendly. At the risk of violating ridiculous HIPPA laws, I’m going to share two stories:

1. On Monday morning, we went on morning rounds with the residents. The resident in charge was this pure FOB (down to the coconut oil in his hair) who lead a team of 4th year medical students and another first year resident. Anyway, so there was this a 92 year old Caucasian lady who had been brought to the hospital on Friday after her neighbors found her incoherently wandering the neighborhood without knowing where she was. After she was admitted, the other residents (and even the attending) wanted to write her off as a case of Alzheimer’s-related dementia and admit her to the mental wing of the hospital. But this Fob resident had another idea: he didn’t think it was true dementia, and before sending this poor lady off to the mental wing, he wanted to rule out vitamin B12 deficiency as a cause for the dementia. Everyone else scoffed at him, since B12 is abundant in meat products and B12 deficiency really isn’t a problem in America. But this guy was from the motherland… where vitamin and nutritional deficiencies are as common as the cold. So old boy ordered a vitamin B12 test… and sure enough, she was B12 deficient–because of her lacking teeth (and hating to put on dentures), she was pretty much eating a vegetarian diet. So they gave her some B12 and intrinsic factor (which helps to absorb the B12) and sure enough, she made a drastic recovery over the weekend. Anyway, the point of this story is that I learnt a huge lesson here: don’t underestimate the FOBs, because some of these guys really know their stuff.

2. I saw an 81-year old Caucasian lady today who had been admitted to the hospital on Sunday night after suffering a heart attack. So I went through the usual history related questions: onset, duration, location, character of pain, etc. After going through all this questioning, nothing significant stood out as to lead her to have an MI. I mean, she had diabetes and was pretty old, but she wasnt overweight or had any history of heart problems, so I asked her if anything out of the ordinary happened on Sunday or if she did something outside of her usual schedule. She then told me in a perfectly straight face and in a no-nonsense manner: “Well, I was really pissed off after watching the Bears game and I couldn’t stop being mad about that for the rest of the day.” I had to control my laughter and I asked her if she was serious, and she said yes. This buddhi has been a Bears/Cubs fan ever since she was 4… and then she proceeded to tell me about the glory days of Chicago sports back when she was growing up. Anyway, the point of this story is that if you’re not careful, supporting the Bears and Cubs for more than 70 years of your life may increase your risk of a heart attack .

In other news, I found out today that the notorious smuggler and arch-villain of India, Koose Muniswammy Veerappan (known simply as Veerappan), was killed today after an extensive gun battle with Indian special police.

I was shocked, because this guy was the pimp criminal in India, evading police and law officials for more than 30 years. He had a celebrity-like status, with the common folk loving him and helping him evade the police. While he was no Robin Hood, he supported countless poor people from his criminal activities, making him a hero to many. I remember when I used to go to India as a kid, I used to hear mothers scare their children by threatening to call Veerappan if they didn’t stop crying or whining. The guy was so popular that they made a movie about him. In the end, it took millions of dollars, thousands of police and special forces, and more than 30 years to bring him down. He’s no hero or role model… but still, you gotta admire his charisma and ability to not get caught.

Finally, Saqib and I were bored yesterday online. We probably should have been doing more productive and spiritually rewarding things… instead, we came up with a list of questions that one should never ask a scholar because they’re just plain dumb. You have to wonder about the mental status of those people who’ve asked these questions. The sad thing is that many of these questions are real questions that people have asked in the past. Feel free to add your own real or fake questions in the comments section.

1. Can we sell lottery tickets in our gas station?
2. My son asked me if he could marry a girl that he is fond of from MSA, but she is Arab, is this halaal?
3 Can I put candles on the cake I buy on the Prophet’s birthday or would that make it bid`ah?
4 My Muslim friend used the word God instead of Allah during our conversation last week. can you please tell him he’s a kafir because we don’t believe in God, we believe in Allah `azza wa jal subhanu wa ta`aala (emphasis on the Arabic praise said in a harsh guttural Arab voice)
5. All my co-workers eat pork. We all drink from the same water cooler. Is it haram for me to drink from the same water as those haram swine-eaters?
6. I’m trying to get my son to stop watching American movies because they show so much haraam and tell him to be more like my daughter and watch only Indian flims, what should I tell him?
7. If Eid is on a friday, do i have to pray eid prayer AND jumu’ah?
8. (at Hajj, after our group scholar has given a 45 min lecture on how to perform umrah and its rituals of tawaf, sa’i, etc.) So wait, we have to go around the ka’bah SEVEN times?
9. What do we do about the itching after shaving

10. If the masjid is having a canned food drive, can i donate canned pork products because i get them cheap from my supplier to feed hungry palestinians?

11. Is listening to elevator music haram?
12. My son doesnt want to be a doctor. I’ve tried talking to him but he won’t listen. Please talk to him shaykh, I don’t know what to do.

Currently Playing ( doesn’t have this either… world’s largest warehouse my foot): Shaykh Abdur-Rahman al-Sudais – Surah al-Ma’idah (CD from taraweeh of Ramadan ’97)


From → Uncategorized

  1. Anonymous permalink

    12 questions not to ask Maulana Youseff. LoL damn been there done that.

  2. I have no life.

  3. dude, arabs dont pray jumuah on eid day…instead, they just pray zuhr and go about there business like for example, eating haram meat.

  4. ok here are some questions:When you’re travelling, do you only pray one rakat for fajr?Like girls who say its all about the inner hijab, is it all about the inner beard for men?If I fart while making wudu, does it break my wudu?Also, i know its wrong to wipe over socks for wudu, but what if i wipe over my shoes? Is that allowed?i know that you’re not held accountable for the first glance, but when does it expire so that when i happen to look again, it is once again a “first glance”?if dreamt that i prayed fajr, do i have to wake up and pray again?there is a hadith that says reading surah ikhlas three times is equivelant to the entire quran. so, if i recite surah ikhlas three times to the Maulana, am I a Hafiz?i’ve heard there are gay mosques in toronto astaghfirullah. what is the ruling on purdah there?i work long hours and don’t have time for prayer. is it allowed to combine all five into a super-prayer consisting of 17 straight rakats in the beginning of the day? some brothers in my community said its ok to eat haram meat if you just recite bismillah over it. does the same apply to beer? i mean, technically, its just barley…

  5. Anonymous permalink

    LOL you started off slow but towards the end those were some damn good questions

  6. there was a majlis where a shaykh mentioned not to use microwaves because of its negative effects, micro waves, and the other waves (something like that), and it makes you spoiled and lazy etc
    he was asked – ‘so if we cant use a microwave, how are we supposed to warm our food??’

  7. i go to sleep before fajer and wake up after fajer, but i pray fajer before and after…does it still count?
    if i wear hijab and everything is covered, is it okay if my stomache shows? no, really…even if everything else is covered?!?

  8. hahaha, you guys came up with some hilarious ones. good stuff.

  9. Shaykh Abdur-Rahman al-Sudais’s recitation is one of my favorites.  i’m glad you listen to his recitation too 😉

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