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December 1, 2004

Weakness Upon Weakness (and other trivial matters)


“And We have enjoined upon man (to be gracious) to his parents; his mother bore him in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is for two years – Give thanks to Me and to your parents, unto Me is the final return (31:14)”


Among the many amazing attributes of the Qur’an, its syntax and diction are perhaps one of the more significant qualities that set it apart from any other man-made literary work. The Jahili Arabs did not have monuments or vast corpora of knowledge as their most significant achievement; rather, they prided themselves on being masters of the written word, as Shaykh Hamza once referred, as being “knights of speech”. Qadi `Iyadh writes in the Shifa that “… they had no doubt that speech was like clay(putty) in their hands and they could mold it to fit their desires…”. It was to these people that the Qur’an, in all of its literary glory, was sent, and–among many things that it accomplished–it debunked their vainglorious notion that they were such masters, since the Qur’an made them look like little children.


The Qur’an still continues to amaze me every time I open it. Among the many things that I’m fascinated by is this literary power of the Qur’an–those specific words that are chosen at specific places to convey vast realms of meaning. Now, I’m not intending to do a tafseer (exegesis) here on the above-mentioned verse, but when reading about hematopathology and pregnancy, I was amazed at how biological events correlate amazingly well to what the Qur’an so eloquently states.


Specifically, the phrase, “weakness upon weakness” (wahnan `ala wahnin) is an interesting one for many reasons. First, in Arabic rhetoric, it conveys a sense of hyperbole or limitlessness–in other words, “weakness upon weakness upon weakness” to the point that it becomes ad infinitum. Another example of this is seen in the famous ayah from Surah al-Nur, wherein it says “Light upon Light” (noorun `ala noor) to indicate an immeasurable, immortal, and incomprehensible (excuse the alliteration… hehe) amount of Light to instill a state of bewilderment in the reader. The same thing applies to the weaknesses that the mother bears–it is meant to convey to the reader that one cannot begin to fathom the amount of weaknesses that a mother bears.


Biologically, this weakness starts from the moment of the union of the female and male cells that will give rise to the fetus. As these cells divide and grow, the fetus is basically composed of 50% of the father and 50% of the mother. In a normal state of one’s defense system, one’s body will reject any foreign tissue from another person (an identical twin being the exception). In other words, if you were to randomly graft some skin from your friend onto your arm, your body would launch a response against it, killing the implanted cells that it believes to be a hostile invader. Yet, the mother’s system doesn’t immediately kill the father’s contribution to the fetus… nor does it target those parts of the fetus that are paternal in origin. So how does this natural response to foreign tissue not happen? Essentially, there is a temporary weakness in the mother’s immune system that will allow these “foreign” cells to grow inside of her womb. Moreover, this is another weakness since this involves a lowering of her immune system, opening her up to be attacked by all sorts of nasty little pathogens (bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc).


As the embryo continues to grow, it relies on the mother for all of its nutrients (food and oxygen)… basically, it’s a parasite since it leeches off the mother and gives nothing in return (except maybe psychological happiness, which has to count for something, I guess), yet another weakness to the mother. And after it’s done using the food and oxygen, it relies on the mother to remove the waste products–still yet another weakness that is borne by the mother. The mother bears another weakness by transferring many of her immune cells to the child so that the child has an immune system to fight off nasty little critters after it comes into the world. More weaknesses follow: the mother vomiting every morning (morning sickness), feeling tired easily, all the mental anxiety and prayer that the child will be born healthy, all the lost sleep at night, all the pain experienced from the child kicking in the womb… weaknesses raised to the infinity power (also keep in mind that she probably also has to deal with her husband just chilling and prolly watching Sportscenter throughout all this, which is a jihad in and of itself to most women).


And then the child is born, and the mother has to deal with a whole legion of physical, mental, spiritual, and psychological weaknesses in her struggle to raise a righteous, intelligent, ethical, and sovereign human being.


Weakness upon weakness… how eloquently the Qur’an spoke of realities at the biological, physical, mental, psychological, and spiritual that every mother must face to bring a child into this world and raise him/her.


Don KZ (Kazim) asked me to say a few words about rahmah (mercy) and how that’s related to the womb: Continuing in the same vein that I started with, i.e., the Qur’an’s brilliant rhetoric, it’s amazing that the Arabic word for womb is raham, which is built off the same trilateral root for mercy/compassion, rahmah. It is these same two attributes that we constantly recite every day when we say Bismillahi al-Rahman al-Raheem (In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful). A fascinating Hadith Qudsi states, “I have decreed My Name as al-Rahman, al-raham (the womb) is of My Name of al-Rahman…”. Even in the English language, the word “woman” is a derivative of a “man” with a “womb”. In other words, a pristine and perhaps most sacred source of Divine Mercy in this world is the womb. The closest thing to Allah in this world is rahmah, and if the womb is related both linguistically and metaphysically to rahmah, it is perhaps impossible to comprehend what our mothers did for us. And if you think about all that we benefitted from our mothers both in the womb and once we left the womb (i.e., their bringing us up) and then we consider that Allah loves a person more than his mother, it boggles the mind as to the nature and extent of Divine Mercy and should shame and motivate us into becoming worthy of receiving a portion of it.


What you should do: 1. Go give your mother a big hug right now and apologize for being such a disappointment in regards to all the effort she’s put into you. Or if you can’t hug her immediately (ie, you live on campus or something), call her everyday instead of having her call you everyday. Stop being such a scrub.


2. Don’t ever tick your mom off. Seriously, it’s such a simple lesson, but I can swear that I’ve had the worst days after I’ve ticked my mom off. Particularly for people who want to start a new family against the advice of their mothers–1 minus 2 = negative one: don’t start a new family by pissing your mothers off and breaking two families.


3. Appreciate how freakin amazing the Qur’an is in every sense of the word. Accordingly adjust your relationship with it, based on how well you appreciate its amazingness.


Trivial Matters


1. I have to send a shoutout and props to Mirza and Isaac Qureshi for modding my Xbox and adding games to it, respectively. Though I should probably be mad at you guys since I have yet another reason not to study for finals… specifically, Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time. The puzzles are great, the graphics are breathtaking, and even though it’s taking me such a long time to figure things out (such as the controls since its been ages since I played video games) I can’t put down the controller since the storyline is so engrossing. I need to stop playing this and go do more productive things, but this game is simply amazing:





The Prince is such a stud!


2. This one’s for you Hisham: I had this dream after Fajr today that I was at the Bears game this upcoming Sunday against the Vikings. It was the 4th quarter and the Bears were down by 4 points with about 2 minutes to go. After David Terrell dropped yet another wide open catch at the Vikings’ 20 yard line or so, Lovie Smith looks up at me and is like, “Get in there!”. All of a sudden I’m in a Bears uniform (wearing #14, of course) and I’m in the huddle with Jeff George as the QB. He looks at me and goes, run a slant post to the back of the endzone. Next thing I know, the play is snapped and I run the route and Jeff George throws this perfect spiral over the outstretched arms of the safety and I catch it in the endzone for the game-winning touchdown =).


3. Saqib said I could post this to humiliate him:
SaqibShafi (1:59:44 PM): I slept wrong and my back kills
k r 1 5 6 (1:59:48 PM): nice
k r 1 5 6 (2:00:01 PM): i suggest taking some tylenol/aleve
k r 1 5 6 (2:00:08 PM): and standing in the hot shower for a good 20 minutes
SaqibShafi (2:00:11 PM): tylenol is in system
k r 1 5 6 (2:00:13 PM): or if shariq or someone is around
k r 1 5 6 (2:00:20 PM): have them massage your back to loosen it up
k r 1 5 6 (2:00:26 PM): or walk on your back if you can tolerate it
SaqibShafi (2:16:10 PM): that’s why we need wives
SaqibShafi (2:16:28 PM): to give us massages and walk on our backs (since they should weigh less than us)
SaqibShafi (2:16:40 PM): right after they cook us rohtis and bake us tons of cookies/brownies for us whenever we want
 

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9 Comments
  1. It’s not a humiliation attempt. It’s a call to chicks who want to go to junnah cuz they can be what a man needs in a life. A legit wife.

  2. Anonymous permalink

    first part of your post made me cry.

  3. Yo Diaz,Since you’ve so eloquently discussed some of the dynamics of the womb, could you please discuss how the word Rahma plays in all of this?

  4. Anonymous permalink

    an addition to What you should do:
    4. Treat your wife like a queen during pregnancy. And before and after it too.

  5. Anonymous permalink

    Treating wives as queen’s is overrated, it just gets to their heads..(one eprop for that awesome ending to that convo)
    But Saqib is absolutely money… legit wives serve their husbands in legit ways..(one of those eprops goes to saqib)
    p.s KR (as for the pass catching) in youre dreams.. oh wait a minute! lol
    Can i get a cliff notes for point one?
    (p.s why the #14?)

  6. Your wife won’t cook/bake you jack if you don’t recognize her awesomeness. I may have said what I said but I fear that I’m gonna be a mean ol Desi uncle that comes home with a face like Mufti Kamal says “kew moo banaakoh aathai ghar ko?”

  7. SaquibSaab….you just draw in all the ladies with your comments don’t you??
    first it was that comment about “ohh..my wife from this world would be enough for me even if i had all the hoors of jannah” and now this….
    you make me wanna throw up….
    ugh!

  8. There is no U in my name you batch! (not a typo)

  9. 100 eprops!by far your best post ever… it almost makes up for those awful WMD…er…TWD posts

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