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December 5, 2004

Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis (SSPE)

This is your brain

This is your brain with Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis… any questions? (since the pic isnt loading for some people)

You’re probably thinking, What the hell kr, yet another medical post?

Well, kinda… humor me, please. Since I’m relegated to cramming for finals, I really don’t have much to post about. Then it struck me… subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE)… that’s what I would post about.

Um, yeah, why do I care, I’m a computer science major

Yeah, well then you should probably stop here, give me eprops, and be on your way. But if you want to see how this relates to the spiritual diseases of the heart… read on…

SSPE is a rare disease that occurs often in the adolescent years marked by a sudden onset of various neurological problems, such as abnormal behavior, irritability, intellectual deterioration, and memory loss which may be followed by involuntary movements and seizures. Subsequently, the patient develops further mental deterioration, inability to walk, speech impairment with poor comprehension, and difficulty swallowing. Blindness may also result. In the final stages of disease, the patient may remain mute or comatose, leading to death within 1-3 years.

What causes it kr and get to the point quickly cause this is boring. Well, this horrible disease happens when a person is infected with a measles virus at a young age. The virus infects the person and doesn’t cause any disease. Instead, it sort of sits around and spreads all over the person’s body and just chills out for a number of years, biding for time. Then it mutates to a really nasty form, some sort of stressful event (other injury, infection, etc) happens to the person, and then the virus begins to really start causing some serious damage. The symptoms present very slowly, to the point that the patient doesn’t even know he/she has the disease. Then all of a sudden, BAM, the disease is full blown, working its way into the brain and basically eating away at the brain tissue itself, causing all those neurological problems I listed above.

So this is a pretty horrible disease, yet it’s really rare to ever see a patient with this since the vast majority of people get immunized with the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine at a young age.

But I guess it’s kinda like the diseases of the heart. A person gets infected with envy, hate, miserliness, etc. and these diseases often don’t immediately cause symptoms. The infection is often a result of a lack of proper actions/words (or the wrongfully done counterparts) that infects the person and lays hidden, quietly spreading to and infecting the other organs–especially the heart–waiting for the perfect opportunity to manifest itself and unleash its damage on the person. And it will remain that way until some stressful event happens to the person and BAM, the disease is full blown, and having established itself in the heart, quickly wreaks havoc on the rest of the body.

So that’s why we need to be spiritually immunized. Unfortunately, unlike the MMR vaccine that if taken once give a person lifelong immunity, spiritual immunizations need to be done on a constant–daily–basis so as to prevent those wretched diseases of the heart from taking root and leading to full-blown disease states. And because they’re hidden, we’re oftentimes unaware that we have them… I myself probably have all of the known (and probably some of the unknown) diseases of the heart. Therefore, it’s such a mercy that our Prophet and the righteous scholars have left and compiled for us, respectively, spiritual vaccines for us to use and protect ourselves and one another. A wird–what I’ve referred to as a spiritual vaccine–translates to “litany” or “invocation” in English. The Arabic word used here is pretty amazing, since it is related to a well-spring; in other words, the wird is like a well-spring, since just as one goes to a well-spring every day to draw water, one must turn to a wird everyday with that same need.

There are certain physical vaccines, such as the oral Sabin vaccine for polio, that if given to enough number of people, will cause secondary immunizations for others who come into contact with them. The current belief in epidemiology is that if at least half the people are immunized with the Sabin vaccine, the other half will benefit–either completely or partially–from having come into contact with the primary vaccine-receivers. The same thing with the wird: the benefits of it not only apply to ourselves, but also to our families and those around us. In other words, if we can get enough people vaccinated with a wird, it might suffice for everyone else who comes into contact with them.

Among the potent spritual vaccines that we have been given from our scholars–based on the Prophetic practices found in the Hadith and Sunnah, lest any Salafi-types try to interject their two cents here–I think the wird of Imam al-Haddad, known as Al-Wird al-Latif (The Subtle Litany) is truly amazing. This is the wird that Shaykh Hamza mentions at the end of the “Purification of the Heart” tape series, and it’s something that I think we should all try to do every day after Fajr and after Maghrib. You can find it in Arabic and Malaysian (I think) at: and also in the book I’m currently reading. Also, another powerful vaccine is to forgive everyone before you go to bed at night since that will protect from rancor and hatred towards other people. Finally, the last vaccine that I’d mention here (there’s so many that it would pages to list them all) is to make du’a that Allah removes from our hearts–and if you’ve found any benefit in this post, remember me as well since I need it more than all of you guys combined–these spiritual diseases and allows us to return to Him with sound hearts. “A day when neither their wealth nor their children shall avail them; except for the one who comes to God with a sound heart.”

Imam al-Haddad is the MAN… not only because he was a great scholar, left behind some amazing wirds (check out al-Ratib al-Shahir as well), and the Reviver (Mujaddid) of his century… but he’s constantly quoting in his books the “Proof of Islam said this or wrote this…”, i.e., quoting my main man, the incomparable Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali. If you want Cliff Notes on the Ihya and the other works of al-Ghazali, read Imam al-Haddad for his brevity and practical lessons that he gives at the end of each topic. Dr. Mostafa al-Badawi has done some great translations of selected Imam al-Haddad treatises that are definitely worth checking out.


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  1. Dude, where’s the other picture?

  2. which other picture? both pictures are loading up fine when i view the page. let me know which picture (1st one or 2nd one) isnt loading up properly and ill try to find a similar picture and replace accordingly.

  3. I can’t see the second picture, your brain with SSP.  anyway, heres some cool research done on honey and cancer…  Took them 1400 years to find out, but at least they got it.

  4. Anonymous permalink

    you said you would try and get to the point quickly but after like 5 paragraphs you still hadnt
    oh and i went 3-0 this week in predictions1. Illinois beats Wake2. Bulls Beat Lakers3. Bears offensive explosion and beat Vikings
    You can now address me as mr. stud habibi. those eprops should really go to me.. but oh well i’m a philanthropistic (lol) stud

  5. Salaam KamKam!
    Shabash batay, shabash…I forgot about SSPE until I checked your fantabulous little site…may you never get bitten by a rabid squirrel…
    Rabies virus: Rhabdoviridae Lyssavirus, an enveloped, helical nucleocapsid RNA virus…after getting a bite from a rabid animal, the virus localizes to the bite site for days to months, where it binds to acetylcholine receptors and then enters the peripheral nerves, where it then travels up to the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and infects these neurons.  Cytoplasmic inclusions (called Negri bodies) form, followed by necrosis of the cells.  This results in cranial nerve palsies (the nerves of the head which contol eyes, facial muscles, and senses like taste, hearing, vision) and encephalitis, which presents dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), agitation, and seizures, which then rapidly progress to coma and death.  Rabies is quite an insidous disease…it starts out slow and quiet on the periphery but then hits your brain, like an Al-Qaeda terrorist. 
    The sad part is, many still die from rabies;  there is still so much time to save the patient after the bite, but they have to visit the doctor soon enough… 

  6. 400 eprops for this one!

  7. Kamran, as you may recall, Shakespeare said “Brevity is the soul of wit.” And though you’re a witty guy, maybe if you wrote shorter posts, you could be even more witty.
    And brother, May Allah bless you for introducing me to my lover. (inside joke)

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