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March 26, 2005

A Subhanallah Lesson

One of the things that I originally used to do when I started this blogging business (from way back in the blurty.com days… click here, here, here, here, and here for past Subhanallah lessons) was to share a nifty medical knowledge byte that I learnt recently and relate it to the Qur’an or Sunnah. I used it as a way to help me deal with the seemingly mundane and useless things taught in medical school–particularly in the first year–by relating it to matters that were more interesting. I found that these factoids and relevances are beautiful when one ponders on them and are great Iman-boosters. There are Signs all around us–big and small–that remind us of the majesty and beauty of the Creator and His Creation; when one sees this, one cannot help but simply exclaim: “Subhanallah (all praise is due to God)”.

I haven’t posted many of these Subhanallah Lessons this year. The first year of medical school was all about how the body operates when everything is working normally–therefore, one could be amazed at the harmony and complexity of how certain things work. This year has been learning about how disease processes affect the body; while I’ve found this year to be just as replete with Subhanallah Lessons (since pathological states are wondrous things in their own right), I didn’t post them since it would require extensive explanation (that would probably bore most non med students) which would take away from the beauty of the matter.

Since I’m attempting to start studying for Boards (USMLE Step 1’s), I’ve found myself having to review a lot of the first year material. Inshallah in next few months or so, I’ll try to post a new Subhanallah Lesson every week.

“Even for the blink of an eye”

One of the amazing Prophetic du’as, which has been a personal favorite and which is a part of Imam al-Haddad’s prescribed daily Wird (Wird al-Latif), is the following:


O the Ever-Living, the Ever-Powerful! I call upon Your Mercy for succour and I seek refuge from Your punishment. Rectify for me all of my affairs, and do not entrust me to myself or any of Your creation even for the blink of an eye

It’s the Divinely-inspired perspicacity of the Prophet (salallayhu `alayhi wa sallam) that’s always fascinating when one reads this prayer; note how he specifically says “even for the blink of an eye.” The blink of an eye, a phenomenon that occurs innumberable times throughout the day and requires no conscious effort on our part, is yet another testament to the Majesty of Allah. Some of the wonders and benefits of blinking one’s eyes include:

1. It provides continual moisture to the eye, preventing it from drying out. Think of eyelids as built-in “windshield wipers” that help to apply moisturizing secretions from the numerous and microscopic oil-producing glands that line the rim of the eyelids. This allows the eye to remain healthy.

2. Blinking also protects the eye from foreign particles that can enter the eye and damage it. The act of blinking pulls down the eyelashes, which serve as natural dust-catchers, to filter out any harmful particles before they can enter the eyes. While it’s a tangential sidenote, it’s interesting to note that camels have extraordinarily long eyelashes to help them navigate and deal with the harsh conditions of the desert. “Have they not seen the camel and how it was created?

Anyway, it’s the 3rd point that really fascinated me:

 

3. Blinking is also an unbelievably quick process: all this lubrication and protection of the eye happens so quickly so as to not interfere with normal vision. As mentioned before, it’s also a reflexive action that we don’t consciously think about… it just happens. The corneal blink reflex is one of the most fascinating reflex phenomena in the human body. It’s such a basic reflex that is present in all human beings–to blink the eye when it gets irritated–that involves some complicated wiring. The sensory (afferent) limb of the reflex involves sensing the offending stimulus–this involves cranial nerve (CN) V1 (the ophthalmic branch of the trigeminal nerve). So when V1 senses a harmful stimulus, it sends a message to the brain, which loops back out to the motor (efferent) limb of the reflex: CN VII (facial nerve) that innervates the orbicularis oculi muscle that closes the upper eyelid. But that’s not all… because you have to eventually open your eyes, right? In order to elevate the upper eyelid, yet another CN is involved: this time, CN III (the occulomotor nerve) will innervate the levator palpebrae superioris muscle, which opens the upper eyelid and keeps it open when you’re not blinking.

 

Subhanallah, all this intricate wiring to different muscles that work with such co-ordination and precision that we don’t even have to think about it. They may say its the autonomic nervous system that’s doing all this… but in reality, it’s Allah who’s controlling all of this for us by having made such a perfect system– “… you shall find no flaw in the creation of the Most Compassionate.” A system to maintain the perfect nature of our eyes such that we may see and reflect upon the Signs of Allah that are present all around us.

 

Finally, this speaks volumes about the insight and wisdom of the Prophet and how he understood the nature and extent of God’s control over everything. It is simply marvelous that he prayed that we should not be left to our own selves even for the blink of an eye… for how could we manage such a seemingly commonplace physiological occurence that requires such sophisticated harmony that we could never achieve if left to our own devices?

 

In the end it’s about realizing you never are in control in the first place for He’s always been in control. The extent of our control is when we embrace and cherish His control over our affairs. “And sufficient is God as a Trustee (over all affairs)”

 

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9 Comments
  1. “Hey KR…thanks!”

  2. 67: 3 Who created the seven heavens one above another; you see no incongruity in the creation of the Beneficent Allah; then look again, can you see any disorder?
    67:4 Again turn thy vision a second time: (thy) vision will come back to thee dull and discomfited, in a state worn out. 
    =)
    “where “we admit batameez little boys and graduate men” ” lmao good stuff
    “The problem with Western feminism is that it sets the male as the standard, and thus women are forced to compete in areas in which there was never meant to be competition, in order to be “equal” to the man. ” <sad.
    take care

  3. Anonymous permalink

    mash’Allah good post….
    nigger-ul-haq

  4. Anonymous permalink

    Man KR, i like these posts, so much practical knowledge being related back to Allah, alhamdullilah. Keep it up.

  5. They can write numerous volumes concerning the miracles of the human body, but it will never be enough:
    “If you try to count the blessings of Allah, you will not be able to count them”

  6. Like Mr. Hussaini said, these kind of posts are hyped up. Keep em coming.We were having a discussion earlier today about how when you sneeze, there is a link between sneezing and the beating of the heart. Maybe I’m wrong. I dunno. Have you read anything about this?

  7. Anonymous permalink

    JazakAllah khair for that. I never knew how complicated just blinking our eyes is. You’re right. Subhanallah that’s awesome.

  8. lol, “SubhanAllah lesson”… thats a nice term. Please keep sharing this kind of stuff bro.

  9. Anonymous permalink

    Kazim from what I understand when you sneeze your heart stops beating the moment you sneeze…I thought that is why we say Alhamdulillah after we sneezed…maybe im wrong but thats what ive heard before…
    n.u.h.

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