I’m told that I have a tendency to make new friends and acquaintances very easily. Yet oddly enough I am sometimes very awkward and quiet when meeting strangers. I guess it all really depends on the time, place and how well someone reciprocates to me.
A few months back I became active on Twitter and started blogging (joining the community we call Blaagers). This opened up an entirely new front in terms of social connections as I met people I otherwise would not have made links with. These new contacts range from well known celebs like Naveen Naqvi and Ayeshah Alam, activist bloggers like Dr Awab Alvi (aka Teeth Maestro), my blogging mentor Faisal K, blogging Divas like Sana Saleem and Kalsoom Lakhani, politicians like Marvi Memon, ultra geeks like Haris Nadeem, Mahdi (more commonly known as Enk), the head honcho of PASHA (Jehan Ara), the dynamic force behind CIO Pakistan (Rabia Garib), and two very inspiring individuals: the sister-brother duo Ayesha and Salman Mahmood.
Ayesha and Salman both suffer from Thalassemia
an inherited blood disorder which is the inability of the body to produce adequate amount of Hemoglobin in the red blood cells. The result is severe Anemia. (Source: Thalassemia Society of Pakistan)
Thalassemia patients require regular blood transfusions to take care of their anemic condition as well as treatment for removal of excess iron in their blood. Their growth is also restricted due to a lack of oxygen to their muscles. (To learn more about Thalassemia please visit the knowledge base of the FAITH FOUNDATION)
My initial exposure to Thalassemia was thru another online friend I made on the Karachi Stock Exchange forums on Yahoo! Groups, an extremely dynamic guy name Abdul Mateen Khan. A Pakistani based in Saudi Arabia, he is an inspiration also in that he has done a lot despite his disease. He is mostly known for his online Stock Exchange forum called TeziMandee.Com.
Like Abdul Mateen, Salman too is an dynamic guy. He works as a web developer for a US based company called Directors Advantage (working night hours to coordinate with the US timings). He is also the founder of the Karachi based Fight Against Thalassemia Foundation (FAiTh). Their mission is to educate the masses about the disease, provide help to those who are affected and help arrange blood for those who need (one transfusion is needed per month!)
Last week, Salman and Ayesha drummed up support for a Blood Drive to be held at Fatmid Foundation, and this past Sunday several of us headed over to donate blood for a severe shortage that Fatmid was facing. We were expecting to meet Salman and Ayesha at the drive, however, we were given the news that Salman was diagnosed with Meningitis on Saturday and was admitted at Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH).
Meningitis is a dangerous disease that can be devastating and deadly even for a strong healthy individual. Given Salman’s Thalassemia, the disease is even more dangerous and he is under critical care.
Ayesha (Left) and Salman (Third From Left) with DiscoMaulvi and other Blaagers at a Tweetup at McDonalds (Photo Credit: Jamal Ashiqain)
I urge all the readers of From The Pulpit to pray sincerely for Salman’s health and his speedy recovery. Salman is a fighter who has not let Thalassemia put him down. Meningitis will Insha’Allah be conquered by him with our prayers. For those friends who would like to visit Salman, visit timings are: 12 to 12.30 pm and 5 to 6 pm. And to just visit Ayesha you may go till 7 pm. Salman is in the Critical Care Unit.
May Allah Almighty, the Most Merciful, grant Salman health and a speedy recovery. May He, the Most Beneficent, give Salman’s family patience and strength during this trial. Aameen.
I visited Salman this morning around noon. Unfortunately Ayesha had gone for a transfusion and I don’t know anyone else in their family. I managed to go in to the ICU and see Salman. One of the attendants there told me his condition was the same as yesterday and that he was in a coma.
UPDATE 2 (Oct 17, 09:00 PM)
Faisal K and Dr Awab went to see Salman in the evening. Dr Awab tweeted the following (20:15 PST):
Visit to AKU met @blessedayesha > @skdev dire condition ICU Ventilator/ no response/ pupils not reacting > DUA’s for fellow #Blaager
It seems Salman’s condition has worsened during the day. It is indeed really sad to see one of the Blaagers battling for his life. Please pray hard for Salman. A dua narrated from the Prophet (SAW) is as follows:
أَسْأَلُ اللَّهَ الْعَظِيمَ رَبَّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيمِ أَنْ يَشْفِيَكَ
“I ask Allah who is the Lofty and the Lord of the Mighty Throne that He cures you”
Prophet (SAW) said that by reciting this dua seven times, the ill person will regain his health and if death occurs then that (death) is a different issue (i.e. death is written it cannot be prevented).
It is also narrated in Sahih Bukhari Volume 7, Book 70, Number 579:
Whenever Allah’s Apostle paid a visit to a patient, or a patient was brought to him, he used to invoke Allah, saying, “Take away the disease, O the Lord of the people! Cure him as You are the One Who cures. There is no cure but Yours, a cure that leaves no disease.”
Whether any of the above or any other way that you choose, please do pray for Salman.
UPDATE 3 (Oct 19, 12:00 AM)
The updates from the hospital unfortunately are not very encouraging. The doctors report that Salman’s pupils are not responding to light, nor his skin to touch. They say his brain might be dead, but rest of his organs are alive. If there is no improvement in his condition in the next 24 hours, it seems they may take him off the ventilator and let nature take over. It is harsh for us but the reality unfortunately is that once the brain stops response the chances are very slim. May Allah forgive Salman and give his family patience. May He revive Salman and make him well as only He the Almighty, the All-Powerful can do.
UPDATE 4 (Oct 19, 10:30 AM)
At 9:28 AM, Ayesha tweeted:
Same condition…. I ask whatever is better for Salman…am not selfish. Please Allah just do what is better for him……
Doctors have give 01:00 PM as the deadline for Salman to respond. I request all to sincerely pray hard in whatever form you can. It has been suggested by some to pray 02 Rakat of prayer, followed by dua on an individual basis. Since this has been a practice of mine also I endorse this suggestion. I think this is the most concrete way of praying for him (as opposed to tweeting duas to his Twitter ID which is a bit too weird for me).
Some of the readers have left suggestions for duas in the comments below. Since they have not provided the necessary source for the duas I can not confirm if they are from authentic Ahadith but am including them for the readers:
Please recite the following masnoon dua’s after offering 2 rakat namaz haajat.
اللهم رب الناس ، أذهب البأس ، إشف أنت الشافي لا شفاء إلا شفاؤك شفاء لا يغادر سقماً
اَسْئَلُ الله العَظِيْم رَبَّ العَرْشِ العَظِيْم اَنْ يَشْفِيَكَ
AMMAA YUJEEBUL MUZ’TARRA IZA DAA’U WA YAKHSHIFUSSU
(Source: Raza Abbas)
The Final Update
At 01:15 pm, Ayesha tweeted
Ventilator being removed
At 02:01 pm
Innal lahi wa inna ilahi raa’jaon. @skdev is no longer among us.
And with that we lost a friend, a fellow Blaager, a brother. He struggled in life against a disease many of us are totally unaware of. Some of us still probably have no clue what it is. Salman may have left this world but his memory will live with us in the FAITH Foundation that he founded. We, the Blaagers, should ensure that this Foundation continues to operate in memory of our friend.
Salman’s funeral will be held at the Kutchi Memon Graveyard near Ghaas Mandi after Maghrib today. Please see below for the map of the graveyard or visit here.
Verily to Allah belongs all that He takes and all that He grants and to Him returns everything at an appointed time. May Allah firgive his sins, grant him Jannat-ul-Firdaus & may He grant Ayesha and the rest of the family with patience & strength to bear with this monumental loss.