Hes with the angels [Archives:2002/51/Focus]

December 16 2002

By Hassan Al-Haifi
For two years or so now, a very dear friend, for decades, Ali Al-Healah, was challenged with the most testing of challenges. Two years ago his son contracted cancer in one of his legs. The boy of around 18 years old was one of those kids you just could never perceive as having to face such a remote challenge, or so it seems. He was a bright kid in school and never showed any of the mischief that characterizes so many of our wild kids today. Moreover, even before his illness, the boy, Ghassan managed to arrange this one-to-one rapport with the Divine Almighty that in the worst of times and pain, the boy never felt unfortunate or unjustly treated by fate. On the contrary, he saw himself as being given a chance to prove himself to his Maker that he is ready and willing to accept what has been written for his destiny.
It is amazing how great destinies can be accorded to the most humble of our being. Yes, Ghassans destiny was greater than anyone of us could ever perceive, because Ghassan, undoubtedly, was ready and able to take on this ugly monster that gnaws on you bit by bit, until it leaves you with nothing but scars.
First they said chemotherapy ought to do it and bring Ghassan back to life. But even when the boy was taken for treatment in Italy, and under the most caring of care, with the wonderful Italian medical staff doing all they could, chemotherapy proved useless. The news came to us like a bombshell: the leg had to be amputated! But to Ghassan, he just raised his hands to the heavens and said: Allah be praised! They took the leg off and put on a fake leg.
Ghassan and his powerful father busied themselves with getting used to the new makeshift leg. It seemed that everything might just be manageable. But cancer being what it is, the pain reappeared just at the area of the amputation. The father called back his Italian doctors. They said bring him right away! He went back and it is back to chemotherapy again. The father was desperate for his sons life. His son has gone through so much agony and pain! The fathers age advanced ten years over the first one and a half years of this calamity! But the son could not be defeated by cancer or anything else. He was ready to take on the world!
He smiled and joked as if he had everything under control. No, he knew better than anyone else that indeed God has something good waiting for him in the end, no matter what the cancer did to him. He kept the Holy Quran beside him, reading it night and day, conversing with the heavens, and maintaining his strong rapport with the Divine Almighty. After some chemotherapy the boy returned home with his father having some hope. But it was not long before the cancer began to gnaw at him vigorously.
The father again contacted the doctors in Italy. They told him straight to the point: There is no hope. At this juncture, the father could not say anything anymore to his son. To himself, and to his Creator he was saying: He is my beloved son, my Lord, but he is Yours before he ever became mine. Do as you will, for we are all Yours in the end. From now on, the father just spent most of his time with his son talking to him, while the son was reassuring his father that there is no problem with him. He is ready for Gods will.
What about the pain? Anyone who has ever read Cancer Ward, by Alexander Solzhenitsyn can surely feel goose pimples run through his skin at the thought of having to go through such agonizing torment. When the torment is faced by such sweet-faced youth as Ghassan, the spine just shivers at the mighty power of faith and submission to the will of God, which surely one cannot overlook. Ghassan wanted all his friends and he had so many of them – to know that he, at that moment, reigned supreme above them.
They knew it and some even felt jealous: Look at that beautiful submissive smile! He must be happier than we are! God knows that if anyone of us were in his shoes, we would rather be slain than to go through all this agony all this pain.
All that Ghassan told his father was: Dad! Dont come to me with any long faces, relief is on the way. The father could only cry.
In the last days of the Month of Ramadhan, it was obvious that the final moment was coming. It was just a matter of days now. How many no one knew exactly. But Ghassan has been put under intensive care. Yet even when unconscious, Ghassan still glowed with vitality and spirit. His eyes sparkled and his smile was inlaid. Relief came, all right, for both Ghassan and his tormented father. For Ghassan, we all felt that the angels had just whisked him away to that sphere of bliss, which is only accorded to those who truly understand that it is Gods will that reigns supreme. For his father, he saw the chance to have the faith he had in God engrained so much deeper into his heart that he felt his sons spirit had just taken over his very own.
May God bless you, Ghassan Al-Healah and this observer conveys his heartfelt condolences to Ali Al-Healah and the Al-Healah family for the sad loss of Ghassan, whose memory will never leave our hearts and out of whom we will seek strength in our own will being.
God have mercy on us all.