August 15, 2009

The plight of our Afghani sisters

A'salaamu alaikum sisters, I felt I needed to share this with you. I enjoy learning about different cultures and regions and realized I knew very little about Afghanistan so I decided to do some research.

One of the recurring themes I found was the appallingly high maternal mortality rate in rural Afghanistan. One particular area, Badakhshan, has the second highest rate in the world. Second only to the Sierre Leone.

As I looked at these photos of our sisters suffering I was overcome by tears. I prayed for them, for them and all of our culturally-oppressed sisters, I prayed that Allah swt would increase their iman and sabr and grant them Jannah, amin. I wanted to stroke their hair and whisper to them, "I am your sister and I love you for the sake of Allah swt".

One sister I read about was an especially heart-rending, although all too-common case. She somehow alhamdulillah was able to make it to Faizabad Hospital from her rural home. Normally this entails 12 hours to 3 days of travel through mountainous passes, often on the back of a donkey. :-( Many women cannot make the trip at all but alhamulillah Sr. Qamar's husband knew she needed medical assistance and he was not too proud to take her.

After the grueling journey they arrived at the hospital and alhamdulillah she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. However, the ravages of tuberculosis had taken a severe toll on her body and she began to fall more ill. Eventually Sr. Qamar succumbed to the combined effects of meningitis, hypothermia, and toxoplasmosis. The hospital staff was unable to do anything more for her than give her oxygen and watch her health decline.

Now her husband is left with a baby boy to raise, no job, no prospects, no way to provide the milk Sr. Qamar's baby so desperately needs. Ukhtis, this broke my heart. Alhamdulillah according to the report Sr. Qamar was buried in a respectable and Islamic manner and may Allah swt grant her the highest stations of paradise and give her recompense for the harshness she endured in this life amin.

I don't consider myself an overly-emotional person but seeing the faces of my sisters in pain was more than I could bear stoically. I had tears in my eyes as I made du'a for them and for all of our ummah. The small things most of us take for granted, such a clean surgery room or sterile bandages, these women do not have access to such luxuries. A pint of blood can cost upwards of $100 there; a staggering amount for some of the poorest on our planet.

Please this Ramadan let's remember our brothers and sisters who never have enough to eat, who struggle to find clean water, who cannot access the most basic of medical care. Let's fast and when we feel the hunger gnawing at our gut take comfort in the fact that we will eat that day insha'allah. And let's remember those who won't.
May Allah swt have mercy on us all,
Umm Aaminah

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