When Misfortune Turns into Opportunities; A Trip to Shira Hospital Points the Way to Increasing Knowledge of the Islamic Faith; The Damien Hirt Sculptures

Faithful readers will know of the travails involved in mu short trip to Doha, Qatar. The last rather crushing blow was the determination that yet another PCR was needed in order to get on the 50 minute flight between Qatar and Abu Dhabi. My PCR was not recent enough, not the right variety said the officials in Abu Dhabi. Yet another example of beurcratic inefficiency as another PCR greeted me on my eventual arrival in Abu Dhabi. Therefore, a trip to Shira Hospital became mandatory as only that facility had a speedy results. So my Plaza Inn driver from Nepal and I sped across Doha, allowing me to see portions of the city that most tourists to do see. That, in and of itself, was enjoyable, my driver helpfully serving in the role of tourist guide.

The building itself was magnificent. Huge and architecturally stunning. Upon reaching ‘home’ did the mandatory Googling to find more about it. “Sidra Medicine is a 400-bed women’s and children’s hospital, medical education and biomedical research center in Doha, Qatar. The hospital first opened its outpatient facility in 2016, followed by its inpatient hospital in January 2018.

But was was most riveting most inspiring were the sculptures lining the entrance to the hots hospital – they were huge. “A series” of 14 giant bronze sculptures by Damien Hirst called The Miraculous Journey, graphically charting the development of a baby in the uterus from conception to birth. It is owned by the Qatar Foundation.” “Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development is a state-led non-profit organization in Qatar, founded in 1995 by then-emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and his second wife Moza bint Nasser. Qatar Foundation (QF), chaired by Moza bint Nasser, has spearheaded Qatar’s endeavors to establish itself as a leader in education.”

My wonderment of the sculptures was enhanced, almost glorified, but my, at that point in time, rather limited knowledge of one of the miracles of the Qur’an – an explanation, some 1700 years ago, of human development. So, of course, when reaching home, the Premier Inn in Abu Dhabi, I did online research and leaned more, much more.

First to the Qur’an went I. “Then We made the sperm into a clot of congealed blood, and of the clot. We made an embryo, then We made out of that lump bones, and clothed the bones with flesh. Then We developed another creation out of it. So blessed is god, the best of Creators. (Qur’an 23 12-14).”

But then a more lengthly and comprehensive search revealed the following

“Man’s quest to know about his origin has led him to search his roots and the best source for him has been religious scriptures. The greatest miracle is the Holy Quraan. There is an elegant description of origin, development and step by step developmental stages of intra-uterine life in Quraan. Muslims had this knowledge in 7th century and the Prophet Muhammad’s Ahadeeth (sayings, deeds, approvals narrated by authentic narrators) had explained almost everything about natal and even postnatal events. These findings once presented to experts in the field of Anatomy and Embryology surprised them and they believed that the knowledge given to the Prophet Muhammad was indeed divine. Who else would provide this knowledge to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) except the Creator Himself.
Modern embryology is a fairly recent development which has its beginning with the invention of microscope in the 17th century. However the concept of the human being developing in stages was not recognised until much later. But the scientists then and most Muslim and non-Muslim scholars do not even know that the holy Quran and Sunnah [words, deeds, approvals of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) collected by authentic narrators] had provided a detailed description of the significant events in human development from the stages of gametes and conception until the full term pregnancy and delivery or even post partum. Actually information in the Quran and Hadith corrected many superstitious and vague ideas about human development that were prevalent before” This from Human Embryology and the Holy Quran; An Overview – MCBI .

What effect didi all of this have on me? The Damien Hirst sculptures, the possible knowledge of their significance of embryonic development leading to an expansion of my knowledge and information, the happenstance of it all? The definition of happenstance is coincidence. Synonyms are:chance, serendipity, fate destiny, fortuity, providence, freak, a piece of good fortune, a happy chance.

The trip to the hospital for the (actually unneeded) PCR, the fate, destiny, and providence of it all deepened by faith, made me even more certain that I am a Muslim. How could it not? The absolute beauty of the Islamic faith is that it reconciles science and belief. The Islamic faith does not, as do other religions, force you to choose between science and religion. It provides a complete package free of conflict and the terrible dilemma of having to choose one over the other.

But there were other pieces of good fortune and happy chance that arose. The extended journey with the driver from Nepal made possible a long conversation. He has been living in Qatar since 1908 but his situation is much different that the UAE workers from foreign lands. He works for two years, than returns to Nepal for twenty-two months, returning and beginning the cycle again. So he has a built in respite from his work. But here is the best part – after twenty years he can become a citizen of Qatar. There is no such provision here in the UAE – hopefully there will be one day. A respite is a rest, a break, breathing space, interval, time out, hiatus, halt, relief, relaxation, repose; breather, letup.

Retirement is supposed to be a time out, a hiatus, a breather and a letup. It occurred to me this morning that I am not treating this time as a breather or a relief. I promised myself that I would be kinder to myself and stop trying to light the world on fire. We shall see what happens. I remember that song. I Don’t Want to Set the World On Fire. Of course, I Googled it. The song is by the Inkspots, here are the lyrics.

I don’t want to set the world on fire
I just want to start a flame in your heart
In my heart I have but one desire
And that one is you
No other will do
I’ve lost all ambition for worldly acclaim
I just want to be the one you love
And with your admission that you feel the same
I’ll have reached the goal I’m dreaming of
Believe me
I don’t want to set the world on fire
I just want to start a flame in your heart
I don’t want to set the world on fire honey
I love you too much
I just want to start a great big flame
Down in your heart
You see, way down inside of me
Darlin’ I have only one desire
And that one desire is you
And I know, nobody else ain’t gonna do
I’ve lost all ambition for worldly acclaim
I just want to be the one you love
And with your admission that you feel the same
I’ll have reached the goal I’m dreaming of
Believe me.

A great version of the song is on YouTube. It is melodic and most restful.

The two photographs, hopefully attached were taken that fateful day of the sculptures.

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