I could hear perfectly for my whole life until I suffered from ‘sudden hearing loss’, and lost my ability to hear. I learnt so much through it though…
I had recently recovered from a cold virus when we embarked on our plane journey. During travelling, my condition exacerbated and I felt unbearable pain which escalated to a degree I had never felt before. It was a connecting flight. As I left the first plane I hoped my radiating headache and muffled hearing would somehow stop or lessen. But, it didn’t, despite taking medication. I boarded the next flight knowing the painful ordeal would intensify. Before I reached my destination I desperately texted my family to make an emergency appointment.
I was examined and the doctor sent home with medicines which didn’t really reduce the pain. The pain worsened to the extent I couldn’t sleep. I woke up the next day with ringing and complete hearing loss in one ear.
My whole persona had changed, because I couldn’t taste food properly. I didn’t enjoy eating. Hearing and tasting are both amazingly great blessings; I began self-reflecting, supplicating and seeking forgiveness. I hated being around others or going out, and preferred to be alone.
My own voice was bouncing back inside my ears and I was unknowingly speaking differently. My family struggled to understand my speech because I was mumbling. Slowly I could see their confusions grow and I began to feel detached from them. They kept telling me that I would soon be better. Deep down they were confused and resentful of my self-imposed solitary confinement. They wanted to meet people and go out and I was inevitably holding them back.
Eventually, I found the courage to persevere and went out. A fight broke out in a shop a couple of metres away from me. I was completely unaware of this happening. I didn’t know the danger of two violent men right behind me, and didn’t move away — because of my inability to hear. My younger sister dashed across the shop and pulled me away insisting I stay with her. It dawned on me that I was helpless and completely reliant.
I couldn’t hear the doorbell due to the muffled hearing in my ears, when it was just me and the kids at home. My son told me the plumber arrived; I felt awful knowing my small child, who depends on me usually, helped me with such a basic thing. Nevertheless I told him to tell me every time he heard the man coming in and out; he promised he would. Kids are kids though and he forgot and wandered off. I summoned him to come back and listen out for me. I will never forget the ‘obliged’ look on his face — as I had become a burden. I felt like I had asked him a huge favour by asking for his time. I became so dependant and helpless, that I was reliant on a small child.
I felt debilitated and helpless. I was shocked that kindness was coming from people I never would’ve imagined cared — and hurt by the temperaments and negativity of those who I thought would always support me.
My doctor advised me to simply ‘wait it out’ and see how I progress.
Ultimately only Allah can heal, but, my patience began running out. I began researching and reading up the causes and treatments for hearing loss. The horror stories I read petrified me because I realised this hearing loss may be permanent — and I envisioned being deaf forever!
In that fear was a great blessing and Allah’s wisdom. SubhanAllah. That night I began mulling over how I would live my life if I do not ever regain the ability to hear. My reactions ranged from deep shock to acceptance. Then, came patience with Allah’s decree, and thankfulness of all the years when I could hear. I reminisced over the time and ability I had wasted. I accepted Allah knew best — and if being deaf was destined for me then so be it.
‘I will survive’— albeit deaf. I began thinking practically about how to raise my children adequately; how as a deaf mother I could support them through their daily chores and education… I told myself if Allah had placed me in this situation, he would give me the strength to cope. I felt sad that the perfectionist expressive ‘me’ may now be lost. How could I now contribute to the ummah and be productive and help others when I was semi dependent on others? How will I listen to lectures, Qur’an and further my knowledge? Was I being punished? The deafness was my problem and my family could still lead life ‘normally,’ would they abandon me eventually?
A hadith came to mind: “Amazing is the affair of the believer, verily all of his affair is good and this is not for no one except the believer. If something of good/happiness befalls him he is grateful and that is good for him. If something of harm befalls him he is patient and that is good for him.”
During those moments I realised that the only constant in our lives is our lord, Allah (swt). Everything else is conditional and temporary in comparison. I trusted that He would provide for me and look after me — even if no one else did. I felt comforted by the fact that I hadn’t missed my prayers or my morning and evening adhkar (remembrance) on the day I fell ill. This reassured me that what was happening was for my best.
In that one night I intricately planned my remaining life and I supplicated to Allah more than I ever have. That connection grew — I decided that no matter how weak or vulnerable I become, I would still work towards my true purpose of life. I knew I still have to worship Allah and remember him no matter how sick I am. Our religion gives ease and concessions of course, but the purpose of life and Allah’s commands are the same for those who are challenged by deafness, blindness or physical impairments.
I reminded myself that feeling sorry for myself was not an option. How many thinkers and great scholars were challenged by their body in some way but still persevered patiently and continued to benefit others. I thanked Allah that my mind was still working and I could still see, smell and feel. Losing hearing may be bad but losing Allah’s love and mercy is far worse; I hated the possibility that He may be angry with me. I begged him to forgive my sins and relieve me if I was being punished because I had angered him.
The next morning I insisted I needed to see a specialist — and within 5 days my hearing had completely returned — and the rest as they say is history! Our lord plans everything perfectly and his wisdom is beyond our comprehension.
As my family smiled with relief, glad that chapter was finally over; I knew for me life could never be the same again.
A new chapter had begun by the permission and mercy of Allah, I had been given a second chance Alhamdulillah— and I vowed never to forget that month — because through it I learnt so much.