Asma Zate Fauzain (Q): Assalamu-alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarkatuhu (May peace be upon you and God's mercy).
Dr. Safia (A): Walekum Massalaam Warahmatullahi Wabarkatuhu (May peace be upon you and God's mercy).
Q: Abbi (father), called up from Ajmer and asked me to call you here and talk to you. As you must be aware about the Urdu magazine "Armughan" monthly published from Phulat for the betterment of Muslim brothers and sisters in the field of Dawa'ah, in concern of saving them from hell; in it we publish interviews of people blessed with gift of Islam. Abbi wanted yours for one of the 2005 issues.
A: Actually I was trying to contact Maulana Sb. for the past 15 days. I had both of his Delhi & U.P. mobile numbers but none of them was reachable. Yesterday land line number and insisted me to call and meet you. He said these interviews are playing an effective role in the work of Dawa'ah; I wished I could also contribute a bit to it. You ask me whatever you want to.
Q: Thank you! Firstly introduce yourself.
A: My full name was Saroj Shalini. I was bron on 24th September 1978, in a Brahman family in Mohan Lal Ganj near Lucknow. My father Dr. K.A. Sharma was a professor, he had done M.D. in cardiology, after which he served at Panth Hospital for several years. Ten year earlier he managed to get a transfer in Lucknow near the home. My mother is a home-maker. My father is very Indian in nature and he believes in eastern traditions. That why insisting his family he chose my mother over many Doctors for marriage. I have two brother's both elder to me; one is a reader at B.H.U. I passed my XII with PCB in 1st Division, then cracked PMT and did my M.B.B.S from Lucknow Medical College. Then I did M.D. at Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi in cardiology Department as per my father's wish. Now I am doing M.D. from A.I.I.M.S. and serving in cardiology deptt. At the same time at A.I.I.M.S.
I embraced Islam before one year six months four days two hours ago on 20th May, 2004 Thursday, at 11:00 o clock at Green Park Mosque.
Ques.: Please tell about your embracing Islam in detail.
Ans.: It was June of 2003 when I was on duty at ICCU for children ward I saw one Maulana Sb. visiting a child from Haryana. One of the attendants of the child asked him to recite some verse of the Qur'an and pray for the child's health; his mother came and stood beside her son. Maulana Sb. repeated for the same for the other child as well. Mother of another patient asked for the same one after other Maulana Sb. stood by six children and recite something to them. It's was almost time for round of the head of the department Dr. Tyagi.
I saw him the outside intend the ward and asked Maulana Sb. which is your patient? You visiting every other patient in the ward, and reciting to them something. This is ICCU; there is always danger of spread of infection here.
Maualana Sb. said, all this patients are mine, as our elders have told that all men and women are children of same parents. That's why all patients admitted here are my blood-relatives. The creator who made both of us doesn't like this "yours & mine" at all; and the something which I am reciting to them is nothing but His (The Creator's) own words. He made his truthful slave Ibrahim to speak these words. And Ibrahim is the one on whose name people of India call themselves Brahman (Brahimi). That, "Whenever I falling sick he the creator cure me. You must have observed at daily that you prescribe medicine after keep thinking and the patient dies soon after getting well, and sometime a wrong prescription heal the patient. I was healing something like this for the first time last week, six children of our ward expired four of them were really pretty. They admitted in our ward for two weeks, I too developed an attachment with them; I was very sad on their death. Listening to Maulana Sb. loving words I wanted to hear him some more. I asked him to come to my cabin. He agreed and said to me that you are like my younger sister or my own child and have called me hear out of affection. So here I request you treat every patient of your ward just like your own brother or child and care for them with the same thought. God has given you such opportunity to take part in other grief. You must be well aware of his condition of a mother whose child is so sick that needs to be admitted in an ICCU and those patients came to Govt. Hospital who have nobody of their own. If sympathies with them, even if a bit, then it will result in prayer for you from the deepest corners of their hearts. In the end, he asked my name with great concern, and then said Dr. Shalini! You are my blood sister that why I advise you rather I make a will; and a will is what a person who is going to die say to his children as his last and final words; that you attend enemy patient of your ward considering it to be the highest religious practice. You will be rewarded sympathizing with a patient and his family, far more than for practicing difficult rituals and hardships for several years.
I thanked Maulana Sb. and him to try, He left. After the round of the head, I asked to patient's father, who was from Haryana who that Maulana Sb. was. He said that he is Hazratji; and is a very good man. Thousand of Hindu's have embraced the Islam on his hands. Maulana Sb's words had had their effect on me for quite days. Especially those words that 'all these patient's are mine'; our creator does not like this idea of 'yours and mine' at all. I also experienced that Maulana Sb. recitation had strange effect on the patients. They all recovered and got discharged from the ward.
But as days passed, these things faded from my mind. At Maulana Azad Medical College, I had a room-mate Dr. Reena Sehgal. She was doing M.S. in gynecology at that time; later got employed at Safdurgunj Hospital in the same department. We are quite good friends. One day she invited me on food at her place. We were chatting after the food. She had a Muslim domestic helper who used to cook and all. I asked her why did she kept a Muslim as domestic helper. Couldn't you find someone Hindu? She answered, that this is a very good, faithful girl. Many times she had brought me my purse as it is, after I had dropped it somewhere. This lead to a full-fledged discussion on Muslims. Dr. Reena said that as in our country rather in whole world, anti Muslims ideas are being spread on media, people are more and more embracing Islam. You must be aware of Michael Jackson accepting Islam. We have a young doctor Dr. Balbir in cardiology dept. of our hospital, he too converted to a Muslim, last year, and he wants everyone at the hospital to became Muslim. Once I called him for checkup of a patient; he right away advised me that if I want to escape the fire of hell after death, I should become a Muslim.
This reminded me of the Maulana Sb. who visited my ward; and all of his words. I asked Dr. Reena to introduce me to Dr. Balbir. She asked me to call the next day; then told me that she had called Dr. Balbir to her cabin this Sunday; and I should reach their by 10 O'clock. Next Sunday, I went to Dr. Reena; Dr. Balbir came. He was a young decent guy of whitish complexion. He seemed to be engaged in some deep thinking I asked him, how much time ago did he embrace Islam. He replied 8-9 months ago. I asked him the reason and he told that only Islam is the true religion. It’s the first and the last religion, and without Islam, life after death has no "Moksha" and no salvation, but hell for infinite time. To accept Islam is as important for you as it's for me. I asked him if he also had changed his name. He affirmed that his Islamic name is Waliullah; which means friend of Allah.
I told him that about one year ago, I met a Maulana Sb. in my ward. He said me some words which are still in my heart. He was reciting something to every patients of the ward. I asked him which of the patient he was related to; he told all of them. We are children of same parents, blood relatives. Our creator does not like the idea of "your & mine" at all. Dr. Balbir said that Maulana Sb. is right. These all are words of Islam's and our Prophet Muhammad ﷺ which he said in his last sermon. I asked him if it was available in print, he said yes, each and every words of the holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is totally secured and available in print. I will get from someone and give it to Dr. Reena for you.
24 days later Dr. Reena Sehgal gave me that pamphlet which has an English translation of the last sermon of our holy Prophet ﷺ. I was surprised after reading it; especially what was said about women touched me even more. I thought of Maulana Sb. and wished only if I had taken his address. I searched hospital's record files of the patients, trying to get address of that patient from Haryana. I thought if I was able to get his address, I would myself go to his place and get Maulana Sb. address. But I could not succeed.
I developed an urge to read and know about Islam. I called up Dr. Balbir and arranged a meeting. I met him in his ward at Safdurgunj Hospital and asked him to arrange for literature on Islam. Next day he came to my hospital and gave me a small book "Aapki Amanat Aapki Sewa Main" which was in Hindi. He said to know about Islam, this book serve over 100's of books. You just need to read it supposing that a true well wisher is saying these words only to me. When you will read the book you will feel the same. I have accepted Islam on hands of none other than the author of this book. The preface of the book is where the heart of the book lies. You will get to know about the book and its author once you go through it Dr. Balbir told me that he hailed from a Rajput family of U.P. near Delhi. He left after giving me the book and having some tea etc. I read the whole book in just one sitting, in the ward itself. The book reminded me of Maulana Sb. It had made a place of its own in my heart. I called up Dr. Balbir and asked him if he could provide me with some other works of this author; and if he able to arrange my meeting with him, I would be highly obliged.
4 days later, it was 18th of May, Dr. Balbir called me up and told me that if I was able to manage a leave, I could meet the author of "Aapki Amanat Aapki Sewa Main" Maulana Muhammad Kaleem Siddiqui Sb. at Green Park Mosque. I agreed readily we reached there by auto. Maulana Sb. was already there at 10:30 AM instead of 11:00 AM as he had to leave for journey. I was so happy to see him that I can never forget that feeling. The author of "Aapki Amanat Aapki Sewa Main" was none other than the Maulana Sb. who visited my ward 1 ½ years ago and for whom I was searching everywhere. I fell on his knees; he strictly asked to get up and asked me what was I waiting for? Did I still have any doubts in my mind after reading "Aapki Amanat Aapki Sewa Main"?
I went there just to meet Maulana Sb. but could not stop myself and said that I had come only to embrace Islam. Maulana Sb. was very happy and asked me to recite the Kalma immediately. He gave me Islamic name, Safiya Shalini instead of Saroj Shalini (Dr. S. Shalini). He jotted down names of some books for me and asked me learn and perform Nama'az (salaah).
Ques.: Did you announced about your faith then?
Ans.: Maulana Sb. strictly asked me not announce about my embracing Islam. But still I told people, very close to me. Sometime the thought that when Islam is the only truth then why to hide it and keep it a secret? Fill me zest. But then I think that, when I have taken this person, because of which light of Islam reach a dirty me, against all possibilities; as my guides, then I show obey him.
Ques.: Did you tell your friend Dr. Reena Sehgal about this?
Ans.: Not only that I have told her but also me and Dr. Wali-ullah, kept on explaining the truth to her. Thankfully, she too has recited the Kalma. Actually her husband Dr. B.K. Sehgal who does clinic is from a very staunch religious family. On the same time, he has joined Radha Swami's Sat Sangh for two years now. That's why she is suppressed because of him.
Ques.: Are in you touch with Dr. Wali-ullah?
Ans.: Actually Dr. Wali-ullah became a heart patient himself. In his disease gradually the heart becomes weaker and finally we need to arrange for the pace maker. He was in touch with me concerning his disease. I took interest in his treatment. He was married to a government employee. He told her already before marriage that she needs to be a Muslim first; many according to the family rituals. He recited Kalma to her and performed the Nika'ah. But later she could not keep much interest in Islam. His job also came in between. His wife's disinterest towards Islam kept eating him from inside like mute, and he became a heart patient.
When allopath did not work for him Maulana Sb. gave him some Unani Medicine, Khamira etc. by God's grace he recovered. Maulana Sb. advised him to search for a job in Arabian country and call his wife there, so that she gets an Islamic environment. Thankfully he got a good job IN U.A.E. and last month he has called his wife too. His leaving for UAE was solution for his problem, but that made me lonely. Dr. Wali-ullah was working on Dr. Reena's husband that too now came to a hault. I can't take to him that freely.
Ques.: Do your parents know about you converting to Islam?
Ans.: Yes I told my father clearly about it. He did not accept it with open heart but yes, gradually his intolerance is becoming lesser.
Ques.: So you got married?
Ans.: My dad is much worried about my marriage for about 6-7 yrs now. Many good proposals' came from his own students as well. But maybe My Allah had different plans for me and I making MD an excuse, I rejected. So many times, I had asked permission to declare about my conversion from Maulana Sb. but every time he asked me to work on my family silently. When I complained to him about my Nama'az and fasts, he advised me also to leave for Arab country. Ha also talked to Dr. Wali-ullah of some place in this respect. Thankfully I got contract at King Abdul Aziz Hospital in Jeddah; I have also managed to get a leave for two years. I am on prep leave since 3 months.
Dear sister Asma! You have asked me such a question of my marriage that its amusing for you as well, you may aware that a proposal came for you from PGI Chandigarh; he was the only Sherwani wearing Surgeon in the history. But, by destiny you were already betrothed to somebody from Aligarh. Maulana Sb. asked me once, I said there won't be anything better; but at my hand you keep me from declaring my faith and on other this? He said; just tell me if you agree. He talked to Dr. Sa'ad and introduced me to his parents. People from both sides were happy. They called upon a few people and arranged for my Nika'ah. As God wished, Dr. Sa'ad has also applied in the same hospital in Jeddah and he got appointment. He has already left at 6th September already. I pray to God for Hajj this very year.
Ques.: Marrying somebody with a beard and Sherwani, in contrast to your surprising, don't you find strange?
Ans.: Thankfully not at all. I like each and every aspect of Islam right from my heart. Islam is my natural religion. When I came to know that my husband is the only Sherwani wearing Sergeon at his Hospital, I wished I could declare my faith and wear burqa to become the only hija'ab practicing doctor at AIIMS. But Maulana Sb. advises me to first spend 2-4 yrs in Arab. I enjoy even the thought of being only hija'ab practicing doctor at AIIMS. I am sure I will serve as a way for more people to know about Islam.
Ques.: you married without concerning about parents? Won't they be hurt?
Ans.: My nika'ah happened so suddenly. But they agreed when Maulana Sb. told them that this marriage took place without any money, ring, dowry or anything. Concerning the society, Maulana Sb. said that Dr. Sa'ad will leave for UAE then me. It will be taken like this marriage took place there in UAE, thus relatives will have not much problem. Especially, they are glad to meet Dr. Sa'ad. They keep on telling me that I'm lucky to have him as my husband. He looks far better than me. They came to IGI to see him off when he was leaving.
Ques.: Did not you call your family to Islam?
Ans.: Thankfully, I'm working on them; and their distance from Islam is short.
Ques.: Do you want to convey any massage to the Muslims through "Armughan"?
Ans.: I always think that Islam is what this age of science and technology needs. This world has got nothing without Islam. Sister Asma! I'm not reciting any poetry but, I say this by observing this advancing developing world. The cure for the darkness and poverty of this world is nothing but Islam. And Islam is with Muslims. I wonder that why do we people develop a sense of inferiority complex, when we, no one else has the cure for any problem – Islam with us.
We should be thankful and proud and should strive for the betterment of this world.
Ques.: Thank you so much Dr. Safiya Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu.
Ans.: Thanks to you dear! Walaikumasalam Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu.
And a response to Gilligan, if you can be bothered… - I mean that you know. Only if you can be bothered, because it’s clear from Andrew Gilligan’s hatchet job on me in his column in The Sunday Telegraph, that ...
1 month ago