“..And whoever saves one life, it is as if he has saved the whole of mankind..” – The Holy Quran 5:32
Walking towards the NHS Blood donation centre in the heavy ‘typically London’ rain, a mixture of excitement, nerves and butterflies flutter in the pit of my stomach. Adrenaline is rushing through my veins, my spirits high at the thought that what I am about to do can SAVE someone’s life. Several lives. Not in a hypothetical way. Not in a mythical fantasy, growing up on Marvel superheroes, TMNT and Kung-Fu films from the 70s and 80s (the coolest childhood ever!). But in a literal sense. More real than the gush of water from a nearby bus, splashing my feet and drenching me entirely. But I brush it off and keep walking. Today, even that can’t bring me down.
I ponder on the significance of this day and my actions, and the parallel of events that occurred almost 1400 years ago in this very month. Imam Hussain. My Hero. Giving not just a pint of blood that our bodies will replenish in a few weeks, but giving his everything for the sake of Allah swt and leaving nothing behind.
For the safe keeping of the religion.
For the safe keeping of justice and moral values.
For the sake keeping of humanity.
This thought dispels any nerves I have about mindless non issues such as pain, needles, blood- they are all temporary. I am nothing compared to my Master and the Master of the Youth in Heaven, it is the very least I can do.
I walk into the NHS centre and warm kind faces welcome me in from the cold. I’m surrounded by people who have come here, like me, willing to sacrifice a part of themselves today for others. All inspired by the selflessness and self-sacrifice that the Ahlulbayt (as) embodied throughout their lives. I sit and fill out forms, and I am given water to keep hydrated. I think of Abal Fadhl al-Abbas (as), returning from the riverbank of the Euphrates, with no water for his niece Sukaina (as). I drink and remind myself of their thirst. I drink and hope our deeds today will count for us on the day of Judgement and that one day we will be worthy of seeing them drinking from the river of Kawthar.
As it turns out, after a quick test of my haemoglobin levels, it was explained to me that I was unable to donate. I was disappointed by this news however I did not let this deter me. Inspired by the amazing work that the Imam Hussain Blood Donation campaign team does, I decided to volunteer and join the campaign to encourage life-saving blood donations and help spread the message of Imam Hussain (as). It is truly a heart-warming feeling; the fact that the lives of faceless, nameless people, who do not know us or will ever meet us, will be changed for the better through this collective campaign that spans all over the UK and even worldwide, growing every year by the grace of Allah swt.
So my question to you, dear reader, is: Will you be a hero today?
If you are eligible, please see here to find out more and sign up:http://www.ius.org.uk/giveblood/
If you, like me, cannot donate at this time but are inspired to get involved and want to inspire others, please see here:http://www.ius.org.uk/giveblood/getinvolved.html
Fatin A Ismail
IHBDC Volunteer (London)