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WAQF: What it means to me

By Dr Arthi Bahadoor (MBBS)

Today the world faces a pandemic and fear is bombarding our senses. It is in this time that the term ‘Waqf’ was left to me to define. As I researched its meaning, I realised that I understood the concept long ago through a family of believers.

In the beautiful land of Kashmir, there exists a Muslim family with origins of Arab descent. The nature of this family is such that their life’s work is dedicated to the worship of Allah SWT and service of humanity. Their legacy is a constant contribution to the welfare and development of the community through enlightenment, education and holistic healing.

The Father of this family was a devout believer in Allah SWT. Dr/ Hakim Syed Mushtaq Hussain Gilani Sahib was an academic in Greek, Western and Prophetic SAWW medicine. In addition to this, it was instilled in him that this life is meant to be dedicated to the service of Allah’s creations. It was befitting that he should give up a well-paying government job, to serve his community selflessly.

Dr/ Hakim Syed Mushtaq Hussain Gilani Sahib converted a portion of his home into a clinic to treat his people. In keeping with the contract of waqf, he made it clear to his children that none shall benefit selfishly and this act of charity is for ‘Allah in perpetuity’.

The clinic was and remains a nonprofit initiative because the purpose was solely to draw closer to Allah SWT. The principles of the founder were that of the Quran and the Sunnah. It was evident in the method of treatment of his patients. Patients would travel distances to reach Dr/ Hakim Syed Mushtaq Hussain Gilani Sahib because they new his treatment healed. However, he would remind them that the medicine was useless except by Allah’s will. So he told them to treat their heart, mind, body and soul collectively- holistic healing.

Dr/ Hakim Syed Mushtaq Hussain Gilani Sahib would prescribe medicine with exercise, diet and Holy Quran or Hadiths. If patients were not in a position to afford the medicine then he wouldn’t even mention it. If patients did not have food to eat then he would supply them with sufficient stocks for his belief was that his medicine would be futile if there was no nourishment to support good health and healing. If patients were too sick to reach him then he would walk distances to treat them.

There was no materialistic gain in the life of Dr/ Hakim Syed Mushtaq Hussain Gilani Sahib. After meeting the basic needs of his family, the rest of his earnings would go into uplifting the community. Dr/ Hakim Syed Mushtaq Hussain Gilani Sahib was respected in society for his knowledge of Islam and his exemplary service in the name of Allah. Many people would approach him to use his credentials for profitable gains but he declined and made it clear to his son that the clinic would continue to serve humanity by virtue of Allah’s grace. It was important to him that all patients be treated equally irrespective of social status, wealth, literacy, religion or gender. With that he entrusted the maintenance of the clinic to his children and presented the custodianship to his son.

Dr Syed Mohsin Ali holds a Medical degree, a Masters in Medicine, a Masters in Public Health and a PhD in Medicine. The reason I state his credentials is to emphasize that despite being so accomplished, he maintains the legacy of his Father’s waqf. He is a devout believer in Allah and has maintained the integrity of the clinic through selfless service. In pursuing his professional career, he has never sought profitable gains from the clinic. In the pursuit of knowledge, he moved to China and took with him these values and principles inscribed in the Holy Quran and the Sunnah. Prophetic SAWW medicine remains the essence of holistic healing despite the prominence of ‘modern medicine’.

In addition to his son, Dr/ Hakim Syed Mushtaq Hussain Gilani Sahib also encouraged that his daughters be as educated and accomplished. The elder daughter has a Masters in Medicine and lives in the United States of America. The younger daughter is a medical doctor in the greater Pakistan region. By revealing this, I wish to reiterate the extent of the waqf and the legacy of Dr/ Hakim Syed Mushtaq Hussain Gilani Sahib. Beyond the property of the clinic, the teachings of the Holy Quran, the Sunnah and Prophetic SAWW medicine has reached across the globe through enlightenment and education. Humanity is benefitting from the selfless service of true believers beyond borders and man-made divisions. Today you are reading this story in South Africa because I, as a medical doctor, was directly influenced by the waqf of this family.

I chose to relay this story now because a virus has created a crisis in our society. The life we’ve become accustomed to is being questioned. Many people are looking for solutions and seeking comfort in outlandish places. In simplicity, it’s time to revert to the teachings of the Holy Quran, the Sunnah and Prophetic SAWW medicine.

The life of Dr/ Hakim Syed Mushtaq Hussain Gilani Sahib resonates through one of his final acts of charity. By Allah’s will, Dr/ Hakim Syed Mushtaq Hussain Gilani Sahib fell sick and was in the final moments of this life when he asked his son to complete a very important task. A patient had recently come to him and the Dr/ Hakim Syed Mushtaq Hussain Gilani Sahib knew that this patient could not afford food, so without a regard for his own health status, he instructed his son to ensure that the patient had a good nutritional supply or their health would not improve. In the face of COVID-19, we are left with the legacy of holistic healing by the mercy of Allah SWT.