As I saw the much loved professor, called Professor Salaam by the whole college, limping towards the principal’s office, I stared at his back in awe and respect.The story behind his limp came fleetingly to my mind.It is a miraculous story, a truly moving one. The circumstances which befell the professor, were told to us by a close friend of his, who related the events in these words.
“Nearly four years ago, my friend the professor, was travelling with me to visit a common friend of ours, who was seriously ill for quite some time.This friend lived about 150 km away from our town in a big city. As we started the journey in the professor’s car, the morning was pleasant and the weather could only be described as beautiful. The professor was in a very jovial mood. He told me that he was a very good driver, so I should relax, enjoy the scenery all around, and be at ease with his driving.
After driving for more then an hour, we started approaching the outskirts of the city, were our friend lived. The professor turned his head towards me for a second, remarking we would soon reach the friend’s house. Having said this, the professor suddenly accelerated the speed of the car. Just then we saw a small truck loaded with crates full of vegetables and fruits, coming some what speedily from the opposite direction.
As he saw the advancing vehicle, the professor tried to slow down his speed, I asked him to be careful. and move a bit to the left side. My voice had barely died down, when there was a loud noise, and the two vehicles collided head on. Amazingly the door on my side flung open, and I was thrown out on the sandy by road. I went into a state of shock, not knowing what had happened and how.
Quite a while passed, then some sort of realisation set in. I gathered up my self and shakingly got up. One look at the car sent shivers along my spine. It looked as though a heavy machine had crushed it. Suddenly the thought of my friend, the professor came to my mind. I raced to see him, only to find the door on his side jammed, the window glass shattered, and the professor covered in blood. I tried my best to open the door and get him out, but could not do it. Then another thought struck me, I had forgotten the truck driver. I went over to the truck and saw the driver standing besides it, surprisingly he was also unhurt, only stunned by the happening.
I then called the police,the civil defence, and an ambulance.As soon as they arrived the professor was taken out of the car, by the civil defence men cutting the door, and moving him to the ambulance. The professor was rushed to the city’s biggest hospital, and given emergency treatment. He was in a critical condition, the final diagnosis of the docters was, that he had suffered spinal injury.
Days passed into weeks, inspite of two operations and good care, the professor was paralysed waist downwards. He could not even sit up, let alone stand. He was sent home after six weeks in the hospital. Once home, the professor was confined to his bed in his room. His family was very attentive and caring towards him, but due to his physical condition his mental state also worsened day by day, and depression over took him.
In the beginning his colleagues and students visited him regularly, but with time, their visits became spaced and fewer. One day, a student of his came to see him. The youngster was accompanied by an elderly man, who was introduced as the maternal uncle of the boy. The uncle tried his best to cheer up the professor, but sadly there was no response, only dead silence.
Seeing his condition, the uncle looked hard at the professor, then told him he had a cure for his paralysis. It may take months, even a year, but by Allah’s Rehmat, the professor would start walking again. The professor did no show any interest at these words, and continued looking gloomy and remained silent. But a son of the professor who was sitting next to his father, jumped up, and begged the uncle to tell him what was to be done.
The man told the son that he will have to take his father out of the house in a wheelchair every day with out fail, and place the chair next to their main gate, where passerbys could stop and say Salaam to him, in return the professor will have to say Walaikumassalam. The son promised to do this regularly. Inspite of his father’s protests the son forcefully took him out the very next day, and placed his wheelchair besides the main gate of their house.
To the utter surprise of the son, a number of people came running to the professor, greeting him with Assalamoalaikum, the professor had to respond with Walaikumassalam. Some of the men even shook hands and lingered to ask the professor about his health. As the son started to take his father back to the house as it had become a bit hot, he was surprised to see a slight smile on his father’s face.
This ritual continued steadfastly for about three months, the professor was now mentally better, he started saying Assalamoalaikum to people himself. One day the professor noticed a very slight movement in his right leg, he called his son and other family members telling them the great news, every one was overjoyed and loudly said Alhamdolillah several times over. The son called the uncle and informed him about the joyous news.
The son was advised to take his father to a nearby market, and place his wheelchair there. As surely a greater number of people would pass by, and the professor would get a chance to say Assalamoalaikum to more people and get Walaikumassalam in return. It was almost three months at the market place with this routine of his, when one day the professor noticed a visible movement in both his legs.
Reaching home, the professor fell into sajadah of shuker, he could not believe this, he went on with his routine with more faith and vigour. In addition to this a massage of his legs by olive oil was also started by his son. Another month passed, the professor could now stand on his feet. He kept his mentor, the uncle informed of his progress. The professor was then advised to go to a bigger market place to wish a greater number of people with Assalamoalaikum and get the answer of Walaikumassalam. By the end of the year the professor could walk a few steps on his own, but with tremendous limping. Gradually his limp came in control, and he now walked unaided for about ten minutes.
Two more months passed, the professor started walking at a normal pace, but with a slight yet notable limp. One evening he wrote an application to the principal of his college, requesting him to reinstate his services, at the same time he called the man who had changed his life, the uncle, and invited him to tea. Next evening as the two of them were enjoying the delicacies over hot cups of tea, the professor looked thoughtfully at the elderly uncle and asked him,
“Why did you ask me to say Assalamoalaikum to each man who passed by, how did it cure me in this bewildering manner. What is the reason behind it?”
The uncle remained silent, staring in his plate as the clock ticked away, then lifted his head and said,
“When you wished people with Assalamoalaikum, you were giving them a dua, may Allah’s Blessings be on you. When they in turn replied, Walaikumassalam, they returned the dua, may Allah’s blessings be on you too. Thus when hundreds and thousands of Allah’s blessings were showered on you, how could they not cure you”.