Friday, February 17, 2006

Sleep On It

I have a major issue with the Prayer of the Undecided.

Before getting to that, here's an article by the BBC: Sleep on it. Apparently, a team of scientists in Holland has concluded that when you have to make a tough decision with lot of factors, like buying a car, don't sweat it, sleep on it. According to them, complex decisions can be better made when the unconscious mind is left to churn through the options.

This is the Prayer of the Undecided, or as it's known in Islam - Istikhara. You have a tough question, you say two rakats (units) of prayer before going to bed, with a special dua (prayer) - and at night in your dream you are supposed to see the answer. I used it and to me I would have to say it worked. However there is The Issue.

What if you need a decision ... like NOW?! For example, a call from my 'friend' this morning:

"Hey Mezba, I am at Woodside theatre. Ya, we are getting tickets to that Aamir Khan movie for tonight. What, you saw it already? Well, think about it. BTW there's this girl coming with us I would really like you to meet. She's your type, and you two could hit it off. Mezba? You there? You listening?"

Hmmm ...

.... it took a few minutes, but I had long decided no girl is worth watching Aamir Khan twice at Woodside where the seats are a pain in the derriere, and no stadium seating means as soon as a turbaned gentleman sits in front of me, the show's over. Besides, I hated that movie - I don't care what other people say.

So I may have missed meeting my future wife at a cinema hall. I need some Istikhara-Lite.

Speaking of tough decisions, Ontario wants to make one on your behalf - Presumed Consent on Organ Donation. Currently, Canadians choose whether to donate their organs when they die - it's an Opt-in process. Few Ontario parliamentarians want to make it an Opt-out process, so unless you have it indicated in your will or some government registry, hospitals can harvest your organs in case of death.

Links here and here.

It's a tough decision. One of our family friends in New York had two failed kidneys. Given the wait times for an organ, he went to Bangladesh, and negotiated with some poor relative of his. The relative would come to the US and be settled well into a nice job, provided he donated a kidney to this patient. It was all unofficial - this is illegal. The relative came to the USA, and then decided to abort the deal. Seven years later, the guy got a matching organ. For these seven years, he had to make trips to the hospital every 2-3 days, and was severely restricted in his physical abilities. Now, he says, he feels like a new man. He doesn't care whose kidney it was, whether it was a drunkard, a loafer, he says it's his kidney now and his responsibility. So, the MPs of Ontario will have to make some tough decisions.

Maybe they should sleep on it.



Shabina said...

hmm. Interesting BBC article. The benefit of sleeping on it is that you'll probably stop yourself from making a rash decision, like splurging on a car you can't afford.

But yeah, sometimes you've just got to seize the moment and deal with the aftermath of those spontaneous decisions...

I'm wondering if your post is going to start controversy over the permissibility of organ donations in

Aisha said...

Hm... yeah organ donation is very tricky. I love your transition to that btw, lol. It made me smile :). ORgan donation is so tricky though but I think it sounds wrong to presume that you'll be okay with it since that's just fiction. Most people are not okay or not okay. Most people are conflicted... which is why the topic is confusing.. so why not just do it on their behalf and err on savinga life? thought provoking.

Anonymous said...

mezzo mezzo!
have you tried

Good luck!

mezba said...

Shabina, Aisha: I was surprised at the BBC piece myself. I am always amazed at studies that are undertaken to prove stuff that is commonly accepted. But anyways, I don't know much about organ donation in Islam, but I think it might be a good idea that the gov is taking that decision off our hands (well not really but you know what I mean).

Ah, Anon, that you, my cousin Farah? Still lot of movies left to go to!

Edward Ott said...

I liked this writing, useful information with a bit of humor thrown in.


Anonymous said...

I don't like this idea. I don't want the ER crews to have to make the decision whether to try and save me or get my organs, if they cant find my donor card. There is so much scope of abuse.

- Z

Anonymous said...

Rumour has it (with a great chance of it being true) that in the United States, if they see you are a donor (your driver's license says whether or not you are a donor) and you belong to a minority community, they (the medical people) do not try their hardest to save your life because it's to their benefit if you die. That's why people say not to be a donor. Yeah all life NOT created equal.

In this case, if Canada PM decides it for the people of Canada, it doesn't sound fair to me. I echo the previous comment's opinion. Can't you guys do something against it? How does public opinion work in Canada? I realize you guys have elected this new person. But what do you have at your disposal to do something against it, if you feel strongly about it?

~Tea Biscuit

Anonymous said...


I'd like to ask you a question. here you wrote
"and at night in your dream you are supposed to see the answer." I am just wondering if it's necessarily true/correct for all the cases. Is there any hadith that says that you will see some dream or something? All the ahadith I came across only say that your heart will be inclined towards one thing and Allah will make you content with that decision. I also realized from some ahadith that it could also happen that you may be inclined towards something totally different than the two or three options you are considering and that's for the duaa you make that whatever you is beneficial for you should be granted. I was also taught that ideally you should pray this before going to bed, you may pray it anytime, whenever you feel the need. All this I learnt either from people or ahadith.
It would be really nice if you could direct me to some more ahadith that says something like "dream" and also how to interprete the signs if you get them. I do pray this a lot and often don't see any definite/obvious sign or anything except for som sort of calmness/contentment in my heart. Sometimes not even that, but knowing that I have at least consulted with Allah is what consoles me!

Tea Biscuit

mezba said...

Edward: Thanks for the comments.

Z: I think ER crews will take all necessary actions to save someone's life, regardless of their donor status.

Tea (12:06): Interesting rumour.

First, this law, if it passes, applies only to province of Ontario, not Canada.

Second, this law is brought forward by an individual MP, meaning it's not any political party's position, but a suggestion by an individual MP, that also from the opposition benches. It has to make several readings and get drafted before coming to a vote, where it will likely fail. Several of the government's MPs, such as the Health Minister, has already said this is not a viable option, but it's good that it's encouraging debate, and increasing awareness of organ donations.

Tea (12:17): I am sorry I don't know too much about this Istikhara. You will have to ask someone knowledgeable in these matters. I can usually remember my dreams, and I think even if you see anything in your dream it may not be explicit but symbolic.

Nabeel said...

yes I read the BBC article too .. sleep on it .. its vrey true I think.

how about a girl who liked Good Fellas and FightClub?