Tuesday, March 16, 2010

‘Have plans, work hard, then leave the rest to God,”


By Shevlin Sebastian

One night, in 1997, after having dinner with London-based friends, Dr. Najeeb Zackeria, the managing director of Abad Builders was speeding down a motorway towards his home in Milton Keynes, 70 kms away.

He had just finished a double shift in a hospital and was feeling tired. So he pulled the windows down, and played some music to stay awake. But, without realising it, he dozed off. He veered off the expressway onto a grassy patch of land. “A few seconds later, I awoke,” he says.

Najeeb saw, with rising alarm, that he was heading towards a parapet, at high speed. He slammed the brakes, and the car spun around 360 degrees and came to a stop in the middle of the two-lane motorway. “By the grace of God, there was no traffic,” he says. “Usually, there are heavy trailers and cars that zoom past.”

Looking back, Najeeb feels that it was his destiny to stay alive. “This incident confirmed to me that man is never in control of things,” he says. “In fact, God is firmly in charge.”

Like any devout Muslim, Najeeb prays five times a day. “I ask the Almighty to show me the right path,” he says. “I pray for good health and for protection from evil, bad thoughts, and wrong deeds.” Further, Najeeb appeals to God on behalf of his joint family, the neighbourhood, and the community at large.

He also asks the Lord for forgiveness. “As human beings we commit many sins, sometimes, unknowingly, and so I plead that mercy be granted to me,” says Najeeb.

He says that these daily prayers, which are of 15 minutes duration, deepen the sense of humility. “You stand, then you bow to the Almighty, you prostrate yourself, then you get up,” he says. And all this is done after performing the ablution -- the ritual of washing parts of the body with water.

Like any well-to-do Muslim, Najeeb has done the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. “The experience was most enriching,” he says. “The moment I looked at the Holy Kaaba or the black stone, at Mecca, I had goose bumps all over,” he says. “This is one of the holiest places in Islam. And there is such a deep connection to all the prophets. So I experienced a tremendous reverence.”

Najeeb says that this reverence increases when he goes through tough times. “I don’t get angry with God when bad things happen,” he says. “I have realised that you cannot change anything, even if you work very hard, unless the Almighty decides so. Sometimes, when you don’t wish for anything, certain favourable events occur, just because the Lord wants it to happen.”

So Najeeb’s philosophy of life is very simple: “Have plans, work hard to implement it, then leave the rest to God.”

(The New Indian Express, Kerala)

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