I never knew there was anything called the celiac disease until I was diagnosed with it about nine years ago. Apparently the same wheat which I had been having as a staple food all my life, had suddenly become an enemy for my intestines and even a little amount was enough to trigger an allergic reaction, destroying the surface of the intestines in such a way that no food nutrients could be absorbed in the blood. The only solution was to avoid wheat for the rest of my life. It seemed an impossible thing in the beginning but gradually I learned to be content and grateful that I could still eat so many things which did not contain wheat. In fact after the initial period of adjustment I began to love the feeling that Allah had chosen me for this test and so I became more and more attached to Him when I realized that through this experience Allah was teaching me to become grateful and to ponder on His numerous blessings that previously I was taking for granted.
It went well for a while but then nothing in life remains constant on its own. To be consistent in our efforts we need to have a lot of discipline and self control. I was lacking in both these qualities so I could not stop myself when I would be visiting other people and was offered snacks containing wheat. When I tried to resist and explained the disease, I was told not be too strict with myself and a little pleasure could not be so harmful…. And so I would accept the treat and later on feel guilty. But then after a few days when I would see an irresistible chocolate cake lying in the fridge, I would fall in the traps of my desire again… The strange thing was that I would never get any side effects, any pain or symptoms… and so I felt that maybe it was ok to have a little break now and then.
Anyway it went on for so many years but recently I noticed that the pain in my back and knees was getting worse. I tried home remedies but the weakness and lethargy which had been my companions for a long time, were also getting intense. This led me to believe that I had to get myself examined by a doctor. And so I went to the hospital a couple of days ago hoping to get some multivitamins or calcium supplement. But the doctor instead of looking at my knees or back, simply asked me one question: “have you been taking wheat?” I told him the truth to which he exclaimed “how could you do this to yourself?” Didn’t you know that even a little amount is enough to destroy you?” I was shocked… and felt like someone had awakened me from a long slumber… Feeling like a fool, I offered my excuse: “but I was not having any symptoms so I thought it would be ok…” He looked at me with anger mixed with pity: “but didn’t anyone tell you that it might be working inside you without having any outward effect? Don’t you know the accumulated effect of wheat can cause cancer in your intestines?”
So what could be done now? except to evaluate the damage done so far and to get some treatment for it, which might or might not work… I began to feel a deep regret to realize that I had wasted all the opportunities of good health and energy only for the sake of a little pleasure… But then my thoughts turned to the hereafter and I realized with absolute clarity how we fool ourselves, when we do “little” sins and we think that it is ok… We continue with our bad habits for years and years because apparently we don’t see any “symptom” of their destruction. But it doesn’t mean that the soul is not being affected. This is the real test that we should believe Allah if He tells us that such and such thing is harmful for us even if we are not facing any immediate consequences.
The regret of this world is only temporary and the good and bad of this life will end one day… but what will we do in the hereafter if we don’t save ourselves from the regret of that day. We have to understand that we all have to suffer one pain or the other… either the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.
May Allah open our eyes now, when we still have time to make a fresh start… ameen