Sanaz Nezami died tragically at the age of 27 as her family members watched helplessly from thousands of miles away. But loved ones of the deeply faithful Muslim were able to see her death as a "miracle" after it helped seven other people live.
Nezami died last month at a hospital in Marquette, Mich. after sustaining injuries that left her with severe head trauma. Nezami's family gave permission for her heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas and small intestine to be donated, and after her death they were transplanted to seven people in the United States, a rare occurrence, according to the Associated Press.
"We wanted God to perform a miracle and bring Sanaz back to life," her sister, Sara Nezami, told the Associated Press. Sara watched from Tehran via webcam as nurses cared for her sister. “But this is a miracle. Sanaz gave her life in order to give life.”
Before her death, Nezami's family overcame obstacles of distance and language to bond with her caretakers from afar, and after it, the hospital strived to provide her with proper Islamic funeral rites. A Muslim doctor at the hospital performed the Islamic ritual of washing and shrouding the body, according to the Mining Journal, and the hospital chaplain read Muslim prayers over her when she was buried, according to the AP.
Nezami thought the difference between Muslims and Christians was superficial, so much so that she was part of a Christian congregation, her sister told the Journal. Nezami did charity work, and continued her studies for the same reason.
"People are the same, God is the same," Sara told the paper, explaining her sister's views. "She wanted to serve people and humanity."
A learned native of Tehran, Nezami came to Dollar Bay, Mich. to pursue a doctorate in environmental engineering at Michigan Tech University. She had already earned a master's in French translation and a bachelor's of science in environmental health engineering.
Nezami had recently married Nima Nassiri and planned to begin classes in January after she arrived in Michigan in November, according to the AP. On Dec. 8, Nassiri allegedly assaulted her, and she was taken to Portage Health, a Hancock, Mich. hospital, then transferred to Marquette General Hospital.
Photo of Sanaz Nezami and Nima Nassiri via Nassiri's Facebook profile.
Nezami's faith and spirit live on after her death. An outpouring of comments on her obituary show people, both those who knew Nezami and strangers, were touched by her compassion.
"I didn't have the pleasure of knowing her, but she sounds like a wonderful person who greatly enriched the world in which she lived," one woman wrote.
"She is proof, even in death, that Iranians and Americans, Muslims and non-Muslims, can be one in harmony as brothers and sisters," said another. "She gave the gift of life to many Americans and is an example of the loving tenets of Islam for the world to see. She is an inspiration to me. My condolences to her family. She was a bright star and her light keeps shining."
In a 2011 note on her Facebook page, Nezami urged people to not give up and trust in God:
It's difficult for us to have the patience to stick with a problem until we see a breakthrough, and that's why we need God's help. You see, God never gets in a hurry. He never quits or runs out of patience. He will deal with us about one particular thing, and then He will let us rest for a while—but not too long. Soon He will come back and begin to work on something else. He will continue until, one by one, our knots are all untied.
If it sometimes seems that you're not making any progress, it's because the Lord is untying your knots one at a time. It may be hard, and it may take time, but if you will commit yourself to the process of getting well, sooner or later you will see victory in your life and experience the freedom you have wanted for so long. The important thing to remember is, no matter how long it takes, never give up, and never quit—keep at it.
Nassiri was charged with second-degree murder and held on $5 million bond last month, according to the Mining Gazette. His next court date is Jan 13.