“Dragons, fairies, demons – those are all believable- but Dajjal! Give me a break!”
Oumed was arguing with his older brother, Salim, who was sitting on the prayer mat with the Quran open. He didn’t know what to do with his younger brother.
“Look, Oumed, this is the age of fitnah. Dajjal exists. Believe in the word of Allah, Little Brother.”
Oumed snorted. “I don’t even know why I’m wasting my saliva with you, Salim. This is the 21st century. There ain’t no Dajjal - Dajjal was a stupid monster made up to scare people like you.” He threw on his black gangster jacket and walked out. Salim had calmed down his anger. He just wanted the best for his brother.
Salim went outside to the backyard. He opened his Quran, which was old and worn with reading frequently. He began to read one of his favourite surahs, Surat al-Mulk. His clear voice was floating with the wind. “Farji ‘il basara, hal tara min futur?” [Look around you, do you see any flaw?] He looked around him. His heart was filled with love for Allah…. He breathed in the cool breeze and continued reading.
On the suburb of the city someone else was breathing in the cool air too. She was leaning on her window sill as the wind blew through her hair. So many thought were going through her mind. Then her thoughts stopped still on the most painful thing of her life. She remembered being 8 years old waiting by the heavy oak door of her house tears dripping from her hazel eyes. She was waiting to be picked up for the funeral…of her mother. She didn’t know how it happened or why it happened but she just knew it did. If my mother where here right now, I wouldn’t feel so bad…she thought and she burst out crying like a baby again. She remembered how she stood by the comforting bluebells which was her and her mom’s favourite flower. And her thoughts went on and on. Suddenly she remembered Cherry. I’ve got to talk to dad about her, she thought.
She went downstairs to her father. “Papa…” She generally didn’t like disturbing her father when he was in the study. He was sitting on his leather chair facing the fire place. As usual, he had a cigar in his mouth too.
“Papa…” she tried again. This time her tall father looked at her.
“Oh, Nur!” he exclaimed. It was as if he’d forgotten that he had a daughter. “Yes, how can I help you?” Mr. Khalid used his business tone even with his daughter. “It’s about Cherry. I wanted to get her to the vet – she wasn’t feeling well last evening.” Mr. Khalid’s hard business face didn’t change. “That horse is old. It needs to be thrown away.”
Nur was shocked. She could never get used to her father’s stone-hearted way of speaking. Tears welled up in her eyes. Her father noticed this. “Nothing to weep about! I’ll get you a new one. A sturdy white stallion, eh? A nice young and strong horse.” Nur couldn’t believe it. She walked slowly out of her father’s study and ran to her room. Cherry wasn’t some useless toy she could throw away anytime she wanted! Cherry was her precious horse, her best friend! Nur closed her teary eyes as she threw herself on the bed and continued sobbing.
In the dark corners of the city, there was a disco. It was full of mad teens, drunk, dancing, smelling, smoking. That’s where Oumed was spending the night.
“C’mon, Oumed! We don’t have all day!” Oumed was smiling. He and his friends were playing cards, gambling. Oumed was about to make a move and take the money home. He looked around the bar. It was full of smoke and the smell of alcohol was filling the place. Deep down, Oumed knew it was wrong. What he was doing was wrong. His friend slapped him . “Hey, man, what’s up? Play the game already!” ……
Oumed dragged himself home at 3 am. He was exhausted from staying up all night. He creeped to the back of the house and slowly started climbing up the ladder he made to get to his room without his parents knowing. For his surprise, Salim was waiting for him in his room.
“So, did you have fun?” Salim asked.
“Yeah, plenty of fun. And I won plenty of money too.”
“I’m guessing you spent the night gambling?”
“Of course. I’m using my skills to make cash, bro. It’s business. ”
“Oumed, what you’re doing is wrong. We’re Muslims, we don’t do these kinds of things. Allah is watching us. Death can come anytime. You need to change, bro. Just start praying…do you even still remember how to read the Quran. Oumed, think about your - ”
“Blah Blah Blah. Now get lost so I can catch up on my sleep.”
“LEAVE ME ALONE! WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU? CAN’T I HAVE SOME PEACE?!”
“Islam is peace, Oumed.”
Oumed had already fallen asleep. Salim sighed and went to get ready for Fajr.