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from the May 2011 issue

Embraced by the Grave

Oh, I must have fallen asleep really late. This place is cramped, it is hard to breathe. Hold on, let me switch the lights on, how dark it is in here, and why am I having so much trouble breathing? Ouch! What did my head bump into, the roof of the house cannot have tumbled down on me, how could that be? Wait now, let me think a little, where am I and what is this place?

Oh! It looks like someone is coming, as if he has brought a lantern with him. Wait now, it does not seem to be a friend of mine, no I do not recognize this man, and he has not brought a lamp with him either. Could it be two people, and what could that light be? What can that flaming light above be? It appears that they are talking about me, hold on a little, I will ask them; hey you, what is this place?

—We won’t tell you, but sooner or later you will learn. You will have to think about it by yourself, scrutinize yourself for a while and you will remember. You will find an answer on your own.

—Hmmm! Wait now, I remember now. I was in a village neighboring Duzhakh, and I had gathered some soldiers to fight for Islam, to safeguard my faith.

—You gathered an army on your own in order to defame Islam.

—Me? No, no way, I was engaged in jihad, I was a mujahid.

—No, never. You have never been a mujahid. That is not jihad. Jihad is one of the most holy duties of all, and you have defamed the very word of it.

—I . . . I . . . I, am I not a mujahid? But why, how could I not be?

—Think over your own past actions and you will realize who you really are.

—Ah, wait, let me enter the inmost depth of my self; I was engaged in jihad. I was sent to the mountainous areas of our nation to wage jihad.

—OK, you were sent to engage in jihad, and who sent you?

—Who was I sent by? I went on my own, no not solely on my own. I was first drilled by some generals in the neighboring Duzhakh, and then they sent me to the mountains and told me that the mountainous region of our nation is the land of war, the Dar al-Harb.

—So, they sent you to that mountainous region to engage in jihad. Was not Islam stronger in that neighboring Duzhakh of yours than in the mountains? Was not the jihad there unlawful? Was it not so, that you engaged in jihad to kill your own Muslim brothers?

—Not me, I can’t be a killer.

—Think about where you went and what you did.

—Oh, I remember. When I came to the mountains, they gave me the address of a school to wage a jihad upon, on my own. Heretics had arrived there in the mountain regions and in the schools they were giving lessons against Islam.

—Heretics and heresy, OK. But they also  taught the book of the blessed and the holy word there. And you went there and caused some innocent children, who had not yet learned how to distinguish a friend from an enemy, to be consumed by death.

—Well, so what is this place now?

—Have you still not figured it out? This is a grave and you are dead.

—Am I dead? No, I can’t be dead. If I had died I would have become a martyr.

—You and your martyrdom.

—And what is this?

—It is your Book of Deeds.

—My Book of Deeds. Hold on, let me present my right hand for you, I am a martyr you see. Oh, my right hand is gone. What can I do now? I took the Book of Deeds with my left hand. Oh my God, why do you lead me to hell? Am I not a martyr?

—No, you will not become a martyr. You are nothing but a murderer, a murderer of Muslims.

—No, no, no, don’t let it be so.


Ah, it is so warm.

My mouth is so dry.

How dark it is.

It is really cramped in here.

Save me Lord.

Oh, Lord Almighty.


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