The Procrastinating Islamist

He had been staring at the screen for a long time now. The blue and white shades, coupled with an admixture of colours, seemed to melt into the background as he strained his vision, squinting at something beyond the glowing screen in front of him, hoping against hope for some hope. One could see from his intense gaze, and the deeply furrowed brows, that he was deeply absorbed in his thoughts, here but not here.

Yes, he wanted a revolution; yes, he wanted change, but he hated feeling so utterly helpless and useless, as the plethora of words in fine print, motley collections of harbingers of death, destruction, strife and hopelessness, seemed to stare dispassionately at him across the screen, portending nothing but utter despair.

They called him an Islamist. A morbid name on the tongues of many, a fashionable fad for others. But for him, it was a choice, laced with belief, and pregnant with a sense of responsibility to none other than God himself. He knew that sometimes he was prone to slipping along the path, but he knew that there was no turning back, and neither was there to be any straying on either side. In fact that was precisely what he asked his Creator for, every time he felt overwhelmed to lower his face into his hands and let the tears slowly flow; plain Hidayah.

But there were moments when he despaired, and he despised himself for them. Moments when it seemed that there was no one to stand beside his Palestinian brothers and sisters, the starving Syrian kids and their parents, the tear laced sisters who had lost their brothers, fathers and husbands, the men and women who had lost their children, those kids searching frantically for their parents, and for a childhood destroyed and wiped out forever. Amidst the horror, the hollow expressions of the oppressed never ceased to pierce right through his soul, and cause pain. Because there was nothing he could do, except write, and make dua. And day by day, he was losing interest in the former, and becoming more lax in the latter. And yes, he only hated himself more for it.

Hope, salvation, redemption; where could he find them and………

The sound of the azan of the muezzin suddenly cut through his thoughts, jarring him back to reality and an unequal world. He gave a long sigh as he stretched his limbs before standing up. It was time to go for Asr.

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Yakuzo becomes the king of this world

Once upon a time, there was a farmer called Yakuzo in Japan. He wanted to be the king of the world. So he first gathered all the farmers in his village and told them that he wanted to be the king of this world. He promised them that if he could become the king of this world, they would all have thicker brains, and bloated stomachs. They were all happy when they heard the promises of Yakuza. One small man got so happy at the announcement that he performed hara kiri in happiness.

Yakuzo assembled all the farmers of his village and they began their steadfast journey to take over the world. They all sat down under the large chestnut tree in front of the house of the head shaman Wazowsky. The man Wazowsky got angry when he saw the farmers sitting under his chestnut tree. He ran towards them and threw a shoe at Yakuzo for bringing the men to sit under his tree. Everybody looked with keen interest at the shoe hurtling towards Yakuzo; it reminded them of a bullet train on its tracks hurtling through the paddy fields on a dark moonlit night, graceful, shiny and utterly fascinating in its journey towards the future king.

But the game was up for the shaman Wazowsky. The shoe, when it saw that it was heading towards Yakuzo, did a U-turn with its arms smack around the chestnut tree, and decelerated, and then accelerated towards Wazowsky’s head, smashing it into pieces reminiscent of the bursting of a toffee filled with deep chocolate coloured fluid.

Yakuzo had watched the drama with his mouth-open, and began to scream in joy, saying that he had become the king of this world. The other farmers, seeing Yakuzo, began to dance in delight, and celebrate. Just then, a terrible voice came out of the heavens, the screeching of which sounded like an the scratching of nails on rusted iron. Yakuzo and his men almost bent over in agony at the power of the terrible voice. One of the men, who had suddenly looked at the skies, shrieked in terror as he pointed at the direction of the sky. Yakuzo looked up, and fear flashed through his body in powerful waves. For up there, blotting the sky, was the king of the world.

However, he held his ground, and stood up straight, tall and proud. The king of the world looked at Yakuzo, and stared solemnly. Then both cracked up and started laughing so hard; you’d think the world was rumbling under your feet. The king of the world took out his will and forwarded it to Yakuzo, who took out his pen to sign at the bottom with a big ‘X’.

There was only one clause. It said, “Yakuzo is the king of this world”.

Joe tries to learn how to swim

Joe wanted to learn to swim. So he brought a manual which he took with him to the beach. He assumed that swimming was a set of instructions that he could easily emulate and follow. So he jumped into the water and then opened the book. After reading a few pages, he realized that he had to keep the book somewhere in order to use both his hands.  So he went to the bottom of the sea and kept the book there. After surfacing back, he began to move his arms slowly, but realized that he was unable to keep himself afloat, and water began to go into his mouth and lungs. Pondering on the problem, he went back to check with the book on how to stay afloat. It gave directions on how to take deep breaths to stay afloat. So he went back to the surface in order to learn how to swim without drowning. Again he began to choke on water. Angry with himself, he went to Jack, the local swimming instructor, and asked him for advice. Jack advised him to buy an oxygen tank.

Content with the useful advice, he went back down the sea again to retrieve his swimming instructions book, and swam to the shore. On his way to the shop, a rabid dog chased him, and he had to climb up the tall banyan tree. The dog would not let go of him, and kept barking at the foot of the tree till evening. After the dog left, Joe found that he could not climb down.Putting on his thinking cap, he remembered that he had a ladder in his backyard. So he went home, and brought his ladder with him. Setting it up carefully against the trunk of the tree, he came down.

He went to the grocery shop to buy oxygen tanks, but they had closed down. “We are closed down for today,” said the owner to Joe. Sad at not being able to buy the tanks or learn to swim, Joe turned back, swam through the English channel and took the car to New York. Perhaps he would learn to swim next week, if he got some time off, he thought to himself cheerfully.