Chapter Six- 09/10

Anas bin Malik (radi Allahu anhu) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “There shall come upon the people a time in which the one who is steadfast upon his religion will be like the one holding onto a burning coal.”

September 2001
The boys gazed in a slightly stupefied wonder at the New York skyline. The city of the American Dream. The scenery which had blazed across their hours of tv consuming and the place which,if you got residence here, you were deemed to have “made it.” How foolish is our notions of success that we make the barometer of it,what we drive and where we live and what brands are splashed across us. When 5 times daily the Azaan informs us that if we can toss aside the world and answer the invitation of the azaan,then Allah Ta’aala Himself is putting us on the platform of success.
The onus is on us to make that short trip to the musalla and musjid,a definite foot in the door of triumph.
Zane turned to Carl and Alex with a goofy smile. “ I can’t believe we actually made the road trip we’ve always dreamed about doing together, New York here we come, New York out of all places! This is going to be the first place we tick off on our bucket list.” Sensible as always Carl replied, “ Let’s get some sleep guys, otherwise we won’t get to see much of the big apple.”
Alex pulled out a notebook to Zane’s dismay. “Let’s see what our list says…hmmm.” Alex was just as psyched as his friends about this trip.But for him, it was more important that it was made extra special because the two guys who had picked him up from the gutter ,were here with him today, Whoever thought a boy from the backwoods of the South would be here ,in the pulse of America?That too,at a swanky hotel to boot.

“ Come on Alex, do you have to kill the fun part of everything with your lists, let’s just go where the wind takes us.”
“ Yeah Zane and the wind will take us nowhere with your navigation skills.” Alex shot back. Carl shook his head. “ I’m with Alex on this one, there’s so much to do here that we have got to have an idea of what we’re going to do otherwise we’ll spend half the time lost.”
“Fine,fine… Hey Carl when are you meeting up with your Dad?” Zane asked.
“ I haven’t seen him in ages, so odd that him and my old guy were friends and he used to be around all the time at our place…you know…before..before..” Alex said hesitatingly. “ Its cool man, I’m over him walking out on my mum and I. I hope he’s prepared to grovel, I’m meeting him late tomorrow morning, so why don’t we do something early morning together?” Carl enquired.

“Let’s check out the observatory deck at the Twin Towers.” Alex suggested
Zane flopped on the crisply made bed. “Cool, now get ready guys to paint the town red, shall we start with Soho? I hear the bars there are mind blowing.”
Carl shook a finger at them. “ Don’t get too wasted guys, otherwise we won’t be able to wake up tomorrow.”
Carl didn’t say anything about Zane being Muslim,even though in later years, Victor was sure he was itching to do so…

Surah 5;A91- Shaitan only wants to cause between you animosity and hatred through intoxicants and gambling and to turn you away from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. So will you not desist?

An alarm rang shrilly though the morning air the next day.
Carl shook Zane’s shoulders. “Wake up! Come on! I knew I shouldn’t have let you have so many drinks, Zane! Up! Alex!” Zane swotted him away groggily “Caaarl,leave me alonnne! I have a thousand hammers banging my head.”
“ You overdid it with the tequila,idiot. Alex? Alex? He’s out cold, I’m going to miss out if I wait for you guys, Zane I’m heading to the coffee shop in lower Manhattan for breakfast near the Twin Towers, you’re going to miss out on the most spectacular waffles! Are you coming or not? Last time.”
Zane swore and with his eyes closed still to Carl to go jump.
Carl; “fine, see you by 1, after I meet my father.”
“wharrevah.” Zane replied from under the duvet trying to quieten his crushing headache.

Later that day…

“Hey Carl! Switch the alarm off man!” Zane threw the duvet off,annoyed.
Alex sleepily looked at his friend. “What alarm? Where’s Carl? He’s not here, Whats that sound?”
“My goodness what a racket, let’s see what the fuss is about.” Zane ran to the window. Alex blinked his eyes. “Close the blinds! The sunlight is blinding me dude.” “ Alex! Get here! Look
Alex and Zane looked out at a view that had changed, the twin towers no longer dominated the Manhattan skyline, in its place, dark black smoke licked at the sky. Fire engines and ambulances were littered for miles around…something was very wrong.
Alex; try Carl’s phone! Now!
Zane hurriedly punched in Carl’s number… and a few seconds later looked at Alex with a pale face… “Alex…” “It’s on voice-mail…”


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