Hammaad; New York
I saw her with her head bent over, looking so preoccupied. My heart felt like it would explode…even after all this time. I looked away quickly. I needed to get out of here and fast.
I kicked out instinctively in my waking consciousness as I felt something gnaw at my foot. In a split second I woke up and jumped to my feet. A rat!
Ya Allah… when will this misery end… I wonder if my family knows what happened to me..
I was in the infamous Bagram jail. The very same where Aafia Siddiqui was captured and tortured and her broken screams painted the walls… I shook my head and recited
Bismillahilazi la ya dhurru ma’a ismiHi shai un fil ardhi wa laa fis samaaee wa Huwas Samee’ul Amleem,
I read it 3 times as was the practice of RasulAllah SAW for protection against any harm from any creatures. My mentor and father figure Victor had taught to me before I left for Afghanistan. He said my father would have done the same .
My father…Umair Jal… I wonder if he is free ? Alive? Okay?
I closed my eyes…perhaps I would get some sleep ,sleep and regroup my strength inshaAllah to plot another breakout which this time would hopefully ,succeed. I was not going down without a fight.
How beautiful is it for a believer who is fighting- Either he is victorious or he is martyred… No loss ever.
The autumn leaves crunched under my feet as I meandered in the Park. I was still wrapped up in my thoughts about what Suhailah had suggested… that I join ISIS. Sometimes it excited me and sometimes it scared me.
When my parents made me mad, I was ready to leave in the next second and when they were sweet with me, I felt a lump in my throat at the thought of leaving them behind without a word, if I left, I had to disappear like vapour on window pane when the sun arises… no trace.
What was left for us here in America? The dream was long gone… my brother was beyond my reach and wearing the hijab was more of a burden.
There was just a gaping hole in my heart that needed to be filled…
“Get your hands off me!” I said to the guard. I shrugged him off despite knowing what was going to come next. On cue, he slammed his fist into my nose. I felt the blood trickle down, tasting the saltiness. I wiped it away and looking up, my gaze locked with Abdun Nasir, an old Arab Mujahid that they had imprisoned under the puppet’s regime…he shook his head ever so slightly and pleaded with me silently not to react. Do you know what is Jihad? It is not Reacting but training your inner self to be disciplined. To weaken the nafs so your superior self can rise up. It’s not about weapons and machinery, that’s the very last point.
My inner training began somewhere around the time when I had to make one of the hardest decisions in my life.
I quickly walked away when I heard her run behind me.
‘Hammad’! I heard the pain, confusion and anger in her voice. I’d know her voice anywhere.
“Nadia.” I quietly answered.
“Look at me damn it!”
I turned around but kept my gaze lowered.
“Nadia…it’s not good for us to be alone and speaking here.”
“There are like 300 other people in this park with us! What’s wrong with you? You promised me the world… but you’re just like every other guy in the end… a player. Who is she?”
“There is no she.” I replied
“Oh,so is it a he? Are you a fag?” She taunted and I knew she was hurt that’s why she was talking nonsense and I was tempted to look up and let her see the truth in my eyes, that it was only ever her.
“Hammad, you were my everything and you said I was yours, you made me feel happy in a way no one else did and I Know you were happy too, then what went wrong? Why do you ignore my messages and calls? Why did you just go AWOL on me? Is something wrong with me?” She cried and I couldn’t do anything because she wasn’t mine to hug or console, all I could do was hope she’d understand.
“Nadia” I said softly
“Nadia,…I tried explaining to you that I want to be a better Muslim, that it was not only about praying and fasting but making choices that would benefit us both… yes Nadia, I loved you…with all my heart”
I choked and paused before I could go on.
“I loved you but I love my Allah more Nadia… and it absolutely kills me to be without you, to wake up each day and get through it ,knowing you won’t be a part of it, is the most difficult thing ever…” By now a tear had escaped my eye
“But I can go on, not having you in my life but I can never live, not having my Allah
… there is no happiness for me without His happiness.”
She was silently sobbing and I jogged away, and as I hit the tar, I lifted a hand to brush away two tear drops and the glass bottle in my hand fell and shattered into pieces.
The sound perfectly in sync with the shards of my broken heart.