I looked at Aslam admitting his sins, for us family was everything. Even if you hadn’t seen each other in years, the bond still beat with life and trust.
And he had broken that cardinal rule.
“So why did you come looking for me?” I swallowed.
“I don’t know! All I know is we are family , I couldn’t sleep last night thinking what have I done? I know I am not pious as you but what has money done to me, have I sold my own blood? They wanted me to spy on you and tell them what you are upto but I cant..I cant…”
“Hmm…Alhamdulilah your conscience got you in time. I see, they want to give us money, allow us to get Mujaahideen but do it on their terms. I will never be anyone’s slave except Allah’s! I will not bow to the stars and stripes! Why are they after you Vic?” I turned to my long time friend.
“because they’re afraid I’ll expose what really happened in Vietnam and … what they did to me…they’re afraid of me taking revenge.” He stated matter of fact, not meeting my eye. I knew his nightmares were simmering at the surface.
“Umair… I don’t want them to know that I told you and I need the money…will you please come to my house tomorrow night please? Just so they think I got you, that’s all. Trust me.” Aslam appealed to me in our grandfathers dialect as we got of the car.
Later that night as we headed over to the secret location.
“Do you trust him? You sure there’s no trap lying in wait…the fact that he accepted the money.”
“I’m not too sure Vic..money can make you turn your loyalties and Aslam was always a featherweight character…but he did seem genuine. Nevermind I’ll go and Insha’ALLAH no harm will come to me. Now let’s get a move on and meet Shaikh Azzaam… I hope he’s not fallen asleep, it’s so late.”
Shaikh Azzaam was to become known as the giant of the Jihad in Afghanistan. The inspiration for thousands. He was born in a village of Jineen in Palestine…3rd holiest site of the Muslims. I did eventually travel to Palestine in later years in a media convoy but in truth my desire was to find out the roots that grew such a great hero. I interviewed those who knew him. Umair was with me on this trip.
Flashback to Palestine.
“So you used to play with Abdullah Azzaam as a child?” I asked the toothy villager. Umair played translator for me.
Umair “He is saying that yes but Shaikh was different from the time he was little, he was pious and particular about Salaah. He was brought up in a humble house where he was fed with the love of Allah, RasulAllah SAW and righteous people. As a youngster he already used to give da’wah.”
Allah Ta’ala says in a Hadith Qudsi; He who draws close to Me a hand’s span, I will draw close to him an arm’s length. And whoever draws near Me an arm’s length, I will draw near him a fathom’s length. And whoever comes to Me walking, I will go to him running.
I turned to a weather beaten man with quiet eyes. “And you Sir, were his teacher…can you tell me about him as a student?”
Umair rapidly translated and listened intently while the teacher spoke.
“He says that although he was the youngest amongst his peers, he was the smartest. He studied at universities in Jordan, Damascus and obtained a PhD at Al-Azhar in Cairo. He decided to go back to his homeland to fight the Jewish occupation. It hurt his heart alot that the tanks rolled into West Bank in 1967 without any resistance so he joined those who intended to fight the wretched Zionists. However one night…”
INSIDE THE MILITARY CAMP- PALESTINE RESISTANCE 1970’s
As Shaikh Azzaam’s eyes scanned the camp he was in…thousands of liberation fighters present…he felt a hammering at his heart that would not go away… this was not how the army of Salahuddeen spent their nights, playing cards and listening to music… he repeatedly tried to steer them towards deen and they brushed him off like an annoying fly …Azaan was called out
And about 5 men gathered to offer salaah…his heart could not take it anymore… A sincere soldier approached one of the resistance’s leaders
“Come for salaah Ya Shaikh”
“La la, you carry on, Yalla Hamdi, it’s a draw, 3 aces!”
Shaikh Azzaam’s heart reached breaking point, he went up to one of the men engrossed in pleasant destruction and asked;
Shaikh Azzaam; “What is the religion behind the Palestinian revolution?”
And the man replied.
“This revolution has no religion behind it.”
The above is extracted from the works of Shaykh Azzaam AR.
“In the hearts of the Green Birds”
“The Jihad of the Afghan under the shade of Rahman”