Tum kahaa ho?Where are you?
I have been looking for you ever since I reached camp. They said you have been missing since the past six months. Some have taken you for dead. In my hearts of hearts , I refuse to believe this… whether out of love and hope for my best friend to still be out there somewhere so that my heart can beat at ease or whether it’s a sixth sense,telling me there is no way I could have lose you,without feeling it somehow. May Allah reunite us soon. I have this letter before leaving camp, hoping it will reach you ,when you get back here inshaaAllah. It is said that before we come to earth,we are at a place called the Universe of Souls-Aalame arwaah. Over there,those of us who accepted Allah as our Rabb ,were fortunate enough to be born as Muslims. Alhamdulillah-we can never ever be thankful enough for the gift of Imaan. Over there,we also used to interact with certain souls ,hence when we come to earth,we feel a natural inclination to certain people,due to our souls prior interaction there. SubhanAllah,how amazing Ilyaas,you and I were already friends from before we arrived in this dunya.
I got delayed,wrapping things up at my Khala’s.
I’m leaving on a reconnaissance mission, I have no idea how long it will take. Make dua for me and for Khala and Johara, I miss them too and worry about them,as I’m sure you do too after all the days we spent there. Maybe we can go and visit together on our next off time. Junaid Bhai is waiting for me, Allah Hafiz. Stay safe.
Your brother, Zulfikr.
I paused, thinking whether I should include what had happened to me at the station but decided against it..I’d tell him when we meet… stubbornly clinging to hope.
“Junaid Bhai.” I handed the envelope to him, he silently nodded and slipped it in his pocket. As the jeep rockily took off, my eyes fell on the scar that crossed my wrist like a band and my thoughts meandered back to the station that day.
Our eyes locked. And he stiffened, I kept my pace casual and let my gaze travel elsewhere while keeping him within the periphery of my eye. I saw him slowly inch backwards out of the crowd. My instinct told me he wasn’t a professional but just another bought off puppet so I let the crowds swallow me.
“Excuse me.” I re-appeared behind him and he jerked in surprise,eyes widening as he prepared to bolt… I grabbed his hand.
“Just tell me who told you to shoot and I’ll let you go,chup chaap se.”
I didn’t expect the next move from him as he took out a knife and in flash,had it across my wrist, in the shock, I let go of him and he ran. I missed Ilyaas at that moment because we always worked as a team. Without any need for explanation.
I ran behind him,scarlet droplets leaving a trail behind me.
I jumped on him,closing the gap,throwing all my weight until I had him pinned. “Kaun he?” I demanded to know who was behind it. I was tempted to pummel him but I didn’t want to be too rough… after all you never knew if it was poverty or greed that motivated a person to the edge.
“Stop,stop… I’’ll tell you… It was jaishe ghaalib…”
Damn. I eased up and let him go with a warning to never ever help people like that again. They were a vigilante group who gave Jihaad a bad name and took shairah into their own hands… doing as they wished with their kangaroo courts.
If Ilyaas was here, he would have hung him upside down and then let him go as he did to another guy who had also been bought off. I smiled thinking of my best friend.
“Ammi?” The house was deathly quiet. I opened her door slowly. The bed was empty.
A sense of panic was building up inside me. Where was she? The house felt desolate.
By now ,she would have shouted,to tell me not to raise my voice.
I opened the door and ran into the garden. I kept reading laa ilaaha illa anta subhanak inni kuntu minaz zaalimeen as Papa had taught me. He said whenever I faced any difficulty..then I should read that or if anything happened to me.
I was shivering in fear…would my mother leave me and go?
And a little voice told me …yes.