The Village .. The Village The Earth .. The Earth And The Suicide of The Astronaut By: Muammar Al Qadhaf (Short Stories) The City The Village The Earth Suicide of The Astronaut The Escape to Hell Death The Cursed Family Stop Fasting A Prayer for the Last Friday Mossaharaty at Midday No Prayer for the Last Friday The City The city was long ago, let alone nowadays, life's nightmare and not its pleasure as is thought. If ithad been a pleasure, it would have been so planned. But the city has never been established for luxury, pleasure, or joy. Rather, the city is a scavenging multitude in which people find themselves by necessity, as no one ever comes to live in the city for pleasure. so much as for a living, greed, toil, want ...and employment, which forces him to live in the city. The city is a cemetery for social ties : whoever sets foot in it has to swim over its waves from one street to another, from one quarter to another, from one job to another, and from one associate to another, And by the nature of city life, one's purpose becomes self-interest and opportunism, and one's norm of behaviour becomes hypocrisy. The Koran says " And among the Medina ( i.e city ) folk there are ones obstinate in hypocrisy ". Thus everything needs its own material price, which city life requires. The more the city extends and develops, the more complicated it becomes and the more it moves away from friendly spirit and mutual social ties to the extent that dwellers of the same block of flats do not know one another, especially when the block of flats grows and entity becomes a mere number: The dweller is no more referred to by his name or the tribe he belongs to, but by the number of his flat. City folks do not address one another by their social or even human entities but by numbers .. you, who live in such and such flat number on such and such floor number.. owner of such and such telephone number.. and car bearing such and such registration number .. etc. Inhabitants of the same street do not know one another, because they had no chance to choose their neighbours. They just found themselves living in a certain street, lane, or block of flats haphazardly with no connecting relationship. On the contrary, the city scatters relatives by the force of necessity and causes fathers to separate from their sons, mothers from their children, and sometimes husbands from their wives. It gathers opposites as well as outsiders togethers in the same manner that it scatters relatives and makes rivals come together. The city constitutes a mere worm-like ( biological ) living where man lives and dies meaninglessly ... with no clear vision or insight. He lives and dies inside a tomb in both cases. There is no freedom in the city ... nor is there rest or peace of mind .. walls plus walls in the houses, outside, in the blocks of flats, in the street and the place of work. You cannot sit the way you wish or walk in the direction you want or even stop when you like. If it so happens that you stop to shake hands with a friend or a relative whom you meet by accident, you are pushed along by pedestrians away from them; or they may hinder physical contact when your extended hand is brushed away by a heedless pedestrian who does not appreciate the situation or is unaware of it. It is not so easy to cross the street as you may lose a limb, or even your life, for the mere crossing of the street, unless you pay appropriate attention, and take proper precaution. You look left and right several times; you may find yourself stuck in the middle of the street, where you have to stay put among the dangerous waves of the city .. with cars, vehicles, trains, cleaning trucks .. etc around you. Social chats, whether amusing or friendly, among the throngs of the city seem to be a kind of wishful thinking; and if they ever take place, they tend to be boring at times and self-hypocrisy at other times. In the city streets, men and cats are equal... in the flow of traffic and pedestrian crossings and sidewalks. When you hear the squalling brakes of cars, you break up suddenly and say spontaneously, " Is it a man or an animal ?" because this is what happens when one of them crosses the road in front of you. So you brake up in the same manner in order not to run over either of them. Even the traffic policemen will warn you, verbally or in writing, of accidents caused by a man or a cat crossing the street in the city. This is what the city is like. There is no " after you " but push on...push along with shoulders...push ahead with hands...push money out of you pocket...push any social consideration out... The city is " push on " and not " after you ". In the city you are more likely to get support from the walls than from the people: you may lean against a wall for rest. The wall will also guide you to your destination when it has signs, instructions, directions and advertisements on it - such information being extremely difficult for a townsman or a stranger in the city to give to those who need it. If you ask somebody about such things, he is sure to say, " Sorry, I have no time ... sorry, I'm in a hurry ... Sorry, I don't want to miss my train ... my bus ... my car at the parking meter ...etc. He may add, Have a look at the wall !" In the city only the wall is stationary, people cannot stand still as the wall does. The city would generate fumes ... garbage and humidity even if it were in a desert; you would get dirty if you have a white collar job, you would get your clothes stains even if you were not a painter, a white washer or a repairman. As a toll to living in the city, you have to accept dirt and expose your collar to the smoke and dust... you have to perspire even when you are not working, dripping cold sweat ... you also find that you have acquired some word, expressions and flimsy gestures which become necessary to have in order to communicate with the people and to manage in the city. In addition, you acquire readymade replies which you carelessly give out as answers to expected questions : no problem ... no problem ... an act of god ... hard luck...no, Uncle...no, Brother...so they said...that was so long ago...please, keep walking .... make way...keep off. But if somebody asked what you said a moment ago, or you asked yourself the same question, you would not be able to answer, nor would you remember what phrase you uttered, because that is what things are in the city - utterances are produced casually to prove the insensitivity of life which lacks content in the city: what is it that is " no problem...and what is it that was not so?...and who is your " Uncle !?...and who is your "Brother!"?...and what is "so they said "? and who said it?...what time...and what is it "That was so long ago"? and which way is yours in the city? "If you encountered such inquiries, you would be bewildered, unable to give any comprehensible responses. That is city gibberish...just managing to get along... a sort of pastime. City life is really a mere waste of time until another time comes to pass...time for work... time for sleep... time for sleeplessness. The city is a pretentious style..., a cry...an attraction..., a silly fashion, deplorableconsumption...demands with nothing to give in return .. a meaningless existence...what is worse is the individual's inability to resist in the city ...townsmen are unable to resist new fashions even if they do not appeal to them ...their inability to curtail wastage...and their inability to resist greedy, devastating consumption, If you were a recent emigrant in the city and not one of its aboriginal people, who got used to its life-style, you would always be the town's laughing- stock. If you clung to your non-urban manners and values, you would become an odd man out, hardly finding any one to associate with. But when you try to change, you become boring. In the city the son can be unintentionally the cause of his father's death or vice-versa, when driving a truck, a car, or riding a bike at high speed. That is speed in the city.. the crowded streets of the city...the selfish spirit of the city. The son may shout at his father unawares in the city when he hustles him off in the street, or when he blurs his father's eyes with his strong car lights. More-over, it often happens, as a result of overcrowding, that individuals, religiously prohibited to unite in wedlock, mix up in the city. No sooner do they get together than they separate with the least of concern. Townsmen should never be blamed for such behaviour, people are the same in the city or in the village; they are the same in almost everything: in values...in morality...especially those who belong to one race or religion. It is the nature of the city itself that is to blame for the gradual modification in people's behaviour until, in time, it becomes an accepted norm. People need to construct the city by necessity; but it gradually becomes an unavoidable nightmare for those who have constructed it and lived in it... everything in the city has its price ...and every item of luxury becomes a necessity...and every price has its own material or moral claim...and that is how the dilemma of living in the city begins. The nature of the city is incompatible with that of agriculture. It is built on arable land where fruitful trees are cut down...country folks are encouraged to quit farming and turn to the city, lazing away on its sidewalks, unemployed beggars; yet the city at the same time consumes all the agricultural product and asks for more. But this agricultural product, required by the townsmen, needs arable land and farmers. The city is against production, because production requires patience and effort, but the nature of city life is against patience, seriousness and effort. The nature of the city is such that it takes but does not give and consumes but does not produce. It extends in all directions with no limit to its extension. It becomes a parasite to everything around it and spreads its tentacles to scatter its poisons and pollute the fresh air, converting oxygen to arbon dioxide, which in turn is converted to carbon monoxide, thus marring the natural scenery and blurring the clear mirror of nature. It emits smoke, fumes and gases which stifle breathing and pollute everything and blot out the stars, the moon and even the sun. It coos...it shouts...it clamours..and it growls to the extent that it deafens the ears, causes headaches and tenses up nerves. It extends to devour arable land and neighbouring villages to envelop them under its dirty, breath-stifling wing. It presses its teeth in the form of roads, buildings, utilities as shoulders and finger-nails, presses them into those quiet, peaceful, small, far-away villages to become a suburb, then a branch and finally an integral part of it. Thus they are leveled down by the heavy weight of the city to change from peaceful, productive, beneficial, quiet, coherent, healthy and blooming villages to dark, gloomy and unhealthy cells...a part of a burdensome whole...sick...exhausting...unproductive...tiresome...jobless...living for nothing...existence with no purpose. The city kills social sensitivity and human feelings, thus creating insensitivity and heedlessness, because townsmen have become used to repeated displays of behaviour and incidents which attract attention in the villages, oases, hamlets, and the countryside. In the city you do not ask nor are you asked about a quick commotion or crowding, or a slow commotion or dispersion...that is because you are used to seeing such things, and so you ask no questions as they arouse your curiosity no more...scenes such as a fight, a man crying or lying flat in the street, ...a house on fire, provided it is not near your home, or walking past miserable groups, sleeping on pavements, or idly standing on street corners, or leaning against walls or tree trunks in the city, even if they accosted you and extended their hands to you in anticipation of help or sympathy ...such scenes are often seen in the city and so eventually one becomes insensitive towards them. They become part of the overall picture of the city. They become by constant repetition, too familiar to attract your attention; even though at the beginning they might have attracted your attention, appealed for a solution or ontribution towards one. But life in the city does not allow such philanthropy: He who concerns himself with such matters, cannot manage to live in the city; because of the frequent repetition of such things. If he involved himself every time they happened, he would be very busy indeed. Due to the ever-increasing number of people in the city of different groups with different social and cultural backgrounds; and as social ties and relations tend to disintegrate under the living conditions in the city, where the neighbour hardly knows his neighbour, because they are busy and change houses and have no choice to choose one another... therefore, this fellow in the city with whom you may sympathise, or share in his happiness and sorrow, or you are interested in his welfare... such fellow is but one of many, who do not care for you; so why should you care for them? It is for this very reason that responsible city boards are set up to tackle such matters. Fire is none of your business; it is the firebrigade's. This is enough justification for townsmen not to concern themselves with fires blazing away here or there. It is the job of the firebrigade...I am not a fireman...I am busy. Also street beggars are the responsibility of charity organizations. If I gave every beggar I met in the street, I would spend all I have on beggars who are there in every street. Therefore, pay them no attention. On the other hand, who knows if the beggar is really poor or needy. He could very well turn out to be a sluggard or a rogue. So do not let appearances deceive you, as the city is but a deceiving appearance, showing a different picture to the one it hides. Street fighting is the responsibility of the police, I am a policeman to keep the peace and separate brawlers. Townsmen do not seem to care at all even when honour is flouted in front of their eyes. That is the job of the preacher, or the job of the public morality police squad or that of anti-wrong doing societies. If you stopped at the fire, the street fight, the beggar, the one who is crying, complaining or suffering and other reoccurring daily scenes in every part of the city, would you then, be able to get where you want to be? Or would you have the time and ability to look into such matters and go back to your home? That is how, little by little, insensitivity grows in the city towards such matters leading to the conviction that it is none of your business....On the contrary, it would even seem so silly to behave otherwise, absurd as may be, in any other city in the world. Any employee, leaving his place of work to give first aid to somebody run over in a street accident in the city, would run the risk of losing his job: he could be accused of leaving his place of work without permission or interfering in the responsibilities of others such as the police and the ambulance-men. All such city departments would show little gratitude, if you did their work for them as helper or volunteer, on the contrary, they would feel jealous and take exception to your well-intentioned help, because you would seem to be competing with them in the sphere which justifies their bread-winning job in the city. This is the city: a crushing mill to its dwellers, a nightmare to its constructors; it makes you change your appearance and alter your values so as to take on an urban character, which has no colour, taste, smell or meaning ...a worm-like life ( biological ), which compels you to inhale other people's breath without caring for them, though. If you sought their protection, they would not protect you, nor would you protect them. The city compels you to hear other people's voices even when you are not addressing them and inhale their breath without asking them for it. You hear the noise of engines, motors and hammers in full swing even though you have nothing to do with it. As for the children, they are more dejected than the adults. They move from darkness to darkness; from the three dark stages ( mentioned in the Koran ) to the fourth one... the houses in the city are not homes, rather, they are holes and caves enveloped in intermingling draughts raised by the heavy traffic on the streets and lanes of the city. People in the city are quite the same as snails in their shells, which protect them against the waves and the pressure of the sea. The city, too, is a sea with currents, waves, scraps, dirt, foam, and snails. The snails are the people and their miserable children, who are oppressed by everything in the city, their parents press them inwards...inside the shell for fear of the street current, which is useless to cross, as there are other snails, caves and petrified shells on the other side of the street. So where are you going, innocent children? Those are other people's houses...you do not know them... The people, who were there, have left. Those are new people. On the other hand, the street is not only for you. It is for pedestrians and wayfarers as well. The street, my children, is not for play !. The street, too oppresses children. Yesterday a young boy was run over in that street as he tried to play there, and last year some fast moving wheels ran over a little girl as she was crossing the street, and crushed her body into pieces, which were bundled up in her mother's cloak, another one was kidnapped by professional kidnappers. They kept her for sometime and then released her outside her house with one of her kidneys missing. And yet another young boy was bundled up into a carton by other street children only to be crushed down by a motorist, who had no idea that there was a poor boy in it. Go back inside...to the darkness...to the filthy, hot dark rooms... May Allah help us ! The city is so filthy...so don't play on either side of the streets....they are full of dirt and rubbish. When all ways and means come to a dead end before the children...usually in a frightful way...from being crushed to death...to being torn to pieces...or to being kidnapped and having their limbs amputated...in this case the easier course of prohibition is dirt and rubbish....It is much less depressing than boredom in confinement to dark houses. But the outcome is one and the same - It is death by a different means. In fact, the sea of the city, like any other sea, has pitfalls, whirlpools and dangerous creatures...so how can children live in it ? But they are there. What can one do, then? The only way out is to put pressure on the children, punish them, compel them not to come out of their shells, dejected, spiritless...nip their natural growth in the bud....deprive them of light and fresh air. This is what life is like in the city....a queue....an 'open-close' car...none of the people outside your doorstep is a friend of yours.... The kindergarten is queuing, formalities, undertakings, and so is the school, the market, the hospital...they all ask you to open...push...close....stand in the queue...make haste. The child in the city grows up biologically, but he is the receptacle of all these restrains, repressions, and factors of rebuke and reproof. He is the model of man with psychic disorders, inferiority complexes, depression, and regression. This is the reason for deterioration of human values, social ties, indifference to others, lack of friendliness, cordiality and jealousy. As for the village and the countryside, that is another world, different in shape and substance. There is no need there for repression, reproof or opposing pressures. There is encouragement and appreciation for blossoming and enjoyment of light. There you may imitate the birds and the flowers in freedom and opening up. There are no streets, no rubbish.. and no unfamiliar faces. People in the village, the hamlet and countryside are united in the bonds of neighbourliness, in all material as well as spiritual matters. There are free children of nature...of merriment and night talk... children of the sun and moon...children of the breeze and strong wind. There is no fear of enjoying freedom...there are no currents...there is nothing to open, nothing to close....everything is open by nature, much as there is no need to close anything either, because in the environment in which children as well as plants grow, there are no restrains...and no people with psychic disorders. O, wise people...kind-hearted people...humanitarians, have mercy on children...do not deceive them by making them live in the city...do not turn your children into mice, flitting from hole to hole...from pavement to pavement. People in the city practise hypocrisy on themselves and on their children as well when they show love to them,.... because at the same time they set up breath-stifling barriers and cages to keep off their children's lovely voices and keep them away from them, and consequently separate the children from their parents - This is because the parents' living conditions, being fashioned by the city, compel them to get their dear ones out of their way and play tricks on them. In order to withstand the nightmare of life in the city, parents look for, create and even spend on occupations which 'neither nourish nor satisfy hunger' ... insincere occasions...affected evening parties, faithless friendships. This is where children hold their parents back from practising such activities, while they try hard to get used to, overcome, and come to terms with the hellish living conditions, which the city imposes on its suffering inhabitants. Take nursery schools, childcare centres, swings and slides, children's parks, kindergartens and even schools for example, they are just a trick to get rid of these innocent creatures, a modern means of burying children alive. How hard the city is ! And how insipid it should be to its helpless inhabitants, whom it compels to accept unreasonable things, to forcibly swallow them, and to digest them as if they were natural and reasonable. There is no better proof of that than the insignificant interests, which the city imposes on the inhabitants. One may see crowds of people watching a cock fight; let alone, sometimes, millions of other people watching twenty-two individuals, no more, running after a small melon-like sack full of air in meaningless movements. In similar absurd city manner, almost the same crowd come to listen to just one person, repeating before them in a parrot-like fashion twisted and sometimes inaudible utterances accompanied by a noisy instrument, which most of the audience do not comprehend. Someone, who happens to be drunk or insane, may clap and the audience, unable to comprehend, follow suit to show that they are enjoying the performance, which is, of course, untrue...unnatural modern hypocrisy, which people in the city have to practice. On the other hand, hundreds of people may sometimes watch a fierce fight between two seemingly fully grown-up sensible men, but they never exert themselves to separate them in order to stop the bestial fight, which they could do. But the city life does not allow that because such unreasonable fierce blood-letting fights are sought for their own sake in this barbaric way to complement the living conditions in the city. For instance, the abuse of animals in exhausting races, and exploiting their blind animal instinct to fight ....also the torture of people, hurting them, using them as a source of merriment, and betting on them.... all these things are ways of false entertainment in the city. Fighting as practised by wrestlers and boxers can in no way be justified. Investigations show that there is no enmity among them; but this is what is wanted and relished in modern city life. The Village Run away, leave the City quickly. Get away from smoke... From stifling carbon dioxide... From poisonous carbon monoxide... From sticky humidity... And from poisonous gas, which encouraged inactivity and indolence. keep away from the atmosphere of laziness, boredom, weariness and yawning. Keep away from the nightmare of the City, pull yourselves quickly out from under its crushing weight... Liberate yourselves from walls, catacombs and being locked behind doors. Save your ears from noise, clamour, hubbub, shouting, the hissing noise of wires, the ringing of the bells and the rattle and clatter of the engines. Abandon the disturbing atmosphere, the annoying places and that trapping enclosure where eye-sight is limited and one's energy is spent in vain. Abandon the life and holes of mice. Abandon the life of worms. Abandon the city. Come to the village, where you can see the moon for the first time in your life-time, after you have changed from insignificant greedy worms and mice, void of social ties, to real human beings here, in the village, in the oasis, in the countryside. Get out of the catacombs for a living people and come to Allah's dominion, which is wide, gay and delightful, where you can see the natural chandelier and come to loathe the artificial one, which is made of sand, sold in markets, fragile, likely to be destroyed at any time, and rendered dirty by the flies and the spiders in the city dens, called houses and flats. Behold God's lanterns in the countryside, hung in the sky, and not in the ceiling of a dirty grave in the city. The village is peaceful, clean and coherent. The people there know one another, and are allied in time of prosperity and adversity. There are no thefts in the village and the countryside as the people know one another. The individual there attaches great importance to the reputation of his family, his tribe and his all good name. Any act of misdemeanour in the village does not come to an end on the day it is committed, as it does in the City, where the offence is usually registered against unknown person, because of the great number of different people living in the city - it does not even end by the death of the culprit. On the contrary, it remains a sort of stigma for his family, his clan and his tribe in the eyes of other clans and tribes, and constitutes a permanent insult to kith and kin. This restraining social factor is stronger than the power of penal codes or the police force. Furthermore, solidarity and association in the village and the countryside help the needy, and save them from having to beg or steal. On the other hand, the simple, humble and unpretentious lifestyle in the village and the countryside stays far enough away from pleasures and luxuries. The People in the village and countryside do not crave for such absurd desires as townsmen do. The village know little about fashion, style and ' Vanity FIR'. The taste of the people there is quiet, clear, stable and not easily influenced by changes in fashion. Countrymen do not suffer from complexity, tension and pursuit of excitement. That is why they they have a happy quiet life, which is free from harmful desires. Of course, desires as such are pleasurable. But when they are sought for their own sake, what comes before and after them is agony, pain, distress and misery; it is the agony of desiring unnecessary things, which is sought because it is scarce. Necessary activities, such as ploughing and harvesting to earn one's bread, or planting trees and picking their fruit to use as food, are necessary. The amount of labour spent on such activities is not boring or, at least, it is not self-defeating. It is enjoyable labour because it is lawful and necessary. No feelings of remorse comes before or after it. On the contrary, it is associated with the pleasure of hoping to see its results and with the satisfaction of gain afterwards. Life in the City is a quest for pleasure and unnecessary luxuries that cannot be avoided. When we see social diseases spread in the city, and hear sermons about them and make laws to keep them under control, we are neither astonished , nor do we think that we are going to succeed in uprooting them, because the nature of life in the city is unavoidably related to these diseases. As a matter of fact, the city is nausea ..., giddiness ..., catacombs ..., nonsense ..., wastage ..., madness and fear of madness ..., fear of confronting life and its urban problems and hence how to escape from it ... how to ignore it ... how to make up for the social and moral vacuum ... and than inability to satisfy urban desires. Diversion is sought to forget about real-life; and drinking, madness and suicide become the only possible cures for the diseases of urban life. At times, for some people, or rather for a good number of townsmen, city life with all its wastage, unreality, superficiality and irresponsibility is considered as cure in its own right. Will you, leave the earthly Hell, and go quickly and happily to the village and the countryside? There the physical effort one makes has meaning, necessity, benefit and pleasure. Only here, in the village can one enjoy social and human life. There are strong house holds, united families and great solidarity among the tribes in the countryside. Stability, faith and serenity flourish there. Country people like one another, each working on his farm, or attending his sheep and chickens, or in the service of the village. There is no room for delinquency there, because, unlike townsmen, country people know one another. In the City delinquents feel quite sure that hardly anyone cares who they are. So he who tells lies can do so and fears no social repercussions, his family on this tribe. As townsman, he has no name, no surname and no pedigree. His flat number is his name... His telephone number is his surname, and his pedigree is the street and his place of work. These things he may change from time to time. Therefore, what he is at the moment is bound to be different afterwards. How beautiful the village is!... and the countryside, where the air is fresh... the endless horizon... the pillar - less firmanental ceiling... the heavenly lanterns... and conscience! Morals are the source of moral obligation and self-discipline and not the fear of the police, the law, penalties or prison. There, one is liberated from the forced fetters of city life and the loathsome but necessary directions. There are no traffic police whistles hissing in the concerned ears as well as unconcerned ones... there are no compulsory traffic signs... no shouldering others aside... no queuing... no waiting... and no need to consult ones watch. In the village and the countryside, where there is extensive space , joyous expansion, a delightful world, an easy and quiet life. There is none of the narrowness and crowding of the city. There, the moon has a meaning... the sky is delightful... And the horizon excites one's vision... the sunrise... The sunset... the twilight ... and dusk are no less beautiful. Contemplate the superb picture of the village and the countryside, which the Koran depicts " So I do call to witness the ruddy glow of sunset; The night and it's homing; And the Moon on her fullness". The city has no moon... no sun... No twilight... and no dusk. There, day and night intermingle with no separating signs. We hardly see anything of nature there. We only see contradictions and deceptive colours. We get annoyed and harassed we put up with nonsense and sleaziness. We look down at our feet. We have to read posters and observe traffic signs and find ourselves by necessity caught up in a world of the trivial things, otherwise, we run the risk of getting killed. Any act of deep thought other than observing these minute things would certainly get you out side the fence of the flow of city life and could cost you your life or your urban freedom. The Koran says, "By the Sun and his glorious splendour; by the Moon as she follows him; by the Day as it shows off the Sun's glory; by the Night as it conceals it; by the Fermanent and its wide expanse" That is a wonderful picture of the world in the village and the countryside. The Koran also says, "by the glorious Morning light, and by the Night when it is still" When the Koran swears by Dawn, we know that Daybreak is seen only in the village and countryside. What daybreak is there in any city floodlit day and night? Who sees the fermanent with the zodiac signs!? "And in the Earth are signs for those of assured faith" What earth is there in the city?... Crowded pavements... congested streets... blind alleys... Narrow lanes... Bottlenecks... Friction... And limited vision... What natural signs can assure open-minded people in the streets of the city!? What contemplation can there be among the throngs of the city!? There is hardly any time worth mentioning in the city, nor is there a day or night; let alone sunset; dusk; dawn, or twilight!! The Earth You can afford to give up and do without anything except the planet Earth ... Earth is the only thing you cannot afford to give up. If you destroyed any other thing you might not lose much. But be careful not to destroy the earth, because you would then lose everything. Biological life, including Man's life, or rather, in which Man's life dominates, depends on food ... food in all its forms, solid, liquid, gaseous, Earth is the container of this food. So do not crush the only container there is of its kind. If you, for instance, ruined arable land, it would be the same as you wanting to cook after having smashed all your pots and pans. If you ruined arable land, it would be the same as you wanting to drink from your only drinking vessel, which you had broken. The Earth is like your lungs. If you ruined it, you would have no lungs to breathe with. It would not be much good to you if it rained heavily, where you had no arable land. The sky is not very important to us without the earth. If it so happened that there was oxygen somewhere in outer space, it would be useless unless there was earth. Land was the cause of all historic conflicts, which Man waged against Man or against Nature. Land has always been a bone of contention. Even outer space is being explored for the sake of the land. The Earth is your real Mother, out of whose matter you have been fashioned. It embraces you ... nourishes you ... and provides water for you, so do not abuse your Mother ... do not pull your Mother's hair ... do not rip up her fingers, or cut her body, or tear up her flesh. Only gently clip her finger-nails ... cleanse her, and remove the dirt and filth from her body, cure her of all the diseases you have caused her. Do not press her bosom by heavy constructions, or heap clay and stone over her ribs, show mercy to your Mother, whom if you misused, you would not find another one like her. Sweep her back clear of the heaps of steel, bricks and stone. Relieve her ageing shoulders of what the recusants have heaved on them. Do not not look down on the cradle in which you grew up, and the bosom which cuddled you, when you were young. Do not smash your only abode and ultimate resort, otherwise, you shall certainly be regretful losers. The Earth is worthy of its name only if you take particular precaution that it goes on giving, because productive earth is useful earth. Therefore, look after this Earth, the surface of which would be as good as dead once it became built-up areas, stone, asphalt, or concrete. Such earth could not be productive or useful, as it would then be areas of asphalt, tar, tiles, marble and concrete. These materials give nothing, as no grass or plant would grow there, nor would water spring from it. In this way it becomes useless to both men and animals; it becomes waste land. When you kill the Earth, you commit suicide indeed, because life is food and water; and the Earth, the surface of which has been turned into built-up areas, gives neither food nor water. Therefore, there can be no life on waste land. What sort of people are those who cause slow death to the earth by gradually burying it alive until it is finally dead?! What other earth could they rely on for living? Where would they live? And how would they manage for food and water? The Earth is unique. There is no substitute for it, nor is there anything to compensate you for losing it. So, where would you go?! Paradise was a garden of trees and plants and not a network of roads, pavements, plazas and buildings. Abuse of the Earth is the unforgivable misuse of it by changing its nature into something unfit for producing food and water. Therefore, the people who change good earth into waste land are recklessly unaware of what may happen! Suicide of The Astronaut Having travelled far and wide in giddy outer space, and since budgets can no more support the great expense of outer space programmes, and now that man has landed on the moon but found nothing much except that the two astronauts have exposed the wild guesses and vain hypotheses of scientists that there were seas and oceans on the moon, which led to the competition to own them and designate names for them by the insolent great powers, who nearly went to war on the earth for the sake of dividing the Moon's natural resources, especially the marine ones; and having roamed around the planetary system, taking pictures of all the planets; and after giving up hope of finding intelligent life, or any suitable place for living there, Man returned to the Earth frustrated and suffering from giddiness, vomiting and fear of perdition. He has now realized the fact that the Earth is unique and incomparable as a source of life, which, in simple words, means food and water; and that the one and only planet to provide them is the Earth. For Man, bread, dates, milk, meat and water are vital. Air, which is indispensable to life, is secured by the atmosphere of the Earth ... etc. Thus Man had to return to the Earth from his outer space escapade. Back on the Earth, the astronaut took off his spacesuit and put on his familiar one, which is suitable for walking and living on the Earth. Now that his mission with the space corporation had come to an end, he began to look for an earthly job. He applied for one at a carpentry workshop, but he failed the test, because he lacked the essential know-how of what he thought was a simple trade. Also he had a go at a lathe workshop, a blacksmith's forge, building and plumbing. He even tried painting and white washing .. He had not studied fine art or music or weaving, as they had nothing to do with his scientific specialisation. So he had to leave the city, a frustrated failure, and set off for the countryside, where he looked for work as a farmhand in order to support himself and his family. One of the farmers asked if he was attracted to the earth by which he simply wanted to know if the astronaut liked farming. But the astronaut answered, " The attraction of the Earth decreases as we go up, and our weight also decreases gradually until we get to the point of weightlessness. Then and there we get free of the Earth's attraction or gravity as we call it. But soon afterwards we get attracted by another planet, and our weight begins to increase gradually ... and so on. I hope I have answered your question ". The farmer showed signs of someone who did not comprehend and looked as if he wanted more explanation; and the astronaut, hoping to impress the simple farmer in order that he would take him on as a farmhand, went on parading his space knowledge: The volume of the Earth is about 1320 times less than that of Jupiter's, and that 12 years on the Earth equal one year on Jupiter, and that the Jupiter spot is big enough to hold the Earth in its centre. You may also be interested to know that Saturn is 744 times bigger than the Earth, yet it is only about 95 times heavier than the Earth. The diameter of the Earth is about 50 times bigger than that of the Moon's and its volume is about 80 times bigger than that of the Moon's. The pull of the Earth's gravity is six times greater than that of the Moon's. The Earth is about 150 million kilometres away from the Sun, whose light takes eight minutes to reach the Earth at the speed of 300 thousand kilometres per second. The volume of the Earth is about 1303800 times smaller than that of the Sun's; and the mass of the Earth is also 332958 times smaller than the mass of the Sun whose density is 30 times bigger than that of the Earth's. The Earth comes third in distance from the Sun. Mercury is the nearest planet to the Sun, Venus comes next, then the Earth ... etc. Venus is about 42 million kilometres away from the Earth which is about 400 thousand kilometres away from the Moon. If you had a car that ran at 100 kilometres per hour, it would take you 146 days to get to the Moon. But if you had no car and decided to walk to the Moon, it would take you eight years and a hundred days to get there. I think I have answered the question fully now. As you see, I am well informed in matters concerning the Earth. As soon as he heard the last repetition of the word " Earth ", the farmer became aware of himself and closed his mouth, which had been wide open during the whole story of the astronaut's journey from one planet to another, from the time he left the Earth until he returned home. The farmer did not comprehend much, but he too felt dizzy because he fell under the spell and felt that he also was coming home from a space journey with no tangible gains concerning his farm. What mattered to him was the distance between one tree and the other and not the distance between the Earth and Jupiter. He was also interested in the volume of the yield of his farm and not in the volume of Mercury. He felt very sorry for the begging pathetic astronaut and had the desire to give him some alms, but he was unable to take him on as a farm-hand. And so, having lost all hope of finding any bread winning job on the Earth, the astronaut decided to commit suicide. The Escape to Hell How cruel people can be when they flare up together! What a crushing flood that has no mercy for anyone in its way! It does not heed one's cry or lend one a hand when one is in dire need of help. On the contrary, it flings one about heedlessly. The individual's tyranny is the easiest kind of tyranny. He is only one among many, who can get rid of him when they wish. He could even be liquidated somehow by somebody unimportant. But the tyranny of the masses is the cruellest kind of tyranny. Who can stand against the crushing current and the blind engulfing power?!. How I love the liberated masses on the march! They are unfettered, with no master, singing and merry after their terrible ordeals! On the other hand how I fear and apprehend them ! I love the masses as much as I love my father. Similarly, I fear them no less than I fear him. In a Bedouin society, where no government system exists, who can deter a father from persecuting any of his children? Yes. How much they love him, and how much they fear him at the same time! That is how I love and fear the masses. Exactly as I love and fear my father. How loving the masses can be when they are happily excited! They carry their favourite sons high on their shoulders. They carried Hannibal, Barclay, Savonarola, Danton, Ropespierre, Mussolini and Nixon! But how cruel they can be when they are angrily excited! They plotted against Hannibal by poisoning him. They burnt Savonarola at the stake; they brought their hero, Danton, to the guillotine; they smashed the jaws of Robespierre, the beloved fiance, they dragged Mussolini's carcass along the streets of Milan, and they spat at Nixon's face as he was forced to leave the White House, where they had ushered him in ceremoniously before. What terror! Who can talk the unfeeling entity into consciousness?! Who can argue with a mass mind not embodied in one individual? Who can hold the hand of the millions?! Who can comprehend a million words pouring out of million mouths at the same time ?! Who can talk sensibly to whom in this terrifying excitement ?! Who blames whom ?!. With this social flame burning your back, and a society that loves you but has no mercy for you, and people who know what they want from this individual but pay no attention to what the individual wants, they assert their rights but overlook their duties towards you; with the same masses who poisoned Hannibal, burnt Savonarola, smashed Robespierre; who adored you but failed to reserve a seat for you at a cinema house, a table in a coffee-shop ... they love you, but they do not show their love to you in any tangible way, such as a seat or a table at a coffee-house. This is what the masses have done to such individuals. So, what can I hope for, a poor Bedouin, lost in a mad modern city, whose people bombard me with their demands whenever they get hold of me? have a house built for us better than this one ... Get us better telephone service !... Have a road built for us in the sea! ... Make public parks for us! ... Catch enough fish for us! ... Write out amulets for us ... Make wedding contracts for us! ... Get that stray dog out of our way! Buy a cat for us !!! They ask that much of a confused poor Bedouin, who hasn't got even a birth certificate ... who carries his walking stick on his shoulder, who does not stop at the red light, nor does he flinch when he gets into an argument with a policeman. He does not clean his hands when he eats. He would kick off anything that hampered his movements even if it landed on a shop window, hit a hag on the face, or broke the window panes of a smart white house. He has never tasted alcohol or even Pepsi Cola or Soda water ...You see him looking for a camel in the Martyrs Square, a horse in the Green Square, or driving his sheep through the Tree Square. These masses, who have no mercy even for their saviours, seem to follow me everywhere, burning me ... even when they applaud, they seem to prick me ... I, being an illiterate Bedouin, do not know about house painting or the meaning of sewage disposal. I use my hands to drink rain water and well water, and use my cloak to filter out the tadpoles. I do not know how to swim, neither breaststroke nor backstroke. I do not understand the concept of money, yet people ask me for it. As a matter of fact, I do not possess it; I only snatched it from the hands of thieves, from the mouths of mice and from the fangs of dogs and gave it out to the townsmen under the name of a benefactor from the desert and in my capacity as a liberator from bondage and fetters. What has been stolen and misused by guilty hands (one of them being a comrade of the cave dwellers and the rates) needs a long time and the effort of many a man to put right, but the inhabitants of the mad modern city ask me for it right away. I felt I was the only one who had nothing, and so, unlike them, I did not ask for the service of a plumber, builder, painter, barber ...etc. And since I had not requested anything because I had nothing, I became well known, or rather an odd man out. That is what bothered me and still does almost every hour. But I must admit that I am to blame as well. I did myself a great wrong when I stole Moses staff with which I struck the desert where a spring gushed forth, because, as I have already mentioned, I do not know sewerage, plumbing or narrow water mains, and hoped that this spring would relieve me of all such demands, and the root cause of them. Even my defiance of the policeman caused such sensation in all quarters of the city, where my name became popular: some applauded me, and others called me bad names. The police wanted to get rid of me. The mother of the policeman with whom I had a row, rejuvenated, took a fancy to me. When I refused her advances, she tried to get me into trouble. The police would even set their silly dogs at me ... and yet I encouraged them to go in for seafood by learning how to fish, so that they might leave me with my sheep alone in peace. I am a simple poor man, I have no degree and I do not like physicians simply because they are called doctors. That is why I have not been inoculated against sensitivity. So I grew up to be very sensitive unlike townsmen, who have been regularly immunized for a long time at historic intervals beginning with the Romans, then the Turks and finally the Amelicans. Much to your amusement as you read this, you see I do not pronounce the word " Americans " with an (R) as you do, I use (L) instead because I do not know the meaning of " America". As far as I know, it was discovered by an Arab prince and not Columbus. But then, it has great power, it has agents; it has bases in places under its influence, and it has the right of veto, which it willingly uses for the benefit of Israel. It has recently acquired a house at the head of the Delta, where the River Nile splits into the Rosetta branch and the Damietta branch. There is a buffalo farm surrounding the house. It practises imperialist policies; therefore it is AMELICA. This is what my cousin, Hajji Mejahid said. He is the son of my aunt Azza, daughter of my grandmother Ghanima, who is the sister of Countess Maria. On the whole, I did myself a disservice when I came to the city out of my free will; there is no need to say why, the thing is: it was a time of challenge, no more. Therefore, please let me tend to my sheep, which I have left in the wadi bed under the care of my mother, who has died recently, and so has my sister. I was told that I had brothers and sisters killed by mosquitoes. So leave me alone with my own anxieties! Why do you follow me and point me out to your children? They, too, harass me now. They run after me, shouting, " I swear it is him!" Why don't you let me have some rest or, at least, stroll undisturbed in your streets? I am a human being like you, I like apples, so why don't you let me walk about at the market? And by the way, why can't I have a passport? But then, what good is that to me?! I am not allowed to go abroad on holiday or for medical treatment, I can go abroad only when I am on official business. That is why I have decided to hurry away to Hell !. I shall now tell you the story of my escape to Hell, and describe the way leading to it and then describe Hell itself to you and how I came back from there along the same road. Indeed it was an adventure, a very strange factual story, which, I swear, has nothing to do with fiction. As a matter of fact, I have twice escaped to Hell just to get away from you, hoping only to save myself. Your breath annoys me, invades my privacy, violates my inner life and viciously craves to squeeze me in order to thirstily drink up my essence, lick my sweat and inhale my breath. Then it pauses ... it stops molesting me only to attack again as vigorously as before. Your breath chases me like a rabid dog ... dripping saliva in the streets of your mad modern city. They chase me wherever I go through cobwebs and esparto paper. So I have decided to hurry away to Hell to save myself. The way to Hell is not what you may expect, or as described to you by the sick imagination of some equivocators. I, having twice walked through it, shall describe it to you. I had some peaceful sleep and rest in the heart of Hell. I have experienced Hell, I tell you; and the two happiest nights of all my life were those two nights I spent in the heart of Hell. That was a thousand times better than living among you. You harass me and deprive me of my right to peace and quiet, and so I had to escape to Hell. The road along which I merrily walked to Hell is covered with the natural carpet all through the horizon. When the natural carpet gradually came to an end, I found the road carpeted with fine sand. I saw flocks of wild birds of the kinds you know and even found some domestic animals grazing and grooming. But I was astonished to see slopes and areas of lowland before me which made me halt hesitantly and look in the distance. And there was Hell showing up against the horizon. It was not red like fire nor glowing like embers. I stopped not out of fear of approaching it. On the contrary, I adore it and love to be in physical contact with it, because it is my only sanctuary when you harass me in your three-cornered city ... when it appeared to me in the horizon, I nearly went wild with joy. I stopped to contemplate the short cuts to it, and chose the nearest one to its heart, and listened to find out if it had any raging sighs. To my delight I found out that Hell was very quiet, quite peaceful and steadfast like the hills surrounding it. A strange kind of silence fills it with a solemn awe-inspiring atmosphere covering it. I saw no flames in it, only clouds of smoke rising above it. I slid along the slopes towards it joyfully in a hurry to reach it before sunset, hoping to secure a warm bed in its heart before I got hemmed in by the guards of your hell, who were pursuing me crazily, using up-to-date means of detection and pursuit. At last I came within range of Hell and was able to see it quite clearly. And now I can describe it to you exactly as I have seen it, and answer any queries concerning Hell, which I came so close to. Firstly - Hell has craggy, tortuous, dark, mist-capped hills whose stone has been burnt black since time immemorial. I was struck with astonishment to see wild animals on their way to Hell before me. Apparently, they too were deserting you: their life is in Hell; their death among you. Everything around me had melted away except my own self-existence, which I felt stronger than at any other time or place before: The hills broke up and dwarfed away; the trees dried up; and the animals shied off and plunged into the jungles of Hell, seeking sanctuary away from Man. Even the sun seemed to peter out when it was shut off from me by Hell. There was nothing else prominent except Hell, whose heart was the most interesting part of it. So I went headlong towards it without much difficulty. I melted into myself, which in turn melted into me to protect and cuddle each other until we became one new entity for the first time. Not because myself had ever been absent from me, but because your hell gave me no chance to be with it, to contemplate it and to talk lovingly to it. I had always felt that we - I mean myself and I - were like two dangerous criminals in your city, whom you subjected to constant surveillance and interrogation. Even when we were proved innocent and our identity was known, you kept us in prison under special surveillance. Your purpose being to keep me away from myself at any cost so that you might live in peace and quiet. Oh, how sweet hell is ... much sweeter than your city! Why did you drag me back once more ?! I want to return to it ... and wish to live there. I do not need a passport to go to Hell ... all I need is myself ... myself, which I discovered, you have mercilessly maimed in an attempt to spoil its innocent nature !. You tried to separate me from myself, but by escaping to Hell I have retrieved it from you. I wish for nothing from you, ... I leave you with rubbish and dustbins ... I have also left you my gold helmet in Cairo ... that authoritative helmet which I grabbed from its guardian after I had heard and read so much about it ... and learnt that magic rings (desire-satisfying rings) are made of its gold parts ... and that whoever put it on would become sultan immediately ... and would conspicuously sit on the throne ... and that kings, presidents and princes would have to disappear before him. He would be able to bring the little girl Meitigah to life. He would be able to bring back to life all the martyrs, even Omar Al-Moktar, Saadon, Abdul Salam Abu-Meniar, Al-Jalat and others who died honourably as unknown soldiers ... And that whoever put it on would have about four thousand million Dinars in cash, which he could spend as he wished. On the whole, he would possess the ( Shobeik Lobeik ) ring which would satisfy all desires: Ask for any kind of weaponry from an ordinary gun to a sophisticated missile, and you have it ... call forth even a mirage and it is there at your service, let alone a Mig fighter or whatever you wish ... and you could lock up any Englishman and have Mrs Thatcher suffer a snub. At the same time if you put on this magic helmet you could go to sleep lazily even if you saw with wide open eyes a wolf about to attack your sheep. So there you are, you could slumber away among the heaps of litter and rubbish of which creative hobby you seem to be deprived as I hear from the Voice of the Arabs. I have also read and heard that this steel ... sorry, I mean magic authoritative helmet was once claimed by Iblis who, bore number 0+1. He laid a claim to it on the pretence that he was an angel, and that Churchill and Truman bore witness to his claim. You were taken in by that lie and fooled by the trick with perdition as the resultant end of your naive conduct until I felt with you in your sorry state of affairs and heard the Friday preacher in your mosques say this prayer, " O, Allah, our sorry state cannot be hidden from you, nor can our helplessness be unclear to you. There is no shelter for us but with you. To you we return. Labbayek! Labbayek!". The Blessed Herb and the Cursed Tree Good news for the emotionally disturbed of both sexes. A herb has been discovered in the Benghazi plain, and it is now sold at Hajji Hassan's shop. In a television interview watched by no less than three million people, Hajji Hassan stated that the herb was an effective cure for the emotionally disturb. He said nothing about those who are not emotionally disturbed yet. But, naturally, should they develop such symptoms, the blessed herb is there, an effective balsam and medicine for them ... so much then about the blessed herb for the emotionally disturbed! For other diseases and ailments, there is also enough other medicine at Hajji Hassan's shop besides the blessed herb. There are other herbs: There is one for all kinds of sterility, (as he himself affirmed) infertility, lack of productivity and perhaps even intellectual barrenness. There is also medicine for headaches. If you got a headache or felt dizzy for any reason, even if that was when you were looking for a shirt for your son that cost one dinar at the state-owned markets, but had found it now for twenty dinars at a private shop, which made you hurry back to the state-owned market only to find that it had gone. So you had to go back to the private shop, but only to find that the price had gone up to twenty-five dinars during your absence for five minutes - Hajji Hassan confirms that he has got a medicine herb for such giddiness, which he had extracted from the grass and numerous plants on the village common ... Not only this medicine but also another effective medicine of a particular strain of cactus has been discovered by the same Hajji Hassan growing in profusion in graveyards. People, taking this medicine, gain patience similar to that of the dead, and become immune to any local exploitation and international weakness, which is the secret of its growing in graveyards. There is also at this shop a long list of other herbs, which, as Uncle Hassan has explained, help you to resist diseases and dispense with treatment, which entails the problematic frequenting of private and public clinics and hospitals. If only we had godlike common sense to make a beeline for this shop and queue for hours and days or even months to procure these medicines, we would be well-rewarded ... much better than anything else. Why can't we be patient enough to stand in the queue and wait for our turn to buy this medicament? We have cut down the trees on our farms to change them into built-up areas ... We have slaughtered most of our animals and, no doubt, we shall kill the rest on the feast day of sacrifice. Our children go to free-of-charge public schools, and we receive free radio and television programmes, which we can listen to, watch and criticize as we wish. In order to oblige us, they purchase cartoon programmes to keep the attention of children away from us, no matter if these cartoons are harmful, or western or who has made them and what their subject matter is ... what is most important is that we needn't undergo any hard labour, fatigue, or worry because of our children since everything is being looked after by the state. And he who does not work, does not produce, yet he still consumes. Defence, too, does not seem to be any of our business, which clearly shows that we had lied to ourselves when we proclaimed that defence was the responsibility of every citizen. It is obvious that we are doing our best to shun this sacred duty. We stand for peace and love. Our motto being, "Peace, mercy and the blessing of God be upon you." So from us may there be peace, mercy and the blessing of God upon the Israelis, the "Amelicans", NATO, and the Pact of David, who we expect, should wish us the same, or better. Every day we wait for the Israelis and their allies to say, "May there be peace upon Rabta, Tajura, Ras Lanoof, Jerusalem and Baghdad ". Anyway, what use are the medicine factories at Rabta and Ras Lanoof for us so long as Hajji Hassan has gathered for us enough herbs, which cure all diseases even those of the brain, the heart and eyesight ... and ... dysentery or ... dignity ... one or the other ... because reception was poor at the moment when Hajji Hassan was explaining the magical effect of a particular herb ... if I heard him right, he said it was an effective cure against dysentery or dignity, perhaps even old age, as I think I heard him say that it also cured senility or self-respect or something like that which seemed to have some connection with senility. Therefore, we are really lucky .. we have got ourselves free of everything ... Poor are the people who, unlike us, have to sacrifice themselves and shed blood in defence of their homes. They also sweat blood to enhance production and dig up the earth with their finger-nails ... in order to plant it with trees and cucumber and garlic .. poor are the Israelis who spend their lives with their forefingers on the trigger in order to keep Palestine occupied ... Poor are Noriega and Orthega ... Poor are the " Amelicans " too, who spend billions on space armament to protect America. Death Is Death male or female? God knows ... But the ancient pre-Islamic poet, Tarafah Ibn Al-Abd considered it male when he said : Death, I notice, hovers over generous people to choose The best of what the strictest of them has hoarded up. But the contemporary poet Nizar Al-Qabani, who is pre-Islamic in his own way, says that death is female, because it has snatched his son, Tawfiq. But then why ask the question? What purpose does it serve to know if death is male or female? Death, whether male or female, is death. By all means, it is most important, or rather one is morally bound to specify the sex of death and decide whether it is male or female. Because if it were male, one ought to challenge it to the bitter end. But should it be female, one had to give in to it to the last breath. Anyway, the word death (Decease) appears in a lot of books, sometimes as male and sometimes as female. I, judging from my own experience and troubles with death, know this for a fact: Death is a male who is on the offensive all the time. He has never been on the defensive even when he is beaten. He is brave, fierce, cunning and sometimes cowardly. Death attacks but gets beaten off badly at times. He does not emerge victorious in every attack as some people seem to think. Many a duel was there in which death lost courage and had to retreat blood-stained and defeated. But despite the cuts, stabs, blows, smashes and kicks which he receives, when his opponent is a relentless fighter, he never gives in, or is ever imprisoned; nor has he ever been finished off. This is his dangerous secret; and this is his incomparably destructive superiority to all life supporting factors against death. Death is really a unique combatant who has a deep, long breath and endless patience. His confidence in himself is limitless no matter how strong, relentless or winning his opponent seems to be. No matter what fights he loses, wounds he receives, or rounds in which he is defeated, he is never adversely affected by the resounding noises of celebration, held by his unimaginative, short-sighted, winning opponents. Such displays of rejoicing do not make him despair of attacking again. One can't help admiring such an overbearing adversary who never needs to alter his clear-cut decisions! The might of death does not lie in his decisive blows, nor in his fatal stabs or in his successful attacks, because he hits and misses, wins and loses, attacks and suffers defeat. Not all his blows are exceptionally well-aimed, nor are all his fights successful. His real might lies in his hellish ability to receive, bear and neutralize all the arrows and spears directed at him, and in his inhuman appetite to lick the blood and pus of his wounds, and in his capability of transforming all this into fiery ferocious fighting energy which eventually overwhelms his opponent. Death's entitlement to victory lies in the fact that he is impartial and that he seeks help from nobody. To do that would indicate a fault in character when death is faultless; and it might imply that he could be a stooge. Death manoeuvres and changes his colour to suit his own purpose, but he can never be someone else's stooge. Were he to depend on anybody; he would have to give hostages to fortune and become a doll to be thrown away in the dustbin after play. If death were a stooge, a lackey, a hostage or a doll, his ultimate victory would arouse considerable suspicion. On the other hand, death, as I have already said, is not a mythical hero with high moral ideas, social and tribal manners or a noble family background which make the possessor of such ideals morally bound to behave properly in order not to blemish inherited values. On the contrary, death is a dodger, chameleon-like, moody and capable of taking on different personalities with different roles. He may appear on a tall white horse, brandishing his weapon at his opponent face to face, and he may stab in the back as does a woman untrained to use weapons; he may come at you fearlessly on foot; and he may turn up crawling or prone under the cover of earth or any other means of deception and camouflage. Many a victim had he claimed when they were peacefully and quietly unaware of him! And many others had he snatched away when they were having happy dreams in sound sleep. And many more had he grabbed when they were merrily laughing and oblivious of him! So, do not expect any mercy or pity from death. He will not exchange intimacies with you or consider your circumstances or respect your lives. He may tear off a suckling from its mother's breast to butcher it before her; he may even get it out of her womb dead after a long wait for it to be born. He may steal either one of a newly-wed couple on their wedding night. He may assault the parents and leave the children alone or vice-versa. In other words, he is, as yellow books depict him, the terminator of pleasure and the orphan-maker of boys and girls. Therefore, do not show mercy to death, nor expect any mercy from him. There is no love lost between him and us. He is our deadly enemy; there can be no peace with him or hope in him. So, as just tit for tat, show no mercy to him and no lack of unity, because he will show you little mercy no matter how disunited you are or what concession you make. He accepts no compromise at all and peaceful coexistence is foreign to his nature. He cut off my brothers and sisters in their prime, and starved my family until they had to surrender to his will, and allured my brothers and sisters to play with him in the quagmire, where he poisoned them; four boys and two girls. Then he had several hot duels with my brave father. He came to Gordabia under the banner of Miani's campaign, disguising himself in the clothes of Italian and Eritrean soldiers in order to kill my father, who fought him openly since he had killed my brothers and sisters. My father had vowed to have his revenge on death for what he did; and that was why he had killed a good number of col. Miani's soldiers in whose clothes death disguised himself so perfectly that everyone of them seemed to be death himself ... and how bewildered my father was to see the endless falling of martyrs, death's victims, on his right and left, when, at every shot he triggered, he thought he had done away with death till he ran short of ammunition. He cried out, "Can I have some more ammunition to relieve you of death?" A young man, lying prone in a nearby trench, answered him that he had enough to spare. My father spirited, hurried towards him, but death was faster. When my father crept into the trench, he found the young man dead!. Therefore, death can hear and see, but my father, like death, was a fierce fighter. He took the young man's ammunition and continued the duel until he felt weak with thirst. He asked his uncle Khamis for a drink of water to go on fighting. His uncle who had no water himself, leapt at one of the enemy's water-carrying mules to get some water. But death, as usual, was faster. He directed his fatal shot at Khamis just above the right eye-brow where it pierced its way through to the brain, which oozed out all over his body as he fell a martyr to the ground. This infuriated my father, who sprang out of the trench to fight standing up. He challenged death face to face when he shouted at him. "We're the children of Moussa. If you are a real male, come out and look me in the face, you, cowardly death!" But death did not answer this challenge or even put up a hand to show where he was or reveal a brave face. It was not death, but a group of brave young men who answered my father, saying, " We are the children of Al- Haj ... children of Al-Haj " They sprang up on their feet to face death fearlessly. My father hurried to join them, but death was always faster. He had gunned them dead before my father reached them. When the struggle between death and my father became so intense, his fellow fighters asked him not to draw nearer to them so that death might not ambush them as he did to Khamis, the Al-Hajji's sons, Al-Atrash, Assohbi, Mohamed Ben Faraj ... and many others. My father continued his persistent struggle all day long. At sunset death's strength began to wane and consequently his will to continue the duel abated! So he decided to withdraw in order to gather strength for another round. But this time he succeeded in firing nine bullets at my father, which hit him and tore his clothes but luckily they were not fatal. As I told you, death is defeated and withdraws but never feels ashamed or loses hope, because his self-confidence is much stronger than despair itself, his belief in ultimate victory is greater than temporary defeat or passing adversities; and the secret lies in his self-sufficiency that needs no help or support from any quarters, not even from America. Hardly had three years passed when death attacked again, hoping to have done with my father this time. He engaged him in a ferocious duel that was much worse than the one at Gorabia. He, being a deceiver as usual, appeared in this battle disguised, both in entity and attire, as one of the Senussi soldiers, who were pro-Italian in Sirte and Ejdabia. He was exceptionally defiant this time, self-complacent at being superior in men and weapons, and confident of victory. But my father, who was as defiant, though less self-complacent and less-hopeful, was obstinately rash and more reckless. He laughed at death when he saw the Senussi soldiers crawling like locusts to occupy the high and low lands surrounding the Klaiah wide pit near the salt-mine. They changed the colour of the golden sand into black and white after the colour of their formal costumes. The whole area was filled with men conscripted in favour of death. And there was my father among a much smaller number of lion-like men ... in fact, a very humble number! It was an ill- fated day of distressful agony from sunrise to sunset; death in full preparation; my father in full bravery, death heading the hosts of the pro-Italian Senussi soldiers; my father among a band of brave honourable men. Since the situation was so critical and survival was so hopeless and the battle so un-balanced; my father decided to fight it out with the least of precaution, openly showing his contempt of death, by rushing at his army ... He dug no trench, nor did he fire from a reclining position, he preferred to fight sitting or standing. Bravery and despair seemed to intermingle. What an awesome sight that was! And how hard it had been to survive! But exactly as it had happened at Gordabia. Death's bullets hit my father's companions only: There was Abu-Osbaa, hit at the heart ... next to him lay Gheddaf Addam, giving up the ghost ... and now the sun was falling headlong towards the earth as if hit by a stray bullet! It was getting dark now and death's lost chance seemed to slip away. This made turbulent death swell up with anger at my father, who had been challenging him all day long. He aimed his Mosin-Nagant rifle, supplied to him by the Tsar of Russia, at my father's heart but missed and hit him at the shoulder instead . The bullet, passing through the shoulder from the front to the back, had left a dangerous deep cut at his left side. I have already told you that not all death's shots are well-directed, nor are all his stabs fatal. He hits and misses, succeeds and fails. True, he rendered my father unable to continue the fight this time and partially paralized him for life, but he could not manage to finish him off. I have already told you that death is not always brave or a challenger. On the contrary, he is sometimes a coward, stabbing in the back, stinging in the foot and sinking into the ground. Death, as I have already explained, does not despair and never leaves his opponent alone, no matter how beaten he may be. So despite growing pale with fatigue after engaging many intrepid heroes in hot duels, such as at Al- Malh and Gordabia, where he failed to defeat my father. Death appeared this time disguised as a striped snake hiding in the dead thorny trunk of a desert bush in a cut off wadi that had neither water nor trees, to bite my father's heel in an abominable, treacherous, and cowardly way under the dark cover of night. This is frightening death! He rides a black horse when he is most furious and rides a white horse when he challenges openly and defiantly. Here is death, who has brandished his sword at great leaders, skulking away to come from behind, not face to face, from beneath, not from above ... he comes to bite not to fight, he shrinks into himself rather than show himself, and he cuts heels rather than necks. This is how mighty death, whose terror, reaches far and wide, had transformed himself this time into a treacherous snake that stung my father's strong rough foot, which had stamped on it. Death thought that that was the fatal trick and the cunning plan. Having failed in face to face duels, death resorts to cunning and deception; and after confrontation in day light, he lurks under a camouflaged screen. No doubt, a desert snake stinging a lonely man in a distant wadi, where no one could hear his call for help, was definitely quite enough to kill him. The arrangements and expectations of proud death, who was cocksure of ultimate victory, were such that he overlooked the fact that the will to live could upset his arrangements and frustrate his expectations; and that will to live was able to neutralize his fatal poison with the simple means of a strong brew of ordinary black tea without sugar. Several doses of this strong sugarless black tea made my father throw up a few times. No sooner had the vomiting spasm stopped than he sprang up on his feet again to overcome death, which seemed victorious only a few minutes earlier. Jeering at death and gloating at his misfortune, my father crushed the head of the venomous snake, in the form of which death had disguised himself in that distant desert place. Death, as we know from this story, neither dies nor despairs however badly hurt or beaten he may be. My father killed the snake with his foot, which had always been strong and unshaken in the battle field or on the head of other serpents. Hardly had my father's foot fallen on the head of the snake when death left it for another one, which happened to meet my father on his way home one day. He was gathering some dead branches from a desert bush to make a fire, when the second snake attacked him, injecting a stream of fatal poison into his hand. As my father had no tea this time, and the place was neither distant nor desolate, death thought these were factors of weakness on the part of my father, who would not be so challenging as he was when the place was distant with no one to help him, where his demise could have been a catastrophe. The situation then made my father put up a strong resistance, mobilizing all his inner strength to frustrate death's wanton intention. But this time with people nearby, and the idea of depending on others for help bound to soften my father's spirit for defiance and resistance, death thought that he had trapped his intrepid opponent at last. However, death apparently forgot that his treacherous plan was really stupid, because by frequent snake bites he had immunized my father against their poison. Thus this second bite, painful though it was, did not finish him off either. The longer my father lived, the more enterprising death became. My father kept up his stubborn courage, and death never gave up hope of catching him. Having followed the incidents of this dramatic story so far, we can say that death is really a male in the former situations and a female in the latter ones. Thus the whole thing is so confusing, because even when death changed into a female snake, she had to be fought back as though she were a male. A poisonous female snake is a contentious enemy, hence categorized as male, and had to be fought just like any Eritrean or Italian soldier at the Gordabia battle. But since we are dealing with the subject of deciding death's sex, male or female; and as we said when we started this story, "If it were male, one ought to defy it to the bitter end. But should it be female, one had to give in to it to the last breath." So far in this story, my father had kept up the resistance and never thought of surrender, which makes it reasonable to think that death is a male. But I have recently come to the conclusion that death is a female, because on the eighth of May 1985, my father gave in to death, moving no limb to resist her. For the first time in my life I saw him give up resistance, and at times, even refused any outside inference between him and death, whose cause he seemed to defend as well. This made it clear that death was a female of the classical type of whom the Koran says " brought up among trinkets, and unable to give a clear account in a dispute," So now, there was my father, defending death against any outside intervention when he was quite able to put up a strong resistance. On the contrary, he gave in to death quietly and whole heartedly as though death had never been a bit frightful or had ever been that fully-armed fighter, whose appearance infused any brave man like my father with defiance. Death's drums, which got louder, as they drew nearer, sounded just like one of Om Kalthooms's hypnotizing songs. The nearer death's procession, drew with the increasing and annoying noise of its drums, the more my father seemed to relax on his bed, smiling like a newly-born baby in a way that was incomprehensible to us. He became quieter and more placid to the extent that made us think that the noise of death's procession which frightened people in good health, was to the sick like a hypnotizing song by one of the popular Egyptian songs. It made me think that perhaps there was no need for any chemicals to anaesthetize the sick as a long Egyptian song was quite capable of having the same result. But the doctor objected to this method, and expressed his displeasure at my meddling in his sphere of speciality. He assured me that all my conclusions were erroneous and had not a shred of truth in them; and as such, they could not be taken seriously. I was embarrassed talking about anaesthesia of which I knew very little and saved the doctor the embarrassment of telling me that by saying myself what he should have told me, but he preferred to keep silent: So I added, on his behalf of course, that I was completely ignorant of even the simplest facts of anaesthesia and its applications and that I had mixed up anaesthetizing the sick and hypnotizing the ones who were not ill, and that, perhaps I had exaggerated the effect of Egyptian songs when I thought they affected the sick. In fact, they affected only healthy people. They have been well-known to be so effective and so influential since 1948. They gave exciting results when they were experimented upon more than one million Arabs; but unfortunately, contrary to what I was expecting, it was necessary to use chemicals to knock out sick people needing surgery and other medical treatment as the songs were proved to have no effect on them. On the contrary, doctors advise, that sick people should not listen to these songs, for fear that they could cause complications, such as nausea. But people in good health and their like, such as the emotionally disturbed and mentally sick are advised to listen to these songs if they want to get into an artificial state of lethargy or a non-chemical anaesthesia. Doctors affirm that these songs have no complications for these people. Of course, if they had any non-chemical complications, the effect would be on these people's productivity and welfare; but as far as their bodies are concerned, there is nothing much to worry about. When I hinted that they might affect the spirit or the mind, the doctor replied in a casual manner, " Spirit ... mind ...mood ... etc ... abstract things ... as a surgeon ... they mean little to me ". On the whole, the weaker my father became, the more nervously tense we got ... agony stricken and worried about him. Our tears flowed and now and again we wept, while he smiled and relaxed as he went deeper into the coma of death. Who knows?! Was it the death he fought in the battles of Gordabia, Talla and Al-Malh? Was it the snake which ambushed him in a forlorn desert and on other occasions?! Was it death, the proud, bold, defiant and treacherous enemy whose self-confidence and arrogance infused a fresh sense of provocation and recklessness into his opponent? I do not think it was him. If it had been him, there should have been no one to rival him in the art of cunning and camouflage; because my father had hardly put up any resistance as he used to do all his life when he always defeated and beat him off despite the numerous fatal chances and occasions death had. Therefore, death is a female; and as such one ought to give in to her up to one's last breath, and that is what my father now did. The conclusion is that death often fails in battle when he comes under a clamorous cloud of dust with black banners fluttering in the heart of the storm. In this case death thinks he is riding the favourite horse in the race, when, in actual fact, he is riding the horse of his own vanity, because in this way he drives his opponent to the extremes ... to defiance and recklessness, which eventually result in his defeat. Death in this manner, appears as a very brave fighter, who ought to be resisted to the bitter end; and resistance often leads to victory. But the fatal cases in which death wins easily are those in which death appears as a female. As we have affirmed in the beginning of this story, one ought to give in to a female up to the last breath. Surrender never leads to victory. When death changes his tactics by appearing as a female he expects his opponent to surrender in order to beat him with the least of resistance. Thus death is sure to achieve his purpose in the end, however long the struggle lasts, and will show no mercy to his opponent no matter how submissive, cowardly, feeble or weak-kneed he may be; even if he were a Sadat kind of person! Therefore, if you wish to live long, you have to contend against death as did my father, who never gave in to him even for a single day and fearlessly fought him till his centennial birthday, despite the fact that death tried to humiliate him at the age of thirty, but was thwarted in his plans and had to suffer a snub. So, the right decision to take is confrontation, because fleeing one's country does not save one from death. The Koran says " Wherever you are, death will find you out, even if you are in towers built up strong and high, " But if death himself weakened and transformed himself into a non-Jamaheriate or a non-Latin woman and came forward peacefully unarmed, entered quietly and walked calmly in slow and voluptuous movements until she invaded every inch of our bodies, and made us ecstatic with charm and delight and began to tickle us to mirth in the rapture of her love ... in such case, it would be unmanly to resist her, much less to defy her ... and the proper course of action to take, then, would be to surrender to her pleasure completely till one's last breath of life ... and that is what happened. The Cursed Family of Jacob and the Blessed Caravan Which of us hasn't heard of Jacob's family? Or rather, who doesn't hold it in high esteem? Any why not when its off-spring world-wide take great pride in being descendants of Jacob, peace be upon his soul, and his son Joseph, prophet of God and the secretary of the store houses of the land in ancient Egypt?! How could anyone in his right mind ignore Joseph or be ignorant of him or his accurate divination?! We all know this, and the whole world knows him. He was tomorrow's predictor, interpreter of visions and dreams, truthful and trustworthy and chosen by his Lord who taught him how to interpret stories and events. His attractive appearance was well-known and so desirable that the wife of the Aziz of Egypt in her passionate desire, tried to seduce him and tore his shirt at the back which proved that she was a liar. He was extolled by the city Ladies who, in their amazement, cut their hands with the knives they happened to be holding and said, "God preserve us! This can't be mortal! This is none other than a noble angel!" He nearly felt inclined towards them. In addition, he foretold how the fortunes of Egypt would fare, its dreadful years after its prosperous ones and the period of arid countryside after the period of green meadows. Therefore, Jacob's offspring have every right to be proud and feel honoured. They are descendants of a great and blessed family whose father was melancholic, Jacob and her distinguished son Joseph. So don't they deserve to be honoured and revered? And aren't they entitled to be treated as celebrities at airports, at weddings and other several occasions ... even at conferences, if so it happened, and to be pointed out as Joseph's brothers with admiration?! What a great honour conferred by God as a favour upon this family! This much we know about Jacob's family, which makes it worthy to win our respect and be held in higher esteem ...! But we should also know that this family is cursed and is neither noble nor blessed. This aura of holiness in which it is vested has been faked; and it does not deserve the veneration accorded to it. May the family of Jacob be cursed even though Joseph had been their son and Issac their grandfather. It is one of the basest families and the worst in unbelief and hypocrisy, and as such, they deserve disgrace and contempt. Didn't they lie about protecting Joseph from the wolves, pretend to be his sincere wishers and falsely promise to take every care of him? Didn't their father say to them, "I fear lest the wolf should devour him while ye attend not to him ". They said, "If the wolf were to devour him while we are (so large) a party, then should we indeed (first) have perished ourselves!" May the family of Jacob be cursed! They contrived a vicious plan inspired by their guilty souls. They engaged in intrigue against Joseph, God's prophet. They said, "Slay ye Joseph or cast him out to some (unknown) land." They argued among themselves, squabbled and had different views on how to intrigue against Joseph and be unfaithful to their father, Jacob, may peace be upon his soul. One of them said, "Slay not Joseph, but if ye must do something, throw him down to the bottom of the well " But Joseph knew about this affair while they (Knew him not) "They stained his shirt with false blood" The cursed family of Jacob are traitorous, treacherous and liars. They (I mean its sons) stripped Joseph off his shirt which they stained with false blood and took Joseph away from the attention of people and threw him to the bottom of the well. They did all this while Joseph saw and heard all that was going on around him but he did not shout at them or said, "You, filthy traitors ...! How can you be my brothers?!" Joseph was quite patient as God put into his heart this message. "Of a surety thou shalt (one day) tell them the truth of this, their affair" He was as innocent as was the wolf of his blood; rather, he was smiling at them in a joking mood while they were lowering him into the well. He knew all this and was sure of their failure and that was why he did not say to them, "You're being unfaithful to your father when you treat me like this!" Neither did he say to them, "Do you worst but I will tell you of this affair of yours one day when your faces will turn black with shame, guilt and transgression and you will be the laughing stock of the whole world!" But in an attempt to give their treason and unsuccessful trick full force, they too were smiling back at him while in actual fact they were intriguing against him. "They plot and plan, and God too plans, but the best of planners is God" May the family of Jacob be cursed! And may the caravan be blessed! Yes, it was the caravan who got Joseph out of the well. They came soon after his brothers had cast him into the bottom of the well. The caravan let down their bucket and when they hauled it up, they found Joseph in it. The blessed caravan saved him and the city treated him kindly. May the family of Jacob be cursed and may the caravan be blessed! Which of us, after this scandal, will have any respect or reverence for the family of Jacob? Who can trust them with Joseph any more? On the other hand, Joseph's brothers did not kill him when they could have done so, because they were entrusted to take good care of him. It is true that they did not kill him, perhaps because they argued his death but failed to come to a decision about it, as is mentioned in the Koran; or because they lacked the courage to do it; or because being his brothers, they could not bear in their hearts the sight of his real blood and found out that they could endure the sight of false blood other than his; or perhaps they preferred that he should gradually die in the well, or perhaps being his brothers, they had not planned his death in the first place by any means and simply wanted to leave him to his fate with the caravan which they seemed to know that it would come and pick him up. One of them said, "Slay not Joseph, but if ye must do something, throw him down to the bottom of the well: He will be picked up by some caravan of travellers" It is most probably that the fear of their father and others was the real deterrent. May the family of Jacob be cursed and may the caravan be blessed! And how deceived we were when we honoured the family of Jacob because Joseph was their son ... and we were so dazzled by the awesome procession of stars, the sun and the moon kneeling to Joseph that we said, "What a great halo surrounding Joseph's family!" And we preferred, or rather we were made to admire the scene at a distance with open mouths, which if we closed, we would vehemently applaud and inwardly repeat, "I did see eleven stars and the sun and the moon: I saw them prostrate themselves to me". "Verily in Joseph and his brethren are signs (or symbols) for seekers (after truth) " But what if this family was exposed ... when Joseph's brothers began to plan this abominable treason at which hearts recoil in terror, "The skies are ready to burst, the earth to split asunder, and the mountains to fall down in utter ruin ", and a shudder of violent revulsion possesses the people who hear it? Indeed the family of Jacob "have put forth a thing most monstrous " What if the family saved their honour and stood distinguished among the other people, and Joseph's brothers lived to serve him as apostles, taking good care of him, managing his affairs and listening to what he had to say to them?! However, Joseph implored God to forgive them in spite of what they had done! And "he provided a home for his parents with himself, and said, "Enter Ye Egypt (all) in safety if it please God ", and raised his parents high on the throne (Of dignity) and they fell down in prostration, (all) before him. He said, 'O my father, this is the fulfillment of my vision of old. God hath made it come true! He was indeed good to me when he took me out of prison and brought you (all here) out of the desert.". However, it was good the way Jacob's family had behaved, because, but for this abominable scandal, or scandalous abomination; or in other words, the family of Jacob is notoriously detestable, even though we used to think of them as a blessed and respectable family, not because they had a glorious history in the past, abundant resources, constantly flowing water, a much frequented fane, or a " canopy raised high"; it is quite the contrary because, originally, it was an unknown, detested, debased and dependent family living in the desert - as is mentioned in the Koran - and by the nature of their living circumstances, they were mere shepherds; and the biggest victory Joseph's brothers could have achieved, would have been to kill a fox or a wolf and could have never dreamt of victory over imperialistic or retrograde regimes. This great universal glory had never occurred to any member of Jacob's family, who have never as much as dreamt of the glory of Egypt and its storehouses, except Joseph who could see the future and specialised in the interpretation of visions. But for this shameful act what could Jacob's family be like now? or rather, how would the whole world treat this family? People could have carried them on their shoulders in sincere reverence! Hadn't they begotten Joseph, who received revelation from God, who made him prophet, secretary of the store-houses of the land, interpreter of visions and passionately desired by women? Thank God who showed us in the Glorious Koran what Jacob's family were really like and explained that they were not guardians of Joseph, rather, "they were plotting a scheme" for him in a hellish slow way. In other words, they were digging up a well to cast him in when he was endeavouring to create a glorious history for them. The sons of Jacob's family were, in fact wicked as well as insipid: Joseph tried to erect a fane of fame and renown for them which they sought to destroy by their own hands. However, it is only fair to give justice to any member of Jacob's family who deserved it - if there were any who deserved it, of course. Yes, it seems that the eldest and youngest - who, as the Koran mentions, was their half brother on their father's side - of them were. The eldest brother was the one who suggested to the rogues of the treacherous family of Jacob not to kill Joseph but to throw him into the well from where he would be picked up by some passing caravan. As for the youngest brother, who was their brother on their father's side, he was on the side of Joseph, and hence he was unpopular with the other sons of the cursed family who tried to make trouble for him as well and finally got rid of him as they had done to Joseph before him when they left him as a pledge in Egypt where they sought their measure of grain from Joseph whom they did not recognize. Stop Fasting When You See the New Moon The messenger of God, may peace be upon his soul, said "Begin your fast when you see the new moon and break your fast when you see the new moon again. Should it be overcast, complete your fast for thirty days" This is the Sunnah (i.e. followed by Muslims in this respect) . Consequently, every year the adherence to this Mohammedan Sunnah gets Muslims into difficulties concerning the first and last days of the fasting month of Ramadan and the Hajj (i.e. the annual pilgrimage to Mecca) except this year, and we shall know how this difficulty has been avoided only this year. Of course, the appearance of the new moon differs from one place to another, or rather, from one continent to another where Islam has universally spread and where local ways of spotting the new moon were unable to cope, as the Arabian peninsula, or perhaps Mecca and Medina were the only places meant at the time when communication was non-existent. Therefore, it was out of the question to expect news from Yemen about the new moon if we were in Mecca or Medina, as it would have taken the traveller more than a month in order to come an tell us about the new moon. However, nowadays that the world can communicate on a wide scale at the speed of sound (i.e. 340 m/s), it is feasible to announce the appearance of the new moon throughout the world. But the difficulty has not been made easier even by this important, scientific change in communication. On the contrary, the difficulty has become more complicated as we now know more about the world than we used to know. This fact has increased the strife among Muslims: Sheiks, laymen, princes and poor people. The Saudis do not relish the idea of the Hajj falling on a Friday because of the overcrowding which takes place and the problems they have to face accordingly - and they have every right to be wary in this respect. Of course, they have the right to be even more concerned should it be proved that the Hajj on a Friday usually coincides with the death of one of the members of the Saudi royal family - God forbid! Such is the pessimism of our brothers in Saudi Arabia about the Hajj on a Friday ... So let it be on a Saturday, or a Sunday, but not on a Friday when the risk of losing one of the princes looms large. God forbid! Some facts have been made clear to us by the progress of modern sciences and rapid communications, which we hope would facilitate our symbol of unity in deciding the beginning and the end of the fasting month of Ramadan and the Hajj. It has been made clear that Friday in Indonesia is actually Thursday in Libya - in other words, the thirteenth of Shabaan in Libya is, in fact, Ramadan the first in Indonesia or in the Solomon islands, in the pacific ocean - that is to say, if Indonesia were to telephone to announce the beginning of the month of Ramadan, Libya would still be in the month of Shabaan, This proves that sight of the new moon can only be limited ... so limited that every region has to begin fasting at the local sight of the new moon and break their fasting in the same way. But the thorny problem is that of the Hajj. The beginning and end of fasting is not much of a problem, practically speaking. The real insoluble problem is that of the Hajj. If people set off for the Hajj from every distant corner of the world with prearranged dates for the rituals of going round the Kaba, standing on Mount Arafat and the casting of pebbles in accordance with their local lunar calendar, indicating the beginning and end of fasting, this would create the problem of every distinct group of Muslims having their own Hajj which is different in time to that of the other groups, and consequently, there would be no one day for the standing on Mount Arafat and the following day of Sacrifice ... and the other rites of the Hajj. This would be a serious problem both spiritually and practically, especially for our brothers in Saudi Arabia. However, this affair was settled only this year by General Schwartzkopf personally, the blessing of the Lord be upon him! He decided in advance ... from the first week of Ramadan that Eid Al Fitre (Feast of the end of Ramadan) would be Monday the 15th of April 1991 A.D. and accordingly, he categorically fixed the days of the Hajj in accordance with the western calendar, no matter, as far as General Schwartzkopf was concerned, whether seen or not -- I mean the new moon and not General Schwartzkopf -- or whether the month of Shabaan was thirty days or less ... or even if the month of Ramadan itself was twenty-eight, thirty or, if need be, thirty-one days. The whole affair was not for discussion or subject to the new moon being seen or not; nor was it a matter of Sunnah or Fardh (Command from God), or "So said the Prophet, and so said God " The decree of General Schwartzkopf had to be obeyed. The whole affair was one of security for the American forces, its allies and the territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, God's House and the tomb of his prophet included. The month of Ramadan this year had to end, for security reasons at the latest on Sunday 14.04.1991 for all Muslims who began fasting on Saturday, Sunday or Monday: the fourteenth meant the fourteenth, no matter whether it was overcast or people strained their eye- sight out. This necessarily meant that the first of Shawal had to fall on 15.04.1991 even if it were a full moon or not, or even if it were found necessary to choose another month for the Hajj, such as Shawal itself or Dal Qeedah. On the other hand, if the timetable of General Nor. were to be rejected, the Muslims, enjoying full self respect, self-sovereignty and freedom of choice in the matters of their religion, could always, choose any other month. This did not contradict the Koran as General Schwartzkopf himself said. The Koran says, "For Hajj are months well known," So, it is not a month but months! Thus, thanks to General Nor. Schwartzkopf a practical solution was at last found to this problem, which had always been a bone of contention in as far as the sight of the new moon was concerned. There was no need for Muslims to try to catch sight on the new moon of Shawal as the whole thing had been settled. It was formally announced in Saudi Arabia that the last day of Ramadan would be Sunday and the following Monday would be the first of Shawal ... and to hell with you, and your new moon, and your Islamic and non-Islamic courts of law! Moreover, General Schwartzkopf had decreed that all registrational formalities for the Hajj, in all corners of the world, be completed before the end of Ramadan; and it was for this reason that General Schwartzkopf had to fix the end of Ramadan, because this action for the first time was made compatible with arrangements for the Hajj. The Hajj was of considerable concern to General Schwartzkopf because the arrival of hundreds of thousands of people from the Islamic world to places under his protection was a very delicate matter. The Hajj this year was different from that of previous years, because it came this time when Mecca and Medina were under the protection of the American forces. And, as every one knew, the Saudi government invited these forces to protect them when the Iraqi forces entered Kuwait and perhaps might have wanted to enter the sacred places in order to annex them to Iraq. That would create a very serious situation as these forces might invade the western oil fields, too. For this reason the Saudi Government, as a sovereign state, had every right to ask for protection, and it was in the interest of America to grant such protection; and, but for the intervention of the American forces, Mecca and Medina might have been annexed to Iraq despite the pros and cons of the whole affair. Now that the protection provided by the American forces had averted such eventuality, who would blame General Schwartzkopf for drawing up a timetable for the end of the months of Ramadan and Shawal and the days of standing on Mount Arafat, the offering of sacrifice and the casting of pebbles, and the last day of Ramadan as the closing registration date for those who wished to undertake the duty of the Hajj?! For this tactical reason, it was impossible to leave the end of Ramadan to the chance sight of the new moon as that could jeopardize the forces entrusted to protect the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In other words, General Schwartzkopf had no choice but fix the fourteenth of April as the last day of Ramadan and the fifteenth as the first day of Shawal ... and the rest till the day of standing on Mount Arafat according to the western calendar only ... In addition to the prohibitions mentioned in the Koran - namely, " Let there be no obscenity, nor wickedness, nor wrangling in the Hajj ..." General Schwartzkopf decreed that the pilgrims to God's sacred House this year had to observe an additional list of prohibitions coming from the General himself and not from God. This list forbade the pilgrim to bring any pictures other than the one in his passport and books of all kinds, the Koran, Hadith and Fiqh included. He also forbade the pilgrims to say any prayers except the ones prepared by the General himself, copies of which were available free of charge at all guides' offices. The prayers were to be strictly followed as any other form of prayers under the guise of freedom of speech might lead to hostile slogans against the American forces, or perhaps against the General himself or his president - God forbid! Such eventuality might bring on agitation and protest marches which would disturb the law and order for which the American forces were responsible as Mecca was an integral part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia whose protection was the sole responsibility of General Schwartzkopf. Who was in the wrong, then? No doubt, it was the non-committed one, the one who deviated from the right course of action; the one who disobeyed the orders. Why should one look up high into the sky to see the new moon? One might as well say, "It was overcast " by which method one would hit several birds with one stone: In this way, which would be most desired, one would have followed and adhered to the Sunnah since it was overcast and so one had to observe Ramadan for thirty-two days. On the other hand, one would have gained an excellent recompense and reward of fasting two more days. And who would dispute the matter or brand one as infidel when one could answer back Koranically, "And it is better for you that ye fast " And he would be one of those who bow down their heads submissively in obedience of God's command. " And bow down your heads with those who bow down (in worship) ". The Koran is being exploited, or rather, misused by many Muslims to gain power and to justify unfair gains, murder and illegal practices; even prostration and openness. So long as you claim to be a Muslim, you can exploit the Koran for any personal gain. Can you pretend to be more pious or righteous than the Muslim Brothers, the Repentance and Migration Party, Sultan Abdul Hamid, Abdul Majid, Sheikh Abdul Rahman, Abd Norman and Abd McMillan ...? Therefore, the fifteenth of April 1991 AD (i.e. western calendar) had to be the feast-day (Eid Al Fitre) and the Eid service had to be held at the Mecca sanctuary at 06.50 and at the sanctuary of the prophet at 06.00. The rest of the Islamic world had to observe the differences in time undisputed. General Schwartzkopf Air, Land and Sea Protected Mecca. A Prayer for the Last Friday As next Friday will be the last Friday of the blessed month of Ramadan regardless of the dates of the beginning and end of the fasting, Muslims in the south of the Philippines, north of Thailand, the Malaysian islands excepting Sarawak and westwards to Nigeria, to one quarter of the Cameroon, three fifths of Malawe, and one quarter and three sixteenths of South Africa - Muslims living in these regions are required to go to the mosque and say a prayer on the last Friday of Ramadan - every one of them in the spirit of the Koran, which says, "Go ye forth, (whether equipped) lightly or heavily. The prayer, the full text of which will be given later on, and which has recently been discovered with the discovery of the cobalt gamma ray, helps the one who learns it, teaches it, or says it to dispense with modern sciences, especially the applied sciences. How absurd we must have looked when we spread solid as well as prefabricated schools, institutes, university colleges and vocational training centres everywhere to the extent that every child was able to go to school in a concerted effort to combat ignorance, to eradicate chronic illiteracy, and to comprehend modern sciences in order to make progress and confront the challenges of enemies. We were absurd because we did not exert as much effort to look for the old books which contained the profound secrets of cults, denominations and orders that had petered out in time, such as Ibn Taimiyah ... and Ibn Katheer. We were also wrong when we started the iron and steel industry and erected chemical and petro-chemical factories on which we had spent billions of dinars. The great man-made river may as well be abolished. The second phase of the huge iron and steel complex, and the second phase of the Ras Lanoof complex, which comprises three hundred factories for petrochemicals should also be abandoned. This will help us to save millions of Dinars to reprint the yellow books. No doubt, the Muslims - I mean the Arabian Muslims lost between the Ocean and the Gulf were stricken with fear and terror when they knew for sure that the sons of Israel had made great progress in Modern science and with the help of American - Arab funding they were able to utilise their knowledge of modern science to send up a satellite capable of taking real pictures of anything they wanted at every second. The Israelis were greatly disappointed when the pictures of Arab daily activities began to come regularly and simultaneously to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem: They were disappointed because at first the satellite took pictures of everything in the Arab World, and so the Israelis had a pile of pictures of camels in Mauritania, donkeys in the Sudan together with pictures of Kings and presidents at summit conferences. The Israelis were really annoyed at having to sort out so many pictures in order to decide which were of no use and which would constitute a danger to the future of Israel. So they adjusted the satellite to concentrate on selected target places and to stop photographing camels, donkeys and such things as these. Consequently there appeared pictures such as Rabta, Tajura, Tarhuna, Bu-Kamash, Gasr Ahmed, the High Dam, the Great Man-Made River and Ras Lanoof. Then there appeared pictures of the ten year old girl, Mietiga, playing in front of her house, that of Sana, and that of Okba Ibn Nafa, brown and tall with a beard, wearing a green turban ... then that of Gordabia, sitting in the open air, veiled up with men, women and children around her ... also that of Nasser waiting for Egypt ... it is also certain that the Israelis possess the nuclear bomb and long-range missiles to deliver it ... and they are manufacturing military aircraft which they have started to sell to a number of countries. This is only one front of the serious challenges facing the Arab Nation which calls for a revolutionary programme to amass all resources in the service of science education, organized work and confrontation in order to attain a high degree of readiness to pay the price and shoulder the necessary consequences to save a nation at risk and abuse. But the religious sons of this nation who have been taught Islamic theology by erudite teachers from Afghanistan, India and Britain such as Al- Nabahani, Sayyid Qutb Zada, a Persian originally from India with Egyptian nationality, Mohamed Assad, Hawa, Weikon from Turkey, Mirza and Bahauddin from Persia, Jack Birke and Jarody - they think highly of these preachers and have great faith in them, especially Sayyid Qutb Zada, Al- Nabahani and Black Dodge whose first name became Mohamed when he embraced Islam. By the way, they have been promised abode in Paradise as was expressed in a speech by Zeinab, and as expressed in their own confessions entitled "Investigations and confutations " Anyway, the sons of this nation, who belong to the Muslim brothers, the Islamic Liberation party, the Movement of Proclamation, Repentance and Return to God, Jihad against the Muslims, Call and Propaganda in Defence of America ... they have drawn young people's attention to this momentous secret which they have discovered after long sleepless nights spent in serious research and concentrated study of voluminous yellow books - namely, that the prayer on the last Friday of Ramadan is sure to cause failure of all abominably hostile plans and render the function of modern science and technology ineffective. If we were to believe in what the parties of God coalition say, there is no need for our children to go to schools, higher technical institutes or the Bright star University of technology ... rather, let them out in the open air on sidewalks selling cigarettes and cakes to adults ... the only important thing to do is to learn the prayer, the full text of which will be given later on ... but on condition that it be recited by all the Muslims in the regions mentioned before save the ones excepted. As for the prayer, it is as follows :- "May they be unable to see! May they be unable to see!" to be recited a thousand times per minute on the last Friday of the month of Ramadan together with the word "Amen!" This prayer has been tried for accuracy and proved correct and right. It can make the Israelis unable to spot Arab vital installations including the Rabta medicine factory ... as a matter of fact, they cannot see even the Arabs themselves. This prayer is sure to blindfold the Israeli satellite. One of the Muslim Brothers working at the Rabta factory secretly informed the Americans about the nature of work at the factory. This made America move its fleets towards Libya for another confrontation ... but the repetition of this prayer a thousand times per minute together with the word "Amen!" before the investigations rendered America unable to see the factory - let alone the Israeli satellite which circles around Algeria, Libya and Iraq only ... and true enough, neither America despite the great fleet gathering, nor the Israelis have struck at the factory in Rabta up to the time of writing this article. The other amulet is just a mere reading of "Under the shades of the Koran " and not the Koran itself; and according to the explanatory interpretation of the Muslim Brothers, "The Koran is one book but 'under the shades of the Koran' is ten books" These books, as you may well know leave the readers hardly any time to read any other nonsensical subject or programme such as chemistry, mathematics, space and depths ... but on condition that they seclude themselves in mosques or at home when they read them in order to have the desired effect. O, believers, May Allah enrich your general knowledge, try to imagine how great and effective the prayer would be if all the Muslims from Jakarta to Marrakech, except the regions afore-said, applied themselves to it ... it would be too powerful to defeat, remembering that prayers do not appear on the enemy's detection screens as do aircraft, ships and missiles. So hurry up and teach your children the books of the Muslim Brothers and the Liberation and Repentance Front .. Print and reprint these books and seclude yourselves at home and in mosques to study them thoroughly till Doomsday. The titles of these books make their content clear enough, such as The ruling of Religion on Smoking and Growing Beards, The Fiqh of the Sunnite Majority Concerning the Use of Henna and Shampoo, and The Kennash Treatise on How to enter Paradise Easily. Then there are Ibn Taimiyah's books which explain the wisdom of eating with three fingers, eating when one is in a reclining position, and the wisdom of having one's food served on wooden or metal plates. Of course, you won't forget the previous prayer which comes under the military aspect of the fiqh of the democratic Muslim Brothers Party. This prayer is concerned with the defensive strategy of the party. Complementary to it, there is the prayer peculiar to the economy, which is simple enough to recite only a hundred times per second, it has been tested and found useful against prices going up for no apparent reason and in resisting exploitation with no revolutionary theory to guide one or even a revolutionary movement. The prayer is as follows: Gracious Allah, have mercy on workers and civil servants and protect them from shopkeepers and protect wholesale merchants against senior revolutionaries. Should firing break out in the day light, the ones to blame for it would be the merchants and the revolutionaries in which eventuality we could only implore you, O, Allah, to pardon the ones who cause prices to go up and exchange the Dinar for a dollar. On the other hand, those who want the Arab Nation to unite so as to be strong and make progress and eventually defeat its enemy, will have to repeat after the Imam on the afore- said Friday this prayer, "Gracious Allah, our weakness is clear enough to notice; and our welfare is at your disposal and, as you know, we do not possess the ring of Shobeik Lobeik (i.e. wish-granting ring) The Jews and the Christians have gone up to you in their missiles and satellites ... and we do not emulate them in their blasphemy of invading the space. We humbly implore you and praise your Holy Name!" O, believers, this is what the different allied Islamist parties call on you for ... all of them; the Muslim Brothers, the Liberation Part, the Movement of Repentance and Return to God and the party of the Call and Propaganda, they want you to know that you cannot make any progress forward, or enter the world of technology, or get out of your present state of backwardness or liberate Palestine ... or at least blow up the bases of missiles guided to strike at every Arab capital ... you can achieve none of this unless you return to your yellow books ... and go back in history two thousand years to find out who had murdered Caliph Othman and bring him to justice, also find out who had murdered Al Hussein, and who had a better claim to the Caliphate, Ali or Mu'wiyah, and also what the credentials of Yazid and Al-Hussein were. You will have to make sure how many people had attacked Othman and what time exactly the terrible crime happened. Turning your attention to the books of Ibn Taimiyah, Ibn Katheer, Yakon, Hawah, Sayyid Qutb Zada, Allori and Al-Mawdudi you will be able to grasp the fundamental basics which are indispensable for advancement and for finding a solution to your administrative and economic problems as well as the dwindling oil prices as a result of the Christians discovering new sources of other forms of energy ... and essential for the defensive action according to article 51 of the U.N. charter against star wars, nerves war, and electronic war. How can we move forward when we do not yet know who was worthier to succeed his father as caliph, Al-Hadi or Al-Mahdi ... Al-Amin or Al-Mammon .. and whether the camel of Ali, May Allah save his face, was brown or white, and last, but not least, whether Caliph Othman's shirt was made of cotton or nylon. You find all these basic branches of knowledge in the retrograde, sorry, I mean, time-honoured traditional books which the modern Islamist parties strongly suggest that you read thoroughly, even if you have to wear glasses. Some of you might deride this trend ... from the point of view of blasphemy and heresy ... but can any one in his right mind, living at the advent of the twenty-first century afford not to worry at such critical issues?! How can we enter this new century when we still do not comprehend why it is advisable to use your five fingers when you eat and the wisdom of using only three fingers, and why it is inadvisable to lick your fingers before sucking them, and why it is advisable to finger-lick the plate after eating, and the advisability of picking up food fallen on the floor ... you may refer to page 297, chapter 109 of the book "Ketab Assaliheen" "Good people's Book" by Imam Zakariya Yahya. You have also to know whether you can die your beard with colouring shampoo or only with henna, and whether the cloak of a Muslim woman can be machine-sewn or only hand-made, and if she could wear one made by an unbeliever or an Indian or a Pole. May Gracious Allah guide the Muslims to the right path, heighten strife among them, make them call one another infidel, encourage them to forsake and fight one another so that they may be allied to the people of the Book ... You are always near and ready to answer! Please, Gracious Allah, unite the Muslims under the banner of Washington and Tel Aviv, and make the unbelievers together with their women, children and goods a booty to be fairly and justly distributed among Muslims ... with no partiality for the left or for the right ... Amen! No Prayer for the Last Friday It was a pity that Muslims in all corners of the world could not agree on the prayer for the last Friday of Ramadan. Had they come to an agreement, their prayer could have shaken the Zionist foundation and NATO; perhaps it might have blown up the Israeli satellite as well. But unfortunately, they disagreed among themselves; The Islamist Liberation Party agreed to let his stooges participate in the last Friday service on condition that their party leader be declared Caliph of the Muslims with special prayers for his welfare to be said on Mosque pulpits - namely, the following prayer should be said at every mosque all over the world: "May Gracious Allah aid the Caliph of the Muslims, Leader of the Islamist Liberation Party and bless his wives and children and enable them to succeed him" And if he ever felt unwell, Muslims would be in duty-bound in all mosques in the Muslim world to say a special prayer imploring God for his speedy recovery. You should know that what is taboo to you is permissible to him; and you and your wives are the "legal possession of his right hand " There is also the condition that the three members of the political Bureau - a Palestinian and two Jordanians of Kurd and Turkish origin - should be considered as members of the Prophet's family; and if they were ever mentioned you would have to say, "May Allah be pleased with them ... May Allah save the faces of the members of the political Bureau of the Islamist Liberation Party and promise them abode in Heaven whatever comes to pass ". The party also made the condition that its followers and their followers and stooges of their second line of followers take no part in the last Friday Prayer unless the Muslim Brothers Party was disbanded and its relation with the German Intelligence Service was disconnected in response to the political crisis raging between Great Britain and 'ungreat' Germany about modernizing nuclear missiles. Asked what the prayer on the last Friday of Ramadan had to do with Britain and Germany, their public relations officer told us that the nature of conflict made that necessary, and the Islamist Liberation Party could never act against God's religion, violate its oaths, or "untwist its yarn"; and that it had been historically and religiously allied to the people of the Book "the British Intelligence Service" since the invasion of Palestine and will remain so till Doomsday. For its establishment, the Party is grateful to Hajj Lieut. Gen. Glubb and Hajj Laurence, may God bless their souls and consecrate their tombs in the south of England. When the followers of the Muslim Brothers heard this condition, they reacted by burning Nabahani's books and made it known that the Islamist Liberation Party was in the service of the Mossad and its members were stooges ... and that they received financial support from the Mossad every six months through Jordan ... and that this party had been formed by pro-British Palestinians since the British mandate of Palestine to forestall any Muslim plan to liberate Palestine ... and that the sole dream and ambition of the party leader was to become the Caliph of the Muslims for some time, even if it were only one month long with imams to mention his praises from the top of pulpits. The Islamist Liberation Party counter-attacked the Muslim Brothers and accused them of misinterpreting the Koran in the books of Sayyid Qutb Zada, who was of Indian origin, entitled "Under the shades of the Koran" ... and that the purpose of this misinterpretation of the Koran was to nullify Nasser's credentials to rule and to assert those of Hassan Al-Banna instead, even though he was dead, because Al-Banna learnt the Koran by heart in his childhood - and no matter if he had forgotten it in his manhood - whereas Nasser never learnt the Koran. The real content of interpreting the Koran is these books called "Under the shades of the Koran" was the conflict in the Egyptian society over authority in the forties and the beginning of the fifties and, as such, it had nothing to do with the Koran, religion, God or Libya ..., and that religion was misused and the Koran misinterpreted intentionally to establish the right of one Egyptian group to rule against another. The Islamist Liberation Party reacted burning up Al-Mawdudi's books, proclaiming that they were a fiasco ... How could a foreigner, they said, teach us, being Arabs, our religion when it was we who had helped him to embrace Islam and by right were his imams and teachers? They stated that it was absurd for an Arab to be taught by a foreigner, the religion of Prophet Mohamed in his own tongue, pure and clear Arabic! And, on their part, they made it a condition that the Muslim Brothers should sever their relations with the American Intelligence service, especially, Colonel John Palmer. They apologized for having had to disclose such sensitive secrets, but they explained that it was the golden rule of "tooth for tooth and eye for eye" and the one who started it was the most to blame. Other movements, such as the Atonement and Migration from and to Palestine, the Jihad against the people of Ejdabia, and the Call for the Demolition of the Industrial complex at Ras Lanoof, took part in the argument concerning these serious matters, which would work miracles, such as desalinizing sea water for use in agriculture, transforming solar energy into electric energy, and perhaps changing stone into wool. And, in their own turn, they stigmatized the Muslim Brothers and the Islamist Liberation Party as infidels and accused them of being retrograde, hypocritical and immoral undercover man: and that the followers of these two parties could not challenge these new groups, nor could they break their beauty teeth or walk a distance of forty kilometres carrying a bag of sand weighing twenty-five kilogrammes every week. Neither could they fast for forty-five days instead of thirty, or bear to live for six months without having a bath, a shave, cleaning their teeth, or clipping their fingernails, nor could they get married without signing a marriage contract ... i.e. to follow the example of Mir Zada, peace be upon him!. When the interference of these new groups came to the attention of the Muslim Brothers and the Islamist Liberation Party, they passed a Fatwa (religious legislation) together and had it marked by the right thumb of the Yemeni chief, may Allah bless his soul, of the Islamic World Association at Holy Mecca and at the branches of the Association Ltd. in Washington D.C. at Holy Jerusalem, and at the old Institute of Shemlan ..., the Fatwa's purpose being to end the sterile arguments and disputes about religion which one should not go very deep into; and which one should exploit only to mobilize simple-minded followers and use as a mask before the masses. They also threatened to expose these groups for being imported into the Arab World from foreign countries, and that they were meant to undermine the Arab Nation under the mask of religion, and to destroy Arab Nationalism in order to facilitate the emergence of an Israeli or Persian nationalism in the region, and combat the all-out progressive social trend in favour of an unreal Islamic trend, as agreed upon with the C.I.A. and Mossad, which meant swapping the Islamic trend for the Islamic Religion. They also stated that the Atonement and Migration Movement came originally from Pakistan, and the Call and Jihad from Afghanistan, India and Iran ... and that those regions were the old traditional place of origin of the schools of drug addicts, heretics and Western intelligence hostile to Islam and the Arab Nation. They added that these movements were an extension of Qadianiyah, Ahmadiyah and Bahaiyah whose founders feigned to be prophets and in the end turned their backs to Mohamed's religion and swapped it for Bahaiyah, Ahmadiyah and the like; and that instead of Islam, there would now be the calls of the Atonement and Migration and the Call and Jihad and the like. Thus we have lost the participation of these parties and their followers and stooges in the prayer on the last Friday of Ramadan as a result of the differences which could never be settled until Doomsday. Unfortunately the problem did not end at this point: The Muslims of Pakistan said to us. "we cannot participate because the occupied territory, as far as the Islamic state of Pakistan is concerned, is Kashmir, and our deadly enemy is India and not the so-called Israel". As for the Muslims in India, they declined the invitation to participate. because they could not agree with us about the specific nature of the enemy and the purpose of Jihad. For Indonesia, the real enemy was the Muslim state of Malaysia, who had violated the borders of Indonesia, a Muslim state too, even though their traditional enemy was Japan. On the other hand, the occupied territory for the Muslims in the Philippines was Mindanao and not Palestine ... Tel Aviv did not have any bad connotations for them as did Manilla. It was far worse to find Israeli embassies and exchange of interests between Muslims and the Zionist enemy. It became clear to us that Israel was the enemy of the Arab Nation only ... and that America was co-operating with some Muslim countries for the benefit of Israel, and that we were living in a fancy world of our own ... for Islam, as we have discovered, does not constitute a political, economic or military alliance ... We have found that Turkey, who in the name of Islam, had ruled the Muslim world for six hundred years, is a member of NATO, which is led by America, and that its relations with Israel are quite good. We have also found that the Muslim African countries seek help from western countries against us, and that they have no objection to non-Islamic basis on their Muslim soil, suffice it to say that the Islamic Republic of the Comoras has given up one of its islands to France as a gesture of gratitude for reinstating Hajji Ahmed Abdullah to authority ... and that the Muslim inhabitants of the island of Mayotte have voted to join Christian France. The previous painful conclusions have certified that Muslims in all corners of the world cannot ally themselves with us in Jihad against a common enemy, because the enemy of the Arabs is a friend to non-Arab Muslims and vice-versa ... so there is no much hope for a political or a military Islamic unity till Doomsday ... and that there is no common ground among us for mutual economic benefits at all. For instance, Turkey has tourist and trade ties with Israel and is associated with Germany in man-power ... and is a partner with Europe in the European Common Market, against the wishes of Islam, May peace be upon it! And we have found that the Muslims of Liberia and Malawe are very pro- American. The only people, who sympathized with us, were revolutionaries from all corners of the world; but they were not Muslims! They said, "We believe that the Arabs have been wronged and humiliated by Zionism and Imperialism, and that Palestine is an Arab country occupied in 1948" But we declined their offer of participation, because they were not Muslims. It was then that it became clear to us that the Muslims were not Arabs, and that the Arabs were Muslims. Well, the last Friday of Ramadan passed without the suggested prayer, because we had found out that every nation had its own religion, its own prophet, its own future, its own destiny, its own enemy and its own interests; other than that was mere deceit, absurdity and foolery. The Arab Nation would have to taste the bitterness of humiliation and the agony of having its rights encroached upon, and it would have to face extermination by its own enemy, who was at the same time an ally and a friend to non-Arab Muslim nations, because to settle these differences and contradictions by compromise was wishful thinking. However, we had to let the followers and stooges of the parties of the Islamic Liberation, the Muslim Brothers, the Atonement and Migration, the Call and Jihad against innocent believers - we let them explore, as hens do in the soil, the books of Ibn Taimiyah ... and the Fatwa Sondosiyah ( Illustrious Fatwa) in the latest edition of the C.I.A. They said to us, "We shall take part in the Jihad as soon as we finished reading Imam Al-Ghazali to know whether death was a bird or a creature?! If it were a creature as Imam Al-Ghazali asserted, it would be bigger than a young donkey and smaller than a horse ... and whether the bunches of grapes which fell onto Khobeib Ibn Adei, when he was imprisoned by the unbelievers in Mecca, had come from Venus or Mercury, because vines did not grow in Mecca, but the Ibn Taimiyah, an ancient Sheik of Islam, insisted that grapes used to fall onto Khobeib every day; and that Om Aiman, who was fasting while she was on her way from Mecca to Medina, had nearly died of thirst when a meal of parsley soup was brought before her together with a bucket of mineral water marked "Evian" of which she drank her fill, and never felt thirsty for the rest of her life. He also asserted that Khaled Ibn Al-Walid once besieged a well-defended Roman fort, and asked the garrison to surrender. They agreed on condition that he should drink two glasses of "cyanide" poison which he did and not an inch of his intestines hurt him. This is what the sheik of Islam, Ibn Taimiyah, wrote in his famous book which is considered the constitution of the movement of the Atonement and Migration, the Call and Jihad, the Muslim Brothers and the Islamist Liberation. Well, here we are, waiting for the leaders of thought of these parties to specify the nature of death, if it is a bird or a creature ... and how the grapes found their way to the prisoner of Mecca, where vines did not grow ... and how the soup and Evian mineral water were brought to Om Aiman ...! As these scientific researchers will, no doubt, shake up the whole world: its education, its truisms, and its nonsensical scientific fundamentals, which are based on the law of gravity, floating, trigonometry, solid geometry, centrifugal force and logarithm ..., so we are looking forward to the results of these scientific researchers carried out by the Islamist parties, which are imported and related to Magianism and transcendentalism, and we ought to help with reprinting the books of Ibn Taimiyah, Ibn Katheer and Al-Mawdudi, which have eye-catching titles like: The Advice or Religion on the Private Life of Married Couples ... The Ruling of Religion on Smoking and Growing Beards ... More views about the Prophet and Polygamy ... and Khalid Ibn Al-Walid's way of Eating Dried Meat. In his view it is both useful and important for us to know how Khaled Ibn Al-Walid used to eat dried meat and not his war tactics and how he defeated the Romans. And then, there is his book entitled " The Sources of Wisdom of Eating with Three Fingers ". O, Believers in one God, don't be downcast or feel grieved, because in the last Friday of next Ramadan, or the one after next Ramadan, or the one after that, we may very well have some very sensational scientific facts discovered for us, which will clarify these knotty issues. Mossaharaty at Midday We all know the Mossaharaty ... and like him. The children too used to like the fasting month of Ramadan and looked forward to its arrival in order to see the Mossaharaty again, waking up people before daybreak, and listening to the exciting rhythms of his simple drum accompanying his quaint voice at night during the blessed month of Ramadan. We used to listen to his improvised hymns and try to hear their words. The children would sing them out for a long time ... and we, grown ups, would use some of his phrases on occasions and in situations where they seemed to be applicable. For instance, we would say, " Wake up, sleepy head!" every time we wanted to urge someone to be wakeful and active. May Allah reward the Mossaharaty well for his humble effort and continual singing late on moonlit or dark nights to wake us up for the last allowed meal (Sohor) and get ready for fasting another day, which could be a long one. The Mossaharaty is a unique person. It is rare to find one like him. As a matter of fact, he is by far a sui generis with abilities rare to find in other people: His responsibility is a moral one connected with conscience, kindness and self-discipline: He is keen to wake up every sleeper; he takes great pains and walks long distances around lanes and alleys to wake up their inhabitants ... He might stumble on more than one stone and fall flat on the ground as a result of his nightly ritual, but he would never "turn on his heels from his self-imposed duty" or lose his temper ... on the contrary, he would just keep walking and singing the praises of Allah in fixed determination to complete his rounds so that every one could hear his cheerful voice. The most interesting thing is that the Mossaharaty needs no one to wake him up. It is he, who wakes people up. In this sense, he is unlike other people, who need a drum, a prayer and hymn singing repeatedly to wake them up. We all wonder at the peculiar character of the Mossaharaty! Who really wakes him up so that he may wake us up? Doesn't he go to sleep? Of course, he does! Like us, he is a human being. He feels tired, he gets ill and he goes to sleep, or at least he needs some sleep and rest. The amazing thing is that he happens to be fully awake at the time of sleeping to perform his sacred ritual at the peak of bedtime when one goes into a state of inactivity and repose. He walks late at night when it is pitch-dark. He stumbles and slips, but gets up, and slumbers on; and perhaps, this is the reason why some of us, who do not like the call to morning prayer, do not seem to like him either. But we are used to hearing the call to prayer, because it is repeated five times a day; and in this sense it has become a familiar phenomena from morning to evening. Unlike the Mossaharaty, the caller to prayer can nowadays make the call to prayer from his place ... perhaps even when he is reclining on the bed with the help of a loudspeaker. He does not disturb those who dislike him as much as the Mossaharaty does, because he does not move about or pass by their houses or stop at their doorsteps to remind them as the Mossaharaty does. On the other hand, the call to prayer consists of specific stereotyped phrases with no chance for creativity or innovation, whereas the Mossaharaty moves and innovates while he is improvising ... He beats his drum and sings his improvised hymns in praise of his Lord. He can improvise any prayer, song or phrase that he thinks is fit to awaken sleeping people ... and he can repeat his calls and prayers as he deems right and sensible; but it is all done in a delightful way which even the children like and try to learn by heart, because they sound so sweet, even though the meaning of the words is still beyond their comprehension. The Mossaharaty's voice is charming like magic; and as magic, it needs no loud speakers which can be annoyingly repulsive and loudly deafening like the ones used by the callers to prayer in Malta. However, one may like or dislike the Mossaharaty, but even those who dislike him, because he deprives them of sleep in the latter part of the night and urges them to get ready for another day of fasting, speak well of him on the day of fasting; not at the time when it is due; but then, better late than ever! This is all about the Mossaharaty after midnight. And now, what about the Mossaharaty at Midday?!!
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