Tag Archives: islam

On The Outside Looking In (Pt. 4) Final Episode

24 Jul

Link to part 1: http://goo.gl/xig689

Link to part 2: http://goo.gl/aLWd5f

Link to part 3: http://goo.gl/tU4H8F

A full moon is seen behind the minaret of Mohamed Ali mosque, Cairo

 

As night fell and the two men sat waiting to be called. The driver´s legs were cramped and he could not find a comfortable position to sit. Makmood had no legs and was perfectly comfortable lying on a stone bench.

A single guard entered the courtyard and the driver poked Makmood until he woke.

“The sheik would like to see the two men who saved his life at once” the guard softly said.

“Yes, sir” Makmood said enthusiastically.

“Yes, sir” the driver said with little emotion.

The two men made their way to where the sheik was recuperating. He was propped up on silk pillows. A thin silk sheet was pulled up to mid torso exposing his powerful upper body. He did not look like a man who earlier that day was close to death.

The two men waited at the door waiting for the sheik to invite them in. He waved them in.

“Good evening gentlemen” the sheik said.

With heads bowed and their stares fixed upon the floor, in unison they repeated, “Good evening”

“You may feel at ease, gentlemen. No formalities during this encounter” The sheik said.

“As you wish” said the driver without lifting his head or glance.

Makmood, waist high to the driver, looked the sheik in the eyes, scooted towards him and offered both hands. A guard stood at attention but the sheik waved him off.

Makmood took the right hand of the sheik into his and said “It it a great honor to have ridden upon the same cart as you”

“Surely it was only an honor after you had found out who I was” the sheik said.

“No, sir, it is a privilege of God to be put in situations where one can be of service to their fellow man. The more dire need of your service, the greater the honor. I was blessed today”

The three stayed in silence for a moment. A tear rolled down the sheik´s eye. “Guard, please leave us alone”

“But, sir…..” the guard protested.

The sheik shot a glance back at the guard that was more piercing than the sword he had taken in the thigh during battle. “Yes sir” he acquiesced.

As the door shut the demeanor of the sheik changed. His warmth evaporated. His expression almost mean.

“You two will have to leave the territory immediately. You cannot even go home to you holes in the mountain. You will have an escort to the limits of the province, about two days travel away” the sheik said.

“Whatever are you talking about?” Makmood asked. The driver was paralyzed with fear.

“You are lucky. Everybody else involved will not breathe another breath after sun rise today” the sheik said, looking out the window at the full moon.

“Why?” Makmood asked with little signs of emotion.

“You found me and exposed my shame. I had drunk poison and was trying to make my way to the caves. I wanted to die in a cave. I miscalculated and must have passed out on the road. How far was I from the caves?” he asked.

“Not so far” Makmood said. “May I be so bold as to ask why you would do such a thing?”

“Yes” the sheik said and sat in silence before offering his answer. “Animals, when they can, often go into the woods to die. I, wanted to go into the home of the animals to die. No offense” he meant that. He only realized what he said could be construed as offense after the last word had left his mouth.

“Non taken” Makmood said. The driver, still paralyzed.

“As a boy I watched the fires burn in the holes in the mountains from the palace. I would invent stories in my head about what was happening at that moment. As an adolescent, I even wrote some of these stories down. It was the only time I didn´t feel bad” he suddenly stopped talking and looked away, though there was a feeling in the air that there was much more to be said. He looked back just to say “You must leave immediately. I have arranged your escort. Do not say one word until you leave this building if you wish to take another breath outside of it” and with that he looked away once more.

 

On The Outside Looking In (Pt. 3)

23 Jul

Part 1: http://tinyurl.com/qxwrfdp

Part 2: http://tinyurl.com/k75cmqe

archways

 

The soldiers led them through the archway entrance of the magistrate. The smallest of the soldiers ran off to get a doctor for the sheik. A couple of guards approached and greeted the soldiers.

“What do we have here?” one of the guards asked.

The tall soldier answered “According to these two, they were traveling into town when they spotted Sheik Masoud face down in the sand. They put them on their cart and brought them to town. If their story checks out, we are in the presence of heroes. If not, we are in the presence of dead men” he said with a crooked smile as he looked back at Makmood and the driver. The driver gulped hard. Makmood smiled back.

After about an hour of hard interrogating, followed by a decent meal, Makmood and the driver were asked to wait in a court yard.

“Isn´t this just splendid?” Makmood asked.

“What do you mean splendid?” the driver asked, irritated by the question, “I am missing a day’s sales! And we don´t even know if they believe us! You heard the soldier, we will be killed if there is an iota of doubt in our story! And you won´t go home with one coin! How are you going to eat?”

“I just did” Makmood said with a calm smile, “They will believe us. We told the truth. And we are heroes. You heard the soldier. He said so”

“He also said we are dead men!” the driver cried.

“No, he said we are heroes and if our story is not true, we are dead men. Our story is fact, therefore we are heroes, my friend” Makmood said. “We saved the sheik´s life! He is a good sheik. You know that. Sheik Masoud lives in the palace in front of our community. I watch the oil lamps burn at night when the mood strikes me. They dance in the darkness and they calm me”

“If you were any calmer, Makmood, you would melt into the rock!” the driver said. He felt relieved by Makmood´s convictions that everything would be all right.

Just then the guards came in. The driver stood and Makmood did his best to sit as straight as he possibly could.

“Well, it seems you two are heroes after all. The sheik is weak at the moment but he would like an audience with the two of you as soon as he regains his strength. This may be a little after sundown or possibly after sunrise. Regardless, we shall ask that you stay until the moment presents itself”

The driver did his best to hide his irritation. Makmood did nothing to mask his joy.

“How wonderful!” Makmood exclaimed.

On The Outside Looking In (Pt. 2)

22 Jul

ox cart

 

Link to Part 1: goo.gl/xig689

 

The naked man had not moved, save the jostlings of the cart over the rough terrain. It would be difficult to tell that he were alive if it weren´t for sporadic labored breaths. Makmood had taken a sheet off of a basket of apricots to cover the man so he would not suffer any more burns from the sun than he already had.

The cart dustily rolled its way into town and made its way to the first of a series of military checkpoints. The driver bowed his head to the soldiers as he slowed to cart to a stop.

“Good morning gentlemen” the driver said.

Makmood, without taking his glance off of his new friend offered a hand in the air and a “Hello”.

Four soldiers flanked the cart, as per protocol. “What do you have in the cart?” the tallest of the soldiers asked.

“My usual, apricots and nuts for the market. And a beggar!” he said with a chuckle as he amused himself.

“And who is that?” the tall soldier said with a horrified look on his face.

“Who?” the driver asked, puzzled by the question. He had forgot about their earlier heroics.

“Is that man dead? Uncover his face at once, beggar!” The soldier ordered Makmood.

As Makmood pulled back the sheet there was a loud gasp from all four of the soldiers.

“You two are under arrest!” the tall soldier declared.

“For what?” the driver asked with a cold feeling in his stomach. His mind was scanning for reasons for this declaration. He had paid duties on the apricots. The nuts were from a new vendor. Could they be contraband? Makmood had a cool calm to him. It´s hard to rile a man who has nothing to lose.

One of the soldiers, dumbfounded, with a single tear rolling down his eye gasped “Sheik Masoud, what have they done to you?”

Makmood realized what was going on and piped up “Gentlemen, we found him on the road many miles back. We saved his life! He was unconscious in the sand. He would have baked in the sun. We just gave him a lift. In fact, we had no idea who he was. It was our honor to help this man, be him a sheik or be him a lowly beggar such as myself”

The tall soldier, who appeared to be the leader of the squad, seemed to buy Makmood´s story, at least momentarily. But there was protocol to follow.

“Beggar, I would like to believe you but there are rules to follow. We will have to take you to the magistrate to see if your story checks out and to record all of these happenings” the soldier said.

“Will there be lunch?” Makmood asked.

“If everything checks out, sure” the soldier said.

“Great” Makmood said.

“No! Not great!” said the driver of the cart. “I´ll lose a day at the market! My family will go hungry!”

“Easy, man, you have apricots and nuts. They surely will not spoil. You´ll have tomorrow” the soldier said.

The driver shuffled, dejected, towards the magistrate building with his cart in tow. Makmood rode upon the cart elated knowing where at least one of his meals was coming from.

 

Link to Part 1: https://ryanimpink.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/on-the-outside-looking-in-pt-1/