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Revenge, From Masjid To Murder
By Waheed Mohiuddin
Jameel in Madrassa
What can be said at the plight of the mother, the depression of the father and the future of the innocent children – was it fate?
“Death, yes she is very close to her death” says the lady doctor to Shabeer Hussain.
“Allah will do good” Shabeer replies to her.
“Allah always do good to her but you will never” she says angrily to him and moves towards the maternity labour room.
(After two and half hours)
Celebration started, Shabeer Hussain was blessed with another son. His wife Sughraa BiBi delivered a baby boy and she was also trying to be happy, although she was dying with pain but still she was trying to smile. What a mysterious smile it was, full of satire, anger and love. She knew that after delivering a baby boy, she will not be beaten. No doubt a son is thousands times better than a daughter as they thought – they were the parents of five sons and seven daughters in total. This time the lady doctor advised her very seriously, not to plan any more children as it could be dangerous for her life as she had been advised last year too but she did not care much. Sughraa told the doctor that her husband never listened to her and would beat her if she said to him anything regarding birth control so she had to obey him as she was commanded and she had no right to say ‘no’ to her husband under any condition.
Next morning, they left the hospital and came back to their house where their other children were waiting for them. They had not eaten anything since last night when their parents left for the hospital. Shabeer Hussain punished his thirteen years old daughter, Mehwish the eldest one for not going out and begging for food from the neighbors.
“They insult me that’s why I did not go to them” Mehwish said
Her brother, Shakeel tried to defend his sister but in response, received a big slap on the back of his neck. Then the brother and sister sat in the corner and started sobbing.
Shabeer Hussain was a factory laborer for last many years but now, he had been fired from the job because the factory where he had been working was shut down due to energy crises in the country and the owner had transferred his investment to Bangladesh as well as migrated there with his family. More than 300 laborers had to suffer due to this closure. Shabeer Hussain was one of them. Now he was in pain, he had a dozen children and a wife who were his dependents and he had no job. The disease of his wife, cries of the infant babies, the waywardness of his boys and the future of his daughters always moved in front of his eyes with a very blur image. He often remembered the proposal of a sixty years old man who lived in the same village and once proposed Shabeer Hussain’s eldest daughter for marriage, she was just thirteen years old then. All of these things would put him in the ocean of depression and anxiety. He was not getting a way to settle down in life.
Once he visited a shrine for prayer to get rid of his miseries. The spiritual leader (Shah Sahib) advised him to get married and told him the story of a poor man who visited the Holy Prophet and had been given advise to get married once more, he did but the situation did not changed, then he visited again and was given the same advise, he did another marriage but the situation still remained the same, at third time he visited Prophet and said that still he is in the same situation, then was given the same advise, he did another marriage and soon after his this marriage, he became rich.
Being a man, it was so cheerful for Shabeer Hussain to think about another woman, but practically, he could not afford another woman and also none of the woman has ever shown him a green light. Then the Shah Sahib of the shrine advised him to get another baby so when a newborn baby comes to the world, the fate of the newborn would change the circumstances of the whole family.
Comparatively, it was much easier for him and also practical.
Today, Shabeer was happy and completely ready to receive millions of Dollars from the nature.
He would wake up every morning, and the first thing he would do was to look for the gold and currency notes under his pillow then under his broken bed but unfortunately he never found nothing. Then he would visit the kitchen every day in the hope of finding something there but to no avail, no miraculous bread, no grains, no mann-o-salwa, no rice, no milk and no butter ever appeared.
He was in suspicion but he would not let his mind go astray into the suspicions and think that he was receiving some sort of invisible spiritual gold coins. He was sure that Shah sahib could never be wrong, if he had said that newborn would bring wealth then sure he would, Shabeer thought the problem was with his own vision that he was unable to see or feel the wealth pouring. But on the other hand, his children did not know about shabeer’s invisible wealth pursuits, they needed food and his wife needed medicines to bear the pain.
Shabeer Hussain, one day woke up and straightaway went to Shah Sahib with his two sons, Jameel Ahmed and Shakeel Ahmed. In the compound of Shah Sahib, he asked him very respectfully while holding his hands like a 7th century Arabian slave and lowering his gaze, he asked him,
“Shah Sahib, may Allah raise your rank with the holy ones, I am blessed with another son Alhamdulillah, but three months have passed, I am still in extreme poverty, my fate is still down and there is nothing left in my house to feed my children, please give me light”.
Shah Sahib replied,
“Shabeer Hussain, it is fact that wives and the new born babies bring good luck as I told you last time the story of a companion of the holy prophet (PBUH). Be patient and have faith that Allah knows everything”
Shabeer could not hold his emotions and a flood of tears broke free, out of the barrier of patience and while weeping, he said,
“Shah Sahib, for last three days, the stove of my house did not burn. My children are eating the wasted food of the neibours. You are our only hope. You are very close to Allah, please pray for us”.
Shah Sahib orders Qari Sabu Shah who was a teacher in the madrassa to hold him and sat him a bit away from shah sahib so that he (Shah Sahib) would not smell the dirt of Shabeer’s cloths. Some other people who were gathered near Shah Sahib also felt pity at shabeer’s plight and were murmuring that Shah Sahib will make everything right.
Then after a couple of minutes, Shah Sahib said,
“Shabeer Hussain, do you know what is the greatest wealth of the universe”
“Feeding good food to the family” Shabeer replied
“No Shabeer Hussain No, the greatest wealth is to learn the holy Quran and spread the knowledge of holy Quran and you were suspicious about what I said to you last time? See my dear, how Allah is giving you wealth at the birth of your new born son”
Shabeer Hussain tears stopped all of sudden as he felt as if Shah sahib had received his gifts from Allah and now Shah Sahib was going to give his golden coins to him, He was desperately listening his words and was expecting tons of gold.
Shah Sahib continued after a short pause and said,
“Allah wants to give you two blessings and the wealth that you have never imagined”
Shabeer Hussain was getting mad with excitement and could not wait anymore. He desperately said,
“Shah Sahib please tell me what is that”?
Shah Sahib looked at his two sons, five years old Jameel Ahmed and nine years old Shakeel Ahmed, and said,
“Allah has chosen your two sons for his mission and I, Qari Syed Nazakat Hussain Shah take the responsibility of both of them. They will learn the holy Quran by heart, live in the madrassa and will be given food and clothes for free, you do not have to worry for them, and in heaven you will be awarded with two golden crowns as promised by Allah that the parents of the Hafiz (the one who remember holy Quran by heart) will surely be awarded with heaven and the golden crowns”.
Everybody in the room, said “subhan Allah, subhan Allah, subhan Allah (glory to Allah), congrats to Shabeer Hussain for such a wonderful gift”
Shabeer Hussain could not decide whether to smile or cry but when he saw all of the people around him saying ‘subhan Allah’ he assumed something good was going to happen for him, might be.
“Shah Sahib whatever you say is right” Shabeer Hussain said then Shah Sahib ordered his subordinate Qari Sabu Shah to take the little boy Jameel Ahmed to the madrassa and the elder boy, Shakeel Ahmed to send him to Kotli Azad Kashmir where he will learn the Quranic wisdom in the madrassa of Hazrat Qari Commander Syed Abbas Raza Kazmi Damat Barkatu hum Aalia”
Everyone in the room was shaking hand with Sahbeer Hussain with joy and giving him congrats. Shabeer was feeling as though he had been given a great gift. Then Shah Sahib gave him a piece of white cloth with five hundred rupees and advised him to go back to his house.
Shabeer Hussain was losing his mind with the thought of giving his two sons to Shah Sahib but then he shunned all the negative thoughts and concluded that Shah Sahib was really a blessed one who took the responsibility of his two sons and also in the world hereafter, he will be given two golden crowns. Then he looked at five hundred rupees for a moment and then put the white cloth on his shoulder, five hundred rupees in his pocket and bent down on his knees in front of Shah Sahib. He kissed the feet of Shah Sahib and said,
“May Allah raise your rank”
Then he moved towards the exit door.
While going out from the compound of madrassa, he could listen how his sons were crying and calling his father for not leaving them there in the custody of Shah Sahib.
Shabeer Hussain stopped for a while but he did not look back. How hard it would is for a father to give up his two sons to someone else but he was feeling satisfied that now, at least two of his children would not have to sleep without food. Then he wiped his eyes with the sacred white cloth and stepped out of the compound.
Two sons had been taken away from their parents. What can be said at the plight of the mother, the grievance of the father and the new lives of the innocent children – what kind of game destiny was playing with them?
In Madrassah after couple of hours, Qari Nazakat Hussain Shah along with the other teachers entered the main hall of the mosque for the Quran session. He asked the boys to do ablution; Shakeel replied that he had done the wudu. Then Shah Sahib ordered Sabu Shah to lead the other boy for ablution.
Sabu Shah, the teacher ordered him to do ablution in the wash room. Jameel simply washed his hands and got up. Then Sabu Shah slapped on his back shoulder and said:
“Astaghfirullah (God forbid), you do not know how to do wuddu (ablution)”.
Then Sabu Shah asked him to sit near the tap and put his hands on his shoulders and started rubbing slightly as he was arousing erotic feelings for the white innocent looking kid and said to him in very erotic sensational tone:
“O chittiya aa tenu wudu sakhawan”
(O white chap, let me teach you how to do ablution).
My novel ‘Revenge’ is inspired by some true stories which I collected in 2007-09 during a research project in Pakistan, later on, the research project was stopped by the authorities. In this novel, some incidents are real i.e. how the Qari (teacher) punish the pupils in the madrassa and how they plan to abuse the students etc. During the research process, I have interviewed some of the madrassa students. While I was talking to them, they told me how they often call their teachers by their special names which they (the students) set secretly. While telling those names, the students were laughing innocently, they told me the names including Qari Chummy Shah (the kiss master) and Qari Golden Chance. What else could I do to share the pain of those little boys, then I used these titles in the story of ‘Revenge’.
In January 2015, five years old Moeen was sodomized several times before being killed and then his body found hanging with the staircase of the first floor of an Islamic mosque. Definitely, someone will say that ‘it is nothing to do with Islam’ yes I agree that social and economic factors are also a big reason but I still believe that ‘if not nothing then definitely it is ‘something’ to do with Islam’.
Thousands of children are still being abused in the so-called sacred religious places, schools, houses and labor markets in Pakistan. There were two ways to deal with this issue, one is to ignore it completely as most of the people do and the second was to raise the issue at my level. So being an artist, I gave a story to the pains and sorrows of the madrassa students. It’s our social responsibility to play our role to save our future generations.
I am very thankful to Adv. Asad Mahmud. We had long discussions about the particular issue. He also gave me regular feedback while writing the story. Being a serving advocate in Lahore High Court Bar Association, and a human rights activist, he gave me regular updates about the particular issue. Without his enlightened, revolutionary and confident guidance, this novel would not be possible