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Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Bombing

Hum muwah'hid haiN hamara kaish hay tark e rasoom,
MillataiN jub mitt ga'een ajzaa e eemaaN ho ga'een
Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib

Believers in one God, rituals we renounce,
Creeds. when dissolved, merge into one Faith.
Trans: K. C. Kanda


MONTREAL, March 20, 2020. Abdullah had this thing for the fresh fragrance of bodies. As they returned to his apartment after dinner at the Bistro in Old Montreal, he headed straight for the shower. Andrea, his current Chilean flame knew about his penchant. As Abdullah came out she went in, her bosom brushing ever so slightly against his.

Abdullah smiled. He was not quite 22 yet. And learning fast about the idiosyncrasies of relationships with femme fatales.

He was born on that day back in 1999, when the then U.N. Secretary General held a new born baby in Sarajevo, Bosnia declaring the infant to be the six billionth baby on earth. Abdullah was born at Surat, India to a family of the former Nawabs of Surat, and was named after an illustrious ancestor of his who had reputedly translated the Holy Qur'an in blank verse.

He was sent off to Dehra Dun for schooling and later to McGill for graduate studies. As he waited for Andrea to emerge he flicked on the remote. The News Network anchor was leading in with the breaking story live from Riyadh, Republic of Arabia. Abdullah saw Andrea emerge from the bathroom, look him in the eye and ever so non chalantly let the robe slip off her body. Simultaneously he heard the anchor report about the unconfirmed bombing of the shrines at Mecca and Medina. He felt his whole body go limp.

Within the hour the Network had confirmed that the shrines were obliterated by a lone Israeli airman. Abdullah went on the net and booked himself on a flight back to India the next day.

TEL AVIV, March 20, 2020. Major Uri touched down at his base in the Negev desert and surrendered quietly. 72 minutes earlier he had take off from the same base. 72 minutes that would change the world. 72 minutes that would be debated forever.

Uri was a six billionth baby too. Born that same 12th of October, 1999 when Kofi Annan held baby Adnan in his hands. He was born at Mt. Sinai hospital built on the site of the Deir Yassin massacre. His mother Naomi was an Ashknazi jew and father Orfe was a Shephardim. They had first noticed Uri's extra ordinary gifts when he was barely a year old. He could read fluently by the time he was three and could solve high school mathematics problems when he was only 4 1/2.

Israeli Defense Forces education unit took him under their wings. He became the youngest Major in the Israeli Air Force. Tall, well built, but a loner. No steady girl friend. Or boyfriend either. He suffered from mild case of temporary impotency. And was too shy to discuss this treatable condition with doctors.

Upon his return he was taken to an isolation unit and grilled for days on. Other than the technical details he did not have much to tell them. They kept asking him a variation of the same question: why, why, why? And he kept telling them he had to do it.

Almost two years to the day he was sentenced to three consecutive life terms in solitary confinement by the Supreme Court. Naomi sobbed upon hearing the sentence.

RIYADH, March 20, 2020. In the hours before the bombing the American Ambassador tried to raise President Omar. A sleepy Omar refused to take the call. Later it transpired that even if he had heeded the Ambassador's warning, his Air Force could have done nothing to prevent the lone Israeli's attack on Islam's holiest shrines.

President Omar bin Tahrir was another six billionth baby. Born at the Feisal Maternity Hospital, on the outskirts of Riyadh to Habeeba, her third child. He was destined to become a Royal Guard. Omar had met Abdullah briefly when he was sent for a short course to McGill two years earlier. They got along famously.

Omar's tribe had given refuge to Abdul Aziz ibn Saud when he was fleeing from Hejaz to Kuwait.

Upon his return and consolidation of power, Abdul Aziz rewarded the tribe by inducting all their able bodied men into his Royal Guards.

Following the death of the last of the Sudairi Seven, Saudi Arabia was thrown into turmoil. The powerful and shrewd governors of the Eastern Provinces and Hijaz had conspired to install a weakling grandson of Feisal as the new King. Infighting further reduced the ability of the young King to govern. Capricious rumours that the young king had a harem of young boys made rounds in the souq.

The officers of the Royal Guards could only turn a blind eye for so long. There was a restlessness among the junior cadre that they found hard to ignore. One anniversary day an year earlier Colonel Omar found the inebriated King making advances at him. In a fit of rage he shot the king dead. A comedy of errors ensued.

Kenneth Walsh the veteran News Network reporter was waiting in the ante chamber to interview the young King. Instead he got the scoop of his life. He rushed in with his crew and minutes later he was transmitting live reports of the assassination. The world saw a very excited though outwardly calm Kenneth Walsh in the parking lot beside his communications truck report to the world about the death of the King. The visual showed a towering Omar, still standing with the pistol in his hand over the slumped body of the king. Omar had gone into shock at his action. His dazed look appeared stately on television screens. Kenneth in his excitement made one slip of judgment and identified Omar as the new President of Arabia. Vice President Romero Hibachi of the Southern States called in as did other world leaders. Arabia still had lots of oil left. And all this was duly reported on the News Network through out the day.

At the end of the day, commanders of the Air Force, Navy and Army conditioned to pledge loyalty to the ruler found themselves bowing and kissing the right hand of the new ruler, President Omar bin Tahrir. Thus was born the Republic of Arabia.

LONDON, April 13, 2022.
It was now nearly two years since what was now universally referred to as the bombing. The world was still in an upheaval. 1.7 million dead in Mecca and Medina, split equally between the locals and the pilgrims from the rest of the Muslim World. 800,000 dead in India, primarily in New Delhi, Calcutta and Mumbai where the fire set to the American embassy and consulates spread and engulfed entire neighborhoods. Globally the death tally had exceeded 4 million, including over 57,000 Americans. And there was no end in sight.

ATLANTA, May 30, 2029. Things were returning to their normally chaotic ways prior to the bombing.

United Nations was still talking of stream lining its bureaucracy. World Trade Organization was still trying to smoothen relations between first, second and other worlds. World Court was still trying octogenarians for war crimes committed over 35 years ago. CARS, the Confederation of American and Russian States, showed signs of exasperation in its ability to deal with Islamic resurgence following the bombing.

Majority of the learned scholars in Islam after crying themselves hoarse were resigned to the inevitable. The extirpation of the shrines failed to motivate the worldwide Muslim Ulemas to any consensus. There was an influx of Muslim visitors to Al Quds and Karbela following the bombing. But that was no Haj.

Al Azhar scholars argued for reconstructing Ka'aba and the Prophet's Mosque a safe distance away from the cratered sites. Republican Arabians, still under the lingering influence of Waha'bism strongly opposed them. Other Ulemas in Asia and Africa seemed to be paralyzed with this dilemma. President Omar, however, secretly admired and funded his Montreal friend Abdullah's organisation Simple Islam.

Abdullah, now known as Mujaddid Doyem Saani, proselytized about Rotating Haj. The day after the fateful bombing he left McGill and Montreal for the seminary School of Learning, Lucknow only to drift from there to a Sufi Halka in Phulwari-Sharif. He learned and meditated a lot. His reputation spread and in a few years he founded Simple Islam. It was not clear if he had assumed or had been accorded the title of Mujaddid.

His organization Simple Islam argued that Haj basically meant a Congress of the Muslim Ummah once a year. The place, the city could be moved from east to west and north to south. This will have twofold benefits, he argued. First, it would offer the local Muslims a better chance at performing the obligatory Haj and second, this arrangement would spread the social and economic benefits universally. Through Simple Islam he paved the way to return to Islam's original appeal and simplicity --- the regard and tolerance for fellow beings in a spiritual and worldly context without compulsion or fear.

Two years earlier, Mujaddid's group had initiated a Haj at Fez, Morocco. About 18,000 Muslims attended. A temporary replica of Ka'aba was recreated for the occasion. Last year it was resurrected at Mashad, Iran. Over 236,000 attended. This year it was at Padang, Indonesia. Over 2,300,000 attended.

Next year the consensus was for Multan, Jinnahabad. The growing popularity of Simple Islam was noted not only by entrenched Islamic scholars but also by CARS. SI's rational approach was fresh air in an otherwise stifling atmosphere created by the vested scholars. Soon it swiveled to a flood. Globally, ordinary Muslims at once understood and followed the basic and simple appeal of the Mujaddid.

PHULWARI-SHAREEF, July 10, 2029. Mujaddid Doyem Saani was ambushed and shot mid noon. Some blamed the senile Hindutva leader Bha Bhagoray. Others pointed fingers at Darul Islam leader Maulana Daagh. Yet others talked of a collusion between the Pope and CARS.


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