In a small room in a once-abandoned government
building, a young man, no more than eighteen years of age, was
standing in a metal tub as two attendants tended to what seemed to
be important preparations. The seriousness of these undertakings
was proven by the care in which the attendants performed their
The young man smiled with pride as they studiously
shaved his body and periodically dipped the large metal razor in
water to clean the blade. Thoughts of God, bliss, and inner peace
scattered through his mind as he contemplated what he had been
gloriously chosen to do.
“It is an honor, a great honor,” he beamed.
“Yes it is, Bilal,” said the older attendant, a
grey-bearded man with a dark complexion. “You are now al-shaheed
And it is an honor to be a part of these ceremonious preparations.
I feel as though this event will be a whirlwind whose force will
take me up to Heaven with you.”
“That may well be true, Khalis. You will be among
the first that I will intercede for, inshallah.
“Inshallah,” responded Khalis. “Allah knows that I
have not been the most righteous man, and I know I have so few years
“It is done,” interrupted Bilal.
“Thank you,” said Khalis.
“I feel your words are so true, Khalis. This event will create a whirlwind, a whirlwind of greatness.”
“For to be great is to be close to Allah.”
“Very true. I feel closer than I have ever been to
Allah in my life,” said Bilal.
“I am praying for you,” said Khalis.
As the two attendants finished shaving the young
man, the younger attendant spoke:
“Let us wash al-shaheed al-hai. The preparations
are almost finished.”
The two attendants then washed the young man with
soap and flower water and helped him to clothe. He was led out of
the room and brought out of the abandoned building. He was given a
hooded robe so that the scorching sun would not burn his
newly-shaved head. Two more attendants relieved the other men of
their duties and escorted the young man across town by car to a
small, square mosque with a green geometric design around its white
entrance, secluded from the residential and business districts,
called The Mosque of Man’s Duty to Allah. He walked into the all
but empty house of worship and was greeted by a white-robed cleric
with a black beard who looked about forty-five years of age.
“The glory of Allah shine upon you,” said the
“May he continue to bless our cause,” responded
“Verily. So what, may I ask, are the thoughts of
Bilal smiled and responded, “Bliss, endless rest,
seeing Allah face-to-face, and the honor of being the one chosen to
strike fear into the heart of the enemy.”
“This is good,” said the cleric. “These are all the
correct thoughts that you must have. You will bring great honor to
your family’s name.”
Bilal smiled and nodded.
“My son, our friends will be here shortly. When
they arrive, I will begin my sermon.”
In the interim, the cleric and the attendants spoke
on matters of religion and politics, while al-shaheed al-hai went to
a secluded room to sit and pray. In no less than a half-hour, the
mosque was filled with the friends of the cause. There were about
thirty men, young and old, wealthy and poor, from all walks of life,
from families of all different distinctions; but all of them had
this in common: their dedication to the cause and their conviction
that their tactics used were sanctioned by Allah.
The cleric walked to the podium, raised his
hands, and they settled down. The men sat on the ground and awaited
the cleric’s words.
The cleric began his sermon:
“Is Allah good? Is Allah just? Indeed the Creator
of All is good and just, and he expects us to be the same, insofar
as we use the limited powers and faculties that He has bestowed upon
us. It is stated in our Holy Qur’an, which our most glorious
prophet Muhammad has given us, peace be upon him, that we shall be
successful in war against our enemies, despite the odds. We shall
be victorious although our enemy outnumber us ten to one. This was
true in the days of our victorious past when our people fought
massive armies of the idol-worshipping polytheists and their Jewish
allies, and we were outnumbered. But we strove, and with Muhammad
as our leader, we defeated our enemies. By Allah’s grace, we
defeated the odds. This is historical proof that Allah does not
turn away from His people and that the Qur’an is His true word.
This is proof that Allah’s promise shall be kept.
Today, our people likewise have a common enemy,
whether that enemy is in our land right here that they stole from us
through deception and arms, or that enemy is afar and sends its
armies and its proxies to wage war upon our people. Therefore, do
not distinguish between those who are among the enemy. Do not say
‘you are evil, but you, on the other hand, are not so evil.’ Do not
say ‘you could be my friend if you were not my enemy.’ Only Allah
can judge. And indeed he has. Our Holy Qur’an states that we must
not take Christians and Jews for our friends, for they are friends
of each other and will use their alliance to plot against us.
Indeed, history has proven this to be true. Take for friends your
Muslim brothers who are dedicated to Allah and who follow the
Qur’an’s teachings. Your brothers will form the bond that makes you
strong enough to stand up to the enemy. And my friends, the source
of this bond is not man; it is Allah.
I ask you this: How many decades shall we be
oppressed? How many centuries shall we be without a home of our
own? How much longer can we tolerate the great injustice of the
theft of our land and the murder of our people? The crime that has
been committed was against man and Allah, and every crime shall be
repaid. With the sword and shield of spiritual warfare, we shall be
victorious against our enemies who are infidels and thus have no
For those who make the sacrifice for the sake of
Allah and His people, they will not go unrewarded. The martyr shall
be granted a palace unto himself and will have rewards this world
has never seen. At the moment of sacrifice, his sins shall be
washed away. He will have the honor of meeting our most holy
prophet face-to-face. He will be given the power to intercede for
seventy of his friends and relatives so they can be saved from the
tortures of Hell. In his heavenly palace, the martyr will be tended
to by seventy-two beautiful maidens, spiritually pure, who will
shower him with gifts and honor him eternally. The delicacies at
his dining table shall be endless. And what is most important is
that he shall for all time be in the presence of Allah.
The Qur’an serves as a reminder for all this. It
serves as a reminder that for the martyr, as well as for the rest of
us, Allah’s promise shall be kept. Allah will never forsake those
who are dutiful followers of His word.”
The cleric then made a gesture indicating for the
worshippers to stand. He opened his Qur’an and sang two verses:
“’Associate not any other god with Allah, lest thou
sit down despised, forsaken.’
‘Surely thy Lord makes plentiful the means of subsistence for whom
He pleases, and He straightens. Surely He is ever Aware, Seer of
The cleric then stated:
“May you all find the peace that only Allah can
bring, and may you all be made strong by His spirit.”
The congregation then began to slowly leave the
mosque as the cleric waited for them all to leave. When the mosque
was finally empty of the congregants, the cleric walked into the
room where Bilal was praying.
As the cleric entered, Bilal stood up.
“Have you paid off all your debts, my son?”
“Have you asked Allah for forgiveness of sins?”
“Then you are ready to bring glory to your family
and your people.”
From his robes, the cleric handed Bilal a small
Qur’an, which he put in his left breast pocket. Bilal was then led
out to another room at the opposite end of the hall. This room was
locked, so the cleric took out some keys and opened the door. In
the far corner of the room was a belt consisting of fourteen
cylinders filled with explosives. Bilal took off his robes and
shirt and strapped on the explosive belt around his waist and
stomach. He then put back on his shirt and robes.
“May Allah be with you and grant you success on your
sacred mission so that you shall be with Him in Paradise,” said the
“Inshallah, in Paradise we will meet again,” said
Minutes later, the two attendants who escorted Bilal
to the mosque came to the room and greeted the cleric. An
“We are ready to complete our mission, as I am sure
al-shaheed al-hai is also ready.”
He was escorted out of the mosque and into the car.
Bilal took the back seat, one attendant took the front passenger
seat, and the other was the driver. The car was started and the
attendant began to drive through the dirt roads of the town. There
were no words spoken among the men, as they had planned and prepared
and knew well what they had to do.
After about a half hour of driving, they came to the
outskirts of the occupied city. Shortly, they arrived at the
perimeter of a series of government buildings that were known to
hold high-level meetings with representatives of other nations
regarding political and financial affairs. The driver parked the
car on the side of the road and waited behind the wheel as the other
attendant and Bilal got out of the car and walked towards the main
building in the center of the perimeter.
About thirty feet before the entrance, the men were
stopped by two armed and uniformed guards with machine guns by their
sides who demanded to see the men’s papers and know their business.
The attendant then took a concealed pistol from under his robes and
shot the guards two times each in the chest.
As the shots were fired, Bilal panicked and
started running towards the building’s entrance. At no more than
eight feet from the glass doors, he heard shots fired his way from
behind. Immediately, he frantically took out the detonator from
under his robes.
Bilal shouted, “Allahu akbar,”
and pressed the detonator . . .
“Bilal Al-Awad . . . rise,” said an unfamiliar
His awareness restored, Bilal found himself lying
down in a wall-less room of white. He stood up and felt neither joy
nor pain, without any real feeling at all, no burden, light of mind
“Come this way, Bilal,” said the voice.
Bilal walked in the direction of the voice.
Soon, he saw the looming of a shadowy
The figure said:
“I am Gabriel. Follow me. You shall have the
rewards that Allah has given you.”
Bilal followed Gabriel to a large white palace with
many minarets rising from its base. As they entered through its
golden doors, Bilal was blinded by the brightness of the place.
They stopped when they reached the main corridor, which had many
“Follow me to the banquet hall where a feast is
prepared for you,” said Gabriel.
Bilal followed Gabriel to the first room beyond the
corridor. It was a room of green emerald-crystal walls. The
ceiling and floor too were of emerald. The room was filled with
treasures that surpass what is capable for human comprehension.
Gold and silver trinkets filled bronze tables. Chains of platinum
and gold littered the floor. Piles of gold coins were hoarded in
all four corners of the room. In the far end of the room, above the
doors, there was a bronze plaque, which said these words:
“One who is ruled by the spirit will go to the land
of the spirit. One who is ruled by instinct will go to the land of
They then went through the doors and entered a room
all of red ruby. Platinum pottery and trinkets lined the walls.
Silver chains and bracelets crowded the clear, crystal tables.
Obsidian chests were filled with all sorts of multi-colored precious
gems. Heaps of gold and platinum coins were piled in the center of
the room. Silver axes and gold scimitars hung along all four ruby
walls. Above the far doors, at the end of the room, was a silver
plaque, which read:
“Those who are in the Dark will ever remain in the
Dark, and no Light that shines upon them will unveil the Truth
before their eyes.”
They walked through the doors, and Bilal found
himself in a room of blue sapphire. The walls, ceiling, and floor
were all of sapphire. Chests of clear crystal were packed with
colored gems and platinum coins. Piles of silver necklaces, gold
bracelets, and diamond chokers were scattered throughout the room.
Trinkets of gold and platinum filled silver tables. In the far
corner of the room, platinum coins piled against the wall and were
as numerous as the Arabian sands. Above the end doors was a golden
plaque, in which was inscribed:
“True Paradise is a land of gardens and flowing
rivers. The discerning and the righteous know this and can tell the
true from the false. For the rest, there is Darkness and the Pain
that soon accompanies.”
Gabriel then led Bilal through one beautiful room
after another until they had reached the double doors of the banquet
hall. As they entered, Bilal was amazed to see the large, ornately
decorated table in the center of the room overspread with foods and
delicacies from all parts of the world. Gold goblets were filled
with exotic and refreshing drink. The smells of tender veal, roast
duck, and all sorts of meats and poultry were wafting throughout the
hall. Succulent fruits and sugared desserts were glistening with
sweetness. Around the perimeter of the hall were seventy-two
beautiful maidens with wide and enchanting eyes.
Bilal sat at the table with eagerness. He was about
to enjoy himself to a feast that only kings were sanctioned to
receive. The maidens, all the while, were at hand and ready to
serve him and wait on his commands. So enthralled was he that his
eyes could not stray from the view of all of these beautiful
maidens. Indeed, he was tempted to count the seventy-two, but
resisted, as it looked to be true, and he was fixed at gazing at one
or two of them at a time.
After a while, Bilal spoke:
“Fetch me a gold-embroidered towelette and a
silver-laced robe,” Bilal said to one of the young virgins to his
These were brought to him immediately.
He placed the towelette on his lap and put on the
He smiled with delight, thinking on the power he now
held and the dignity of his position. He felt satisfied that the
sacrifice he had made was worth the cost. The promise that was
foretold was kept, as Allah always keeps his promises. Bilal could
now reap the rewards that were duly his. He thought on this, and
his pride and sense of satisfaction deepened.
Then, as he was about to start the feast, he
paused. Within himself, he felt a desire, strong and intractable.
He stood, placed the towelette upon the table, and
approached one of the maidens, the most beautiful of them all, who
had long, shimmering, sable hair and wide emerald-green eyes.
He began to lay his hand upon her shoulder when
suddenly there came a voice, deep and booming, directed at Bilal,
loud and clear, shocking, and even horrifying:
“THEY SHALL REMAIN VIRGINS!”
Bilal, recoiling from the contact and shaking from
the message, now looked around as he heard doors opening around the
Through the doors came other women, older women, not
attractive women at all, and they surrounded the younger ones.
Bilal called out:
“Who are they?! Who are they?!”
The feast began to disappear before the young man’s
eyes, then the ornate, feasting table and chairs, the maidens, and
the room itself.
The voice boomed, as the room began to darken:
“Your MOTHERS-IN-LAW !”