In the name of God
the Merciful, the Compassionate
I, Hasan, the son
of Akbar, resident of the village of Saraab, being of sound mind
and resolute belief in Muhammad, praise be upon him (PBUH) and the
12 Imams, the Pure Ones, declare this here as my last and final
will and testament.
I have found it my
sacred duty to answer the call and volunteer as suicide martyr for
any mission that our Olama (religious leaders) assign to this
I have given the
matter great thoughts and have consulted extensively with our
village Agha (the mullah). Agha, with patience and understanding
allowed me to ask many questions and replied to all my inquiries.
In order to assist other brothers who may have similar questions
as they contemplate to offer themselves in the service of our
infallible faith, I hereby report the essence of my conversation
Me. Agha, I offer
Your Person my infinite gratitude for giving me a private audience
before I head for Tehran and enlist in the Martyrs Brigade. I
humbly request that you accept this sum as insignificant offering,
representing my entire worldly possession, as a token of my
gratitude for your console and time. It is the payment I received
for selling my donkey – my soul worldly possession of any value. I
gave my hoe, shovel and pick to my elderly parents so that, with
the help of my two sisters, they can work our allotted plot and
manage to survive. I have only taken enough money from the sale of
the donkey to pay for the buss fare to Tehran…
tucks the notes under his cloak) and says no need, no need for
this, my son. The very fact that you are volunteering proves that
you place no value whatsoever on this fistful of dust, this
worthless world, and you are aiming for eternal life in Allah’s
paradise. If you insist, I'll accept your offering and will pray
for your pure soul.
Me. Thank you Agha
for your kindness. I am particularly grateful to you to allow me
to unburden myself, unreservedly, of many questions and be ready
to wing my way to the next world with absolute certitude regarding
our sacred faith. To do so, demands that I ask my questions
without any reservation and Your Person have allowed me to do so.
I am eternally grateful to you Agha…
Mullah. Yes, yes,
yes. Please go ahead.
Me. I am committed
to embark on my mission and nothing is going to prevent me from so
doing. Yet, over the years, listening to the olama, your own
sermons and what I have learned from the Quran, the Hadith
(sayings of the Prophet) and the Sunna (the examples set by
Muhammad) have made me think. Most troubling of all has been the
whispering of an evil man, my tent-mate in the army from which I
was recently discharged. This man never said his five times a day
obligatory prayer, he never consulted the Quran or even did not
observe the fast. To the contrary, at every opportunity he raised
questions about our infallible faith that caused me great
Mullah. Go ahead
son. Get to the point. Realize that I am a busy man and I can only
spend so much time with any one person. But, since you are a very
special believer and you are on your way to offer yourself in the
service of our sacred faith, I will take the time and make every
effort to relief your anguish.
Me. Thank you, Your
Person, I will try and organize my thoughts. Yet, you will pardon
me if I end up jumping all over the map from one topic to the next
as they pop up in my head…
Mullah. Go ahead,
go ahead. Time is of the essence.
Me. My motive for
volunteering is pure. It is my duty to give the life that Allah
has given me for his faith. I am also interested about the
promised paradise. I understand that by offering my life I will be
admitted into paradise of indescribable magnificence where rivers
of milk and honey course through the endless place, choicest
fruits of all kinds adorn the trees and all imaginable nice things
are for the residents…
Mullah. Yes, yes,
yes. I know all about these. Get to the point.
Me. Well, Your
Person, I am truly ashamed to ask troubling questions, most of
which have been implanted in my mind by this evil tent-mate. For
instance, I am confused about the promised paradise and the
reward for a martyr – I mean the promised 72 virgins…
Mullah. Yes, yes,
go on. What about it?
Me. I hope you
forgive me. But, with your permission I will try and lump my
questions about the 72 virgins. Would I be married to all 72 of
them? I know that we are allowed four wives on earth and as many
seeghe (temporary wife) as we wish or we can afford. In this
accursed earth, not only I couldn't afford one virgin for wife,
even a widow declined my parents’ proposal to marry me.
Furthermore, I couldn't even afford to have one seeghe. So, you
understand that I am a healthy 26-year old man and I find this
promise most alluring to me…
Mullah. Yes I
understand. So what is the problem?
Me. Well, as I
said, will all 72 of them be my wives? Would I be able to divorce
one or all of them? Can I punish them if they misbehave, like
women are wont to do? Having the same 72 virgins forever is a long
long time. Could I get rid of them and get some new ones? Would I
be able to choose my virgins from a lineup or will they be
assigned to me, whether I like them or not? You see, Your Person,
I hate to confess this. I have a hankering for special kind of
women – the blue-eye-blonds, the infidel European and Americans.
Would they be in heaven, would Allah make exception for them since
they are so beautiful? Allah can make exceptions, the scripture
say, “He does as he wills and ordains as he wishes.” The type of
women I am talking about I have seen in a couple of movies are the
ones who get my juices bubbling, pardon me for my impertinences
Agha . I don't care much for scrawny shriveled women like the
ones in this village. See what I mean?
Mullah. Son, all
these questions are irrelevant. Why do you think it is called
paradise? It is just that, paradise. It means that you get your
heart’s desire, since you have earned admission in it.
Me. Thank you,
thank you, Your Person. I knew that you would answer my questions
satisfactorily. Now, the older of my sisters is 24 and not
married. There is no suitor in sight and chances are that she will
go to her grave virgin. She was seriously thinking about
volunteering for the Martyr Brigade and going with me to Tehran.
We talked about it and I told her about the 72 virgins that I will
be getting. That was a mistake, I believe. She asked what she
would get for her sacrifice. I had to wreck my brains to come up
with an answer. I didn't think that she would get 72 men. Because,
Allah forbid and I do beg your forgiveness for what I am about to
say next. If a woman serves 72 men that would be like a brothel,
right, Your Person? That just doesn't seem right and it is not
very practical for one woman satisfying the lust of 72 men. I told
her that she would probably be one of the 72 virgins that another
man would get, since given the shortage of men in this village and
our poverty she is likely to go to the grave virgin anyway. She
became furious and almost slapped me on the face.
Mullah. Yes. That’s
women for you. They are so feeble and emotional. And at the
slightest thing they get provoked and become completely
irrational— best not to engage them in any serious discourse. They
are childlike, even when they are old. It is for this reason that
Allah has ordained in the Quran that men are rulers over women.
Women are not equal of men. Women need wise and strong rulers to
keep them in line. Otherwise the whole world would be ruined.
Besides, what if women don't like what they get? The scripture say
that women’s testimony in the court of law is worth half of that
of a man’s, no prophet of Allah has been a woman, no Imams has
been a woman, no Ayatollah, not even a mullah has ever been a
woman. They just have to know their rank and their place and be
grateful to men who care for them, support them and feed them.
Me. Excuse my
impertinence Your Person, but my mother is a woman and she is by
far more rational, calmer and wiser than my father. How could that
be if women are by design inferior, emotional and childlike who
need men to manage them?
Mullah. Son, you
are showing signs of wavering in your faith. These are not my
sayings; they are the scripture, the very words of Allah himself.
Tonight say extra prayers and repent. I, for my part, shall pray
for you so that you do not succumb to the whisperings of the
Me. Thank you,
thank you a thousand times Your Person. But the trouble is with my
brains. It keeps raising all kinds of questions. For instance,
this tent-mate of mine once asked me, “Why Imam Jafar is called
‘the Truthful?’ Was it because the other eleven Imams were liars?”
See how troubling the question can be. I told him that the other
Imams must have practiced ketmaan (secretiveness) and tagyyeh
(denying) in instances that could cause trouble. They were not
actually liars. They exercised wisdom and practiced what is
prescribed in the scripture. Am I correct Your Person?
Mullah. Yes and no.
You are correct that the Pure Imams were not liars. Yet, it is not
up to you to judge the Pure Imams in any way that impugns their
character and life. It is not up to you to justify what the
Prophet or the Pure Imams did. They are in a special realm of
Allah and they are not subject to the same rules that govern us,
the sinful mortals.
Me. Yes, yes Your
Person. That answers great many of my questions. Studying the
Sunna baffled me about some of the things the Prophet did. In his
late fifties, for instance, the Prophet married the nine-year-old
daughter of his friend and best disciple. No ordinary man of that
advanced age should bed down with a tender child of nine. Right?
Mullah. Son, I see
that you are a troubled soul. Your faith is tested…
Me. But Your
Person, Allah has given me a brain to think with and I can not
help but think about things. If I do not use my brains, then what
good is it? Why Allah gave me brains in the first place, if I am
not to use it?
Mullah. Yes, Allah
has given you brains to use it to serve him, love him and obey him
and follow the dictates of the Seal of the Prophets. Yet, there is
a price to pay for the gift of the brains. It is, unfortunately,
the very instrument that the accursed Satan infiltrates to plant
seeds of doubt, lead you astray and destroy your faith. I see
evidences of this in your questioning.
Me. Your Person, I
beg you to forgive me. You are right indeed. It is the accursed
Satan who takes over me, manipulates my thoughts and enflames me.
You have been so kind and indulging that I find it in me to ask a
few more questions that really trouble me. And since I am headed
for the next world, I want to arrive there with absolute certitude
about our holy faith and its teachings…
Mullah. I have
other urgent matters to attend to them. Please speak up and let us
Me. Yes, yes. I
will get to the point directly, but first I beg your forgiveness
for this very question is a shameful one. As you recall, my late
cousin Ghasem, blessed his soul, was killed in a religious
mission. Our very own Ayatollah declared him a martyr and the
government pays his parents a monthly stipend for it. You,
yourself, during his burial proclaimed him a martyr and assured us
all that he was in heaven already…
Mullah. Yes, yes. I
thought that you were going to get to the question. I need not be
reminded of all these preliminaries. What is the question?
Me. Well, I was a
lad when they brought his body to the village for burial. My
father and uncle asked me to help with the washing of his body
before burial. I noticed that although much of his chest and head
were seriously injured, his instrument was fully intact.
Me. Well, how
should I say this? Fine, my question is how my martyred cousin,
blessed his soul, is going to partake from the 72 virgins if his
instrument was buried with the rest of his body? I saw it with my
own eyes that it was buried. Would they issue him a new instrument
in paradise? If he is not issued a new instrument, he would most
likely sit around, sigh in frustration and weep bitterly for
eternity. That would be true hell, not paradise.
Mullah. Son, you
have not only a questioning mind that the accursed Satan has
completely taken over, you have a mind that is fixated on sex. You
are in dire trouble and in great need for spiritual
Me. Yes, Your
Person. You are correct as always. But, sex is important to
healthy men. Is it not for this reason that the Prophet himself
had numerous wives, that Muslims are allowed four wives and many
Seeghe? And you, yourself, have four wives and reportedly partake
of Seeghe on your biannual journey to the shrine of Imam Reza?
Mullah. Now, you
have exceeded my patience with your vulgarity. I demand that you
take your filthy self out of my presence at once, before I have
you lynched for blasphemy.
I ran out of the
Mullah’s house as if the devil himself was after me and left the
village in the dead of night fearing the wrath of the powerful
mullah. It may be that the Satan has taken over my brains and it
is him who is raising these blasphemous questions. But even my
donkey has a mind of its own and did not always do what I wanted
it to do.
Am I less than a
donkey to blindly believe and obey what others say? I did not even
scratch the surface of the mounds of questions that I have. Why,
for instance, our Mullah can have four wives and comfortable life
built on the sweat and blood of us destitute villagers? We have to
pay Khoms (Tithe, one-fifth) of our meager earning? We have to
give Zakat (religious contributions) and even gladly offer our
life when they demand it? They have their paradise right here on
earth, thanks to the servitude of fools like us, while giving us
phony promises as our compensation in the afterlife. I have
changed my mind about joining the Martyrs Brigade, until such time
that some religious authority can give satisfactory answers to all
mind advises all young men and women to beware of the mullahs.
They are wolves in sheep’s garbs.