This memoir starts from The Flight From Casablanca. Thank you.
A wicked inmate had a book named al-Faraj (The Salvation). It told a story of a vizier in a royal court who was thrown in the prison on false charges.
His friend was afraid to help that innocent vizier so he opened Koran and landed on a verse that gave him the good news of his efforts’ fruitful results.
He was encouraged and fought with confidence in defense of that luck-struck vizier and his efforts indeed bore fruit and both friends benefited from those efforts.
Let me first tell you that Muslims do not understand the meaning of Salvation. They usually take it as “relief” and that book was no different. It tried to give hope to innocent prisoners, that’s all.
But that vizier’s story gave me an idea. Instead of the long way of asking God questions taught to us in schools, one could use Koran to ask God questions!
That was awesome.
I first asked God about myself. “It must be sinful for a criminal like me to ask God questions. God must be terribly angry with me,” I thought.
So I first asked God to judge me.
The verse I landed upon said “Those who are trustworthy and who keep their words.”
God had not judged me!
I was surprised. I expected some thunderous promises of eternal torment.
Now that God had talked contrary to my good brothers who had assured me my ordeal was a divine punishment of my fornication plans, I then decided to ask God THE real question.
We men do not love God. We love women.
So this was my real interest: I asked God why He had taken Monia from me.
The verse said God doesn’t take anything from the faithful except to give them something better.
I took that to mean that God was promising me a great girl and I called her Wada (Promise) because she was my Promised Girl.
I then asked God about my deportation prospects because the inmates told me foreign prisoners were also deported back to their countries of origin unless their Saudi sponsor provided them with a special arrangement.
The verse told me my evil boss was not going to help me.
I used to fear Pakistan because it’s a poor country full of cunning people. I was going to die of hunger.
The next day was a Tuesday, when the inmates were released into a sunlit yard.
I decided to grab that chance and use the bedsheets to hang myself from the fan as one inmate had also done some time before my arrival.
That night, the angel of God visited me and I saw a vision.
I saw the silhouette of Jesus Christ sitting in the lotus position like Buddha and there was the halo of holiness behind His head, descending from heavens.
As He touched the ground, a thunderous voice said “Jesus Christ was a great messenger of God”.
I woke up with a scream because the voice of God had freaked me out.
I don’t like scary dreams.
I looked around but thankfully, no one had awoke because of my shout. I then looked at the clock. It was 6am sharp.
A voice said in my heart “Remember that you were born on the 6th”. I thought it meant I was born for this purpose because it was also January 6th, 1998.
After a while, it added “You have been saved through Camp al-Ruwais”. I thought He meant from my wicked brothers.
After another while He said “Jesus Christ was actually crucified and died on that Good Friday”. The schools taught us He had run to the heavens and Judas Iscariot was crucified in His stead.
I felt sorry for Jesus and decided to postpone my suicide plans because the sad news of Jesus’ Crucifixion had paradoxically encouraged me and made me feel good.
The Voice came to me again on next Friday and said “God wants something from you. Look in the Koran.”
I went to the prayer place and picked a Koran and looked. The verse said “And put your hand in your side, it will come out white without leprosy — another sign. Go to Pharaoh as he had crossed his limits.”
I thought it meant God wanted me to fight the Wahabis and the terrorists.
In 1996, I was driving my car, going back home from work when I was told about a truck full of explosives, headed into Riyadh.
I immediately jumped on the truck and forced it outside the city.
After one exact week of that “fantasy”, I heard the news of al-Khobar attack by al-Qaeda in which 19 American servicemen were killed.
The news caster said the truck had failed to reach its planned destination, thereby, saving hundreds of lives.
That was weird.
My fantasy had come true!
Instead of 4 months, I was released after 36 days and one serving of 70 lashes due to onset of Eid.