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Children of their Alley! : An Allegory

 

 Children of their Alley! : An Allegory

Was published in Arabic in January, 13, 2009

Translated by Ahmed Fathy

 

Firstly:

1- Hajji Seddiq has decided to leave the management of his estates to his five children, who are by names: Wadee', Sarhan, Salem, Seif, and 'Erfan. The estates and assets of Hajji Seddiq have been a thousand acres of arable fertile lands along with sandy lands within them and a rivulet; an ideal place for agriculture and building at the same time. Hajji Seddiq has been known for his justice and mercy but with firmness and decisiveness. Hajji Seddiq has decided that it is high time for his five sons to shoulder their own responsibilities in order to test them: will they succeed in the trial of managing his properties or not. Hajji Seddiq has brought up his offspring by inculcating in them the values of charity, justice, and love for their Father who is most generous with them and never deprived them. The five sons have reached the suitable age; for their ages are near one another in terms of birth dates. It is time for owning their right to live on their own with self-reliance. Hajji Seddiq gathered his five sons in his presence and said to them all: "For your sake, I have reclaimed these lands and made it suitable for living; I have decided to leave its management to all of you to see whether you will succeed or fail. I am giving you the period of 20 years to act freely in making the best use of this land and the best way to deal with one another and settling your possible disputes. Once the 20-year period is up, I will judge you to determine the losers and the successful ones".

  'Erfan said to his Father: "What are the limits of this freedom, Father?", "Absolutely without limits!" said Hajji Seddiq. "Pardon me, Father, but does this freedom includes not to obey your commands and deny you every right?!" said 'Erfan. Hajji Seddiq said to his son: "Your minds and hearts will never deny me however vehemently your tongues might be able to say that. You have absolute freedom to say and think and do whatever you want, but you will have to bear the responsibility of such liberty; I will judge you after the end of the 20-year period".

 Salem said to his Father: "Does this liberty include righteousness and charitable deeds as well?", "Your liberty is absolute in wrongdoing and doing good deeds; in both cases you will bear the responsibility of your deeds, good and bad" said Hajji Seddiq.

 Wadee' said to his Father: "How could we possibly know the evil deeds that angers you so that we avoid them along with the good deeds that pleases you so that we do them, father?". "I have brought you up to believe, apply, and adhere to the higher values and to hate evildoing, is not that enough for you?" said Hajji Seddiq.

 Seif said to his Father: "I beg your pardon, Father, what you say is true, but we have not yet got the chance to apply what we have been taught; you have been with us and now you are leaving us; we ought to have a guide in our way for the next 20 years so as not to err or be misguided".

 Hajji Seddiq smiled and addressed his son Sarhan who remained silent during the debate: "What is your opinion, Sarhan, concerning what Seif has just said?" Sarhan was startled but he forced a smile and said shyly: "I beg your pardon, Father, I am still absent-minded since you have informed us of your intentions: Will you leave us indeed?! Shall we be self-reliant for the very first time?! I felt dizzy with absorbed thinking that I have not heard Seif".

 Seif repeated: "I have asked our Father for a guide to rely upon during the 20-year period so as not to be misled and fail the test". "Yes and in order for us not to fight and differ and part from one another; we must remain loving, caring, and cooperative brothers" Salem interrupted. Hajji Seddiq smiled to Salem and addressed 'Erfan: "What do you think, 'Erfan, I will write to you such a guide to help you bear the responsibility of your actions". 'Erfan muttered to himself, feeling shy. Hajji Seddiq told addressed him: "Speak your mind freely, because what we will agree on now will be binding to all of you without exceptions". 'Erfan swallowed and stammered while he said: "Such a detailed guide will certainly restrain the absolute liberty you promised us, Father, right?". Salem interrupted in fury: "O 'Erfan! We need such a guide from our Father to succeed in such a mission; his guidelines will help us to achieve success. Do not forget that this is our first time on our own in practical life after being taught everything theoretically by our Father under his guidance".

   Hajji Seddiq smiled and said: "I will gratify the wishes of 'Erfan, Salem, and Seif by granting you a guide containing all needed guidelines for success that will save you – if followed by you – from failure. You have absolute freedom to apply, disregard, disobey, or ignore this guide, with, of course, bearing full responsibility later on for such liberty before me after the end of the 30-year period"

 'Erfan stuttered: "Pardon me, Father, what if I find some guidelines contrary to reality despite my desire to follow your guide?! I speak my heart, please forgive me"

 Hajji Seddiq smiled and said: "Be assured, my son, that this guide will be a translation of all values you have been brought up with: your loyalty and faithfulness to me and a good room for inference of new rules to deal with one another and to manage the lands, provided that your actions will be compatible with a;; higher values of mercy, justice, freedom, equality, tolerance, inter alia; now what do you think 'Erfan? Is that difficult to follow?" "No, dear Father" said 'Erfan.

 Silence reigned for a while. Hajji Seddiq saw them look at him and at one another quizzically, and he finally said: "I know what you are thinking of; the issue of Farhud, who used to work as my superintendent and I expelled him due to his disobedience. I warn you; beware of him. Never be deceived by Farhud; he will never leave you alone in peace. He will do his best to take revenge from me via trying to deceive you and to throw the seeds of discord and mischief amongst you. I will explain in my guide how to get rid of his cunning ways. Woe to him who amongst you will believe and follow him! He will be my foe!"

 They all felt afraid, and Salem said in fear: "Could anyone of us dare to be the ally of your enemy, Father? Once he appears before us we will drive him away or even kill him!"

 "My son, Farhud will never risk appearing to you himself; he will send mediators working under him to try to control all of you" Hajji Seddiq told them. 'Erfan said to his Father: "What about the rest of those who work under us in the lands? Will they stick to Farhud?" Salem wondered: "Will they work under us or revolt against us?"

 Hajji Seddiq said decisively: "Their loyalty is for me alone; you have nothing to do with them; they will obey my commands; they are foes to Farhud and will try to prevent him and his allies from infiltrating to your lands; Farhud will try to deceive you by other means, however, making use of you naïvety."

  Salem said: "Please, Father, tell us in your guide how to overcome Farhud and his evil cunning ways". "We are looking forward to reading your guide, Father" Seif said. Hajji Seddiq gave each of them a copy of his guide; a book small in size. He warned them: "This is my will, my advice, and my guidelines to you. You are free to follow or to disregard them. I warn you of my punishment if you misuse and abuse such a liberty I granted all of you!" Hajji Seddiq left for Mecca to reside for the next 20 years; he is being notified by all workers in the lands with all actions and deeds of his five sons.

  Within the next 20 years, news came of the failure of four sons and the success of only one of them.

  Farhud managed to mislead four of them via their wives, who were formerly workers and peasants in the lands provided by Farhud.

 Sarhan worshipped his wife and spent his time trying to please her while forgetting completely his Father's warnings and the 20-year-old test. 'Erfan did the same, but he also denied his Father's existence, claiming that he is dead, and consequently, they are free to do anything with impunity. Wadee' still remained faithful and loving to his Father, but his wife managed to convince him to replace his Father by any of his possessions: Wadee' got all his clothes and possessions and worshipped them instead; he forgot all warnings, advice, and guidelines of his father in the process. Seif fell in love violently with his wife who convinced him to control all the lands by trying to enslave all his brothers by persuading them he is the only one specializing in understanding the guidelines of their Father. He managed to convince Wadee' that he was still receiving letters and messages from the Father that overruled and annulled the guide he formerly has given them. When 'Erfan and Sarhan refused the ambitions of Seif, he waged war against them.

 Salem is the only son who adhered to the guide of their Father and confronted the other four sons of the higher values contained in it. Despite all dispute amongst these four sons, they have united against Salem and accused him of enmity and contempt of their Father and them as well. Wars ensued among the sons who later on became foes and enemies of one another. Most wars between 'Erfan and Seif revolved around controlling the rest of their brothers, Wadee' and Sarhan, and their lands.

 The 20-year period came to an end; the Father ordered the arrest of the five sons to stand before him to judge them. Farhud, their enemy, was arrested as well. Farhud and the four sons were imprisoned. Salem was the only one who succeeded and passed the test. Salem lives on beside his Father, while the other four sons were imprisoned with no permission to see their Father. This punishment is for the misuse and abuse of their liberty as well as their mismanagement of the lands.

 Lastly: God is Our Judge!

1- This allegory or parable aims at reminding us with conditions of human beings and their relation toward God who never begot nor was begotten and never had wives nor offspring.

2- God has created this vast universe whose greatness cannot be fully imagined to test humanity (see 11:7 and 45:13). God will not judge us according to the events preordained by fate: birth, death, livelihood, calamities…etc. but in accordance with the liberty and freedom to (dis)obey and to (dis)believe. God has given us the divine revelation, the Quran, to guide us and to warn us against the devils and their evil ways to mislead people. He determined the Day of Judgment to see how we will (mis)use our liberty of actions toward life and one another. His greatest grant is the divine message; the Quran.

3- The Quran is the last divine message to humanity; a guide for success in the Day of Judgment. The Quran is based on two axes: 1) do's and don'ts along with liberty of actions, thought, beliefs, and (dis)obedience: this is freedom with responsibility before the Almighty in the Day of Judgment. 2) Discourse on the Afterlife: punishment and reward, Hell and Heaven, to remind us with the consequences of their actions of (dis)obedience. This Quranic guidance refutes any claims of being not sufficiently warned; all humanity has been warned already by the Quranic revelation.

4- "Mankind's reckoning has drawn near, but they turn away heedlessly." (21:1)             


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