The Future Of Secularlism: Chapter 5


After school, we dropped by one of the Western-style shopping plazas.

Khattab asked if he could tag along, and though the three of us were hesitant to bring him along at first, he turned out to be a fun-loving, easy-going guy. He certainly didn’t seem like a Salafi. He just spoke his mind, and at times the bluntness made us confuse him for a simpleton (read: fundamentalist). But he didn’t think in shallow terms, just direct terms. Direction was something I lacked. I keep telling myself that in hopes that eventually I will find it. But alas! All my life I have stared at the sea and wondered, "Am I strong enough to overwhelm me?" 

The mall was packed. Khattab looked conspicuous with his beard. Some security guards, brandishing the arms of our collapsing secular state, stood on guard, watching us curiously. Absal had the makings of a beard, that kind of ... ‘I think I’m a European, intellectualized Muslim from the new age Islamic renaissance beard’. He was possibly more dangerous than Khattab.

"Hey Khattab," Absal smiled, wickedly. "That sister over there is really cute. Why don’t you go share your narrow mind with her?"

"Shut up you heretic."

"Hey!" Absal yelled, "I’m Muslim too. I’m not a heretic. Maybe I’ll join [he started whispering] the Party and become one of those Philosopher-soldiers."

Again, I was glaring at Absal. For Allah’s sake, SHUT UP... Was he an idiot? They kept debating, but thank Allah they did so quietly.

"Heretic," Khattab repeated.


 "Heretic! Heretic!"

Absal stammered back: "Philosopher, dammit."

"Heretic," Khattab insisted.

"Your mother," Absal retorted, suddenly in Khattab’s face.

"Which one?" Khattab calmly asked.

I almost burst out laughing. Since they passed the polygamy relegalization, my mind hadn’t stopped thinking of the possibilities. We ran into some friends: Muhammad, Ahmad, Muhammad and Ahmad. I told them all to call me. Eventually.  

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