Each has guardian angels before him and behind him who watch him by Allah's command.
The Holy Koran: Sura. Al- Ra'd
It had been a long evening for Ronald and he sat quietly brooding to himself, after he had finished with his meal. He had eaten alone again, as he had not been invited to the main house for dinner as expected; Kahlid who was to eat with him had not come for dinner for some unknown reason. The servants had brought him some couscous and a bowl of dried fruit up to his room, as they often did. His mind though was not on his meal; he kept replaying his conversations in the garden with Kahlid, and the Sharif, it caused him to reflect on his life, which was always a depressing thing for Ronald. All seemed to be but a source of discouragement to him, and he couldn’t even finish his food. He pushed his food aside and arose slowly from the table, then he paced back and forth across the room for quite some time before he finally decided to go and lay down. Sleep though when it finally came to him brought him no relief or comfort, for he tossed and turned constantly in his sleep, it was not a peaceful sleep as had been the night before but one of a man who was troubled in both mind and spirit. His mind wandered of into the unknown world of dreams as it traveled the boundless wastes of the spirit world.
‘It was a barren dark forbidding road and there in front of him loomed a crossroad, as he neared it he saw a man wearing a long robe as would a monk. He was hooded and his face shaded so that his features were not visible, he stood beside a wooden sign that pointed in four directions. The road he had come down looked black and bleak and full of all sorts of troubles.
To the left in front of him was a road that wound down into a pleasant looking valley where he could see a bustling township that seemed to be thriving and busy, yet there was something strange and sinister about it. It was something that he could not put his finger on but there seemed more to it than appeared at first glance.
To the right was a green meadow with beautiful flowers all around and stretching across too a pool where some young maids frolicked in the water naked and unashamed, they beckoned him to come. Then he turned back and looked ahead, before him lay a steep road that wound up the mountain, it seemed to be dangerous and narrow yet up near the summit their seemed to be a radiant glow that filled the top of the mountain with light. The hooded figure approached him, he stopped and unrolled a scroll before his eyes, and he looked at it and read:
There is now set before you the final choice, choose carefully for it will not pass your way again.
The vision faded away as the scene changed. A light appeared growing brighter and larger as it neared until it seemed to encompass him, then in the center of it appeared a man so beautiful and loving he beamed forth a gentle loving spirit, Ronald was filled with warmth as he spoke these words.
“You have run from Me and followed your own ways, see where it has led you? It is not by My hand that you have suffered but by your own choices. Time and again before you there has been a way to escape, and every time you have turned from it and followed your own ways. The end thereof is destruction. I lay before you now a choice; for the Sands of Time have reached their end, now choose which way will you go.”
The light disappeared and Ronald stood once more in darkness. Suddenly there was a long narrow path he was walking along it and as he stepped one foot in front of the other he saw a burning pool of hot lava on either side, he treaded the precarious path slowly and haunting visions came to his eyes of Max, of Michelle, of Constance of Bella and Gloria and, visions of Aubrey and Otto all calling out to him he shivered and grew cold then another light broke into view it was green like the richest emerald and filled his body with a coldness that made him shiver uncontrollably.
Then within the light stood a man so beautiful that words could not describe and music filled the air awakening passion and desire within his heart. He smiled at Ronald and spoke his words like the nightingale sweet and melodious yet there was something missing it was not the same love and gentleness, the compassion and tenderness he had felt with the other being of light.
“Ronald you have a choice too make that will affect your whole life, you heard the being before who gave you His ultimatum, He offers you a road of difficulty of hardship and despair. Do you really believe that He did not cause you the grief and evil that has befallen you? You strayed from His teaching and He punished you like the errant schoolboy. You have heard the preachers often expound on the punishment that would befall the errant sinner. Well I come now to offer you the alternative. You have before you the way of difficulty that was offered by the being of light, you have also the way of your own free choice as you have been living but that has brought you pain for He does not like it, but there remains the third option that which I offer you.”
Ronald saw before his eyes the beautiful paradise of the exotic isles with girls playing and laughing in utter abandonment. If you choose the way I offer all of that will be yours and much more, I will keep you and make you to revel in life. The choice is yours Ronald. A chill went through Ronald’s body like a knife through butter and the light disappeared.
Ronald awoke shivering and troubled. He was in his room, it was warm and pleasant, yet his body was shivering, what did it mean? Was it really just a bad dream or was there some hidden Freudian significance to the dream, or was his life now at a crossroads and whatever he chose now would determine his fate. Too much had happened, it was just too much of a coincidence, and therefore it had to have been some sign from God.
Ronald thought of Otto brutal and merciless and of Jean driven by insanity, the world was full of such people. Or what of dear Gloria lost to addiction, with no hope, yes the Lord had brought him through much and had seemingly protected him using each one he met to teach him needed lessons along life’s path. His eyes were now opened to the truth and he understood how it had been his own stubborn will that had led him astray and down the road of despair. He had sought freedom and instead been bound, in fetters formed by his own hands, his emotions that led him ever along the path to destruction.
As he now thought back on the dream, it now became obvious that the man he first saw was Jesus, and that the second man was the devil, who like an angel of light appeared before him seeking to deceive and destroy him. Ronald realizing he needed the strength of the Lord prayed, he was not one for praying and it had only been in desperation in the dessert that he had cried out to God.
“I have run from You, and have been blaming You for all that has gone wrong in my life. I envied the time my mother spent in Your service to the point I let the weed of bitterness grow in my life entangling everything I did or thought with it’s snares. I realize now what I have done, in the blindness of pride I have given my life over to the sins of this world leaning to my carnal mind and reasoning. Help me now to see things clearly, take away this blindness, and free me now from the bitterness and evil that has held grip on my soul. Lord I ask now for the cleaning power of Your Holy Spirit to renew my life and to help me see things the proper way. Lead me now and help me to live the rest of my life to Your glory, amen.”
A great peace then filled Ronald’s soul as if in answer to his heart cry as he gave up his burden to the Lord, he then lay back down on his bed and soon drifted of into a deep, sweet, peaceful sleep.
In the morning Ronald rose early, he felt renewed, alive, vibrant, his every nerve and muscle were pulsating with life and energy. He had been completely invigorated and felt as if he were being born again in a newness of spirit. He rose up and pulled on his robe, walking over to the window and breathing in the fresh morning air. He looked out at the gorgeous sunrise and smiled as the birds gave froth with beautiful notes and sublime melodies that resounded within his heart, as if playing upon the very chords of his soul.
Life was so precious and to think he would have thrown it away in a selfish act of despair. A gentle breeze caressed his face and brought memories of the distant past back to him. How he had loved his hills of home, walking in the green moors and running across the purple heather as a hart prancing and leaping in the ecstasies of life and joy. It would be now autumn in Scotland, he thought of the beauties of autumn, with the banks of the burns clothed with white-stemmed birches and old knurled oaks. He could see the swaying of the green, golden, brown, red, and orange tresses as if swaying in tune to the music of the wind. He could see them bend as the wind swept over the knolls and braes of his home. He could envision the dales all dotted with clumps of purple heather and green bracken rolling like waves in the great ocean.
As he viewed each tree in his mind, each little leaf was like a work of art, hanging from the branches with little dewdrops all sparkling like jewels in the sunlight, and then fluttering down to the ground as they were caught up in a whirlwind, as a strong gust would break it free from the hold of the tree. They danced like angels round and around as they twirled in spirals down to join their fellow leaves resting upon the soft ground beneath.
Ronald saw himself playing in the rusty colored leaves and picking up the fallen acorns and pinecones and chestnuts that lay scattered upon the crisp surface of the earth. The wild winds were singing mournful songs as they resounded through the closely-knit trees throughout the thickly forested valley; each of the trees writhed and twisted as the winds showed their great power and strength. It was so vivid he could almost paint it, Ronald sighed as he then thought of how like the trials of life. We can bend with them as the trees or be broken off and fall down in to the dead multitudes below. He had been as the last, but was now determined to let the trials of life be his strength and let the Lord be his guide. He sighed again, and then his mind came back once more to reality he started down the hallway, out into the beauty of the garden, there to enjoy the quietness of the morning.
As he entered the garden he paused then decided to go sit at the far end near the old disused gate. He had spotted the gate from his window one morning almost invisible behind the overgrown bushes and vines, there was an old marble seat there also almost hidden in the bushes.
It was a nice place to find quiet and meditate, he enjoyed the solitude it provided, and he had been seated only a few moments when he heard shouting and screaming. Sounds, sounds of someone in great fear, he rushed around the clump of bushes and stood on a rock over against the garden wall. From there he could see out into the street where a group of people were gathered in the square across from their house.
Why such a crowd so early he wondered and making so much noise it was unusual, then he saw a man being dragged into the center, he was screaming in fear struggling in vain against the grip of his captors. He was brought before a wooden block stained as it looked with blood. A large man standing silently there beside the block looked at the captive then reached down and pulled out a large sword from under the folds of his robe. The captive struggled as his hand was placed on the block and held in place, then in an instant the sword sailed into the air swirling in a great arc, coming down with a dull thud mingled with a high pitched scream as the victims hand was severed.
Ronald pulled back in disgust he felt like throwing up as his stomach churned within him at the sight of this horror. As he turned round he found his host standing their watching him, observing his obvious anguish and horror at what had transpired.
“Ah my dear Englishman, you are upset over what you saw, I can see in your eyes that you look on us now as but wild savages, is that not so?”
Ronald’s features betrayed his disgust!
“You see this as barbaric, right, yet this man is a convicted thief; he stole from some poor widow all that she had, leaving her penniless with three children to care for. He showed little pity on his victims, he has on several other occasions stolen but there had not been enough proof, this time he was seen, he knew the law and yet he has continually broken it.”
The Sharif paused a second examining Ronald’s features. “Yet you would decry our justice. You would instead hold up you lands and their laws as the model for all of us to follow, yet your lands are more filled with crimes and it’s prisons crowded with its criminals than ours are. Have you visited the cold damp confines of your prisons? Have you seen the horrors of life in these dark cells in your great land of England? I believe not. Yet you are ready to decry us, you are quick to speak against our ways of justice. This is so typical of you western foreigners. You feel horror for our ways and yet you bring even greater horrors and injustices to our lands.”
The Sharif shook his head and looked Ronald in the eyes. “As one of your great poets said ‘There are nettles everywhere but smooth green grasses are more common still.’ Why is then that you are quick to see the ‘evil’ yet blind to the ‘good, you see the nettles but not the grass?’ Always you find the things to decry and pass judgment on, yet never do you herald the good and the just things. Yet I say unto you that you your time will come, you will see war and death ravaging your lands before long, but not at the hand of us, the so-called savages, but at the hands of your own civilized Europeans. You come here like gods, lifting yourselves above all others, trying to make them the same as you are, destroying cultures and peoples, turning to naught the learning’s of generations. Wherever you go you bring death and destruction.”
The Sharif seemed to be getting heated in his words almost angry but yet not, having a gentle almost compassionate tone, as a mentor to his ignorant pupil. “From all ends of the earth the sabers rattle as you try to bring all people under your subjection. Africa, India, China, everywhere there is death and war, everywhere you bring destruction caring not for the cultures you turn into nothing but distant memories. If any dare to speak out or raise a voice in questioning he is immediately imprisoned as a rebel or shipped of to some unknown part of your empire. But let me tell you, there is a dark cloud looming overhead and it is gathering momentum, soon it will sweep your lands entering into your own homes, bringing upon you the same destruction that you have brought to others.”
He paused and watched Ronald’s look of unbelief, and then he continued. “I have visited many times to the port of Tangiers on business, it is full of foreigners and I have seen the Americans who are now strongly represented there, they are so cocky and proud, thinking that they are the only people on the earth. I have seen you British also, who look on all who are not as they are as being nothing more than ignorant savages, fit only to be third class citizens, servant to you the elite. You walk with a superior air and look down on all else as poor little uneducated savages who need too be taught to be little Englishmen, your preachers come in their righteousness, looking down their noses and condemning us as heathen and destined to the flames of hellfire.”
His lips curved in a smile, “Ah I can see from your expression you have encountered this before, you British since you built the Suez Canal feel you are the rulers of all these lands and it is your duty to impose your rule. I’ve also seen the Russians, ah; yes they are the wild and ruthless warriors of the cold north lands, warriors of times past, yet they will again sweep the earth like a torrent among the nations as Attila the Hun of old. You seem surprised at this? Why then do you fear them and go to such lengths in Afghanistan to secure it from them? In Tangiers I see you all gather like vultures, just waiting to descend and devour the carcass of the Arab world? But you will find it is not so easy we are not the passive lamb, you will find you have awakened the lion from his sleep.”
He slammed his fist into his open palm, “The Germans, they arrive by the shiploads, they are coming in to our lands in stronger numbers now, I‘ve seen their guns and men as they come to join the Sultans guard and offer their words of advice. They are as the panther in the desert poised ready to spring; they seek strongholds in these lands and a niche in the north of Africa to block you English and your constant spreading. I can sense though that before long they will bring destruction not to us, but to you for they will ravage your lands of Europe creating havoc and death. Allah will let them, bringing to you the agonies you have inflicted on others all over the world.”
He noticed Ronald’s surprised look. “You seem surprised Englishman, but you should not be, are you so blind that you cannot see that Allah will wreak His judgment on those who try to lift themselves up in pride filling the palace created for Him. You dictate to the nations, trying to tell them what is right or wrong, how they should live, and dress, and sleep. You are acting like gods, who everyone else must serve and abase themselves before. Oh my proud Englishman, can you not see it? You are so deluded, yet you will see it, for it will not be long before this great storm shall reach it’s peak. Your meddling in the affairs of other nations, your imposing your ideas and styles of governments or religions on others, your trying to be gods among men and ruling the world in the way you see as right! I warn you Englishman the time of retribution will come, the enslaved will throw off the yoke, and rivers of blood will indeed flow. Allah will show you Englishman that He is the creator and ruler of this earth, not you the English, or the American, or the German, or Russian.”
He sighed and shook his head seeing Ronald’s stubborn look of unbelief. “You think you are the only civilized people on earth, but you were ignorant savages while we had great empires of enlightenment, have you heard of the wisdom of Mu'ammer Luqman? No, I thought not!”
Once more he shook his head in obvious sadness. “But you have heard of the great Solomon! Solomon was another Great leader who also came out from the east not the west. You see the nations of the east were great powers while you were but naked savages groveling in the dirt. Our leaders were great in learning, and healing, as well as war, like the great vizier Salah ed Din, who not only conquered, and was great in battle, and united our peoples, but who also ruled in mercy and love and compassion and justice. The hand of Allah was upon him and even all the forces of Europe could not defeat him, for his strength was not of his own but of Allah. We had great universities of splendor in Spain while you had nothing and the flower of your nations would flock to them for enlightenment, you find this hard to believe; yet it is true despite what you may think. Come with me, I will show you something, come to the house.”