Empires Of Faith

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Chapter 38: Mission Accomplished

20 Shawwal , 1663

"Let me through," the man exclaimed as he barged through the wooden doors. With a vein throbbing in his ruddy forehead, he had his fist clenched around the upper garments of a rather stubborn companion of his, dragging him into the building against his will. Behind them marched a stiff and formal young man, his hands clasped behind his back. As the trio stormed into the building, they were halted by the domineering presence of an older guardsman.

"What is the meaning of this?" he demanded. Before them stood a man whose towering figure was as impressive as it was intimidating. Despite his aged appearance, the stern look on his face made it clear that he was no pushover. Dressed in a simple white thobe with the tail of his black turban thrown over his wide shoulders, the guard stared the men down with authority. "Who dares to enter causing such clamor and ruckus?"

"I am here to see-" the man began before he was cut off.

"You will do no such thing," the guard declared. "I cannot allow for anyone to barge in without prior arrangements. There are no appointments at this time; therefore you must leave from here at once. You will not be permitted to disturb-"

"Let them through, ya Muthanna," a hoarse voice called out from a separate room. Al-Muthanna exhaled lightly before stepping aside and motioning for the men to pass through. The foremost of men continued through, pulling his reluctant companion along and the third man followed suit. The moment the men entered the room they were reprimanded by yet another man of old age. Though he was only a few years senior to his guardsman, his poor health and fragile body made a striking contrast between the two. Just as well, his humble, soft-spoken nature nearly concealed the esteemed status he truly held. Nonetheless, when he spoke, the people listened. "Whatever case you bring, there should be no harming and no reciprocating of harm; therefore you should release your grip and deal respectfully with one another."

The man immediately unclasped the other's shirt and took a step aside, humbly keeping his head down. Now freed, the other man dusted himself off and sighed before looking up with a gulp. Before either of them could speak, Al-Muthanna entered the room and approached his superior. "Ya Amir-ul-Muslimeen," he beseeched him. "You cannot afford to concern yourself with hearing every trivial case that is brought before you; you must consider your health. The medics said-"

"The medics will not be questioning me on Yawmul Qiyamah, ya Muthanna. The leader of a nation is but a servant to the people. I must fulfill my duty to the fullest extent; lest a day come when Allah questions me, 'Did I not place you in power over these servants of mine? Why then did you not deal justly with them and give them their due rights?'"

"Ya Amir, why do you not summon your council to deal with this matter at a later time? You have certainly done justice to the people and you are most certainly a kind and fair ruler; there is none who could dispute that. But if you do not do justice by yourself by resting and heeding the advice of your medics, I fear that the illness will increase and you may be taken from us. Who then will rule over us?"

"If Allah Wills to take my life, there is no one on Earth who could prevent Him or delay that time. If you say to me that I am doing injustice to my body, then I say to you that I would rather sacrifice my own rights than withhold the rights of the people under my authority. Do you contest to this?"

"No, sir," Al-Muthanna relented. "Do as you wish, and please forgive me for overstepping my boundaries."

"All is well," the Amir replied with a nod of understanding. He brought his sickly-pale hand up to stroke his gray beard, breathing lightly before a light coughing fit overtook him. Al-Muthanna jumped to be at his side, but when the coughing ceased the Amir held out his arm and assured him that he was fine. Al-Muthanna sighed and clasped his hands behind his back before standing beside the station of his ruler. Finally, the case was allowed to begin. "State your names and this matter between you."

"I am Abu Muadh," the first man spoke up at once. "I have come seeking repayment of a debt owed to me by this man."

"And you are?" the Amir asked the other two men.

"My name is Yasir ibn Nu'man," the coffee-brown man standing beside Abu Muadh declared before looking away.

"And you?"

"He is my son, Abdullah," Abu Muadh spoke of the last man standing behind him and Yasir. "I have brought him as my witness for this case."

"And how can we be certain that he will give fair testimony in this case?" the Amir questioned. "Even a righteous man may be given to bias when it comes to his own father."

"Ya Amir-ul-Muslimeen, if not for his testimony, then I have no other witness but myself and Allah. What has transpired between Yasir and I has been kept a secret to most of the people, and there is none who knows its details but us."

"Fair enough, I will allow for his testimony after I have heard from the two of you. But hear me now, ya Abdullah, Allah Subhaanahu wa Ta'ala* says in the Quran what means, 'O you who believe, stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even if it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin; be he rich or poor, Allah is a Better Protector to both (than you). So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you be unjust. And if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily, Allah is Well-Acquainted with what you do.'(4:135)"

"I understand, ya Amir," Abdullah replied respectfully. His father looked at him approvingly then turned back to the Amir, awaiting permission to speak.

"As for you two men, let us begin your case. Speak truly and you will be dealt with fairly; speak falsely or harshly and you will be dealt with accordingly."

"Yes sir," both men replied before Yasir ceded first testimony to Abu Muadh. "To begin, I met this man three years ago in my village just south of here, ya Amir. At that time, he was a penniless refugee from the eastern continent. Alhamdulillah, Allah had blessed my family with a lot of wealth, and so I had no difficulty in sharing with my Muslim brother. I welcomed him and gave to him what I could, housing him on my property and clothing him with what I clothed myself and my family."

"And did you find him ungrateful for that?"

"No, by Allah, he was most certainly grateful. In fact, he promised to me that when he had the means, he intended to repay me at least some part of what I'd given him."

"And is this where the dispute began?"

"No, rather I told him to keep it, for what I spent was only for Allah and my repayment would come from Him. As time went by, it was suggested to me that I hire Yasir to work for me and thus he would earn what payments I provided him, but I felt as though his services to me would diminish from my rewards with Allah, so I rejected the idea. Still, he was unable to find any employment elsewhere, and as he had expressed to me a desire to get married, I offered to marry him to my niece. She understood his circumstances and her mahr price was not high, but he declined to marry her for his own personal reasons."

"And did this offend you?"

"Yes, I was offended; but I forgave and I overlooked, without withholding any spending from him. Eventually, by the Will of Allah, he was able to find and marry a different woman from a neighboring village, and they settled into a property near her father's home. My spending reduced at this point, after he informed me that he had been hired by his father-in-law and was not in need of it any longer. I accepted and we remained in close contact nonetheless. After nearly two years had passed, he came to me one day and expressed a desire to return to his homeland. He said that the Kwaadi were oppressing his people and he wanted to go and join the cause against them for Allah's sake, but he feared for the wellbeing of his wife and child. His father-in-law had passed away and he had very little money to leave behind with them, so I offered to provide monetary support for them in his absence. I gave him 900 gold coins to leave behind with them, and 100 more for the expenses of his journey."

"Is this true, Yasir?" the Amir questioned. Yasir nodded in the affirmative and the Amir turned to Abu Muadh, motioning for him to continue.

"He left out from the village in the month of Safar, and I waited to receive word some day of his martyrdom or success. Unfortunately, no such word ever reached me. Then, as it were, I happened to travel to his village this past month of Shawwal and I found his wife there. I enquired about her needs and provisions so that I might send for more if she needed, but she informed me that she had been taken care of. I asked by whom, and she said by her husband. I asked how this could be, for I assumed his lack of contact meant that he had indeed achieved martyrdom, but she informed me that this was not the case. Then I came to know that he had not even gone to his homeland in the first place."

"Where had he gone?"

"I was told that he resided in village somewhere near the sea, but he had neither sailed the sea nor journeyed back home. Initially I refused to believe it, but I was determined to find the truth. I sent for my youngest son, Abdullah, and we journeyed out that way. In two days we reached the village, and sure enough we found Yasir ibn Nu'man among its residents. He had taken a second wife and stationed himself there as though he were hiding! And-"

"Did he profess to hiding from you, or do you narrate to me your assumptions?"

"He- I- I do not know of his exact intentions, but what seemed evident to me is that he was indeed hiding."

"That is fair enough, but do not relay mere assumptions in an attempt to sway my judgment, hoping to cast suspicion on your brother and distort the truth. Were you hiding from Abu Muadh, O Yasir?"

"N-no sir," Yasir nervously answered. Abu Muadh exhaled in contempt, but remained silent as the Amir gazed over them both. After a small cough to clear his throat, the Amir turned back to Abu Muadh to continue.

"When I found the man, I demanded answers as to where he'd been. I feared that perhaps he had deceived me for the purpose of gaining more wealth so that he could remarry. When he affirmed previous accounts that he had not returned to his home to fight, I demanded repayment for what I had given him. He refused, arguing that what I had given him was a gift and that I had no right to ask for it to be returned. When I proposed that we return to my village and take the case to one of our judges, he again refused. I felt betrayed and disgusted by him, so I left before my anger could cause me to severely harm him."

"And how is it that you all ended up here before me this day?"

"As it was, I learned that he had not abandoned his first wife altogether. I learned that he alternated between his two wives for weeks at a time, and so I made my plan to catch up with him when I knew that he would be in his first wife's village. Alhamdulillah, I managed to lure him back to my village where my son and I then detained him until he agreed to take our case before a judge. He accepted only on the condition that we bring the case before you, despite my insistence that such a thing would be an unnecessary difficulty. He fought with me until today I brought him forth with my own hands and now here we stand awaiting your judgment."

"Hm... I see," the Amir sighed in contemplation. He combed his fingers through his beard once again before turning to Yasir. "Now you shall present your rebuttal, should you have any disagreements with what he claims."

"Y-yes sir," Yasir replied, feeling the heat of Abu Muadh's glare upon him. "As the man says, I am indeed a refugee from the eastern continent. I journeyed here fleeing persecution and evil influence from our Kwaadi neighbors in the land. I had no possessions with me save for the clothes on my back, and I would have starved within my first week had it not been for the Mercy of Allah, bestowing His Grace upon me and sending this man to look after me. By whatever good there is in him, he came to me with a generous offer and I gratefully accepted. I did not wish to be a beggar, nor did I wish to remain dependent on someone else, so I sought employment for myself. As it was, none amongst the people accepted to hire me, as I had few skills to offer and I was not well known or liked amongst the people."

"And for what reason were you not liked?"

"I can only suspect that there was a preference of hiring their own people; I am not from here nor do I share blood, culture, or race with most of the people."

"And so because of these insignificant factors you assumed that there was a prejudice against you?"

"Yes, sir."

"You should not think so poorly of your brothers without evidence. Madinah is a blessed land and its people are good; they do not hold any prejudice of one race over another. Indeed, how could they, when many of them today are also from different races and bloodlines? 'There is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab, nor of a non-Arab over an Arab, nor of a white over a black, nor a black over a white, except by Taqwa*.' Are these not the words of our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)?"

"Yes."

"And do you think that the people would not believe in it whilst they claim to be his followers?"

"Yes but- that claim was of no benefit when some of the people dealt with me! Even Abu Muadh!"

"He provided for you from his own wealth and for no worldly reward without anyone pressuring him, yet you accuse him? What sense have you? Have you any proof?!"

"Certainly so, for had he truly believed in those words he would not have reviled my people in an insult to me."

"When did this occur?"

"During our first dispute, back in the other village."

"Explain."

"Sir, I would need to first narrate my initial tale, for in that there is evidence."

"Fair enough, you may continue."

"When I went to Abu Muadh, expressing a desire to marry, as any man would, he was at first hesitant to hear me out. Then he changed his mind, and he told me that I could marry the daughter of his brother as she was willing to accept me though others may not."

"And you refused?"

"Yes. Her acceptance was relayed to me as mere consent, not desire, and I did not wish to marry someone who did not wish to marry me. Just as well, it was my intention to marry a woman from my own homeland so that I might also receive a reward for freeing someone from the fitnah the Kwaadi were causing. When I told this to Abu Muadh, he became upset with me. He questioned why I would prefer someone in such low conditions over his daughter of noble lineage and esteem. Then he offered to try and help me marry another woman from amongst his village, stating that the women there make the best wives for good men. I was unhappy, and so he left me to my own."

"I continued to provide for you," Abu Muadh interrupted, earning a glare from Al-Muthanna and a glance from the Amir.

"Do not speak out of turn," Al-Muthanna warned. Abu Muadh huffed in annoyance, but the Amir was in agreement with his guardsman. A hand gesture from the Amir urged Yasir to continue, and so he did.

"This is true," he declared. "He was fair in that, and again, I am most grateful for that. To continue, I came across an elderly man in the markets one day with whom I spoke to at length. I told him of my story and he told me of his; he had a large plot of land with a farm, an unwed daughter, and no sons. He had hired some workers to tend to it, but they were soon to be leaving for Hajj and he needed a temporary replacement. I agreed to work for him in exchange for some small payment, but eventually, he decided to hire me for a full term and I was married to his daughter."

"And this was your first wife?" the Amir questioned.

"Yes."

"And were you satisfied with her, and she with you, despite your differences?"

"Yes, Alhamdulillah, we were well pleased with one another. However, I still felt regret that I had not married a woman from my homeland and freed her. Then the idea occurred to me that I could do better than that; I could go and fight against the Kwaadi with my brothers and save a multitude of men, women, and children. I thought over the idea for quite a while, sometimes feeling brave and determined to go the next day, and other times feeling content with my life and remaining put. Eventually, I made up my mind to speak to Abu Muadh and seek his advice on it, and he was encouraging of it. I told him that I feared I could not afford to leave behind my wife and child without any means of provision, and he offered me a sum of gold coins to leave with them. It was enough to cover their expenses decently for one year; and if I were unable to return he would continue to spend on them, he said. With that, I decided to go on ahead with my journey, and he provided me with an additional 100 coins for my own expenses during my voyage overseas."

"So up to this point, there are no major discrepancies in either of your accounts; and you are both in agreement that the amount of coins involved in this dispute is a total of 1,000. Correct?"

"Yes."

"Good. You may continue."

"When I left from my village, I soon found that returning to my homeland to fight was more difficult than anticipated. At the time, there had not been any military expeditions heading that way, so I had no army to join with. Just as well, after purchasing the necessary battle equipment and making arrangements to board a passenger ship, I was denied entry by the captain himself. He told me that neither he, nor any other ship captains, would allow me to travel with them if my intent was to go and fight. They were afraid of any conflict it might cause and undue harm it may bring upon their future passengers should the Kwaadi become aware of their association with me. He tried to persuade me that no men back home would join with my cause for fear of the repercussions, but I was not to be discouraged so easily. I exhausted every possible means that I had to sneak my way back home with my weapons and armor, hoping that I would be able to rally the brave men from my home village to join me, but to no avail. Eventually, I was defeated, and as a desperate attempt at making a difference, I decided that if there were any female passengers to come to this land fleeing from my homeland as I had, I would marry at least one of them and provide for her as Abu Muadh had done for me."

"A noble intention, but an unnecessary action nonetheless," Abu Muadh spoke up once again before biting his tongue at Al-Muthanna's glance.

"From where did you find the means to pay a woman's mahr and take care of her?" the Amir questioned Yasir.

"I sold my armor and weapons, for her mahr," Yasir answered. "And I used the remaining gold coins given to me by Abu Muadh to spend on her shelter and clothing."

"Did you not have wealth of your own?"

"Not immediately, though I did find work once again."

"Why then did you not seek repay Abu Muadh for what he had given you?"

"I intended to, but when I spoke to a shaykh from among the other refugees, he told me that it was unnecessary. He said that Allah had certainly witnessed my attempts to fulfill my intention of going to fight in His cause, and it was none other than He alone who prevented me by His Will. Indeed, it was the Qadr* of Allah that I would end up in my situation there, and the fact that I had chosen to marry and provide for a widowed refugee and her children was something good on its own. Because of this, he told me that I did not need to repay any money, for it was still used on a noble cause and that In Shaa Allah I would be rewarded for it in the akhirah."

"I see. Tell me, what is the name of this man who issued this ruling to you?"

"I believe his name was Mustafa ibn Abdul-Hamid." The Amir looked to Al-Muthanna, and he gave a nod of understanding. At a later time, Mustafa was to be summoned and questioned about the ruling he had given. For the time being however, the Amir had a ruling of his own to make, and so he turned back to the three men before him.

"Carry on with your account until the end, and then I will hear the testimony of this man as to whether or not what you have both said is true."

"Yes, sir. As Abu Muadh said, he came to find me dwelling in the village I had settled in, and we had our confrontation. It was this first dispute in which he slandered my people."

"And what words of slander did he say against your people?"

"When I refused to pay him back, I feared to tell him exactly what I had done, lest he think my intention was merely to go and marry a woman from back home as he knew I had wanted to do before. Because of this, I neglected to inform him of what my shaykh had said. Instead, I argued that he had already given to me what he had, and that it was accepted as a gift. I had had intentions to do one thing with it, but Allah did not will for that to happen, and so I did something else with it. It was still in my possession and my belonging, so I did with it what I pleased and he had no right to demand its return after it had already been spent."

"Who told you this was the case?" the Amir questioned more sternly.

"N-no one told me, ya Amir. I only thought-"

"And did you consult any person of knowledge before speaking what you do not know?"

"No, sir."

"Ah, woe then to the people of conjecture who neither consult nor learn from those of knowledge. How can one follow Islam and its proper rulings without seeking to understand them? Is not this religion a complete way of life?"

"Indeed."

"And did Allah not perfect it for us?"

"Certainly He did."

"Then how can a Muslim, a follower of the Nabi* (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), live his life by any other way than to first consider what Islam says about his actions? If one is unaware or unsure of the ruling on something, then he should consult those who would know, not make his own assumptions and follow his desires."

"Un-understood, sir," Yasir mumbled in fear. He had grown shy and could not dare to look up at the Amir, let alone continue speaking.

"May Allah forgive you and have mercy on you, and may He guide us all. As to what preceded, I see no indication of any slander or prejudice against you or your people."

"My father did indeed speak those words," Abdullah spoke up at last. Abu Muadh closed his eyes and bit his lip, exhaling heavily as his son began his account of the slanderous words spoken. "When Yasir explained why he would not repay the money, my father first accused him of fraud and called him a great deceiver. Then he demanded that Yasir return with us to our village and stand before a judge so that he would be ordered to repay what he owed. Yasir was defiant and said that we were no longer welcome in his home because of my father's hostile tone and disrespect. My father became enraged and nearly struck him with his fists, but the baby son of his wife began to cry out from another room, and so he withheld from attacking him in his home. Nonetheless, he was furious, and so he said to him words which I swear I had never heard from him before that nor after occasion."

"And what were these words, boy?"

"I am shy to repeat many of them, as they were curses against he and his family. Then he said that he should have known better than to trust a man from his land, as they are notorious for fraud and taking advantage of others. He told him that the suffering of his people is well deserved as punishment for their deceit and scams, and that he would never help any of his people with a single grain of gold dust again."

"Is this true?" the Amir looked to Abu Muadh with disappointment.

"Yes," he replied after a moment's passing. "But I have already regretted it and repented numerous times for it. Allah knows that I did not mean a word of it; I was angry and I said only what the people say of them."

"And what people are these that speak this?"

"Th-the-"

"The ignorant men amongst the people, that's who. We as Muslims do not tolerate such ignorance and slander. You accused a collective group for the misdeed of one man? Where is your sense? And what is this tribalism that leads you in anger to speak of they and them and we and us? Leave it, it is a disease and unbefitting of a Muslim."

"Yes, sir."

"As for you," the Amir spoke, before pausing to cough. With the side of his fist to his mouth, he covered his cough while facing towards Yasir. "Undoubtedly he wronged you and a group from among our Muslims brothers, with undue curses and insults. However, this does not excuse you from any wrongdoings either. You were wrong in your assumptions, your shaykh was wrong in his judgment. The money given to you was given with clear and known intentions; namely that you go and use it fi Sabeelillah*. And I say this not to mean in any way of good towards Allah, but rather with the clear meaning that was agreed upon between you two and the reason for him giving you the money in the first place. You told him you wished to go and fight to free your people, and Allah did not Will for that to happen. When it became clear that you would not be able to fulfill your intentions, what you should have done was gather your belongings and return home. You could have sold the armor with the intention to use that money and your personal earnings from home to pay back what you owed. Then, if out of his generosity, this man forgave the debt that you owed -as I'm sure he would have had you asked-, it would have been permissible for you keep it as a gift. Without any set agreements between the two of you, you had no right to decide what you did on your own; and because of this, my ruling is in favor of this man, Abu Muadh. I hereby order that you, Yasir ibn Nu'man, repay this man, Abu Muadh, for the 1,000 gold coins that he lent to you. Are there any disagreements to my ruling?"

"No sir," all three men answered in varying tones.

"And you all bear witness that I have dealt fair and justly with you?"

"Yes, O Amir-ul-Muslimeen."

"Then let the records show that this is my decree on this, the nineteenth day of Dhul-Hijjah, 1663; I hereby pledge to pay one half of the debt owed on behalf of this man, and implore Abu Muadh to be lenient in regards to the other half. The man had good intentions as far his initial actions, and had he acted with sound knowledge we would find no fault in what he did. Your case is dismissed."

"Wait," Abu Muadh spoke up. "Ya Amir-ul-Muslimeen, I wish now to make amends and forgive the remaining debt for the sake of Allah, on the condition that the remaining amount owed is given in charity instead. I pray that Allah forgives me, and ask that you all forgive me on behalf of what evils I spoke of our brothers in Islam."

"Allahu Akbar," the Amir said with a smile.

"Allahu Akbar," Yasir echoed him, grinning excessively as he turned to face Abu Muadh. He thanked him profusely and made du’ah for him as they shook hands and embraced. Yasir agreed to Abu Mu'adh's condition and Al-Muthanna crossed his arms over his chest with a raised eyebrow and a smirk, astounded at what had taken place before him. The Amir looked to him and he could only think what would have happened had he prevented the men from entering as he intended to before.

"Subhaan Allah," he marveled at the wisdom of Allah's planning. Then he looked to the Amir, his lifelong friend and governmental superior. Though the Amir continued to cough and the sickness from which he suffered was more than evident, he had felt compelled to see that justice be dealt and the case be settled. Two people that had entered his chambers as apparent enemies had reconciled and all disputes between them were resolved. He could only silently appreciate the great concern for his people that the Amir held; it was after all what made him such a great ruler.

He was Muhammad ibn Abdul-Muhaymin, the esteemed leader of the united Muslim peoples. With no significant objections to his leadership, he was the first ruler in centuries that the Muslims had all united under. There was indeed fear of tribulation and the return of disunity after his passing, which worried Al-Muthanna, and many others. It was for that reason exactly that several months prior, a crew of five men had been sent on a quest to a faraway land, seeking a cure for his devastating illness.

Such a cure had been found in the leaves of a certain Pereskia grandifolia mutate; a cactus rose growing only in the southern mountain regions of a land once thought uninhabited. Under the leadership of Captain Dhul-Kifl, and the guidance of the experienced botanist Tariq ibn Sulayman, the crew managed to locate the roses high up in the mountains. Just as well, they also managed to discover a hidden civilization, and a library of old treasures with the potential to change the war itself. Whilst Dhul-Kifl and Tariq chose to remain on the island for further investigations and exploration, the remaining crew members set out for home with the cactus rose at hand.

Along the journey, Ali ibn Nadeem, Rayhaan ibn Khamisi, and Adam ibn Al-Sharif faced many perils and adversities. Nonetheless, with enduring faith and determination, they overcame the fierce storms, belligerent bandits, and savage island-dwellers who threatened their mission's success. Finally, after months at sea, the three reached the shore of the Amir's homeland.

The ship drifted into the nearest accessible harbor, and the men were immediately ready to disembark from their sea-sailing vessel. "Land, at last," Rayhaan ibn Khamisi cried out as he gazed upon the sandy beach. "At last I can sleep comfortably with proper bedding."

"Yes," his brother, Adam ibn Al-Sharif, agreed. "And food! At last we can enjoy a fresh, home-cooked meal."

"Not quite yet," Ali ibn Nadeem cut in. "Or have you forgotten the entire purpose of our journey? Our mission is yet to be completed."

Before either of the two groaning men could offer a complaint, their ship was approached by the docking guards. No ships entered or left from the docks without proper authorization, and so without fail, a ship of armed guards steered its way beside them. As the captain of his crew, Ali was asked to board their ship as the guards questioned him about the nature of their visit.

After learning that the crew had been sent out by none other than the Amir himself and had brought back an essential herb for his healing, the guards welcomed them ashore at once. One of the guards was sent to summon a team of escorts to lead Ali and his crew to the Amir's headquarters and another was sent to alert a team of medics so that the medicine could be prepared. Though Rayhaan groaned about having to undertake yet another journey, Adam was just curious about whether or not he would actually meet the Amir in person. When the mission had originally been assigned to the crew, it had been through a messenger, and to Dhul-Kifl nonetheless.

Days later, Adam, Ali, and Rayhaan had been given stay in the city of Madinah, not far from the Amir's headquarters. The medics had received the cactus rose and were fast at work deriving a cure from it. Adam was sat in his temporary room, narrating the tales of their adventures to his mother Tahirah and her sister Zakiyah. Rayhaan wasn't too far away, resting in the next room over as a medic stopped by to check in on his injuries.

It was at that time that a man sent by the Amir himself came to their dwelling and knocked on the door. Though Adam began to prop himself up to answer the door, his mother sat him down and his aunt went to get the door. The door was opened to a tall and well-dressed man, carrying a wooden chest in his arms and wearing a humble smile on his bearded face. He kept his gaze lowered as he requested entry to speak with Adam and Rayhaan.

"As-Salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh," he said as he stood beside Adam's bed. Adam reached to shake his hands and replied with Salaams before asking who he was. "I am a messenger sent by the Amir to deliver a gift to each of you."

"A gift?" Adam asked excitedly. The man opened up the wooden chest and handed Adam a large sack of gold coins, causing his face to brighten in delight. Then he looked up to man in awe and disbelief.

"Amir-ul-Muslimeen Muhammad ibn Abdul-Muhaymin wishes to repay you for your services and send his personal thanks for bringing back the necessary ingredient for his cure. To each of you he expresses his sincere gratitude and knows that he could never fully repay you, but he hopes that you will accept these gold coins and honorable hosting as tokens of his appreciation. You and your companions will forever be in his prayers."

"Allahu Akbar," Tahirah exclaimed from beside her son. She squeezed his hand in hers and smiled at him proudly. "I feared to let you go on this journey but Allah has returned you to us, and now he has put you in the favor our great leader. Ma Shaa Allah, may you always be so blessed my son."

"Ameen," Zakiyah added. At that, the messenger turned towards her and pulled out another sack of coins. He placed it on the wooden table by which she sat, and she looked up at him in confusion.

"This is for you," he explained. "Your son has not yet returned, and so to look after those next of kin to him, the Amir has ordered that you be given from his share of payment, along with his wife and children."

"J-Jazakallahu Khairun," she said, gratefully accepting the reward. Under her breath she added a du’ah for her son, praying that he return safe and sound sooner rather than later, and that he be blessed with success in his pursuits.

The man went to deliver Rayhaan's money to him and before he left he was asked about Ali and where he'd gone to. "Your companion has been summoned by the interim council of the Amir," the man informed him. "As the captain of your crew he must give a full report of your expedition."

True enough, Ali had been summoned before the council. There were four men assigned to the council to act as a collective stand-in for the Amir during times in which he was unavailable. Having to undergo extensive treatment to relieve his illness, this day was one such time that he was unable to act in office. In his place, there resided his firstborn son, Khubayb ibn Muhammad; his assistant and guard, Al-Muthanna ibn Haaris; the governor of a nearby city, Ja'far ibn Luqman; and Ja'far's son, Luqman ibn Ja'far.

Ali was escorted to the Amir's headquarters, and much to his amazement, it was nothing like what he had expected. As he passed the breathtaking marvel that was Masjid An-Nabawi*, he was shocked to find that the building he was being led towards was a simple brick and wood house. The large, wooden doors were left opened at this hour, and Ali walked right on through. There was a hall of several doors, and Ali was pointed towards the official chambers of the council.

When he entered the room, Ali was greeted by a gathering of noble men and their hired scribe. All four committee members had an air of honor and dignity about them that was undeniable. Khubayb ibn Muhammad was a man of 40 years, though his wisdom and knowledge in Islamic rulings seemed beyond that. Al-Muthanna ibn Haaris was the close companion of the Amir and his honorary guardsman. Ja'far ibn Luqman was the governor of a nearby city and a man highly praised for his fairness in ruling and wise leadership. And Luqman ibn Ja'far was the elected judge of that same city.

Humbled, Ali greeted them all with Salaam and they returned the greeting at once. He was asked to be seated and begin his report. Al-Muthanna, the overall leader in the council, wished to know every detail of what took place from the day their ship left shore up until they returned to shore in a different ship altogether.

Without hesitation, Ali began recounting all that had happened to he and his companions. He told them of their easy journey to the south-western continent. It had been as though the distance of the seas was folded in half for them so that their journey would be shortened. He then informed them of the initial offense they encountered as they marched through the jungle, facing an attack from unknown inhabitants. When he mentioned the hidden ruins which they had stumbled upon, Khubayb questioned him intently, hoping to gain insight about its contents and the possible impact of the discovery.

Al-Muthanna and Ja'far, however, were more concerned about the island which they had been trapped on. With Rayhaan having won leadership in that land, there was potential to expand and carry Islam to the natives of the island. Despite their savage, tribal ways, Ja'far had argued, they were still human and thus there was still hope that they could be guided. Just as well, the location was strategically placed and the reported resources would be of great support for the mainland.

"Should we decide to authorize any further explorations into these lands, do we have your pledge of participation?" Khubayb questioned Ali.

"In Shaa Allah," Ali answered. "Though I do worry that the intended goals cannot be met except with a proper team of men, and among them there must at least be the man the islanders will recognize as their victorious chief."

"Agreed."

"Is he not heavily injured at this time?" Luqman queried.

"Perhaps we could postpone any explorations until his recovery? What have the medics said of the wait?"

"He should be healed within six to eight weeks In Shaa Allah," Ali answered.

"Hm. Within that time a proper crew may be assembled for this task and I will assign a dedicated overseer to it all. Just as well, we cannot forget our brothers in the south-western continent; whatever information they have gathered must certainly be collected, as should they."

"Then it is settled," Al-Muthanna concluded. "In two months' time we shall send one large crew towards this new island, and we shall send a separate crew to the south-western continent. Ali ibn Nadeem, Rayhaan ibn Khamisi, and Adam ibn Al-Sharif shall be among the first crew and a new leader shall be assigned to oversee the entire task."

All of the council members agreed to the suggestion and an order was given. In due time, another set of voyages would be undertaken and further exploration would take place. It seemed the benefits of the original medical mission were unending, and the Ummah would be increased in goodness. The Amir had been saved and a tragedy had been avoided. Undoubtedly for a sea-sailing crew, it had been a mission most certainly accomplished...


GLOSSARY/TRANSLATIONS

Subhaanahu wa Ta'ala: "May He be glorified and exalted"

Taqwa: God-consciousness and/or a piety.

Qadr: The Decree or Ordainment of Allah (God).

Nabi: Prophet (of Allah).

Fi Sabeelillah: an expression meaning "in the cause of Allah", or more befittingly, "for the sake of Allah".

Masjid An-Nabawi: The Prophet's (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) Mosque. The second holiest Mosque in Islam.

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