Previously on Demonic Vows: When Jawad had broken the Mottaqīn laws and ran to meet a Whisperer, Warisa came to his aid. Together, they were able to defeat the devil’s offspring and were almost victorious before they realized that Taban had joined them, but he was not fully himself…
Taban’s body was trembling, shivering from within, a dark energy swirling around in his insides. The energy twisted, and with it, Taban’s mouth – no longer in his control – twisted in a cruel smile. Somewhere inside him, he felt like this wasn’t him, he wouldn’t do something like this – but it was a mere thought, a suggestion immediately rejected by whatever was possessing him.
Jawad, in front of him, looked bewildered. Even though he was covered in sweat and his clothes were all creased and rumpled, he somehow managed to keep his position upright, always ready, always challenging. Warisa, however, was another story. Looking at him, her mouth was open, eyes stretched wide, showcasing fear and a hint of concern. Again, something inside him paused, something made him wonder, what am I doing? But the feeling was gone as soon as it had come.
When he opened his mouth, it wasn’t his voice that spoke, “You will die. You both will die.” The voice was rash, raspy, and it shredded his vocal chords as it forced its way out of his mouth.
He didn’t feel pain. All he felt was a burning, fueling desire of revenge.
Point of View: Taban
I raised the machete in my hands. My bony fingers, once unavailable to keep the machete upright, held on tight to its handle. The newly achieved power radiated from me, filling me with aptitude and the finest of skills.
You have to kill them, something whispered in my mind. You have to make them suffer.
As soon as the Voice spoke, it became a burning desire. It became an irresistable need. I will maim them. I will.
I threw the first blow at Warisa, swinging the machete behind my back and thrusting it forward with all the force I could muster. She looked horrified, her face pale and lips turning a slight blue but still managed to duck and roll before my machete could connect with her spine. I waited for her to attack, but she didn’t, holding her ground. Good, then, I thought. Let them keep their humanity, and let me keep my victory.
“Taban!” Jawad’s voice, manly and strong. I whirled, baring my teeth. Even the sight of him brought the physical shudders of revulsion. I hated him so much. The reason was unknown, but I knew I did. “What, in the name of all seven Heavens, are you trying to do?”
I snarled and charged, running at him with full speed. He stood there, right in front of me, taunting me, precisely until the last second – he dodged and I collided with air, tripping over myself. Without pausing, I threw the machete at him. Again, he jumped. “Wait,” Jawad said. I got up and threw a punch. He deflected with ease. “Listen,” He said, raising his hands. I threw a kick. He turned and dodged.
“I’m not going to hurt you, just hear me out.” The pleading in his voice stirred something inside. I paused, looking at him. His hands were up, coordinating with his words. I shall listen, I thought.
“Jawad, what…” Warisa’s voice shook a little and she trailed off, noticing a slimy green Gunah wedged beneath her fingernails.
He ignored her and looked at me, directly in my eyes. “Taban. It’s not you. You…You’re possessed. You would never-“
“No!”, the Voice commanded and I thrust myself forward, this time connecting as we both toppled over. Somewhere near, the metal tang rang out as Warisa unsheathed her knives one by one, but Jawad didn’t move forward to attack me yet.
“You always underestimated me,” I howled. “I am not a kid. I will show you.”
I readied myself to dodge a punch or a series of insults, but there came none. “Okay,” he said, plainly, just like that. I hesitated.
“I will not fight you,” Jawad said. “You want to kill me, don’t you?”
Yes. More than anything.
“You can. I won’t even move.”
“Liar,” I hissed at him.
“I swear to Allah I will let you kill me, on one condition.”
I waited, calculating.
“Repeat after me what I say. Do it, and then you can kill me all you want.” Jawad paused. “Say, Bismillah ir-Rahman ar-Rahim.”
A shudder went through me and the Voice shrieked, yelled. Don’t, don’t, don’t! It commanded. I jolted.
“Come on!” Jawad urged. “Are you afraid?” Yes! The Voice said. Yes, you are, and you can’t do this. “Is the little boy too scared to take Allah’s name?” His voice was frantic now.
It was sweet. Soothing.
No, the Voice yelled, but the word compelled me. I opened my mouth.
No sound came out.
“Focus,” Jawad helped. “Try. You know you want to. Speak.”
“B-Bism…” My voice faltered. I tried again, focusing. “Bismillah…ir-Rahman…ar-Rahim…” The word seeped inside me, full of an undescribable beauty, and I felt my constricted throat opening.
“Excellent!” Jawad chimed, as if no threat loomed around him. “Now, repeat: Say, I seek refuge in the Lord of humankind.”
This time, the words came more easily. I repeated after him, and a whoosh of a cool breeze hit my face.
“The Master of humankind.”
The Voice howled with misery. Don’t! It told me, wrapping its dark tentacles around my body, trying to make me stop. I refused to. “The M-Master of humankind.”
“The God of humankind.”
“The God of h-humankind.”
Inside me, a single beam of bright light cut through the layers upon layers of darkness. I gasped, reaching for it. It was just out of reach, just a feather’s distance away from my seeking fingers.
“From the evil of the lurking whisperer,”
The light came closer and I jumped, grabbing it. After hours of a sick cold, it brought with it a lovely warmth. The Voice was crying now, begging weakly.
“Who whispers into the hearts of humankind.”
My mind cleared, a heavy seal from it lifting. Life poured back into me, letting me breathe. “From among jinn and humankind,” I completed as my memory returned, the last verse of Surah al-Nas brightening its path to me.
The Voice let out a last wail and burst out, tearing my chest, and I collapsed. My whole body hurt, and memories returned to me with a full force: The time when I knew I had to re-learn my Ahkam but chose to ignore the rulings. A few months later, when I had purposely missed my first Fajr prayer ever. Fast forward to now, when I doubted everything, when disbelief was a permanent seal on my heart. If I hadn’t let myself be fooled by the Whisperers, I cried, it wouldn’t have come to this. The Whisperer wouldn’t have dared to do what it did.
Jawad and Warisa were next to me in seconds. Warisa crouched low before me, wary, but Jawad didn’t waste a second. He wrapped his arms around me and pulled me to himself. I sobbed, accepting his embrace. “Taban, you know what?” He whispered to me, his voice empty of taunts for probably the first time. “You are not a little kid. You proved it today, didn’t you?” I cried harder. “You fought the darkness from within you, and not many can do that.”
I wept. “But it came because of me, I let it-“
“It doesn’t matter anymore,” Warisa said. “You fought it. You repented. You’re safe, and you know better now.” She paused, looking down. “I…I’m sorry, Jawad. I didn’t realize you…” She threw up her hands, not being able to express. “I could have been a better sister.”
Jawad frowned. “Please tell me you’re kidding me, Warisa. I stupidly ran after a deceiving Whisperer and put all your lives and faiths to danger, and you’re the one apologizing?” He shook his head. “I was the careless brother, Warisa. Not you. You were always there for me, to protect me, to help me. I shouldn’t have been so selfish.”
On the way back to the academy, we decided that lying was out of the quesion. We’d not keep it a secret, and we’ll tell the Instructor everything.
But not tonight.
Tonight, we’ll take a warm bath and set out our prayer mats. We’ll evaluate our wrongdoings and repent, and beg Allah long into the night, calling all His beautiful names and asking, “Ajirna Min an-Naari, ya Rab” — begging and pleading for mercy and forgiveness.
Something tells me that we’ll receive it quicker than we expect.
Did you notice that the only difference between the world of this story and the real world is the lack of physica; interaction between the unseen and the human beings? We have studied, listened and agreed many times that Whisperers do exist, from among the Jinn and the Mankind, whose sole purpose is to make us suffer by urging us to sin and crumble into our vain desires.
But do we really, deep inside, believe? Do we spend every waking hour conscious of every thought that could have been a Whisperer’s?
Satan exists. His followers, the whisperers, exist. And so does our power to fight against them.
The next time you feel utterly hopeless against the influence of the tyrannical power of the world, and you want to quit struggling against it, remember that hopelessness is a sin being played into the game by a whisperer.
The next time you feel an urge to miss your salah deliberately, remember that you’re being duped.
“Say, O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah . Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” [39:53]
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Featured image via Unsplash.
Important note: Demonic Vows is purely a work of fiction. The characters, plot, storyline, events and everything else is a product of the author’s imaginations, and some aspects of the story might not be philosphically or theologically true. For accurate descriptions and information regarding the Unseen, please refer to Islamic scholarly works produced in this genre.