The Shaytaan and Abdullah
By: Aadel M Al-Mahdy
Omar El-Sufi is a pious man in his mid-seventies; always neatly dressed and meticulously clean. Age may have snow-dusted his hair, but it has not debilitated his hulky corps or his mental abilities. He is a man loved by his students for his piety and his truthfulness that sometimes bluntly comes out.
“And you really want to see him”, El-Sufi asked Abdullah, one of his students, while combing his grey beard with his fingers. “Yes, Master. I want to see him. I want to talk and reason with him” Abdullah answered. “But he is so ugly and monstrous. Won’t you be scared?” El-Sufi said, “No, I won’t” Abdullah answered, “But his mere sight will make your legs shake like a dry leaf in the wind, your body trembles like quacking land, your head spins like a ship in a mill-storm and your stomach throws up its contents like an erupting volcano. Do you still insist on seeing him?” El-Sufi asked. “Yes, sir, I do, and the sooner the better” Abdullah answered. El-Sufi said, “By Him, the creator of him, you and I, once your eyes catch a glimpse of his terrible sight and your nose a whiff of his horrible stink, your soul will strongly wish for instant departure from your corps and your corps will shrivel and rot like an apple that has been stored away for months”. Abdullah then said,“Master, your exaggeration is not working. Take me to him, please! If I know where he lives...” El-Sufi laughed and then said, “Oh that is not a secret. He lives so close to you. He always lives closer than one’s own jugglers are to his nick”. Abdullah pleaded, “Enough talking, Master and please, take me to him!” El-Sufi said, “I just do not want to bear the consequences of introducing you to each other and bear witness your flight” - “By God, I shall gallantly face him. Temptation is the animal I wish to slaughter and offer to the beasts of the wilderness” Abdullah confirmed. “Well, but when the test is conducted and reckoning established, you will either be a winner or a looser” El-Sufi said, but Abdullah said “Believe me master, I will be a winner, If the Almighty, God, will” - “And if you will, too. God will not change what has befallen people unless they themselves change” El-Sufi emphasized. “I am totally and absolutely willing to meet him and I will be totally responsible for whatever happen to me” Abdullah said. “It is he who is saying that, my son. It is he who desires your conference” El-Sufi said, but perplexed, Abdullah uttered no word. El-Sufi then put his sneakers on, dragged Abdullah by the hand and said, “Let us go! We have one Satan waiting”
They walked until they reached the western desert. Deep in the desert they reached a mound whereby its feet, a shepherd lad sat in the shadow drawing lines in the sand while his herd grazed close by under the watchful eyes of his black dog. Not afar from the shepherd, El-Sufi sat in the mound’s shadow and asked Abdullah to sit beside him. Exhausted, Abdullah, sat down, closed his eyes and tried not to think of the forthcoming events. El-Sufi asked Abdullah to keep his eyes closed but mentally roam the desert, its folds, its caves, its rocky nooks and crannies.
At the mouth of a certain cave in Abdullah’s mind, El-Sufi asked Abdullah to halt and then said to him, “Son, There is where you will go. That is Satan’s Abode. God knows what is best for you”.
Abdullah entered the cave.
Inside the cave, he found himself in a bare hall. He looked deeper, but the hall soon filled up with whirling winds loaded with dust that turned into an array of different colors heaving like water in the ocean. Suddenly a nasty smell joined all the colors,and slime was born. Smeared in slippery condensed and stinky dripping moisture, the most monstrous image of a creature appeared; a pear-like head, on top of which a ram-like curly horns sprouted on each side, a saddled-nose that ended in wide nose trills separated from an ugly rotten teeth-baring mouth by an upper split broad lip, blood-shot almond-like eyes with feline pupils that glowed like pieces of fire, and floppy ears like those of a jackass; all walked out of the gooey slime. His arms and legs were definitely strong. His split hooves were black like the rest of his hairy body and his tail looked like a slave driver’s. Abdullah heard El-Sufi’s voice coming from behind him, “Here is he whom you wanted to see. But beware of temptation as he is the master of illusion!”. Abdullah looked behind but saw nobody. When he looked forward again, he saw Satan standing in front of him with a cunning smile on his ugly face.
“So you wanted to see me. Are you not scared?” Satan’s words came out of his mouth like the slamming of steel against each other. Abdullah answered, “Why would I? You can’t hurt me. You are nothing but a filthy whisperer”. Satan said, “And whispering is where my power lies. I haven’t yet made you drink from its cup. It tastes sweeter than honey”. Smiling. Abdullah said, “No, I haven’t and I have no taste for your temptation. You are filth and filth begets nothing but filth” - “You are absolutely right, but somebody’s filth is somebody else’s treasure. It is only a matter of desire” said Satan. “I desire nothing from you” Abdullah said. Satan quickly asked, “Wasn’t it you who desired to see me? Ah, and you think you have known it all. Am I not the one who tempted humanity since the beginning?”. Abdullah answered, “You tempted but those who were sick at their hearts, not those who were pure” Satan said, mocking, “Pure like your grandparents, Adam and Eve, hah, who is pure in this materialistic world where therein lie its seeds of corruption? Do you consider yourself a pure man whose piety can move a mountain?”. .Said Abdullah, “In God, I seek refuge from you. In God, I pity those who have fallen into your snares. What did they see in you? In my eyes, you are abomination”. Satan laughed and then confirmed, “You are not far from the truth, Abdullah. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and in me, they behold the immediate fulfillment of their desires in this life, not in a life promised to come”. Abdullah spat on the floor, but Satan said, “Hold your horses! If you let your horse run wildly, you won’t reach your destination. We still have a lot to discuss. Tell me, Abdullah, what is your destination?”. Abdullah said emphasizing every word, ”Your destruction, your annihilation is my ultimate destination”. Satan then said, “But I am not destructible. I am your God’s nemesis” .- “You are my God’s enemy” said Abdullah. Satan laughed and then said, “I am the opposite of the opposite. I am the night to the day and the dark to the light. I am the enlightened. I am Lucifer. I am the North Star. Without me, you will not be able to discern evil from good, hence, I am good since I make you discern. I am the guidance torch”
Looking Abdullah deeply in the face, Satan then continued, “Follow me! Be one of the multitudes who followed me since the beginning!”. Abdullah said, “That is utter nonsense! You are temptation. You are destructive but I also know you are destructible and I have the means just to end you” - “Ah, and what is that? I am frightened. I am shaking in my satanic skin” Satan said, mocking. Abdullah shouted, “Faith is my weapon. Satan burst out laughing and then said, “Faith is the object for my temptation. Temptation is designed but for the faithful for as much as a doctor will not visit a healthy man, temptation is sickness that befalls the healthy since the sick is already ailing”. Abdullah said, “Those faithful you tempted were not faithful enough” but Satan asked him, “Are you faithful enough, Abdullah? You asked to see me, to reason with me. It takes strong faith to reason with Satan. You also seek for my destruction. Your faith must be very strong. I have to admit it. I do admire you”. Abdullah said, “Thank you NOT!” Satan burst out laughing again and asked, “How old are you Abdullah? Forty? And you haven’t yet married! Am I right?” – “I am forty one, though it is none of your concern” said Abdullah. Satan then quickly said “Ha, what is none of my concern I make it my concern. But so young you are, Abdullah”. Abdullah asked, “What is your point?” Satan explained, “You are eligible, but you have not yet met your match. But again, who would match your piety. Tell me! If there is one who does, will you marry her?” Abdullah answered, “Of course I’ll marry her”- “Yes why not! How stupid I am!" Satan said then added "Of course, a young woman who has not been touched by a mortal and willing to embark with her spouse on a journey of discovery of all sexual pleasures...”
Biting on his lower lip and looking Abdullah in the eyes Satan went on describing and shape shifting into his description, “A woman whose face is like full moon so mysteriously radiant, her waist-length pitch black and thick hair is softer than Chinese silk; her beautifully wide emerald-like eyes are greener than meadow grass and pleasant like the sight of oases in the desert to a tired traveler; her eyebrows are sleeker than the sun’s brow when being born at daybreak; her nose is mightily strait like a sabre; her cherry-like lips are seductively kissable; and her mouth is sweet like honey dripping from a comb yearning to be squeezed; her breasts are soft to the touch, round and firm to the grip and her perking nipples atop them sweet grapes to eat”
Satan's voice became sweet, worm and hypnotic whispers. Abdullah’s eyes slightly closed and his legs shook. He felt as if the floor was slowly heaving underneath his feet. But Satan who never stopped his descriptive whispering, “Shyly looking outward, her perky nipples are; her waist is so thin, a contrast emphasizing the size and cemetery of her breasts and her hips; her bellybutton is round and deep and looks like a magical lake in her abdominal valley yearning to be navigated and the valley grazed; her round and firm hips wiggle when she walks; her rear-end hunches and protrudes seductively when she bends over; her full thighs are round like sand dunes; her neatly mowed luscious triangle between her thighs is bulging out and her gate underneath the gleaming triangle is a road to heavens, its door’s leaves that look like curled petals of unfolding rose are readily agape for the sultan to enter…and oh…”
A weird sensation ran through all Abdullah’s body, but before he could gather his thoughts and strength, he heard El-Sufi’s cynical voice, echoing, "You have already sinned Abdullah. Haven’t you?”A complete silence then followed. Abdullah opened his eyes and looked around. He saw nothing but the shepherd bending over him and nudging him on the shoulder, “Sir, wake up! The sun is already gone. Your friend asked me before he left to wake you up as soon as the sun was gone”. Abdullah said,“Thank you: and then asked, "When did he leave?”. The shepherd said, “Shortly after you both sat down in the shadow by the feet of the mound. It seemed that you were so tired and fell asleep”
Abdullah stood up, thanked the shepherd again and turned his face towards home, but before taking one single stride, he heard Al-Sufi’s voice echoing again, “Have I not told you, my son, you won’t win? And you have not yet met the real Satan, but the one that lies within”. Abdullah curiously asked the shepherd, “Did you hear that?”The shepherd wondered, “Hear what?". Abdullah said, “The voice, my friend’s voice”. The shepherd replied with a smile on his face and said, “No, I did not hear anything. Sir, the desert sometimes plays tricks on us”
Abdullahshrugged and walked away, but after a few steps he failed to resist a feeling to steal a last look at the mound. When he did, he saw nothing but the plain desert stretching for ever before his eyes; no mound, no shepherd, no herd and no dog. “Where did they go. Did the ground open up and swallow them all?” whispered Abdullah and then resumed his walking in a faster and frightened pace.
By the time Abdullah was home, he was all sweaty and panting like a dog. A feeling of shame overwhelmed him.