THE LEGENDARY WARRIORS

AND

THE GEM OF HAZAN


PROLOGUE

A cold, powerful wind blew in the Egyptian desert. The moon was a like a lamp, high in the sky. The desert temperature wasf well below 30°. The cold of the nighttime desert was devastating.

Nevertheless, out in the cold, a dark figure pressed on through the sands. Armed only with a small dagger, one man was determined to find something out there. He needed food for his wife and his unborn child. Anything would suffice; only there seemed to be no life other than his own outside of the tent.

As he walked through the hostile desert, the winds grew stronger they grew angrier. Soon he'd lost his blanket he had and his tattered clothing and cold red skin were exposed to the wind. Yet and still, he was persistent. He wouldn't give in, even when he felt his body was ready to collapse.

His entire body ached with a severe pain. Suddenly his legs went numb and he fell to the ground. He was just lying there on his back when his life began to flash before his very eyes. All his childhood memories from the good times to the bad were displayed before him.

His memory came to the excitement he'd felt when he found out that his wife was pregnant. He remembered promising to return to her with food. He remembered the look of hope in her big brown eyes. He remembered the troubles she'd been through with him and he remembered making an oath to himself that he would endure. He'd sworn to bear through whatever was necessary for the survival of his wife and his child.

But most of all, he remembered his Lord. He knew that only Allah (God) could give him the power to continue. He knew that it was Allah's decision to make regarding whether or not he would survive. So he turned over to side while whispering to himself, "Allahu-Akbar." He stood up with those words flowing from his mouth repeatedly.

He looked around him and saw nothing but the cold dunes and the nighttime darkness. But he didn't feel alone. He knew his Lord Most-High was on his side. He believed that the Most Gracious would help those that remembered Him. He had faith; he trusted his Lord, The-Sustainer.

"O Allah," he said with his eyes shut tight. "Let not this be the end for me. I ask that You give me the strength to carry on for no one but You can give me that strength. I ask that You support me and provide me with the means to care for my family, for only You can give support and only You can provide. I ask that You help me in these troubled times for I have no auliyah, no protectors or helpers besides You. To You belongs all Power and to You Alone belongs all affairs. Subhannallah, Glory be to You, Lord of all that exists!"

As he invoked in his Lord the man felt a sense of peace come over him and tears began to run down his face. He felt courage and determination rejoin him and he placed his right foot forward. His left foot followed as he whispered to himself, "Allahu-Akbar, Allahu-Akbar, Allahu-Akbar."

As he continued through the unfriendly desert, he saw a strange light in the sky. It was of a greenish glow. He noticed it was racing toward him with great speed. Mesmerized by the glowing object, the man stopped in his tracks. His interest in the object grew as it sped right past him into a sandbank nearby.

The man rushed over to the light, forgetting about food. He raced through the sand to get to his fixation. When he reached the small crater created by the impact, he saw next to the object a small family of rabbits. Seizing the opportunity to accomplish his mission, he pulled out his dagger slowly crept towards the hole.

The rabbits didn't even notice him as he inched his way over. When he felt near enough, the man jumped forward and tried to grab a rabbit. In midair, he was surprised to see that the rabbits didn't even bother trying to run. He landed and grabbed one of the larger rabbits. And still, none of them bothered to move. Flabbergasted, the man checked to see if the rabbit's were alive.

A heartbeat confirmed it, the rabbits were indeed alive. Something was wrong though, something was odd. There was no explanation as to why the rabbits sat there. They all just stared into the anomalous glowing rock. When the man realized that it was the rock that had stolen all of the rabbits' attention, he timidly walked over to pick it up.

His hesitant hand snatched up the rock. He noticed the eyes of the rabbits all followed the meteor. This is outstanding! the man thought to himself. Never have I seen such a thing. This rock has brought me great fortune for I have found food through it! Surely, this is an instrument of great power! I shall keep it as it may provide luck for my family in due course.

So he grabbed the remaining three rabbits that were mesmerized by the light and began his walk home. He'd been extremely fortunate to have been able to survive through such a night. What's more is that he was actually able to find food on such a night. He was most happy about finding the stone. He would cherish it as a lucky charm for the remainder of his life.

A great while later, as he neared his tent he heard a sound that brought great joy to his ears. It was his child! His wife had given birth during his absence. He rushed inside to see his family and was greeted by his wife Aminah. She was lying on her side while holding the bloody baby in her arms. She was a total mess, with blood all over her clothes and some on her face.

The baby was a boy and he was wrapped up inside a torn piece of Aminah's garment. He had large grayish eyes. His hair was curly and dark brown. His tan skin was covered in little hairs with a little blood on them.

He was asleep at last. His mother had just nursed him and felt completely drained. She was however happy, as a new mother should be. She looked up at her husband with a smile on her face and a blank look in her eyes. He dropped to his knees and held her in his arms. "My t-time is c-c-coming," she muttered.

"No, no please," he said with tears in his eyes. "Please no!"

"Always remember me, and remember that I was one who feared her Lord. Remember Him well, and he will help you through whatever troubles lie ahead in your life. As of my own, it is about to end."

"No! Please, please, O Lord please no!"

"Whatever Allah wishes will happen, please don't cry over me. Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: The dead is tormented in the grave because of wailing over him."

"How can I not weep? You are my wife and I have loved you for over half of my life."

"If you love me, then l-let me go. Do as I would do, raise our child to be good. Let not my death ruin your life as it is my death that has brought this new life into this world."

The man's tears ran down his face in a multitude and fell on to his wife's face. She kept her smile as her heart was filled with hope and love. She leaned forward and kissed her husband one last time. "Allah has said, 'After every difficulty comes ease, Surely after every difficulty comes ease. Remember this, my love, and remember, La Ilaha Ilallah." Her eyes shut and her heart stopped. She was dead.

The man fell over crying on his wife. His loud sobbing awakened the baby who joined in on the waterworks. It wasn't until hours later that the man had finally stopped crying. He sat up and looked at his wife as he wiped away his tears. Even dead and covered in blood she was beautiful. The man stood up and looked outside. It was almost time for the morning prayer, Fajr. He picked up his wife's dead body and carried it outside.

He thought about his last lesson from his village leader. He was informed of the proper funeral process in Islam during his last visit to the pious leader. He remembered that washing the dead body prior to shrouding and burial is obligatory, according to numerous instructions given by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Preparing the deceased begins with the washing of the body.

As he recalled, the body was to be carefully laid on its back on a washing table. A large towel should be placed over the 'awrah (private parts, between the navel and the knee) of the deceased. Next, the clothing of the deceased was to be removed, cutting whatever is not easy to slide off. The joints were to be loosened, and slight pressure be applied to the abdomen to expel any impurities that are close to exiting. The private parts of the deceased needed to be washed very well.

He thought about the fact that a rag or cloth were recommended for washing the body and that the washing should begin with the places on the side of the body washed during wudu' (ablution). After completing the wudu, the hair would be thoroughly washed. Any tied or braided hair had to be undone. Next, the body had to be washed a minimum of three times. The final washing could have some perfume in it, such as camphor or the like.

Next came shrouding the dead body. He knew that is permissible for the deceased to be wrapped with one or two sheets. The preferable number is generally considered to be three, given that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was shrouded in three. The preferable color of the shroud is white. Though he wanted to use extravagant sheets to shroud his wife, he knew it was forbidden to be profligate in shrouding the dead. The sheets had to be ordinary cloth, and the number of sheets could not exceed three.

And finally after that was the funeral prayer. The man performed the two tasks by himself because he was the only living relative of Aminah other than her son. But when it came to the prayer, the man needed help. He hadn't been to the village in seven years. But now he needed the people there and decided to return. He knew that the reward and benefits for offering the funeral prayer was very great for both the deceased and the one who performed it. He wanted as much rewards as possible for his beloved wife Aminah.

The trip would take him five days. He looked at his crying child and picked him up. The child was silenced in the man's warm hands. He took it with him outside and sat it down so he could perform wudu. Afterwards he returned to the tent and began his morning prayer.

Immediately afterwards he returned to the tent to prepare to leave. He looked at the rabbits he'd captured. He sat them all next to a log of wood that was used as a table. He took out a small knife of his and went outside to sharpen it. He knew that the knife's blade had to be extremely sharp to ensure a quick death for the animal. And also, that it could not be sharpened in front of the animal, nor could the animal be slaughtered in front of other animals, and also that the animal's eyes and ears must be checked to ensure its health and suitability for slaughter. If it were deemed to be healthy, it was to be given water to drink (to quench its thirst). The animal then had to be stood to face the Kiblah (prayer direction.)

He followed these rules and took the log along with one rabbit outside. After trying to give it water from the small well outside his tent the man took the stunned rabbit to the log. He lay it facing the Kiblah and said aloud "Bismillah, Allahu-Akbar (In the Name of God, God is the Greatest)" and cut the large arteries in the neck along with the esophagus and trachea with one swipe of his underrated blade. This practice was done so that the animal dies with as little pain as possible as it would cause a quick death. Also so that the blood would be drained and the meat would be healthy and pure. He returned to the tent with the dead rabbit after skinning it and washing it out. He took his child outside with him and started a small fire to cook the rabbit.

While the rabbit cooked the man held his child in his arms. The look on its face caused the man to remember his dead wife and he began quietly crying. Later, when the rabbit was finally done the man pulled it out of the fire and placed it on the log. When it cooled down a bit he sat down to eat. "Bismillah," he said as he began to tear off a part of meat. He began to eat when his new son woke up and began crying. He hadn't thought about feeding the child.

With his mother dead nursing was not option for the child. He'd have to be fed some of the rabbit meat. So the man chewed up some of it and spat it out in his hands. He fed it to the child in small portions until the child was full and fell asleep again. Finally the man could feed himself.

Hours later, after the sun had risen, the man was ready to leave. He'd eaten, fed his child, and packed up the remaining rabbits. He carried Aminah on his back in the sheets she was wrapped in. His child was in his right arm and in a small sac he carried the rabbits. He headed out on a journey to his old village.

After hours of wandering through the hot desert sand, breaking only to pray, the man found himself at a perfect place to camp out. This was very fortunate because the baby was ready to eat again. Even more fortunate was the fact that there was a date palm right next to a small pool of water. The man walked to the tree and looked up to see if any of the dates were ripened yet.

To his luck they all appeared to be ripe. Unfortunately they were too high up for him to reach and he wasn't a good tree climber. So he sat his crying baby and his wife down and lie down under the tree. He thought about shaking the tree but knew he'd be too weak. He thought about cutting the tree down but knew that would take too long and require too much energy. Finally, he thought to throw something at a bundle of the dates and eat from that. So he searched about for a rock to throw.

After having found no rocks in the area he remembered the rock from the sky. He'd kept it in a pocket for good luck. "O magic star," the man said as he held the rock up to his face. "You have brought me great fortune before as you provided me with food. However new provision is needed and I know that you are the one who can help. So please, help me, bring me food!" He stepped back from the tree and aimed at a bundle of dates. He threw the rock and it spun and slashed through a branch carrying two large bundles of dates.

The dates fell and the man ran over to them. He searched through them for the rock and picked it up. "Truly you have brought me great fortune once more. You are indeed my provider of food, you are my very source of life!" he returned the rock to his pocket and took a bundle of dates over to his son and deceased wife. "O my darling wife, how I wish you were alive so you could share in this great fortune this star has brought me." The man pulled out of a date and smashed it up into a heart, which he then placed on the covering of his wife. He remembered his son and pulled out a few more dates. He chewed one up and spat it out to feed the baby with. He and the baby both ate to their fill and soon afterwards the man continued his journey.

Finally, after days of walking through the treacherous desert sands the man had reached the village of Moderob He was tired, exhausted really. But he rejoiced in the fact that he would finally be able to give his wife a proper burial. So he walked through the village road, carrying his wife and his son. The villagers weren't exactly lively but nor were they "dead."

The huts were short but wide. There was no grass about, only more and more sand. There was a well in the middle of the road that the man was walking down. Behind some of the huts rested cattle such as camels and oxen. The children were inside and the adults were tending to the animals, except a few who wee in line to retrieve water for the household. It wasn't the best living but certainly it wasn't e worst.

As the man walked down the isle, a villager recognized him even after all the years he'd be gone. "Raamiz?' he said to himself. "I-it's Raamiz, I don't believe it Raamiz has returned," he cried to his wife.

"Raamiz, Ibn Hussein?"

"That's the one!" the man replied. He and his wife ran out to greet Raamiz when they saw two large men dressed in all black and wearing large black turbans that were partially wrapped around their faces, just covering their mouths and noses. They stopped in their tracks and returned to their work. The men were guards, guards of the village elder. They were headed for Raamiz and the villagers wouldn't dare interfere with their work.

"You have been summoned," the darker one stated.

"M-me?" Raamiz asked.

Don't be foolish," the lighter one warned. "You know damn well we're speaking to you."

"You can come by choice or we can drag you," the darker one stated. Raamiz new better than to go the hard way. He went peacefully to the village elder's hut. At the entrance, the guards pushed him in and stayed outside. As soon as he stepped inside he was bombarded by a strange mix of smells coming from burning incense. The hut was large just as he remembered. It was filled with jewels and adornments both from his land and from outside.

"So," a familiar voice said from behind a table. "You have returned after all these years Raamiz?" Raamiz only gave him an angry stare. The man had his back turned and hadn't noticed Raamiz's angry face. "After what you've done to this village tell me why I shouldn't have your head chopped off right now?"

Raamiz muttered under his breath a reply. "What's that? Are you ashamed of what you've done? Were you quiet when you lead tat group of rebels to my father? Wasn't it you who commanded them against his authority? Was it not you that struck the final blow to his heart? I believe the answer is yes! You are a murderer and on top of that you turned my own daughter against me! Now tell me, why on Earth should I not have your head for these crimes?"

"S-s-sir you and I both know y-your father was an abusive tyrant. He was cruel and unjust to his subjects. He had the men killed fighting in useless battles and the women and children were suffering without any supporters in their households. I s-saved this village and you know it!"

"My father was never unfair to anyone! He was a great ruler and he kept our society in check! He kept us from being taken over by neighboring villages."

"By attacking them first! He killed innocent men; he burned down homes full of innocent women and children!"

"If that's what it takes!"

"He was a criminal and he had to be put down! Allah's Messenger peace be upon him said to fight against oppression and unjust rulers."

""Well what about turning my daughter against me? Surely there was no righteousness in that."

"I didn't turn her against you. You did. When she saw you becoming your father she wanted, nay, she needed a way out! And I gave her that! You were just too blind and lost in your sown problems to realize that!"

"Why have you returned?" the old man snapped back.

"It is concerning your daughter."

"I will not support her as long as she lives with you! If she needs money or anything else she'd better search elsewhere."

"Th-that's the problem. She doesn't live with me anymore," Raamiz said calming down.

"Ha! I knew she'd realize she was too good for a low life criminal and leave you."

"She didn't leave by choice. She-she- your daughter is- Aminah has died."

"What?" the old man said as he spun around to face Raamiz.

"She died from childbirth." Raamiz continued.

"My precious Aminah has died delivering your filthy child? This is unacceptable! You will pay the price for this! You have taken two of my most beloved family members from me!"

"It doesn't matter; do whatever you want to me. just as long as she receives her proper funeral so that she may get as much benefits as possible I am satisfied."

"So then it is settled, Aminah will have her burial and then you will be hanged and yours will follow hers."

"I have just one more request sir," Raamiz said looking at his baby. "What will become of my son?"

"He will be…err- taken care of. I will see to it myself."

"Thank you," Raamiz said still looking at his son.

"Sulayman, Abdul-Hakeem," the villager elder called. The two entered the room.

"Yes?' the two said in unison.

"Escort Raamiz to a hut, he will stay here for the night."

"Yes sire," the two replied. Raamiz followed the two out of the tent and down the road. As he walked down the road Raamiz looked at his sleeping son. O Allah, he thought in his mind. Protect my son from any harm this evil man may try to inflict upon him. When he looked up Raamiz saw before him a small tent. The guards told him to wait outside and they went inside. There was a loud fuss and great ruckus coming from inside the tent.

"But-but we've paid our due fees, honest," came a cry from inside the tent.

"Well Krejgib is not satisfied with it," one of the guards replied.

"But-but that's all we can afford; our best cattle have been sick we had to make due with another of ours."

"I suppose you expect me to care. Well too bad! You made a deal with Krejgib that your fees would be paid in milk and only the purest milk. You have not kept your promise so you will be relocated."

"Re-relocated? Wh-wh-what do you mean?" the frightened villager asked.

"Oh I think you know exactly what I mean!"

"Please, please no! I have children and a wife! They depend on me."

"Yeah well I've got a really sharp sword at hand and I'll slit your throat if you don't get moving now!" Suddenly Raamiz heard a mass amount of weeping and his heart felt as if it were bleeding. The guards pushed an old man from the tent and on to the ground. Raamiz looked down with pity on the old man and wished he could save him from the guards. But his active days as a hero, as he was once called, were over now. Things were different now; he was older. He became less agile, and he'd grown weaker.

"Get in there!" Sulayman yelled as he pushed Raamiz. Raamiz fell to the ground, and just barely saved his baby from hitting the floor. The fall woke the baby up and he began crying. The cries of the baby alerted everyone else in the tent and they stopped their crying. They were curious about Raamiz's arrival and his baby

"Raamiz tried to quiet his baby down but as is usual in babies, it wouldn't quiet down. The family members of the old man stared inquisitively. They didn't know why this man was thrown into their house. But they knew better than to object to the decision after it was made.

Raamiz said not a word to them. He stood up and walked to one of the corners. He took his wife off his back and sat her down. Then he and his son sat beside her. The boy continued to cry stridently; he was still hungry. The others were still staring at Raamiz as he tried to keep the baby quiet. Raamiz had already eaten the other rabbits during his journey. And he'd run out of dates a while back. He had nothing to feed his crying baby.

Soon one of the villagers realized his dilemma and left the tent. The others soon followed. When they returned they were carrying platters of food such as humus and along with rice and bread. They offered some to Raamiz who gladly accepted. He kept his back turned because the two women were not properly covered because they did not expect his appearance. He fed his son first, chewing the food as much as necessary first.

After he fed his son, Raamiz took a thin shred from the cloth the baby was wrapped in and pulled out his space rock. The rock was small and at the near the very op had a small hole. It still maintained its greenish glow and was still just as amazing as when Raamiz had first found it. He put the cloth through one of the holes and made it into a necklace.

"You were brought into this world and you caused troubles for your mother," Raamiz whispered as he looked at his son. "And so far your entire life has been brutal. And for that I am sorry. Your name will be Hazan, as it is you, it fits you. You will have many troubles in your future as you will not know your mother nor shall I be a part of your life, as mine is ending tomorrow. But, we will always be with you, your mother and I. You are my son, Hazan Ibn Raamiz, and you will carry this necklace to show that. I pray that Allah protect you from any harm that your grandfather my wish upon you. I pray that he will accept you as his grandson, or that you will grow to be a fine far better than he. I pray that somehow you will remember who we are, your family, and put Krejgib out of power; he is truly a cruel and evil man. And I pray that you will be the one to exterminate those who oppress from the earth by any means necessary. My son Hazan be strong." He held his son up and hugged him. He then placed the necklace around Hazan's neck. Tears fell down his face as he looked at his son. He knew that this was the last night he'd spend with him.

The next afternoon the funeral for Aminah was carried out. All of the villagers attended the prayer. But as soon as everything was done, Krejgib ordered preparation for Raamiz's hanging. "His funeral is next!" he shouted to the guardsmen. They went to Raamiz, who was praying, and waited for him to finish. After he'd finished they took him to a tree near the village. normally only criminals were hanged and the entire village would turn out to watch them because of the crime they committed. But everyone considered Raamiz as a hero, so they couldn't stand to watch him die. Only Krejgib, Sulayman, Abdul Hakeem and a few of Krejgib's servants turned out.

The rope was tied around Raamiz's neck and the other end to a horse carriage. It was pulled over a tree branch and tied so that when the horse ran Raamiz would be stuck hanging in the tree. The executor was reluctant to hang Raamiz but he knew it was his duty. Besides, objection wouldn't help Raamiz; it would only put the man as well as Raamiz in greater trouble. "A-any last words," the man asked as he tightened the rope.

Raamiz looked to his son in the crowd and looked up to the sky. "La Ilaha Ilallah," he said with a smile. His smile was only to anger Krejgib and it was working.

"Hang him," Krejgib shouted. "Do it now!" The crowd all looked at Raamiz. "And cast his son out of the village! I have no need for such filth; it is a disgrace to my name!"

"No!" Raamiz cried as he heard Krejgib's orders. "You said you would take care of him! He is your grandchild! You mustn't do this please Krejgib!"

Krejgib only looked at Raamiz's frightful face and laughed. "Not so bold now are you?" he said. "Hang him and get rid of the child now!"

As he was ordered, the man whipped the horse and it ran as fast as it could. Raamiz ascended up to the tree trunk in a painful way. His agony was evident as he struggled to break free but all was in vain. In his final breath, Raamiz whispered "my son, avenge me. Avenge me."

Hazan however, was on his way out of the village; courtesy of one of Krejgib's other guards: Omar. But Omar was a fool; one who enjoyed seeing other's suffering. So he wanted to see Raamiz hang. He rushed on his horse to throw the baby out of the village. Halfway there he came across a woman headed out of the village on her horse. He stopped her in her tracks. He offered her a small sum of money to take the baby with her so that he could return. She agreed and headed out with Hazan. Omar returned to watch Raamiz die.

He got back just in time to see Raamiz finally give way. Raamiz was suspended by a very harsh rope, which cut into his skin. Blood poured from his neck as his head fell limp. His entire body was just a large sack of bloody mess. That was the end of Raamiz, father of Hazan.