A/N: This is a rewrite of a story I wrote in 2010. I lost the password to my old name; Lionheart811. Registered with it on an old email address. This is about the 9/11 Attacks through the eyes of several different people: The first chapter is told from the point of view of one of the hijackers. I will not name him to show that anybody could be driven down that path regardless of background, nor will I name the passengers or flight crew (except the pilot and first officer because pilots always give their names) out of respect because they were real victims.

Through the Eyes

Chapter One: Of a Hijacker

04:00 Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, Comfort Inn and Suites, Boston, MA

He was shaken awake lightly that morning by his comrade. The man opened his eyes, vision blurry. "Yalla, brother," the other man said calmly in Arabic. "It's time…" Rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, the man climbed out of bed and made his way to the shower to perform his ritual washing before the dawn prayer.

As he let the hot water run on his body, he just stood there, lost in thought. It certainly was time…after nearly ten years of planning and preparing; it was finally going to be carried out today. Allah's will was going to be carried out and timing was everything.

Once he was sure that not a single part of his body hadn't been washed, he stepped out of the shower and got dressed in everything but sock and shoes. The other man, who was waiting for him had seemed to be ready long before him. Both men reached into their suitcases unceremoniously and pulled out their prayer rugs, laying them on the floor, facing the direction of Mecca.

Both men raised their hands to the tip of their ears as the other man recited aloud, "Allah hu Akbar! Auzubillahi Minash Shaitan Ir Rajim. Allah hu Akbar! Bismillāhi raḥmān i raḥīm, Alḥamdulillāhi rabbi l-'ālamīn. Ar raḥmāni raḥīm, māliki yawmi dīn. Iyyāka na'budu wa iyyāka nasta'īn, ihdināṣ ṣirāṭ al-mustaqīm. Ṣirāṭ al-laḏīna an'amta 'alayhim ġayril maġḍūbi 'alayhim walāḍ ḍāllīn..."

As soon as they finished their prayer, the two men put their shoes on, grabbed their bags, and made their way out of the hotel. The sky was clear and the first signs of the sun were beginning to make an appearance, making it look like it was on fire. A pleasantly cool breeze blew in the man's face as he and his partner stood outside the hotel waiting for the shuttle to the airport. Three other people in business attire carrying bags soon joined them. "G'morning," a middle-aged man with a goatee said pleasantly.

"Good morning," the man replied with a half smile. His colleague simply nodded as his English did not extend beyond yes, no, hello, and goodbye. After about ten minutes, the shuttled had arrived. The passengers put their bags in the back of the van before entering. The man sat down heavily, his face expressionless as the shuttle drove off.

How did it all come to this, the man wondered. At one time, he had hopes of teaching math to high school students back home in his small hometown in Saudi Arabia, and now, here he was in America carrying out an important mission planned out thoroughly by Osama bin Laden and Khalid Sheikh Muhammad themselves. A mission would shake the foundations of the world forever.

Sighing, the man slumped back in his seat, remembering a time when everything was so much brighter. He remembered his hometown and the modest house in which he lived with his parents and brothers. He recalled the palm trees, the park where he would play soccer and fish with his oldest brother, Hassan. Being the youngest child in the family, he naturally formed a bond with the oldest one, whom he saw as a second father. Life in Saudi Arabia was better than anything that he could ask for. However, the situation in the rest of the Muslim world grew worse and worse. In Palestine, the Zionist occupation was tightening its hold over the land; the Americans had full control over the oil powers' assets and those… worst of all, the other Muslim countries were doing nothing to fight it.

It was when the man was in the university in Riyadh, that he had become involved in protesting the injustices done by the West. In 1988, Sheikh bin Laden, had made the declaration in his fatwa that to kill Americans and their allies, both civilian and military is the sacred duty of every Muslim who is able. That day changed him forever, and not too long afterwards, he left his comfortable life in Saudi Arabia and joined al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, a country left in ruins by those Russian kuffar. Bin Laden made good on his word, beginning with small attacks here and there in the early nineties. It was not until the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center that Khalid Sheikh Muhammad presented the idea of today's mission to bin Laden.

After many years of planning, preparations, and raising funds, the man was chosen to be one of nineteen aircraft hijackers and one additional reserve. He was so excited and proud to be a part of this mission from Allah. His family was proud to see him so involved in Islam but didn't know that he had joined al-Qaeda, nor his mission. His brother Hassan, however, knew something was off. One day in the spring of 2000, the man came to visit his brother who was now married with three beautiful children.

After a nice dinner, the brothers took the kids to the playground. As they played, Hassan looked at the man very seriously. "My brother," he began. "You've barely had any contact with us since you graduated from university. I know you've traveled a lot but I'd like to know where." The man looked away from Hassan, knowing that it was useless to pretend. Hassan knew him too well.

"Afghanistan." His brother's eyes widened at this statement.

"Afghanistan? Ya Allah, what possessed you to go there?"

"You know the situation, Hassan. You know what America and the Zionist occupation are doing to our Muslim brothers and sisters. I studied foreign relations at the university, as you know. If Muslim countries aren't being invaded, they're being corrupted by American influence. Look at our own country! This was the land of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and our own Crown Prince is living the high life selling oil to people who kill Muslims!"

"Shhh!" His brother held up a hand. It was illegal to criticize the Royal Family in any way. Royal Family indeed. They were an oil firm, not a family. Money-grubbing swine who took the land's resources and used it so they could live in luxury and hold the populace under their control. The man had even heard rumors that the Crown Prince had a healthy stock of alcoholic beverages. Well, Allah had a special place reserved for hypocrites and tyrants in the Hereafter.

Composing himself, the man continued, "Afghanistan is one of the places where I feel that I could do my part for the Ummah." Hassan blinked at that statement.

"You didn't join the Taliban, did you?"

"The Taliban?" the man laughed, shaking his head. "They're just a bunch of idiots who finger their prayer beads and try to make Sharia Law based on the Quran, when I doubt any of them know a word of Arabic. No, Hassan…it's a humanitarian organization. We simply offer food, housing, and education to Muslims who've been victimized by war and natural disasters. Outside Afghanistan, we already had operations in Somalia, Kenya, and Yemen."

His brother regarded him for a few moments. "I see," he said, though he didn't sound completely convinced. Turning his head to the swings, he called, "Jamal, Khaled, Amira, time to go home!"

"Yes, baba!" the three children responded laughing as they joined their father and uncle.

That was the last time he had seen his brother. Early the following year, he went to America on a worker's visa and kept a low profile. During his time in the US, he had held several minimum wage jobs and studied close-quarter martial arts, a skill he would need for this day. "Are you alright, brother?" the other hijacker asked. "You have to stay focused."

"Be quiet," he responded. The last thing they needed was to draw unwanted attention to themselves. Finally, the shuttle arrived at the airport. After checking their bags, the two men went through security without a hitch and took their seats at gate B32. The three other hijackers on their flight were already there, including their pilot, Mohamed Atta, who sat there with a blank expression.

The man found himself sitting there oblivious to the bustling of life and animated conversations resounding throughout the airport. After nearly ten years of preparing and planning, today was the day it was going to be carried out. Despite the lively cacophony, all he could hear was his own breath and feel the weight of what was about to take place. Shifting his gaze around the area, he surveyed his fellow passengers waiting to board the Boeing 767 outside.

He noted an elderly couple having a quiet conversation. Others included business travelers, young adults…all sorts of people who were about to embark on their last flight. Lastly, he met the eyes of his partners. Their leader, Muhammad Atta was lost in prayer, making himself right with Allah before carrying out His will. The others were sitting there just as lost as he was.

"Good morning," a woman's voice on the intercom rang out. "We are about to begin our primary boarding of American Airlines Flight 11, non-stop to Los Angeles. Now boarding those sitting in first and business classes, families with small children and all passengers in need of a wheelchair."

He didn't know exactly how it happened, but one minute he was sitting in the terminal, and the next, he was catching a last glimpse of the airport: the crowds in the stores and at other gates, before making his way through the jetway bridge. "Good morning," a flight attendant chimed with a smile. "Welcome aboard."

He sat heavily in his seat across from Atta, who kept a blank look in his eyes. Once the plane had filled up adequately enough, the pilot's voice rang out on the PA system. "Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. From the flight deck, this is your Captain, John Ogonowski along with First Officer Thomas McGuinness. On behalf of our flight crew, we'd like to welcome you on board this American Airlines Flight 11, non-stop to Los Angeles. We are looking at beautiful weather across the country, so we should expect a smooth flight. Estimated time to Los Angeles is five hours and thirty-five minutes, flying at thirty-five thousand feet, at five hundred and fifty miles per hour. We will begin push-back shortly. As we proceed with our departure, please give your attention to the flight attendants for an important safety demonstration. Whether you are a frequent flier or a first time traveler, you should give them your undivided attention and put aside all reading materials. At this time, all electronics, cell phones, and CD players should be turned off. We thank you for choosing American Airlines, and on behalf of the crew, we hope you enjoy your flight."

The hijacker laughed quietly at the irony of a safety demonstration. Whatever the flight attendant was saying wasn't really registering in his mind as the plane pushed back from the gate. All too soon, the plane was set to take off. The aircraft set off on the runway and the man held on tightly to his armrests. He gazed out the window as they took off from the ground for the final time, the city of Boston shrinking as they proceeded with their ascent. It was then that the man realized he would never walk on a city street again, feel the wind, or hear a bird chirping. Gathering whatever strength he had, he closed his eyes and began to whisper a prayer.

After the plane was airborne for a while, one of the other hijackers made his way to the lavatory to set up the bomb and the man caught the eye of Atta. Their leader simply made a sign with his hand to wait for his signal. They needed to finish the entire operation before midday, their brothers had to as well, and it was already past eight. Eventually, the bomber reemerged into the main cabin and made his way back to his seat. Atta firmly nodded, the man did the same, and the others followed suit.

A flight attendant was making her way down the aisle asking passengers what they wanted to drink. When she stopped by Atta, in a swift movement, he sprang to his feet, grabbed her by the throat, and drew his utility knife. "Allah hu Akbar!"

"Allah hu akbar!" came the response of all the hijackers rising from their seats. Cries of fear and confusion resounded throughout the cabin as the hijacker stabbed a passenger trying to stand up.

"Nobody move!" roared Atta and one of the other hijackers held up a switch for the passengers to see. "We have a bomb! Everybody remain in your seats and do nothing stupid! You'll only endanger yourselves and the plane! We are returning to the airport to have our demands met!" He pressed the knife lightly against the frightened attendant's neck. "Make sure they remain seated," Atta ordered three of the hijackers, including the man, in Arabic. He then turned to the man who'd act as his fellow pilot. "Yalla!" With that, they backed up towards the cockpit, the flight attendant still in Atta's grip. The man could not see what was going on, as he had his back turned, but he could hear. Atta was telling the flight attendant to open the cockpit door, but she refused. There was a woman's gasping and the sound of a body dropping on the floor. The flight attendant was dead.

The man didn't know how it happened, but the doors to the cockpit were forced open. There was shouting, and the plane rocked violently for what was only a few seconds, but felt like an eternity to the hijacker. However, once it was over, the plane was flying smoothly once again.

"We have some planes. Just stay quiet and you'll be okay. We are returning to the airport.," Atta said over the PA after a few short moments. "Everything will be okay. If you try to make any moves, you will endanger the plane and yourselves." The terrified passengers all sat frozen in their seats, some making calls to their families, some praying, some crying, others trying to calm their fellow passengers. Several minutes stretched by slowly and the plane began its descent but maintained its speed. The man took a quick glance out the windows. They were flying low over New York City. Other passengers took notice of this too because the man heard one mutter, "Oh, God, what are we doing in New York? We're flying way too low…oh, my God..."

At that moment, the whole world seemed to stop and time froze in its pace. All the man could do was look out the window at the looming tower drawing closer and closer. Closing his eyes and bracing the collision, the man muttered, "La ilhala il-Allah, Muhammad u rasul Allah." In a burst of flames, smoke, and debris, American Airlines Flight 11 struck its target; the North Tower of the World Trade Center. With them, the hijackers took the lives of all the passengers and crew on board and countless others in the site of the collision.