Member of the Writers’ Union of Uzbekistan
Death of the Sheikh
(Translated by the author)
The most respected person in the village, Sheikh Abu Abdulatif Ibrahim ibn Abdelrahman, went missing during a mudflow. It so happened that on that fateful day, the poor sheikh was carried away by a wave downstream of the Kashkaldak River and washed up on another sandy shore, and local fishermen found the Sheikh there. He was unconscious. After listening to the white beard’s heartbeat and realizing that he was alive, the fishermen brought him to their village, from there they sent him to the central district hospital for treatment. When he returned home in white clothes, with a white turban on his head, with a snow-white beard and the same eyebrows and eyelashes, the villagers thought that the legendary Khizr Aleikhissalam himself had come to their village, giving happiness to people who happen to meet him on their way. According to the legend, the thumb of Khizr Aleikhissalam doesnt have a joint bone. Therefore, a person who sees him and greets him, shaking his hand, should imperceptibly and quickly check whether his thumb has a bone. If his thumb is boneless, then this person is lucky: he can make a wish, and it will come true. He will get rich instantly. Such a legend exists among the people. Therefore, the villagers rushed in a crowd to Sheikh Abu Abdulatif Ibrahim ibn Abdelrahman, wanting to greet him and feel his thumb to find out whether he was with a bone or not. The first person who was lucky enough to feel the Sheikh’s thumb during a handshake turned sharply pale.
— What’s the matter with you, son, are you sick or something? Sheikh Abu Abdulatif Ibrahim ibn Abdelrahman asked politely. His eyes widened with surprise and delight, squinted like a hare, then having recovered a little, he quickly began to kiss the hands of Sheikh Abu Abdulatif Ibrahim ibn Abdelrahman, saying:
— Oh, hazrati Khizr aleikhissalam! I’ve lived my whole life dreaming of meeting you! I’ve finally met you! I know that you will fulfill any wish of a person! Help me with money, O great Khojai Khizr! I have recently become the most miserable and impoverished person on the planet! You won’t believe me, but my daughter will soon turn thirty-five, and I can’t marry her off! And my son is already forty-five, and he is also still not married! His peers will soon marry their children, and he, this idler, lies at home and watches tv from the morning to the evening, or until the electricity turns off. I tell him, you lazy man, go get a job like normal people, make some money for us! How much longer are you going to stay at home and eat the bread that I buy with my meager pension?! Do you have a conscience?! — No, he says. I am a free citizen of my independent country and I do not want to become a slave of other people! My son is absolutely a dissapointment! Although this may be a punishment from God! Karma, because when I was younger, I often beat my own father, an old man, grabbing him by the beard, similar to yours, when he did not give me money for a drink!.. So, hazrati Khizr, please give me, preferably two bags of money in dollars! American, of course.
— Son, who do you take me for? I am not Khizr aleikhissalam! I am your fellow villager Sheikh Abu Abdulatif Ibrahim ibn Abdelrahman, who was swept away by a mudflow! — said the Sheikh.
— Don’t be modest, khazrati khojai Khizr! Please. After all, I know your thumb is boneless. I learned this when I shook your bony hand in a friendly way! You are Khizr Aleikhissalam in diguise of our deceased Imam Sheikh Abu Abdulatif Ibrahim ibn Abdelrahman, who was swept away by a wave during a mudflow! — said the man that greeted Sheikh Abu Abdulatif Ibrahim ibn Abdelrahman.
Upon hearing this, a crowd of fellow villagers went berserk and attacked Sheikh Abu Abdulatif Ibrahim ibn Abdelrahman.
— Oh hazrati khojai Khizr! someone shouted. Give me at least one bag of gold and two bags of silver too! I’ve been working as a slave on cotton plantations for so many years and I can’t buy myself a car to taxi with, to engage in the transportation of citizens of our long-suffering Homeland!
— Give me some jewelry too, well, at least some diamonds, rubies and topaz, or overseas green money to buy an apartment in the center of Tashkent, oh good-natured and generous Khojai Khizr! My son is an inveterate drunk, he drank our house, and now the whole family lives in a farmer’s chicken coop and sleeps with cardboard boxes under him! — shouted another villager.
— Not her! Don’t give them a penny, hazrati Khizr aleikhissalam! I am the person who needs the most financial support! That’s how many years I can’t sleep peacefully on my cot, similar to a hammock, because I envy my neighbour, who built a two-story house with a basement! Give me money to buy a hacksaw! I want to cut the wooden beam of my neighbour’s balcony. I’ll do it at night when he goes out to smoke and admire the night sky of our village, where the full moon shines, forming a huge circle around him! — another man in a velvet dark blue skullcap, explained his problem.
Poor Sheikh Abu Abdulatif Ibrahim ibn Abdelrahman, frightened by the uncontrolled crowd, began to fend off people as best he could, waving his long staff and calling them to prudence.
— Astagfirullah! Astagfirullah! Oh, Muslims, I am not Khojai Khizr, and I cannot give you happiness! Happiness is given to people only by almighty Allah! I can explain my thumb not having a joint bone! When I was swept away by a wave during the landing, I broke my thumb, hitting a rock under water! In the hospital, to prevent gangrene, surgeons removed the bone from my finger and replaced it with soft rubber! — Sheikh Abu Abdulatif Ibrahim ibn Abdelrahman explained.
But in the confusion, the maddened crowd did not hear the words of Sheikh Abu Abdulatif Ibrahim ibn Abdelrahman. Everyone wanted to get to the sheikh and express their desire. And then the poor sheikh ran away, fleeing from the crowd. The crowd quickly caught up with the old sheikh Abu Abdulatif Ibrahim ibn Abdelrahman, covering him like locusts with its ominous black shadow. The villagers trampled Sheikh Abu Abdulatif Ibrahim ibn Abdelrahman into the mud like a frightned herd of wild mustang and killed him.
13 :18 of the day.
the city of Cambridge, Canada.