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.“I need you to be absolutely certain about this,” I said.“Confirm again.This could be a game-changer.Being a descendant of the first Caliph would be the most important thing to ever happen to me.”Ammi went to Pops and came back with the same story.“Pops thinks that his Pakistani birth certificate identifies his last name as Siddiqui.He dropped that name while growing up.”“So it really is true!” I hopped around my dorm room as Moosa looked on in amazement.“Hazrat Abu Bakr’s children moved from Mecca to Medina and then to Baghdad,” Ammi said, repeating what Pops had told her.“Then in the thirteenth century, when the Mongols were destroying the caliphate in Baghdad, they went to India.They settled down in Punjab.”I imagined dark-skinned Arabs with hook noses like mine, dressed in flowing white robes, packing hefty camels and horses on a majestic avenue in Baghdad during its melancholy decline.I pictured them leaving for Basra in the middle of the night, crossing into Persia, and then traversing the Khorasan region toward India, where they must have crossed the five rivers and settled on farmland in Punjab, off the foothills of Kashmir.My imagination still soaring, I could see them settled in their new area: they converted beautiful Hindu girls, married them, and had many children.Hundreds of years later came the Partition, during which their descendants lost everything and then, in the name of Islam, migrated to Pakistan.Now here I was, a member of that clan, child of the first Caliph, all the way in America.The vastness of the story filled me with romance.“Do we have a family tree?” I asked, returning to the present.“Pops hasn’t seen it, but he thinks his older brother in Pakistan has one that goes all the way back.”Triumphantly I began envisioning future encounters with Moosa and the guys.I imagined how, surrounded by a group of brothers, I would casually drop reference to the fact that I was a Siddiqui, a descendant of the first Caliph, and everyone would say, “Really? From the line of the first Caliph?” and I’d say “Yeah, bro!”—all in a very humble way, of course, because when you were an important Muslim, the best bragging was to pretend to be humble.When I hung up the phone I lay back in bed, jubilant.I was a Siddiqui, from the tribe of Taym, the Truthteller’s tribe, from the loins of the man whose intuition was so great that he used to decipher the dreams of the Prophet, from the family of that magnanimous merchant who freed the black slave Bilal, and thus a precursor to the Malcolm Xs of the world.My pedigree was steeped in Islam.Now it made perfect sense why Pops had made a mannat for me and why Ammi had rubbed me against the walls of the Ka’ba.I recalled that in 1258, even as the Mongols killed the last Abbasid Caliph, they wrapped his body in a carpet because spilling caliphal blood was forbidden even in the religion of savages.That was my blood.All of a sudden my life had meaning.Responsibility coursed through me.Having the blood of a Caliph meant, very simply, that I had to make certain I was a perfect Muslim.More than that, I had to accept that Islam was the perfect way of life.To do otherwise would be to demean my ancestors.In honor of my revered ancestor I dubbed myself Abu Bakr Ramaq.The name Ramaq, which meant “spark of light,” represented the passion I felt for Islam.3There were tangible steps a man took to express his love for his religion.I grew facial hair so that everyone would know up front that I cared about Islam.I began folding up my pants above my ankles so that everyone could see I practiced Islamic humility.I began inserting an alhamdulillah and subhanallah in almost every sentence.I spoke English with a slight Arab accent that I cultivated, believing that Arabs were the best of Muslims.I let everyone know that I was getting rid of my music collection and replacing it with tapes of Quranic recitation.I often quoted Ibn Taymiya’s proverb, “A thousand days of despotism are better than a single day of anarchy,” when some Muslim around me agitated for change.Further, what would be my love for Islam, the religion of mercy, the final message of God, the testament of total truth, if I didn’t guide the non-Muslims of the world toward its blessed shade? I felt an overwhelming need to invite people to Islam—to do da’wa.My first target was a Pentecostal girl named Rita, a fellow student at the university.She was a South Indian, and because her parents had already converted once—from Hinduism to Christianity—I figured she would be predisposed toward switching religions.Another thing that made her a good target was that she was willing to spend many hours talking to me.This was because she secretly liked Moosa, who refused to talk to women because they tempted him; by talking to me, she was at least able to remain in his vicinity.I was confident that by the end of the academic year she would be a Muslim and God would reward me by cleansing all my sins.It was important for me to be as innocent as possible, given my lineage.I started the conversion effort by trying to persuade Rita that Islam was the natural evolutionary advance from Christianity.I explained that the doctrine of the Trinity was illogical, pointing out that the idea of a single, monotheistic deity made much more sense.I told her that God and Jesus were separate entities, with God being divine and Jesus being just a prophet—a man carrying God’s message, similar to Muhammad.I pointed out that, in fact, according to the lost Gospel of Barnabas, Jesus had prophesied the arrival of a man named Ahmed—which was Muhammad’s alternative name—who would bring salvation to the world.Rita always listened to me, then—promising to “think things over”—called it a night [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]