Review of the Book : Return of the Pharaoh (Part 2)

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Review (Part 2):

The first thing al-Banna charged her to do was to intercede between Mustafa al-Nahhas and Ikhwan. One evening in February 1949, someone banged the door and said that she has to immediately arrange the leaving of al-Banna from the country as his life was in danger. She called her brother to make arrangements but she learned that his brother was arrested too. She had no choice, so she called al-Banna, and at that time, she got to know that He has been shot and was being taken to the hospital. Soon, they got news from hospital that Hasan al-Banna passed away. She became very sad and began to cry. Soon after, a decree to ban the Muslim Ladies Group was issued. With the help of Abd al-Fattah Hasan, a lawyer, they successfully consented this ban in court and was allowed to resume the activities. Ikhwan also resumed their activities under the leadership of al-Murshid ­­Hasan al-Hudaibi. Days went by and the real face of Nasir was becoming clear. Death sentences were pronounced to the giants of the Muslim Ummah, even the death sentence of great Mujahid Imam Hasan al-Hudaibi was declared. But before his execution, he suffered a heart attack and doctors told that He will not live for more than few days. So Hasan pardoned him. But it was the Allah’s willing that he became healthy again and played very important role in development of Ikhwan. Despite being taken to a military prison where he was subjected to the most dreadful and inhuman atrocities, al-Hudaibi remained firm following the path of truth.

            Zainab was in a great depression. She was recruited to serve Islamic da’wah without anyone’s invitation. She thought that she was responsible for all the screams of ophans, the tears of widows, and those fathers and mothers of the children who were killed by Nasir. She felt herself to be blamable for the lost, the hungry, the dispossessed and the hungry. After being so much in depression, she went to her teacher Shaykh Muhammad al-Awdan. She usually consulted him on his issues. Shaykh was very pious and pure in soul, He said to Zainab, don’t worry about all the past and don’t hesitate to give any help you can. Allah will always bless the endeavors. She followed his teachings and did all that she could to help others.

            The next encounter of Zainab was with Abd al-Fattah Isma’il during the Hajj season. She was on her way to Saudi Arabia with her brother Muhammad al-Ghazali. He introduced Isma’il as the dearest brother of Hasan al-Banna. Isma’il told her that he knew about the allegiance with Hasan. One day when she was in Makkah doing tawaf, Isma’il appeared. Zainab after completing her tawaf sat with Isma’il and he asked about the dissolution of the Ikhwan. The discussion continued behind the Zamzam building, near maqam Ibrahim. They both swore allegiance to fight and die for the sake of His Da’wah, and then after that, she returned to Egypt. They both usually met and discussed the issues and how they can again rise the name of Ikhwan. They took many measures which became fruitful in delivering the Message of the Prophet and the Holy Quran. Abd al-Fattah Isma’il made exploratory trips throughout the Egypt to gather the Muslims who were good in their deeds to work with them. Zainab informed the Murshid about any of their findings and difficulties. He always said that trust Allah and don’t look back in the past, and don’t be deceived by people.

Zainab was married at the age of 18, before the marriage she make a condition to marry with her husband. She said that there is something in her life that she wouldn’t share with her husband, nor he would ask about these things. So her husband would not bother asking her about anyone who comes to meet her, as she was trying to spread Islam. In 1962, Zainab and Isma’il met with Hamidah Qutb, the sister of Sayyid Qutb to seek instruction and advice concerning their research. Zainab took the book and Murshid approved publishing of the book, Fi zilal al-Qur’an, and said that this book has confirmed all his trust in Sayyid and he is now awaited hope of da’wah. Further certain important issues regarding Islam were discussed. It was decided that after 13 years of training and education to the youth regarding Islam, a survey would be conducted. If the survey revealed that 75% of the people were of the view that Islam is a complete code of life, then they would establish a Muslim state. Zainab knew that this definitely would take time but she was of the view that preaching true religion until death is the real goal.

            Zainab was being tried to assassinate, soon after six months, Sayyid Qutb was released from the prison. This time they were all aware that their meetings and other conferences were being seen by Nasir’s secret agents and others who were their enemies. They also knew that America and Secret Soviet Service agencies had presented reports to Nasir. Soon in early August 1965, Sayyid Qutb was again arrested, which affected the activity of Islamic Women Association. Abd al-Fattah Isma’il recommended Zainab to go to Alexandria and discuss with Murshid about the issues. In just 20 days span, hundreds of thousands of Muslims who were the bright future, including an 85 years old lady, Umm Ahmad, were arrested. Zainab knew that she was going to be arrested soon too. As expected, on 20th August, the depot’s man invaded her house. They began searching the house and creating all mess, they took her nephew, Muhammad Muhammad al-Ghazali. Next day they returned again and took Zainab too in Military prison. The Chief Prosecutor was very harsh to her and used very bad language. When she asked that her belongings, which were looted from her house by the despot’s agents, should be kept safe. They all laughed and said that they are going to kill her soon and that she wouldn’t need them anymore. She saw that an agenda which belonged to Abd al-Fattah Isma’il was being held by a man in prison, she got to know that Isma’il as well as other person whom she worked with were also arrested. She was then taken to the Room 24.

During her way to room 24, she saw all those people with whom she had learnt Quran and its tafsir and the books of hadith. These people were being harshly treated by the security agents. She kept shouting to the true followers of Islam, “Sons! It is a pledge of allegiance. Be patient, your reward is Paradise.” She asked for patience and contentment to Allah. The door to the dark room was opened, she was hurled inside, and the door crashed behind her. When the light was opened, she saw bunch of dogs which were kept there to harm Zainab. The dogs didn’t left a single part of body where they didn’t bite her. But Zainab remained steadfast and kept asking Allah for help. When after few hours, she was taken out of the room by the guards, thinking that her body would be bleeding much. They saw that there was not a single drop of blood. They were astonished as Allah has helped her for being remained steadfast and calm. She thanked Allah for such a mercy. She saw in Cell No. 2, the Crown Prince of Egypt, Muhammad Rashad Mahna. The Nasir regime believed that the Ikhwan would install him as Head of State if they took power, hence they arrested him. She was pushed towards Cell No. 3. There was very dim light in the cell that frightened her. She was not allowed to even go to toilet for ablution. She listened screams of her brethren. She invoked Allah, begging Him for His mercy. She cried for the butchers to torture her instead of these youth. From her grief and compassion, she kept asking for Allah’s help.

While invoking Allah, she slept without knowing. And when she woke up she remembered the vision while in prison. She was told in the dream by a man that she was going in the true path of Allah. She was in the prison for six days, and she wasn’t allowed to drink, eat or even go to toilet during these days. But she lived, this was all due the reason that she had firm trust in Allah and that vision, which was like food or a tonic from Allah which enabled her to live. On the morning of seventh day, she was given with a piece of bread and water which no one could even smell. She was then taken to a vast, dark room and ordered not move a single step. There, the guards gave three blank papers and told Zainab to write all those names who were in acquaintances with her. Instead of writing the names, she wrote that their aim is to spread Allah’s message and to call for the implementation of His rule. She wrote all the letter with the help of Allah, trusting that she had performed His Message. After sometime, Safwat al-Rubi returned and took away what she had written. After few moments Hamzah al-Basyuni, Director General of military prison, entered and said to the guards, ‘take her, there’s no hope for her’. She was then harshly beated and she went unconscious. When she regained her consciousness, she was in severe pain and bleeding. She remained in that condition for many days. No doctor, no treatment, nothing at all. One day she saw, from a hole in cell’s door, Imam Hasan al-Hudaibi and the Murshid al-‘Am. They have been arrested too. The tranquility was short-lived. One day Safwat entered the cell and took her violently to a dreadful room. There, one of the Nasir’s agent Sa’d Abd al-Karim, who said himself as prosecuting attorney came and said that these all calamities will be overcome if she speaks the truth about the Ikwhan’s plan of killing Nasir and sabotaging the country. She said that Ikhwan don’t want any harm to anyone but just to spread Islam. Another day, Zainab was visited by a person who told her he was from President’s office. He said that she could be the ministry of social affairs but in return she would have to confess everything that she was in favor of killing Nasir. He was trying to play a double game. He told her that other Ikhwan members has confessed everything and they have put all the blame on her. But she persisted on her decision by saying that she did not need any governmental post and she will fight for spreading Allah’s command of truth until her last breath.

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