There was a mosque near Makhzun’s house. Nine-year-old, he came back from school by noon, stood on the threshold, and met and greeted everyone moving along to Friday-prayer. He only observed such a crowd on this day. His father used to work until eleven that day, and he came home to take a bath and went to the mosque, too. After the prayer, he returned home and told Makhzun and his mom what the imam was beautifully preaching about this time. Makhzun always wanted to attend Friday prayers, but his parents did not permit. Like his school director, whom Makhzun has never seen on the way to the mosque, they explained that young boys and girls need to read books and do lessons at home. Home was the only place for children to learn something about their faith.
At school, he made friends with Khayrat, who had a young sister. His father, as Makhzun’s mother told, was sentenced to a long term in prison for illegal religious activity. Makhzun did not know what that meant. But when he visited his classmate’s house to hand over hot breads and food his mother asked to pass, every time he had seen Khayrat’s mother shedding bitter tears and Khayrat and his young sister consoling her. They lived alone in a small house. Makhzun was told that Khayrat’s mom was fired from her work because of her husband.
Ghayrat-aka, Khayrat’s father, was a tall man, looked very intelligent and wise. As Makhzun remembers, he loved his own kids and the children in their neighborhood. He had a mini van and often took all of them to a short tour around the small city, bought ice-creams and sweets to them. He also remembers how he helped his father to bring a sofa in his van and took his mom to a hospital when she felt bad one night. The only rumor Makhzun heard from neighbors here and there was that Ghayrat-aka studied somewhere abroad, worked in an international company, and made cooperation with foreigners that was considered to be an ideological threat to their motherland…
One week before Eid, Makhzun and his parents visited his grandparents in a village. His grandfather told him that one who prays for someone during the Eid-namaz, he will be blessed and God would help him. And Makhzun waited for Eid to come incessantly.
On Eid, Makhzun wore his good clothes. He knew his father would not let him go to the mosque; therefore he waited for him to leave earlier. There was a big crowd heading to Eid-namaz that day. Makhzun wanted to approach the mosque, but there were policemen in uniform standing in every corner and checking and banning children from entering.
Makhzun thought he could enter the mosque from behind. The mosque had a small yard with bigger trees. Thin branches of one of the trees were seen from the wall. But the wall was much higher than Makhzun’s height. So he had to act quickly. He hardly jumped up the wall and reached a small dry branch. People saw him descending with dirty clothes; they nodded, but pretended that they saw nothing. In a minute, Makhzun was sitting in a row ready for Eid-prayer.
He was the only child in the mosque. He was the only kid praying for the soonest release of his friend’s father, as well as for everyday joy and smile in his friend’s house. He was the only schoolboy there asking God for mercy, peace and happiness in the entire world. His clothes were all in dust, but his prayers, his thoughts and dreams were clean, pure, transparent…