In the Hijri year 1122, C.E. 1710, the Minister of Colonies sent me to Egypt, Iraq, Hijaz and Istanbul to act as a spy and to obtain information necessary and sufficient for the breaking up of Muslims. The Ministry appointed nine more people, full of agility and courage, for the same mission and at the same time. In addition to the money, information and maps we would need, we were given a list containing names of statesmen, scholars, and chiefs of tribes. I can never forget! When I said farewell to the secretary, he said, "The future of our State is dependent on your success. Therefore you should exert your utmost energy."
I set out on a voyage to Istanbul, the center of the Islamic caliphate. Besides my primary duty, I was to learn very well Turkish, the native language of the Muslims being there. I had already learned in London a considerable amount of Turkish, Arabic (the language of the Qur'an) and Persian, the Iranian language. Yet learning a language was quite different from speaking that language like its native speakers. While the former skill can be acquired in a matter of a few years, the latter requires a duration of time several times as long as this. I had to learn Turkish with all its subtleties lest the people should suspect me.
I was not anxious that they should suspect me. For Muslims are tolerant, open-hearted, benevolent, as they have learnt from their Prophet Muhammad 'alai-his-salam'. They are not skeptical like us. After all, at that time the Turkish government did not have an organization to arrest spies.
After a very tiresome voyage I arrived in Istanbul. I said my name was Muhammad and began to go to the mosque, Muslims' temple. I liked the way Muslims observed discipline, cleanliness and obedience. For a moment I said to myself: Why are we fighting these innocent people? Is this what our Lord the Messiah advised us? But I at once recovered from this diabolical [!] thought, and decided to carry out my duty in the best manner.
In Istanbul I met an old scholar named "Ahmad Effendi." With his elegant manners, open-heartedness, spiritual limpidity, and benevolence, none of our religious men I had seen could have equalled him. This person endeavored day and night to make himself like the Prophet Muhammad. According to him, Muhammad was the most perfect, the highest man. Whenever he mentioned his name his eyes would become wet. I must have been very lucky, for he did not even ask who I was or where I was from. He would address me as "Muhammad Effendi." He would answer my questions and treat me with tenderness and with compassion. For he considered me a guest who had come to Istanbul to work in Turkey and to live in the shadow of the Khalifa, the representative of the Prophet Muhammad. Indeed, this was the pretext I used to stay in Istanbul
One day I said to Ahmad Effendi: "My parents are dead. I don't have any brothers or sisters, and I haven't inherited any property. I came to the center of Islam to work for a living and to learn Qur'an al-karim and the Sunnat, that is, to earn both my worldly needs and my life in the Hereafter." He was very delighted with these words of mine, and said, "You deserve to be respected for these three reasons." I am writing down exactly what he said:
"1- You are a Muslim. All Muslims are brothers.
2- You are a guest. Rasulullah 'sall-allahu alaihi wa sallam' declared: 'Offer kind hospitality to your guests!'
3- You want to work. There is a hadith ash-Sharif stating that 'a person who works is beloved to Allah.' "
These words pleased me very much. I said to myself, "Would that there were such bright truths in Christianity, too! It's a shame there aren't any." What surprised me was the fact that Islam, such a noble religion as it was, was being degenerated in the hands of these conceited people who were quite unaware of what was going on in life.
I said to Ahmad Effendi that I wanted to learn Qur'an al-karim. He replied that he would teach me with pleasure, and began to teach me (Fatiha sura). He would explain the meanings as we read. I had great difficulty pronouncing some words. In two years' time I read through the whole Qur'an al-karim. Before each lesson he would make ablution himself and also command me to make ablution. He would sit towards the qibla (Kaba) and then begin teaching.
What Muslims call ablution consisted of a series of washings, as follows:
1) Washing the face;
2) Washing the right arm from fingers to elbows;
3) Washing the left arm from fingers to elbows;
4) Making masah of (moistening both hands and rubbing them gently on) the head, backs of ears, (back of) neck;
5) Washing both feet.
Having to use the miswak vexed me very much. "Miswak" is a twig with which they (Muslims) clean their mouth and teeth. I thought this piece of wood was harmful for the mouth and teeth. Sometimes it would hurt my mouth and cause bleeding. Yet I had to use it. For, according to them, using the "miswak" was a muakkad sunnat of the Prophet. They said this wood was very useful. Indeed, the bleeding of my teeth came to an end. And the foul breath that I had till that time, and which most British people have, was gone.
During my stay in Istanbul I spent the nights in a room I had rented from a man responsible for the service in a mosque. This servant's name was "Marwan Effendi". Marwan is the name of one of the Sahaba (Companions) of the Prophet Muhammad. The servant was a very nervous man. He would boast about his name and tell me that if I should have a son in the future I should "name him Marwan, because Marwan is one of Islam's greatest warriors."
"Marwan Effendi" would prepare the evening dinner. I would not go to work on Friday, a holiday for Muslims. On the other days of the week I worked for a carpenter named Khalid, being paid on a weekly basis. Because I worked part time, from morning till noon, that is, he would give me half the wage he gave the other employees. This carpenter would spend much of his free time telling about the virtues of "Khalid bin Walid." Khalid bin Walid, one of the Sahaba of the Prophet Muhammad, is a great mujahid (a warrior for Islam). He accomplished various Islamic conquests. Yet his (Khalid bin Walid's) dismissal from office by 'Umar bin Hattab during the latter's caliphate chafed the carpenter's heart (2).
"Khalid", the carpenter for whom I worked, was an immoral and extremely neurotic person. He somehow trusted me very much. I do not know why, but perhaps it was because I always obeyed him. He ignored the Shariat (Islam's commandments) in his secret manners. Yet when he was with his friends he would display obedience to the commandments of the Shariat. He would attend the Friday prayers, but I am not sure about the other (daily) prayers.
I would have breakfast in the shop. After work I would go to the mosque for noon prayer and would stay there till afternoon prayer. After the afternoon prayer I would go to Ahmad Effendi's place, where he would teach me such lessons as (reading) Qur'an al-karim, Arabic and Turkish languages for two hours. Every Friday I would give him my weekly earnings because he taught me very well. Indeed, he taught me very well how to read Qur'an al-karim, requirements of the Islamic religion and the subtleties of Arabic and Turkish languages.
When "Ahmad Effendi" knew that I was single, he wanted to marry me to one of his daughters. I refused his offer. But he insisted, saying that marriage is a sunnat of the Prophet's and the Prophet had stated that "A person who turns away from my sunnat is not with me." Apprehending that this event might put an end to our personal dealings, I had to lie to him, saying that I lacked sexual power. Thus I ensured the continuance of our acquaintance and friendship.
When my two-year stay in Istanbul was over, I told "Ahmad Effendi" I wanted to go back home. He said, "No, don't go. Why are you going? You can find anything you might look for in Istanbul. Allahu ta'ala has given both the religion and the world at the same time in this city. You say that your parents are dead and you have no brothers or sisters. Why don't you settle down in Istanbul?..." "Ahmad Effendi" had formed a compulsive dependence upon my company. For this reason he did not want to part company with me and insisted that I should make my home in Istanbul. But my patriotic sense of duty compelled me to go back to London, to deliver a detailed report concerning the center of the caliphate, and to take new orders.
Throughout my stay in Istanbul I sent reports of my observations monthly to the Ministry of Colonies. I remember asking in one of my reports what I was to do should the person I was working for ask me to practice sodomy with him. The reply was: You can do it if it will help you attain your goal. I was very much indignant over this answer. I felt as if the whole world had fallen down on my head. I already knew that this vicious deed was very common in England. Yet it had never occurred to me that my superiors would command me to commit it. What could I do? I had no other way than to empty the drug to the dregs. So I kept quiet and went on with my duty.
As I said farewell to "Ahmad Effendi", his eyes became wet and he said to me, "My son! May Allahu ta'ala be with you! If you should come back to Istanbul and see that I am dead, remember me. Say the (sura) Fatiha for my soul! We will meet on the Judgement Day in front of 'Rasulullah'." Indeed, I felt very sad, too; so much so that I shed warm tears. However, my sense of duty was naturally stronger. bersambung.....