My friends had returned to London before I did and they had already received new commands from the Ministry. I, too, was given new commands upon returning. Unfortunately, only six of us were back.
One of the other four people, the secretary said, had become a Muslim and remained in Egypt. Yet the secretary was still glad because, he said, he (the person who had remained in Egypt) had not betrayed any secrets. The second one had gone to Russia and remained there. He was Russian in origin. The secretary was very sorry about him, not because he had gone back to his homeland, but because perhaps he had been spying on the Ministry of Colonies for Russia and had gone back home because his mission had been over. The third one, as the secretary related, had died of plague in a town named "Imara" in the neighborhood of Baghdad. The fourth person had been traced by the Ministry up to the city of San'a in the Yaman and they had received his reports for one year, and thereafter his reporting had come to an end and no trail of him had been found despite all sorts of efforts. The Ministry put down the disappearance of these four men as a catastrophe. For we are a nation with great duties versus a small population. We therefore do very fine calculations on every man.
After a few of my reports, the secretary held a meeting to scrutinize the reports given by four of us. When my friends submitted their reports pertaining to their tasks, I, too, submitted my report. They took some notes from my report. The Minister, the secretary, and some of those who attended the meeting praised my work. Nevertheless I was the third best. The first grade was won by my friend "George Belcoude", and "Henry Fanse" was the second best.
I had doubtlessly been greatly successful in learning Turkish and Arabic languages, the Qur'an and the Shariat. Yet I had not managed to prepare for the Ministry a report revealing the weak aspects of the Ottoman Empire. After the two-hour meeting, the secretary asked me the reason for my failure. I said, "My essential duty was to learn languages and the Qur'an and the Shariat. I could not spare time for anything in addition. But I shall please you this time if you trust me." The secretary said I was certainly successful but he wished I had won the first grade. (And he went on):
"O Hempher, your next mission comprises these two tasks:
1- To discover Muslims' weak points and the points through which we can enter their bodies and disjoin their limbs. Indeed, this is the way to beat the enemy.
2- The moment you have detected these points and done what I have told you to, [in other words, when you manage to sow discord among Muslims and set them at loggerheads with one another], you will be the most successful agent and earn a medal from the Ministry."
I stayed in London for six months. I married my paternal first cousin, "Maria Shvay". At that time I was 22 years old, and she was 23. "Maria Shvay was a very pretty girl, with average intelligence and an ordinary cultural background. The happiest and the most cheerful days of my life were those that I spent with her. My wife was pregnant. We were expecting our new guest, when I received the message containing the order that I should leave for Iraq.
Receiving this order at a time while I was awaiting the birth of my son made me sad. However, the importance I attached to my country, doubled with my ambition to attain fame by being chosen the best one among my colleagues, was above my emotions as a husband and as a father. So I accepted the task without hesitation. My wife wanted me to postpone the mission till after the child's birth. Yet I ignored what she said. We were both weeping as we said farewell to each other. My wife said, "Don't stop writing to me! I shall write you letters about our new home, which is as valuable as gold." These words of hers stirred up storms in my heart. I almost cancelled the travel. Yet I managed to take control of my emotions. Extending my farewell to her, I left for the ministry to receive the final instructions.
Six months later I found myself in the city of Basra, Iraq. The city people were partly Sunnite and partly Shiite. Basra was a city of tribes with a mixed population of Arabs, Persians and a relatively small number of Christians. It was the first time in my life that I met with the Persians. By the way, let me touch upon Shiism and Sunnism.
Shiites say that they follow 'Ali bin Abu Talib, who was the husband of Muhammad's 'alaihis-salam' daughter Fatima and at the same time Muhammad's 'alaihis-salam' paternal first cousin. They say that Muhammad 'alaihis-salam' appointed Ali, and the twelve imams, 'Ali's descendants to succeed him as the Khalifa.
In my opinion, the Shiis are right in the matter pertaining to the caliphate of 'Ali, Hasan, and Husain. For, as far as I understand from the Islamic history, Ali was a person with the distinguished and high qualifications required for caliphate. Nor do I find it alien for Muhammad 'alaihis-salam' to have appointed Hasan and Husain as Khalifas. What makes me suspect, however, is Muhammad's 'alaihis-salam' having appointed Husain's son and eight of his grandsons as Khalifas. For Husain was a child at Muhammad's 'alaihis-salam' death. How did he know he would have eight grandsons. If Muhammad 'alaihis-salam' was really a Prophet, it was possible for him to know the future by being informed by Allahu ta'ala, as the Messiah had divined about the future. Yet Muhammad's 'alaihis-salam' prophethood is a matter of doubt to us Christians.
Muslims say that "There are many proofs for Muhammad's 'alaihis-salam' prophethood. One of them is the Qur'an (Koran)." I have read the Qur'an. Indeed, it is a very high book. It is even higher than the Torah (Taurah) and the Bible. For it contains principles, regulations, moral rules, etc.
It has been a wonder to me how an illiterate person such as Muhammad 'alaihis-salam' could have brought such a lofty book, and how could he have had all those moral, intellectual and personal qualifications which could not be possessed even by a man who has read and traveled very much. I wonder if these facts were the proofs for Muhammad's 'alaihis-salam' prophethood?
I always made observations and research in order to elicit the truth about Muhammad's 'alaihis-salam' prophethood. Once I brought out my interest to a priest in London. His answer was fanatical and obdurate, and was not convincing at all. I asked Ahmad Effendi several times when I was in Turkey, yet I did not receive a satisfactory answer from him, either. To tell the truth, I avoided asking Ahmad Effendi questions directly related to the matter lest they should become suspicious about my espionage.
I think very much of Muhammad 'alaihis-salam'. No doubt, he is one of Allah's Prophets about whom we have read in books. Yet, being a Christian, I have not believed in his prophethood yet. It is doubtless that he was very much superior to geniuses.
The Sunnites, on the other hand, say that "After the Prophet's passing away, Muslims considered Abu Bakr and 'Umar and 'Uthman and 'Ali suitable for the caliphate."
Controversies of this sort exist in all religions, most abundantly in Christianity. Since both 'Umar and 'Ali are dead today, maintaining these controversies would serve no useful purpose. To me, if Muslims are reasonable, they should think of today, not of those very old days (3).
One day in the Ministry of Colonies I made a reference to the difference between the Sunnites and the Shiites, saying, "If Muslims knew something about life, they would resolve this Shiite-Sunnite difference among themselves and come together." Someone interrupted me and remonstrated, "Your duty is to provoke this difference, not to think of how to bring Muslims together."
Before I set out for my travel to Iraq, the secretary said, "O Hempher, you should know that there has been natural differences among human beings since God created Abel and Cain. These controversies shall continue until the return of the Messiah. So is the case with racial, tribal, territorial, national, and religious controversies.
"Your duty this time is to diagnose these controversies well and to report to the ministry. The more successful you are in aggravating the differences among Muslims the greater will be your service to England.
"We, the English people, have to make mischief and arouse schism in all our colonies in order that we may live in welfare and luxury. Only by means of such instigations will we be able to demolish the Ottoman Empire. Otherwise, how could a nation with a small population bring another nation with a greater population under its sway? look for the mouth of the chasm with all your might, and get in as soon as you find it. You should know that the Ottoman and Iranian Empires have reached the nadir of their lives. Therefore, your first duty is to instigate the people against the administration! History has shown that 'The source of all sorts of revolutions is public rebellions.' When the unity of Muslims is broken and the common sympathy among them is impaired, their forces will be dissolved and thus we shall easily destroy them." bersambung.....
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