Breaking Fajr: A Muslimah’s Twilight

Written by: Hamzah Moin

Zahra ran up the stairs sobbing. She plunged on top of her bed and wept into her pillow. Zahra was fed up. Marriage proposal after marriage proposal, Zahra was getting frustrated with the lack of quality Muslim men in her small town. “No mom, I’m not listening to any other offers right now!” she yelled from her room.

“Zahra! Don’t be stupid!” scoffed her mother as she entered Zahra’s room. Aunty Yasmeen was trying her best to get her daughter married but hasn’t had much luck. Smallstownburgh was surprisingly small so it was difficult to find Muslims, let alone any suitable guys for Zahra. Aunty Yasmeen recently started creating profiles for her daughter on all sorts of online Muslim matrimonial sites.

“Mom, for the last time I don’t want my picture being put on those sites! It’s filled with creepy guys!”

“But just this morning I received a “Salam” request from this doctor… he is 34 and – ”

“EW! Why not just look up pictures of dinosaurs and marry me to some of them? They’re probably better looking.”

Aunty Yasmeen bit her lip. “Yes, I think you’re right.”

Zahra and Aunty Yasmeen started laughing together. As much as the marriage process is frustrating Zahra, she still felt her own mother was her best friend. With Zahra being one of the most beautiful Muslim girls on the Eastern coast, it was natural for her to receive so many marriage proposals.

“Mom, thank you… I appreciate what you’re doing… it’s just that I really think all the guys have personalities that make werewolves look good… I may need to start looking out of state.”

“I see…” replied Aunty Yasmeen… her lips quivering. her eyes swelling with tears. She didn’t want her only daughter to move too far away.

Just then, the doorbell rang.

“Who could that be?” said Aunty Yasmeen, smiling mischievously.
“Mom… what are you up to?”
“Zahra, go get changed. Put on that pink suit that I really like.”
“Oh my God, mom! This is so dumb, I was born over a decade after this guy!”
“Oh, this is someone else… I arranged another proposal…”

When Aunty Yasmeen opened the door, she was surprised.

“Oh Zahra, it’s okay, it’s just your brother… he came back early from boarding school”
“Assalamu Alaikum…nice to see you too, mother.” sneered Abdul Wahab.
“Don’t sneer at your mother!” sneered Aunty Yasmeen.
“Sorry… I have just developed some strange quirks while I was at the school” said Abdul Wahab, his lips curling.
“How come you came back a day early?”
“There was a stupid school dance. It was filled with shirk and Haram girls.”

“Oh, you say that about everything.” said Zahra, as she came down the stairs, making the Guiness Book of World Records for fastest-getting-ready time for a female.
Abdul Wahab sneered at his older sister. “Good to see you too Zah”

Aunty Yasmeen started to do some last-minute cleaning of the foyer.
“I planned this marriage proposal as a surprise… so Zahra wouldn’t get stressed and so Abdul Wahab wouldn’t make the boy uncomfortable.”
“Well I AM stressed… what if he’s ugly?” replied Zahra.
“And I can’t wait to grill this doofus” replied Abdul Wahab.

Just then, the doorbell rang. Zahra felt a huge lump in her stomach, like a flesh-eating bacteria eating away her insides and causing her massive amounts of diarrhea. Luckily, it was just a feeling.

Abdul Wahab felt a huge lump in his fists… hoping for the right moment he’d be allowed to punch the suitor. It has always been a dream of his to punch one of Zahra’s marriage proposals for saying something stupid.

Aunty Yasmeen opened the door. They were in for a bigger surprise than they thought.

On the porch stood a tall, slender man. His skin colour was pale yet fair, as if he bathed in Fair & Lovely cream. He had a certain shimmer about him. His beard lined his jaw perfectly. His long black hair dripped behind his kufi and was shoulder length. His eyes were almond shaped and almond coloured. He even had an almond scent to him. He was ridiculously handsome. He was so handsome that even Abdul Wahab was lowering his gaze.

“Uh…” said the boy as he blushed profusely.
“Uh…” replied Zahra, as she blushed profusely.
“Assalamu Alaikum!” shouted Aunty Yasmeen happily. She ushered him inside and closed the door behind him. “This is Idris”
“Where’s your parents?” sneered Abdul Wahab. Aunty Yasmeen shot him a dirty look.
“Oh… my parents… they aren’t around anymore” said Idris.
The four of them stood in awkward silence for several minutes.

“My parents had immigration issues… they were deported back to Transylvania” he added.
“Hang on… wait a second” pressed Abdul Wahab.
“Yeah… I’m a vampire” said the boy.

Aunty Yasmeen’s eyebrows propped up.
Abdul Wahab’s lips curled up.
Zahra’s ears perked up.

“Get out.” shouted Abdul Wahab as he re-opened the door.
“No!” shouted Zahra.
Aunty Yasmeen smirked. Her plan was in affect. This was the first time Zahra actually seemed somewhat interested in a marriage proposal.
Idris’ face remained unchanged. “I didn’t mean to cause any trouble I-“
“No trouble at all Idris… please. Right this way.” chirped Aunty Yasmeen happily.
Abdul Wahab closed the door and gave a death stare to Idris. Idris brushed some hair over his eyes so he could simultaneously block Abdul Wahab’s death stare and play up his emo image.

The four of them sat in the living room… Abdul Wahab and Aunty Yasmeen were sitting on the long couch with Zahra while Idris sat on an armchair on the other side of the room. The room’s layout was uncomfortable for guests and almost seemed designed for marriage proposals.

Zahra’s heart was racing. Most of her proposals were from men who were out of touch with religion or valued peculiar culture tendencies such as demanding daily biryani meals or banning women from leaving the house. Other proposals were from men who were just plain ugly.

Idris seemed very different… he was quiet and extremely hard to read. Even Abdul Wahab had a hard time reading him. Idris sat there quietly… his mouth somehow forming a half-smile and a half-frown at the same time. Aunty Yasmeen was ecstatic about Idris’ fair-skin.

“So… what is it that you do Idris?” asked Aunty Yasmeen, hoping to break the ice.

“I’m a dreamer” replied Idris, his lips remaining in a half-smile, half-frown state.
Zahra sighed. “That’s so… dreamy” she thought as her eyes glazed over.
“That must have taken a lot of schooling… sounds like hard work” scoffed Abdul Wahab.
“I’m still in school… I’m doing my 13th degree… ”
Abdul Wahab nearly choked on the oxygen he was breathing in. “How on earth…”
“I’ve been in school for over 60 years”
“How old are you?”
“I’m barely over 80.”
Aunty Yasmeen looked over to Zahra, worried that she would simply collapse out of fright but surprisingly Zahra seemed unfazed.
“Wow… mashAllah. You look very healthy for your age” said Zahra, as she blushed profusely.
“Thank you…” replied Idris, as he blushed too but it was hard to tell as he still looked pale.
“You are older than my grandfather” said Abdul Wahab matter-of-factly. Aunty Yasmeen shot him a dirty look but she too was weirded out that her potential son-in-law was older than her own father.
“Shut up Abdul Wahab!” shouted Zahra.
“It’s okay… being a vampire has allowed me to live a long and pious life.”

Abdul Wahab shook his head. He didn’t like this guy. He didn’t like him one bit. He looked over at his sister who seemed to be turning pink from all the blushing. She was clearly into the guy… but Abdul Wahab looked worried. Idris seemed a little off.

“Okay vampire,” Abdul Wahab pressed, “if you want to marry my sister we have to know a few things about you…”
“How long have you been Muslim?”
“Just a quarter of my life… 20 years.”
Zahra’s eyes popped out at the answer. “Oh my… you’re a convert?” She started to fan herself.
Abdul Wahab continued. “And you didn’t give up your shirky vampire practice when you converted?”
“No…” said Idris, “Vampirism is not at odds with anything.”
“I find that hard to believe.”
“Think of vampirism as a culture. We have different customs and whatever conflicts with the religion we sort of leave out.”
“So when you eat people, you Zabiha slaughter them first?” asked Abdul Wahab sarcastically as his lip curled.
“I am a vegetarian. I only eat animals.”
Zahra perked up… “Oh cool… I only eat animals too.”
Abdul Wahab slapped his forehead.

Idris explained, “I looked up the fiqh when I converted and I found out that eating humans is Haram.”
“How unfortunate for you” sneered Abdul Wahab.
Idris shifted around in his seat.

Aunty Yasmeen gestured to Zahra to make tea. Zahra nodded and dashed out of the living room. Abdul Wahab shot Idris another death stare. Idris shifted around uncomfortably and moved another strand of hair over his other eye. It seemed like he was ramping up his emo-ness by covering both eyes.

“Oh… getting hungry for human meat are we?” asked Abdul Wahab.
“No… I-”
“want to eat my sister? We know that already”
Aunty Yasmeen gasped. Idris shook his head.
“I actually want to turn Zahra into a vampire.”
Aunty Yasmeen gasped again, this time even louder. It was the loudest gasp ever heard in the household. Abdul Wahab stood up to punch Idris but Aunty Yasmeen gestured him to sit.
“You see… Zahra has the scent.”
Aunty Yasmeen looked around puzzled. “Scent?”
“Mother, why is my sister wearing Haram perfumes in public?”
Idris shook his head again, as he shook his head his hair flailed around everywhere, ever-so-romantically.

“No… it’s a scent that drives us vampires wild.”
“Stop smelling my sister you freak!”
“We’re physically attracted to our prey! I can’t help it that she seems so succulent!”

Aunty Yasmeen coughed a little. Abdul Wahab sneezed a little. Idris smiled a little.
Just then, Zahra returned with the tea. It appeared she had eavesdropped the entire conversation an her skin colour seems to have matched her pink outfit.

“Let me get this straight,” said Abdul Wahab, “You are physically attracted to the things you eat?”
“Yes… and so the lion has fallen in love with the lamb…” replied Idris, ever-so-dreamily.
Zahra’ ears perked up. “What a stupid lamb” she sighed as she walked towards him with the tray of tea.
“What a sick, masochistic lion” replied Idris.
He stared at the shadows in the living room for a long moment, and Zahra wondered where Idris’ thoughts had taken him. They gazed into each other’s eyes for approximately thirty seconds. It was extremely uncomfortable for Aunty Yasmeen and Abdul Wahab who started to cough and sneeze uncontrollably to break the awkward tension.

“That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life” explained Abdul Wahab.
“No it’s not! It’s so romantic!” piped in Zahra.
“I’m sorry Abdul?” said a puzzled Idris.
Abdul Wahab smirked. “The lion and the lamb thing? It makes no sense. How is that even remotely romantic? That’s like saying frogs fall in love with mosquitos or chimpanzees fall in love with bananas”
“I just slaughtered a goat last week for Eid and ate it… and I had absolutely no intention to marry it or have goat babies.”

Idris looked dejected. Even as an 80-year old wise geezer, he seemed thick as bricks.
Zahra looked embarrassed. She despised her brother for ruining such a hunky proposal. Zahra came forward with the tea and offered it to Idris.

“So uh… how do you take your tea?” she asked.
“With lots of garlic” sneered Abdul Wahab.
“You realize that won’t kill me. I’m not like those other vampires.”
“Do you have any powers? Like turn into bats?” asked Aunty Yasmeen politely.
“I’ll show you”. Idris stood up and drew the curtains open, letting the sunlight pour in. He then proceeded to do something that shocked everyone in the room. He ripped off his shirt to reveal his sparkling body.

Abdul Wahab immediately went to grab his shoe and aimed it at Idris’ head. Aunty Yasmeen went to check on Zahra, who fainted in the middle of the floor. Even in an unconscious state, Zahra had a huge grin on her face.
When Zahra came to, she heard Abdul Wahab’s screaming. She realized her brother was yelling at her.

“Zahra! This is the third time one of your marriage proposals has ripped off their shirt.”
Zahra looked dazed. “But the first time one sparkled” she murmured.

Idris looked concerned for Zahra as he buttoned back his shirt. “Zahra… I’m sorry…”
“You are a complete idiot, you know that? What sane girl would actually fall for someone like you?” said Abdul Wahab matter-of-factly.
“I’m on team Idris” said Zahra dreamily.
“Did you put a spell on her or something?!” shouted Abdul Wahab.
“No… I think our hearts are already connected… I sparkle in sunlight.” said a smug Idris.
Suddenly, Abdul Wahab lunged towards Idris.
“NO!” shouted an obviously love-stricken Zahra.
Aunty Yasmeen was shocked and tried to stop Abdul Wahab. Idris let out his scary yet fake-looking vampire teeth.
But Abdul Wahab surprisingly wasn’t going in to punch the vampire… he was checking Idris’ pulse.

“Just as I thought… nothing. You have no pulse. No heartbeat.”
“So?” asked Idris.
“So it’s time to pray”
Aunty Yasmeen and Zahra were confused. “It’s not prayer time yet” said Zahra.
Abdul Wahab shook his head. “No… we’re going to pray a janaza prayer. Your potential husband isn’t even alive. He is obviously dead and needs a janaza prayer.”
Idris looked uncomfortable.
Abdul Wahab smirked. “I looked up the fiqh and marrying a dead guy is Haram.”
Zahra started crying.

Idris began to show his temper. “Listen, you obviously seem like you’re the alpha male of the family and-”
Aunty Yasmeen bit her lip. “Actually my husband is…”
Idris looked shocked. “Where is he? I’m sure he’d be a much more pleasant questioner than his son here…”
Aunty Yasmeen bit her gums. “He’s no longer with us…” Tears started filling her eyes.
The room was filled in another uncomfortable silence for five minutes.
Aunty Yasmeen bit the inside of her cheeks. “He just left last week to work a new contract in Saudi Arabia.”

Idris stood up. “I think I should leave.”
“Oh, but you two are so perfect for each other. A dead guy and a zombie girl… she has no brain.”
Zahra and Abdul Wahab started bickering some more. Aunty Yasmeen stood up to show Idris out.
“You’re a nice old… I mean young man” explained Aunty Yasmeen, “and we’ll call you after doing some thinking.”
Idris’ hair waved his hair all over the place one last time, said his salams and departed.

Abdul Wahab looked back at Zahra… who was still sobbing. He felt bad… “Listen Zah, if it makes you feel any better…. I got bitten by a werewolf last week.”
“WHAT?” shouted Aunty Yasmeen.
Zahra looked up… she saw the sadness in Abdul Wahab’s eyes. “What? I’m sorry brother… I didn’t know…”
Aunty Yasmeen started to call the police but then hung-up and called animal control, hoping they’d be able to help her son.
Abdul Wahab continued. “I don’t think I’ll be able to get any girls anytime soon… I mean what kind of girl would love a werewolf?”