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Timbuktu 1

Najati Al-Bukhari

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

1) Days have passed and the members of the family in the farm-house were accustomed to see the black woman living and moving around them in the various halls, in the corridors, in the bedrooms, in the kitchen and in the bathroom. Yet, with the passing of time nobody cared to ask about the details of her life before she joined the farm-house as the second wife of the farmer of the quarter.

The black woman was part of their daily life and she was almost integrated in the total family activities. Without her, life would have been considered as incomplete, unpleasant and even as lacking its lively spirit. The other three wives and the three concubines as well as the sister of the farmer considered the black wife as the twinkling star in the farm-house.

During the day time, their eyes and ears followed her incessantly everywhere in the house. They were expecting that new developments might have been taking place in the charming personality and in the enchanting behavior of the favorite wife of the farmer.

It should be mentioned that the black woman was the second wife of the farmer and that after her he got married to two more wives and three concubines. Yet Jawhara was in fact the centre of attraction in the whole house and no woman could compete with her being the favored member of the husband.

Nothing new and unfamiliar was observed in the personality and in the behavior of the black wife with the exception of the increase in the duration of the mental evasion crisis. Women of the house, who were observing the black women, began to use between themselves, and in their private conversation and in the absence of the husband of all, the farmer of the quarter, the word crisis or dilemma or plight, when they spoke about the mental evasion of the black woman.

The frequent and the repeated mental escape of the black woman was considered by the women of the house as a crisis and sometimes a dilemma because the black woman began to produce, since a recent day, some sort of a noise while she was in a mental evasion. Several women of the family heard Jawhara saying some words that were not understood by any member of the family while she was in a mental evasion.

The women around Jawhara sometimes thought that the black woman was, in a sense, bewitched. They have heard recently of certain cases of bewitched women of the various ages belonging to all social classes. They heard that these bewitched women fell on the ground unconscious for a certain period of time with foams of saliva coming out of their mouths. They have heard that these women could not be awakened except by certain religious rituals carried out by certain kind of old women specialized in this art of sorcery. It should be mentioned that the sorceress of the quarter never intervened in such cases.

Nobody could understand what the woman in a prolonged mental evasion was saying. A single mental evasion in its new form continued for a considerable time, perhaps for few minutes, two to five. This long duration mental evasion took place mostly in meals time, lunch or dinner, and in most cases in the presence of the husband.

Talking while in evasion and mental escape was for all the family members a puzzling and mysterious development. Was she talking to herself or was she talking to an invisible creature that could not be seen by others?

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© 1980-2017 by Nawaf Al Bukhari, Amman-JORDAN and Dubai-UAE

Look over there. She is about to fall down on the ground. I think she is about to have a crisis of mental evasion. I think it never happened that she had this mental evasion while she is walking. said Suha to the first wife.

Really, it is strange. She is in her way to her bedroom. I think she would fall down on the door-step of the bedroom. Let us go and help her go to her bed before falling down. said the first wife.

No! No! Let us let her fall down. She prefers this rather than helping her and prevent her from having the mental evasion. said Suha, the youngest wife.

Nonsense, why should we let her fall down and get harmed. She might fall on her head. Then nobody could help her. said the first wife.

No!! No! You do not understand me. She would not fall down at all. She would sit down before having the mental evasion. She would murmur something to herself. Let us leave her to herself. She is now in a world of her own, in a world of fantasy. Maybe she is seeing something, somebody. Maybe, she recalls events that occurred to her years back in her early childhood. said Suha.

Look over there. She is already sitting down. Look over there. She opens her mouth and smiles and smiles again. Listen, she whispers something. This is very strange. I am sure she is bewitched and nothing else. said the first wife.

I am sure you are just imagining things. We should be certain that we know nothing of what goes on in herself, in her spirit. I propose to leave her to herself until she comes back from her mental evasion. said Suha.

2) No answer could have been provided to whether Jawhara was talking to herself or to an invisible creature, to an unseen spirit. The women of the farm-house could not know the secret and the mystery not until the black woman herself told them something about the secret of her murmurs, of her whispers and of the phantoms and spirits with whom she was communicating. Was Jawhara, the clack woman, living in another world, in a different world from that in which the others were living?

Another important question could be raised. Was Jawhara herself aware of this self imposed communication and conversation during her mental evasion? Practically all of the women around her, including the sister of the farmer, firmly believed that Jawhara was not aware at all of what she was saying during the mental evasion.

The farmer, the husband, was most of the time amazed and puzzled when his favorite wife whispered to herself while she was having her mental evasion. Nobody dared to ask her about this new development in her behavior and her general mental condition. They left her to herself hoping that one day in the future she would come back to her normal state of mind. They thought that very soon she would stop having this crisis of mental evasion.

Suha, the youngest of the wives, was concerned about this mental and behavioral development happening to her friend, the black woman. Before she had the mental evasion crisis, the black wife was very open and frank when talking to Suha. But now, during this period of mental evasion, the black woman stopped talking to the youngest wife intimately. It was only in matters of daily life that the two women talked to each other and in a very reserved way.

All the others, the other wives, the concubines and the sister of the husband, noticed this new development in the relations between Suha and Jawhara. Of course, they found this new development of relations between the two women as normal because the black woman was probably living in a world of her own. All of the others asked. Was she a bewitched woman?

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Yet, Suha, in fact, has been getting a lot of information about the family life and the childhood of the black wife. It was well known that Jawhara was a daughter of a peasant family. Although she had several sisters and brothers, it was reported that the little girl was, more or less, different from all the other children.

As a child, the black woman played less in the courtyard with the other children of the neighborhood. Most of the time, she kept herself in the house just to keep herself close nearby to her mother. In her childhood, Jawhara rarely went out of her house. She showed inclinations for preparing herself for her future life as a wife, probably in a family where the members, the wives, the husband as well as the children were living harmoniously and in peace.

When Jawhara, as a child, had the chance of going outside the house, she had the habit of keeping herself away from all the children. Nevertheless, the little black girl played from time to time with the other small girls and boys of the neighborhood.

Sometimes, she went away from the group of children with whom she was playing and she stood for a while facing the plantation fields and contemplating there the whole fascinating scenes of crops of wheat and barley.

Jawhara, frequently, as a little girl, stood there at the edge of the green landscape, looking at the wide green fields and watching the small flying birds in the sky and listening to the whispering spring morning wind passing by her black cheeks and her small ears. So often, the little black girl sat down on a small black stone so as to be able to stay there for a quite long time. The small black girl was fascinated by the running water over there in the Holy River and in the Valley of the Holy Spirit.

Other children noticed her continuous escape to the wide open landscape and her efforts to be far away from the children and their games and all kinds of recreational activities.

Jawhara, as a child, was well known for her beauty and her lively spirit. She was more fond to see and observe others playing than to participate herself in these games and recreational activities.

Her mother was fond of her and she used to give her little daughter more time than she gave to her other children. The mother of Jawhara was noticing that there was something special, particular and unique in her.

It was reported that Jawhara walked and talked earlier than her other brothers and sisters. It was said that she, as a small girl, helped her mother in home management activities more than her other little sisters. With the passing of time, the little black girl got accustomed to spend most of the morning time in offering help to her mother in the house keeping activities.

The father of the family of Jawhara preferred her to all his other children without exception. He constantly gave her more attention and care. He had the feeling that she would have a better and a promising future than the other brothers and sisters of the family.

When the father used to come back from his daily work in the plantations fields he always asked about his little girl, Jawhara, and enquired whether she was very well and whether she was taking her meals regularly. He was very keen and enthusiastic to see his little daughter in good health and well dressed. The father persistently discussed all matters related to the well being of his daughter Jawhara in the evening with his wife. The father was keen to see his daughter happy, joyful and cheerful.

3) "Don't you think that it is time for Jawhara not to go outside to play with others, I mean with the other children of the neighborhood?" said the father of Jawhara.

Why do you ask me this question? For a little small girl of her age, it is still early to be kept inside the walls of the house. I hope you will consider the matter more closely. Our neighbors would ask why we incarcerate behind the walls our daughter at this early age of six years, answered the mother of Jawhara in a sad tone.

Why should we care for what others say; especially our direct neighbors. After all, she is our daughter. Isn't it so? Why should we behave in accordance with the expected comments and gossiping of others? said the father in a surprised disposition.

I say it is only a little bit early to keep her behind the walls. Let us wait at least two more years when she becomes of an age which allows her to help me. Now I am not in need of her help, reiterated the mother.

No! No!! I do not agree with you at all. Do you understand this, my position? Don't you see her beauty and charm? She is different from the others. She has a very rare and special beauty. I do not see any other girl in the locality of her age who equals her in beauty, in attractiveness and in charm, said the father calmly.

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I know she is beautiful. I am her mother. You don't have to tell me that. I can see she is a charming little girl. But this does not mean that we should imprison her as people do up there in the urban parts of our community. Here, in this Valley of the Spirit and on the Eastern Bank of the Holy River, we are different. There is no justification to imprison Jawhara at this early age. She should play with her little friends, the girls and boys of the locality. We could see them every day playing together in the courtyard, answered the mother.

I told you once that our little daughter, Jawhara, should learn all the home management duties from an early age. We should prepare her differently. Sometimes I have the feeling that her future is different from that of the others, I mean the other girls of the locality. I think we should bring her up differently because she is different.

You know I have sometimes the feeling that Jawhara would in the future be the wife of a well known dignitary of the community. I see visions in the night, something more than a dream, that our daughter, because of her extraordinary beauty, would attract the attention of high class families.

A man of a pure white complexion would be attracted by her beauty and he would immediately make indirect contacts to know whether she would be available for marriage. You know we have to wait for more years, at least ten more years. By then our daughter would be the most beautiful and the most attractive girl. A white complexion dignitary would certainly come to ask for her hand. My daughter is a rare, very rare jewel. She would be the star of attraction of our universe, said the father in an excited manner while his wife was gazing at him in astonishment and amazement. She could not add anything. She could not make any comment. She let her husband be immersed and absorbed in his fantasy and in his imagination. After a pause on the part of the wife, she said:

Still we have ten more years to wait. Imagine what would happen from now till ten more years. According to your theory a prince may present himself to us, the peasants, the rustic and the provincial family, asking the hand of our beautiful black girl, Jawhara. Like you sometimes, I have the feeling that this girl of ours will have a different future, a totally different destiny. But I never told these fantasies and day dreams to others. However, we are not sure at all. You and I are trying to create this possibility and this special destiny.

Yet keeping her incarcerated in the house has nothing to do with this destiny and with this future. Why should she have a different future? I ask myself very often this question. Always I ask God, the Al-Mighty in my prayer of the Dawn, to protect our daughter, Jawhara. I hope you do the same in your daily five prayers. Of course, we pray also for our other children, and we have many of them, but Jawhara has a special place in our family. Our neighbors have noticed that we give special attention to our beautiful daughter, Jawhara. 4) Jawhara began to live her life of incarceration inside the walls of her family life when she was six years old. It was the tradition in the urban parts of the community to keep girls and women inside the walls of the house. In the rural parts in most cases women had to go outside the walls of the house so as to work in the fields or carry out some other duties for the sustenance of the family. The rural family of Jawhara treated her as if she was living in the urban part of the community. One day of a severe cold winter the mother of Jawhara told her daughter that she was forbidden to go outside the house to play with the other children of the neighborhood locality. Jawhara knew that girls of her age of other families in the Valley of the Spirit were still allowed to go out and play with the other children of the locality. Jawhara did not know why her parents forbade her to go outside of her house. Was there a difference between her and the other children of the neighborhood? Why did her father prevent her from leaving the house? Why did he ask her to stay all the time in the house and to do her best in learning from her mother all the tasks required from a mother and from a wife? Jawhara did not say no and did not argue either with her mother or with her father why she should be prevented from leaving the house. While moving in her small house of two rooms, Jawhara could see how the others, the other girls, were outside the walls of their houses and how they were playing freely and joyfully in the courtyards of their houses. When Jawhara was a child she was kept in the house and thus she was not only prevented from playing with her friends but also she was prevented from going to the local mosque school of the locality. Several girls of her age were frequenting this traditional school to learn reading, writing and reciting some verses of the Holy Book while she was not allowed to go to such a school. Therefore, she remained illiterate. She was not aware at all of her being an illiterate girl and that by her incarceration she lost all chances of knowing some basic principles of reading and writing. Of course, not all small girls of the Valley of the Spirit were given this opportunity of being literate. Still, Jawhara did not complain about being kept all the time, night and day, within the wall of her small rural house. She neither asked her mother nor her father about the reasons for her incarceration in the house of the family. She accepted her destiny. After she was accustomed to stay for the whole day inside her house she came to realize that there was a specific reason behind this special and extraordinary treatment. She asked herself several questions. Why should other children play and enjoy their time outside their houses and why should she be kept in the house incarcerated or even sequestered? Why could other little girls go to the mosque school while she should learn home management duties from her mother in the house? Of course, Jawhara could see inside the house her other sisters, who were older than her and who worked inside the house and who were satisfied with their life of incarceration within the walls of the house. But yet Jawhara noticed that she was treated differently by her parents. She was different and she was to have a different destiny from that of the other girls of her family and those of other families in the Valley of the Spirit. In fact, the parents decided since Jawhara was six or seven years old to prepare her in the future to get married to one of the dignitaries of the community. The parents of Jawhara saw in their little daughter as a possible wife to a man of non-black complexion, brown or white, who might have been already married to one or more than one wife. It was the tradition in some of the higher class families in the community to get married to a black woman. It was a source of pride when some of the dignitaries of the community got married to a black girl. The parents could see that their little daughter, Jawhara, was beautiful, charming and attractive and that when grown up she would become a very lovely young black girl. However, the little black girl did not know that she was destined to be married to a dignitary, a rich man, a land-lord or a nobleman. She did not know that she was destined to be a wife of somebody whose skin would not be black like hers. Two of her four sisters were married to black men, while the other two were waiting to get married to men of the other race, the white or the brown. Of course, there were very few black families who were permanently living either in the Valley of the Spirit or in the community as a whole. Frequently, some of the young black girls used to be made available by their parents to work as maids in the local community quarters. Several of the well-to-do families in the quarter of the farm had employed young black girls as maids. Most of these black maids got married within their own race when they came to age. Yet, some of these maids got married at a late age of thirty years or more. 5) Jawhara was destined to be married to one of the dignitaries of the community. This was the wish of the parents, the father and the mother. The parents made it known to all the people concerned that this beautiful and charming daughter was available for marriage outside her black race. It was not until Jawhara was twelve years old that she knew what was her destiny. The wish and the decision of the parents that she was to get married to a white man was communicated to Jawhara when she began to have the regular period and was considered an adolescent and even a young woman. Jawhara discovered one day that she was not destined to marry a man of her race, a black man, but she was to marry from a very well known man who was not of a black skin but who would be either of a brown or a pure white complexion. Jawhara was immediately shocked to hear that she was to marry outside of her black race. She was not aware at all during all her childhood and when she was a little girl that she was destined to marry a white colored man. She never thought that it was possible to be married to a white man. Previously and before having the monthly period she only thought that she would be marrying within her own beautiful color. Jawhara, when she was a small girl, was constantly proud of her being black. Jawhara was always so proud of being black to the extent that she did not understand how a girl like her could not be but black. The black color of her skin was for her a source of pleasure, joy and happiness, arrogance and self exultation. Her blackness fascinated her and her curly and frizzy hair has unceasingly made her proud of this black crown that decorated joyfully her head. She constantly looked at her teeth in the mirror and she found them like beads of pearl everlastingly shining and glittering. In general, Jawhara was sure of her being beautiful, very attractive and that her black color constituted a main component in the factors that made up her beauty. After the age of thirteen years, Jawhara was told, in an absolute manner, that she was destined to be the wife of a dignitary of the community. She accepted the decision of her parents although she did not know who would be her future husband. The important aspect of this decision taken by the parents was the period of waiting by the little girl to be a wife of an already married man. When Jawhara was a child she did not think of the possibility of getting married to a man whose color would not be black. Yet practically all the members of her peasant family who lived in the Valley of the Spirit knew what their destiny was. Most of the other sisters and brothers were married or were about to be married to persons of their color, but not she. Of course there were some exceptions. As a beautiful, attractive and charming girl she would be offered as a legal wife, and not as a concubine, of an important man not yet known be her and perhaps by her patents. After she came to her age and started to have the monthly period and after she was told about her destiny Jawhara began to dream of her future life and the prince of her dreams who was not yet known to her or to her family. Jawhara did not have the slightest idea about this future husband of hers. Would he be tall, short? Would he have a long beard, a small beard, a moustache? How about his mouth, his teeth, would they be gentle to her thirsty mouth and her shivering bosoms? Would he be nice and gentle with her or would he hate her whenever he would be irritated, furious and agitated? Would he like to have many children, ten, fifteen or more? Gradually and with the passing of time, Jawhara came to know more and more of the details of this tradition by which a dignitary, a notable of the community would wish to have one of his wives a black girl. It was not the tradition that a white poor man would ever think of getting married to a black girl. It was more among the rich and the honorable families that men had a black woman among their wives. At that time of the past when the events of this story took place, it was known that one of the wives of the chief of the community was a black woman. So, it was very normal that dignitaries and notables and public figures and above all tribal chiefs aspired to have a black girl as a wife. It was normal that the dignitaries and the celebrities aspired to have a black woman among their wives. The family of Jawhara made it known that they had a daughter who had all the qualities, all the attributes and all the idiosyncrasies that would make her fit to be a wife in any family of notables and celebrities. 6) It has been established as a tradition long ago in the community, and since centuries and several generations in the community that families of masters and notables acquired black women, not to be slave girls, but to be the chosen and the favored wives among many other wives and concubines. Of course, the tradition of some black families living in the communities of the region of the Fertile Crescent and the Empty Quarter to give their most beautiful daughters in legal marriage as a wife, to a dignitary, went back to centuries and centuries in the history of Africa and the Middle East. It was well established that waves and waves of African families used to move, to migrate, from the Sub-Sahara and West and East African countries towards the Middle East for the purpose of carrying out one of the seven pillars of Islam, their religion, the pilgrimage to the Holy City of Mecca. Pilgrimage towards the East, the Holy East, across the whole continent and the Red Sea, and at last to the edge of the Empty Quarter and at the heart of the holiest land on Earth, was a wish, a life wish of every believer. Every believer looked eastward. By destiny, Africa stands to the west of the Empty Quarter, the land of the Holiest and the place where the immortal star, Mecca, shines. From the City of Timbuktu, far in the heart of the Western part of the Great African Desert, the ancestral family of Jawhara, or more precisely a wave of tribes each composed of several families, moved eastward crossing the whole Great Sahara Desert of the African Continent. Then, in their journey towards the Holiest, they crossed the Red Sea so as to be finally at the heart of the land of their religion. It was now an established fact that a great number of those whose aim was to arrive at their destination could never make it. They at last died, perished, withered away and vanished, disappeared in their way to Mecca, without having the privilege of being called a pilgrimage or a Hajji. They, the believers of Timbuktu, died, they perished, they passed away, they vanished and they disappeared in their way to the Holiest, to Mecca. Several of them, many of them died in the way because of various kinds of disaster or epidemics or plagues. Such people could not have been saved. They perished because of exhaustion and fatigue. Old people, men and women, could not make it, so they had to succumb to death. They died and the image of Mecca was presenting itself to them. They could not make it, to stand pure and unadulterated, clean and immaculate in front of the House of God at the Edge of the Empty Quarter. These old people, coming from Timbuktu, have heard from their fathers and other elders who had the chance of coming back from Mecca, that it was the rebirth, that visit to Mecca. But they could not make it. They died and the image of the immortal city, Mecca, was presenting itself to them. At that moment and before they closed their eyes for the last time, there, they could see the Holy Kaaba and the Black Stone shining with light and immortality and waiting to be touched by the thousands of black pilgrims and specially those coming from Timbuktu. Several of those people going to Mecca were killed at the time of raids in the caravans by bands of thieves, criminals and outlaw gangs. Several were also abandoned in the way because they were old, exhausted and struck by the illness caused by diseases that were considered at that time incurable. A lot of those who were in their way to Mecca decided to settle down where they have arrived. They discovered that they could do some business and that they could get their daughters married in the way. Would be pilgrims had to leave Timbuktu or any other town, village or locality, several months before the time designated and specified by the Creator of the universe, before the time for pilgrimage. Several members of the caravan of camels crossing the Great Desert Sahara towards the land of the Holiest, Mecca, and towards the Kaaba and the Holy Black Stone, died and perished in the way to salvation, in the way to the edge of the Empty Quarter, the source of all deserts in the world. Those who died did not have their only chance of meeting other people, at Mecca and around the Kaaba and in front of the Black Stone. They did not have the chance to meet there others who followed the same religion and who were coming from the four corners of the Planet, from the East, the Far East, from the South as far as Botswana, and from the East of the black continent, from Mombasa and Dar-es-Salam, and from all over the four continents of the world. Those who survived the long journey from Timbuktu to Mecca became at the end of the journey pilgrims, Hajjis. Some of them returned to their City in the Grand Sahara of North Africa and some of them remained in the region north of the Empty Quarter and in the heart of the Fertile Crescent. Out of those who remained was the family from which Jawhara descended. Many people who had the aim of their life to see Mecca, to go around the Kaaba and to kiss the Black Stone, could not make it. They were buried in the many oases which the caravans of camels passed by, or they were buried deep in the sand in the heart of the Great Sahara. Those who died in the way to Mecca accepted their destiny with complete resignation, submission and surrender to the will of the Al-Mighty God. Out of the fifty or twenty or ten thousand of believers who were intending to reach Mecca, from the City of Timbuktu, many died in the way. It took a caravan several months to cross the Sahara from Timbuktu. The distance between Mecca and Timbuktu was very long and nobody at that time, about three hundred years ago knew the distance that separated Timbuktu from Eternity. But the people of Timbuktu knew very well that Mecca was very far and that a believer intending to go for a pilgrimage had to cross the North African Continent and had to cross the Red Sea so as to be nearby the Empty Quarter and to the shadow of the Holiest, Mecca, the Kaaba and the Black Stone. 7) The ancestors of Jawhara were living peacefully in one of the several quarters of the City of Timbuktu. This was three hundred years ago, or about that. The house of her progenitors was more or less adjacent to the mosque that had two well known and elegant minarets. Every early morning, the forefather of Jawhara heard the call of the Mouazzen of the mosque to the Morning Prayer coming from one of the two minarets of the mosque. The one who called others to pray in the mosque in the very early morning was, most probably, the great grandfather of Jawhara who was at that time sixty five years old. This Mouazzen of a quarter in Timbuktu was a tall and extremely good looking and a handsome old man. In spite of his advanced age he walked most of the time like a young man. He really looked much younger than his age. His voice could be heard easily in all parts of the quarter. This early morning task of calling the believers to the mosque early in the morning was fulfilled by the Mouazzen very efficiently and his voice was heard by all people and it was full of warmth and spiritual inspiration. The forefather of Jawhara had the extremely pure black complexion. He was considered as the most pious and devout man in his community. This ancestor of Jawhara had a family that was considered as a small tribe by others. The family was composed of twelve children; all were boys with the exception of one daughter who came last to the family. Some of these children were young and some others were adolescents and few were adults not exceeding the age of twenty five or twenty six years. The head of the family, the Mouazzen, had two wives. He did not get any children from the first wife. Nonetheless, he lived with his wife more than ten years waiting to get a child from this first wife. At the age of thirty five he got married to the second wife who was very fertile and who continued to produce children until her husband had eleven. Several of the adults of the quarter in Timbuktu had the chance to go to Mecca and come back from there and had the chance and the honor to be called Hajji. The pilgrims were respected in Timbuktu. All were treated like saints. They always led the group prayers acting as Imams who sometimes gave lessons in the mosque in the form of discussion circles. The eleven sons of the Mouazzen especially those who were already grown up and ready to perform the five prayers of the day, were in the mosque in that morning. All of these sons were part of the extended family established there. All of them were living in the big house north of the mosque of the quarter. In that morning one of these brothers, who was praying the Morning Prayer in the mosque of the neighborhood, heard a call coming to him from afar from behind the horizon telling him that he should this year, in six month time, prepare himself to go eastward in a pilgrimage to Mecca where the holy Kaaba is there. After the end of the Morning Prayer, this young man, who was married to his young cousin four months ago, remained in his place astonished and amazed. He did not know what to do as a response to the call of the unknown, to the call of the invisible Spirit. The young black man of Timbuktu, the son of the Mouazzen and the Imam of the quarter, the forefather of Jawhara, never thought that that was the way people, the believers, were called to go to Mecca for pilgrimage. The young man was more or less perspiring. At least he could feel that the drops of sweat were covering his forehead and maybe his chest. The young black man closed his eyes and made his best to see something or somebody in the world of imagination. At last, the young man left the mosque of the quarter. He went hastily to his home. It took him few minutes to be in his small mud brick room allotted for him by the chief of his family after his marriage within the big compound of the house of his extended family. He spoke with hesitation and reluctance to his wife who was still lying in her bed. He did not expect her to be out of bed because it was too early to wake up and prepare something for her husband to eat. In fact she was preparing herself to leave her bed. The young beautiful wife was stunned to see her husband perspiring and blinking his eyes. The wife noticed that her husband was not in a normal mental and physical situation. She looked at him more closely and found him to be worried. Without talking to his wife he sat on a straw mat. He was more or less shivering and asked his astonished and bewildered wife to come near to him. He wanted to tell her what happened to him in the mosque just few minutes ago. It seemed that he wanted to speak in a low voice so that others outside his room would not hear what he would say. The young wife left her bed with trembling lips and signs of worries that could be seen in her black and beautiful face. She rushed hastily to her husband. For a while, she looked at his face expecting him to speak and to tell her something of what happened to him in the mosque early in the morning. The young black man kept silent for a while and was about to say something. At that moment he looked more black than usual to the extent that some light was coming from his charming face. The young, tall, slim and tender wife left the room and came back without any delay carrying in her hand a small jar full of cold water. It was spring time in Timbuktu and the fresh water of the well was always at spring time cold and fresh. Oh!! My dear husband, have some water so that you could tell me what happened to you in the mosque this morning. Is it something about me, about my being late in showing any sign of pregnancy? This is our sixth month of marriage and I hope that God would give us our son in the near future. You told me last week that your friends make fun of you because I am still slim, thin and slender and not showing any sign of being pregnant. Is this the reason of your being worried, irritated and in anger?" said the amazed young wife.

Thanks a lot my dear wife. I really feel thirsty, very thirsty and that my mouth is dry, horribly dry. No! No! It is not of your being pregnant or not. You misjudged me. I know that one day God would give me my son. But now it is another thing that made me look worried. Let me tell you that a cup of tea with a lot of sugar would serve me better. For the time being I will have the water. O! What a dry mouth! What a dry mouth! I am really thirsty.

The young husband drank from the jar a lot of water while his wife was wiping out the drops of sweat which covered his forehead and his black shining face. He was still perspiring abundantly. His wife brought him a cushion and asked him to put his head on it.

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Now tell me what happened in the mosque. If you can speak you can tell me, otherwise we would wait till after sometime when you would feel yourself better. said gently and compassionately the young wife.

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No! I have to tell you right now what happened to me in the mosque. I heard this morning in the mosque after the end of my prayer a strange voice, somebody addressing to me a message or in fact an order. I heard the voice asking me to go eastward in a pilgrimage to Mecca this year. This is what happened to me this morning. I am wondering whether I should tell my father about it, about this call. said the young man to his shivering wife.

Listen to me. There is nothing to worry about. It is normal to anybody to think of going to Mecca for a pilgrimage. Hundreds of people from the city of Timbuktu go in a pilgrimage to Mecca. It is a normal thing to think always to go to Mecca. All of our people in Timbuktu think of this important pillar of our religion. So don't worry. Even you can tell your father about your intention to go to Mecca this year. But I prefer not to tell your father about the mysterious call. If you told him that you had a call he would not believe you. It is not normal at all to say that you had a call… a call from heaven. This would be something extraordinary and nobody would believe you. You will be called a fool and nothing else.

Tell your father that you intend to go into pilgrimage to Mecca, that you intend to go around the Kaaba and you want to touch and kiss the Black Stone. You should tell him also that you would take me with you. Are you going to leave me here all alone waiting for your return? said the wife of the young man.

You are right. I should not tell my father about the call, the mysterious call. I would tell him that I want to go to Mecca in a pilgrimage. For sure, I will take you with me. No doubt in that. In some cases pilgrims choose to stay there in the Holy Land and consequently the wife or even the wives must accompany the husband who intends to go to the east in a pilgrimage to Mecca. said the young man.

It is obvious that you cannot go by yourself, all alone. It will take several months to finish the round trip to Mecca in a pilgrimage. There is also the possibility that you would choose to stay there. So I should accompany you. Isn't it so?" said the wife.

The young man did not say any word. He was just thinking and contemplating. He sometimes smiled. His wife was satisfied and even relieved seeing her husband smiling. She felt herself overwhelmed by optimism and happiness.

The wife was certain that an angel was calling her husband to go to Mecca for a pilgrimage. She was sure that the angel asked him to take her to Mecca, to Al-Kaaba. The young wife left her husband all alone so that she would prepare breakfast for him.

8) So this is how the ancestors of Jawhara were living peacefully in Timbuktu and this is how one day, a young man in Timbuktu, the direct forefather of Jawhara, before performing the Morning Prayer heard a voice coming from a far distance place, from the heart of the Sahara calling him to visit the immortal City of God, the City of Mecca.

In other words, he was asked by an angel to go eastward with his wife, whom he married just few months ago, to Mecca so as to fulfill one of the pillars of the Universal Religion of mankind. The young man was just twenty two years old and his wife was eighteen years old. They were of a well-to-do family because his father was a well known merchant dealing with the import of salt and the export dates as well as dealing with cotton tissues and textile in addition to his being the Mouazzen and the Imam of the local mosque.

It took the young man, who was intending to go into a pilgrimage; just few days to convince his father, to allow him go to Mecca where he would visit the House of God. His father who was sixty five years old had been to Mecca at the same age as that of his son. It took the father of the young man four months to go to Mecca and come back to Timbuktu.

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God bless you me son. I encourage you to accompany your wife with you to Mecca. It would be a long journey for you and for your wife. It would be an adventure into the unknown. Your guide in the long journey would be the sun, the moon and the stars in the sky, and you would have my blessing. Yet, this is a very long journey. You would be lucky to see Mecca and Al-Kaaba as well as the Black Stone. This journey to Mecca is what each believer wishes to carry out and to realize. This is the dream of all the good believers. said the father.

Thank you father... thank you for allowing my wife to accompany me. I am sure she would be of a help to me. Besides, she would also be called a pilgrim. Our journey would be long and tiresome. Of course we will be part of a caravan of hundreds of believers going to Mecca for pilgrimage. I hope I will be able to come back to Timbuktu. We both of us would be called Hajjis. What an honor for both of us. said the young man to his father.

But I warn you that you might choose to stay there at the edge of the Empty Quarter or at the heart of the Fertile Crescent or at last in the heart of the Valley of the Spirit. All of these places usually attract the people of Timbuktu to stay there after finishing the total rituals of the pilgrimage.

We are living now in the year 1550 of the western calendar and you should know that most of these places I have just mentioned are part of the Ottoman Empire which had established itself as the supreme world power. This Empire is feared by all the European countries. The Ottomans are Turks and I think they will continue to be the masters for a number of years to come in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

So far many of our relatives and elders as well as several tribal chieftains in the past years have chosen to stay there in the East. Now, we know nothing of their destiny. It seems that they have been integrated in the social and the economic system of the society there. In fact, they considered themselves as part of that society in which they has settled.

On the other hand, the following questions could be raised. Have these pilgrims died in the way or have they reached Mecca and then they decided to establish themselves there? Listen to me my son. I hope you would be able to come back to Timbuktu.

Let us hope that God the Almighty would help you to make your wife pregnant. We are expecting that your wife would come back with a child in her womb or less likely in her arms. Your return journey would be tiresome if your wife will be pregnant. This is a wishful thinking. All depends on what God decides or has already decreed for you and for your wife.

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You may choose to stay there at the edge of the Empty Quarter or in the Valley of the Spirit or in the Fertile Crescent. In this case your descendants would spread all over the East. They could establish themselves also in the Valley of the Nile or in the Land of the Two Rivers, called also Mesopotamia. said the father.

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I only need your blessing and the blessing of my mother before embarking in this journey in the Grand Sahara, in the Red Sea and then to the neighborhood of the Spring of Zamzam where pilgrims drink the holy water of life.

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I am afraid that my mother would not give her approval and blessing for my departure to the East with my wife. My mother is always worried when somebody speaks to her about travelling and going in long duration and distance far journeys. She can tell me of many of our relatives who failed to come back… that is they either died in their way to Mecca or when coming back from it. said the son who heard the mysterious call in the mosque and who was intending to go to Mecca for a pilgrimage.

My son, it is better to go to the East rather than to go to the West, there towards the sea and the land that are full of rivers, forests trees and all kinds of vegetables and fruit trees. There in the sea, called also the Atlantic Ocean, there are islands inhabited by black people like us. However, we have some facial features that look similar to those of the people inhabiting the northern side of the Grand Sahara. We are more related to the people living in the West because of our color and because of our frizzy and curly hair.

Our black color, complexion, makes us more belonging to the heart of Africa. I feel more attached to my black color, I am proud of it and I see it more beautiful than the white complexion. Sometimes I feel that we the black people are favored by God, because of our color. You would gradually discover these basic realities of life.

Sometimes, people coming from the West of Africa pass by Timbuktu in their way for pilgrimage to Mecca. They practically cross the whole continent and the Red Sea so as to be at the heart of the Holy City of our religion. For them, for those who come from the western coasts of Africa, the journey of pilgrimage is very long. It takes them months and months to arrive at Mecca. Many of them do not expect to come back from Mecca to return to the Atlantic Ocean,

Many of them do not expect to come back from Mecca to the Atlantic coasts. Probably, the majority of them stay there in the Fertile Crescent, in the edge of the Empty Quarter or even in the Valley of the Nile.

Those would be pilgrims coming from the Western parts of the African Continent tell us fantastic stories, unbelievable stories about their life in those parts and countries of Western Africa.

People in Timbuktu whose origin is from the West African countries tell us horrible stories about the sudden disappearance of young people, men and women, who ventured to go outside the boundaries of towns and villages. For several years young black African people have been disappearing in an inexplicable manner.

Each one who vanished away from urban and rural scenes did not leave any trace behind him or her. Each family in every quarter in urban centers, villages and towns, lost one of its young members, either a young man or a young woman.

The sudden disappearance of the young population in the west African countries has been going on for a number of years. Now we are in the seventeenth century of the Western calendar. But it is reported by our compatriots whose origin is West Africa that the disappearance of young black men and women started long ago.

The sudden vanishing and the fading away of these young people remained a riddle for several years. Families whose children faded away from the daily scene were thought to have left their village or town and have gone to a neighboring country in the search of a new life.

However, this explanation did not hold long because no contact has been established with those who were thought to be seeking a new life outside their homeland.

The vanishing and fading away of part of the population remained a mysterious phenomenon and without explanation. Not until one day an event took place which threw light on the whole tragic event.

'Five young black men of a group of several villages were chasing wild animals in the jungle when they saw from a far distance two well armed white-blond men who looked to be middle aged and were leading in front of them a young black boy of not more than fifteen years of age."

The black boy was chained in his hands by the wrist. His two feet were also shackled by the ankle in such a way which allowed him only to walk but with difficulty and suffering.

The five young villagers who were in a chasing venture hid themselves behind some bushes, thickets, trees and bamboos. They watched and observed and monitored what was taking place in front of them. This was the first time they saw such a strange and curious event. Maybe for them, they never expected to see these men who were white and blond.

The two blond and white men were coming nearer to the place where the five young black men were hiding themselves in the midst of thickets and bushes. The more the two white and blond foreigners came nearer to the hiding place of the young black men the more it was obvious and observable that these two white criminals were taking the chained boy towards the coast of the Atlantic. The boy in chains was in good health and looked to belong to a well-to-do family and that he was a good chase for the two criminals, the two white men.

One of the two blond men took a pipe from his pocket. He lit it and smoked the pipe with zeal and enthusiasm. The two foreigners sat down for a while to take rest. The place chosen for the rest was not far from the place where the five young black men were hiding themselves."

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The boy in chains looked to be extremely frightened. He was shivering, he was trembling. It seemed that he did not find any use of resisting and of trying to liberate himself. He could do nothing with the exception of looking around and of crying aloud asking for help.

The boy in chains, the prisoner of the two blond men, was very well built, well fed and had visible muscles in his arms, in his legs and in his thighs. No doubt he was the son of a rich family or the son of a tribal chief. Maybe, he was caught up, captured, while he was all alone roaming in the Jungle nearby his village. It is certain that nobody alerted him regarding the dangers of roaming all alone in the forest.

One of the two blond men asked the black boy to sit down on a big tree trunk that was lying down there. It seemed that the white blond man addressing the boy knew an amount of the local dialect to the extent to allow him to communicate with the local inhabitants and so with the young boy.

The boy who was sitting down on a stone was immediately given a thermos, a vacuum flask, to have some water to drink. His hands chain was loosened to make it possible for him to drink. The slave boy was extremely thirsty and tired. He has been walking in the jungle for the last two hours. He was perspiring a lot and he was looking between now and then at his two blond captors who were just silent while one of them was smoking his pipe.

Both of these two blond men were putting on a kaki short which was common amongst those foreigners coming to the African Continent for adventures, slavery and colonialism. Both of them had leather boots and both of them had moustaches that had curved ends. Though they had hats on their heads what was seen of their hair indicated that their hair was blond with little grey hair.

The repose and the relaxation did not last long. As reported by one of the five black men hiding themselves in the jungle, the two white men did not exchange a single word. They kept silent during all the time they were sitting on a small rock. In few minutes time, the young prisoner, accompanied by his two captors left the place and walked towards the coast.

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The five young black men followed the two captors and the young black prisoner. They saw how a small canoe was waiting for them on a wide part of a river. The three were in a very short time in a small canoe that took them to the coastal part of that land on the Atlantic Ocean.

After this incident, event, for which there were five witnesses, all the black communities in Western Africa have come to the conclusion that their young men and their well built middle aged men and women were being kidnapped to be transported in large size boats and ships to somewhere on the other side of the Atlantic.

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Previously, people in the Western African counties were unable to verify the fact that these young and middle aged men and women were taken across the Ocean of Darkness as slaves, as cattle of animals, to be sold in the slaves market and then to be employed in agricultural plantations in a continent that was discovered about two hundred years back.

All of these men and women who disappeared by being kidnapped were thought for so many years as dead or went to another African country. It is reported now that these old slave trade activities were undertaken by well established merchants of the white complexion who traded with human beings.

It was also reported by visitors and merchants and would be pilgrims of West African region that this activity was called slave trade."

The five young black men who witnessed the two slave merchants, taking the young black boy to be sent to the new world were themselves later on captured and sent as slaves to the various parts of the new world

9) The father of the young man of Timbuktu thought that his son would be absent for a maximum of four months. The son took his wife with him in pilgrimage to Mecca.

The approval of the father for his pilgrimage excited the son a lot. At least he would be going to Mecca in order to respond to the call that ordered him to go to Mecca. He still kept the call in the mosque a secret for himself and for his wife. All his brothers and his sisters heard about his intention to go to the East, to Mecca but they were not informed about the call that took place in the mosque.

Of course, the young man had to prepare himself to join a caravan that would be carrying travelers who were also going to Mecca. The young man did not have a lot of time for preparation for the journey to the edge of the Empty Quarter. He had only two weeks. His wife had also to prepare herself and to say good-bye to her family in a neighboring town to Timbuktu.

The young man increased the time he spent a day in the mosque of the Quarter. Instead of carrying out some of the five prayers a day in the house he went every day to the mosque and for five times a day.

His wife did not know exactly why her husband had changed his habits and was performing all the five prayers in the mosque. The wife of the young man was the only member of the family who could give explanations for her husband frequent daily five visits to the mosque. But, of course, she kept silent and did not disclose the secret of her husband regarding the call he received in the mosque.

It took the young man from Timbuktu three months to be in Mecca. He just arrived with his wife few days before the beginning of the first day rituals of the pilgrimage.

In their way to Mecca, the young man and his wife stayed for twenty days in Khartoum, Sudan, in the house of his relatives who was well established in this famous cultural city of the time.

His relative in Khartoum was a well established merchant. During his stay in the Sudan with his wife in the house of his relative, the young man learnt some basics of the language of the people of the city of Khartoum. The young man and his wife were really enchanted by the beautiful language which the local people spoke in Khartoum. The young man, who was intending to be a pilgrim with his wife made their best to learn the first principles of Arabic, the language of the Holy Book in the City of Khartoum.

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The young man coming from Timbuktu and his wife were extremely excited to hear the Holy Language spoken by everybody in the city of Khartoum in which they stayed for twenty days. Their introduction to the Holy Language was a temptation for them to consider the possibility of staying for a period of time that would be necessary to learn the language of the Book with patience and perseverance.

The young man and his wife arrived in the Holy City, Mecca. They were carried from Sudan to the Holy Land in a large boat which carried about fifty would be pilgrims in addition to the ten sailors. The touching of the sand of the coast of the Holy Land gave the young African and his wife a feeling of spiritual satisfaction and heavenly blessing.

Both, the husband and the wife knew that they had to cross still more distance so as to arrive at their final destination. Again, in another caravan, but this time smaller than that which crossed the Grand Sahara, they spent several days before they saw from a distance the Holy City.

The young black man from Timbuktu and his wife were very enthusiastic to finish all the rituals of the pilgrimage in the specified days. The young black man, enveloped by the light white cloth with his wife were completely bewildered and amazed to see tens of thousands of human beings of all colors and of all ethnic origins going around the Holy Kaaba.

They were amazed to see the black complexion almost dominating the whole scene of believers going around the Kaaba. No doubt, these people came from every deep parts of the Black Continent. The young black man coming from Timbuktu was absolutely astonished to see the shining and brilliant light coming out from the black faces of pilgrims. The young man from Timbuktu imagined that all of these black pilgrims were guarded and protected by angels hovering over their heads everywhere they went.

The young man from Timbuktu told himself that his angel that called him to go to Mecca in the mosque was no doubt protecting him and his wife during the pilgrimage in Mecca. The young man, while going around Al-Kaaba, the Centre of the World, was feeling that he was really in heaven and that he and his wife were at that moment blessed by their mothers back in Timbuktu.

After finishing all prescribed rituals of pilgrimage the young husband and wife were considering whether they should stay in the East or go back to their homeland in Timbuktu.

The two young couple were more attracted to stay either at the edge of the Empty Quarter or in the heart of the Fertile Crescent or even in the Valley of the Nile or in the Valley of the Spirit. They decided at last to study the situation and the matter for few days, maybe for one or two weeks. The young man had enough money to keep him and his wife alive for several days. They wanted to go around in the streets of Mecca. They wanted to discover the real living conditions. As a result of this tour in the narrow lanes and alleys and the streets, they could notice the presence of the black people in the Holy City. They decided at last to stay there and give up any idea that could aim tempting them to go back to Timbuktu. They should study the living and the working situation in the Holy City and elsewhere.

The couple came to know that a number of African origin families who came to Mecca for pilgrimage had decided to stay in the Holy City forever. It was immediately after finishing all pilgrimage rituals that the young husband and his wife who came from Timbuktu decided to forget Africa and establish themselves forever in the neighborhood of the Holy City of Mecca.

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10) Since the arrival of the forefathers of Jawhara from Timbuktu to Mecca for pilgrimage there have passed two hundred years or more. This forefather with his young wife established himself as a small family in exile in the Holy City of Mecca. The young black man wanted to be very near to Al-Kaaba as he was planning to undertake a pilgrimage every year while he was living just next door to the Holy places of the city of Mecca. This was a golden opportunity for his wife to be of the inhabitants of the Holy City.

The young black African established himself as a young apprentice in a workshop where many articles, which pilgrims carried back as presents, as souvenirs and relics of Mecca to their families, were made and fabricated. Beads, small leather bags, leather slippers, leather belts and various kinds of metal or silver made ornaments were fabricated in the workshop. The young Timbuktu man worked as an apprentice for several years in this arts and crafts artisan workshop.

The young black man was in few years time able to master the trades and the crafts through apprenticeship training. In few years time the man from Timbuktu was able to start his own workshop of presents and souvenirs somewhere in the small and narrow alleys of the Holy City.

Mecca was a good busy centre during the pilgrimage season as well as in the other seasons of the year when the City was overcrowded by visitors from all over the lands and counties in which the majority of the inhabitants belonged to the community of the believers.

The Timbuktu man was not only clever in producing arts and crafts articles that were sold to the pilgrims and to the ordinary visitors but he was also clever in producing children. In twenty years time until his wife was no more capable to bear children, he was able to produce and to have fifteen children who continued enjoying good life.

Eight of these fifteen children who came from the same mother were girls and seven were boys. The Timbuktu man was completely happy and extremely satisfied to have engendered the fifteen children. He thought he would be the head of a big family or a tribe when all his sons and daughters would get married and engender children.

The Timbuktu man was also a good member of the local community and he was also a pious man and carried out all the daily five prayers, fasted the month of Ramadan, gave alms to the poor and went to a pilgrimage practically every year. He had a good reputation as being a good father and an ideal husband. All his children enjoyed good health and most members of the community said that this excellent health condition of the children was because the mother came from Timbuktu. As a result of this belief all the people of the local community respected the Timbuktu family especially the mother.

People all around Mecca said that all of the inhabitants of the city who came from Timbuktu were good men and women, were excellent fathers and mothers. All people of the white or of the black community believed that all the girls of Timbuktu were charming and beautiful. It was not a surprise to the man from Timbuktu to see each of his eight daughters being asked to be a wife, not only of black men who were respectable in the local holy city community but also of men of white complexion who were mostly dignitaries, notables, celebrities and public figures in the community of the Hoy City of Mecca.

On the other hand, all the seven sons of the man from Timbuktu were well educated in the sense that they could read and write, recite some of the verses from the Quran and carry out simple calculation operations that required some knowledge of arithmetic. All the seven boys got married in the final analysis from girls belonging to well-to-do black families.

All the fifteen boys and girls had the chance of going to the local mosque schools. They stayed in this school until they became real literate human beings. The father of these fifteen children of Timbuktu was he himself more or less literate because there back in Timbuktu, when his father was the Mouazzen and the Imam of the mosque, went and without interruption to the mosque school until he became literate and recited the Quran for people who came to pray in the mosque of Timbuktu.

The adult descendents of this black family spread all over the region of the Fertile Crescent within the domain of the Ottoman Turks Empire. The descendants of the man from Timbuktu who came with his young wife to live in Mecca two hundred years ago spread everywhere in the domains of this Turkish Empire.

The men of this family of Timbuktu, throughout the long history of their life, were integrated socially and economically in the communities of the Fertile Crescent, the Empty Quarter and the Valley of the Spirit which were, more or less, in their totality under the Ottoman Turks reign and sovereignty.

The black men of this family as well as their women were absorbed in what could be called as the public administration and the private service sectors of the traditional economy that was prevailing in those ancient times and epochs.

The descendants of the man from Timbuktu held positions as simple and sometimes as low as being servants, maids and family guards and as high as being senior administrators and even top level officials and rulers. In some very few cases they were serving as slaves.

Many of the descendants of the great, great grandfather of Jawhara established themselves as merchants and business men. However, it should not be forgotten that the men of Timbuktu and the other parts of Western and Eastern Africa found good employment opportunities in the agricultural, the administrative and the military sectors of the economy.

Many of the young forefathers and ancestors of Jawhara worked as agricultural laborers. In fact, families of the ancestors of Jawhara were in charge of some agricultural estates. These families of agricultural laborers continued to be attached to the same agricultural estate for several generations.

The young ancestors of the family of Jawhara found employment opportunities in the ever victorious army of the Ottoman Turks. In fact they were soldiers as well as higher rank army officers in the victorious Ottoman army. Perhaps, some of the ancestors of Jawhara worked as slave servants in the royal palaces of the Ottoman Sultans.

Yet it could be generalized that most of the ancestors of Jawhara lived as free men and women in the whole region of the Ottoman Empire. Black women were luckier than black men. Many of them got married outside of their black color and race but within their own religion. Throughout the long history of inter-racial marriage, black women were in some cases served by white slave girls of blond hair and blue eyes brought back from raids into the northern Slav lands and territories.

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It is certain that Jawhara, the second wife of the farmer of the quarter was a direct descendant of a branch of the family whose blood remained all pure black. It was not mixed with a non-black blood. She could be considered as a direct descendant of the couple who came for pilgrimage from the city of Timbuktu two hundred years ago. She kept her black blood and color pure. All her ancestors, the males and the females, were of black blood and complexion.

11) The family of Jawhara came from the southern region to settle down in the Valley of the Spirit fifty years ago. It was her grandfather who brought the family to the Valley of the Spirit to be in charge of some plantations of oranges and bananas.

It was in these plantations and in this Valley of the Spirit that her father was married to her mother and it was in this Valley of the Spirit that Jawhara was born.

When Jawhara was born all the plantations of the Valley were blooming and blossoming in a miraculous way. All orange and banana trees were bearing their fruits abundantly.

All people in the Valley of the Spirit were astonished to witness such an excellent and a surprising harvest of bananas and oranges. When the Holy River ran sinuously in the Valley of the Spirit to be drowned at last in the Sea of Death it was almost over flooded with a lot of muddy water coming from the Flourishing Heights of the White Mount of the Wiseman.

All people living on both banks of the Holy River were wondering why the River was flooding at this time of the year. All thought that this over-abundance of water and fruits was in fact an extraordinary phenomenon. Never in history had the Holy River such an abundance of water in this time of the year just at the end of the Spring Season.

Of course, nobody could find a direct relationship between the extraordinary good and productive season and the birth of the little black female baby who was given the name of Jawhara. Her grandmother who was well known for her beauty was also called Jawhara.

The black glittering baby girl was born at the time when the daybreak was born. The little black baby was born in a very good health and it took only few minutes for the little baby to come out from the womb of her mother to the outside world. The newly born baby gave some cries that were heard by her father who was waiting the good news in the corridor of the small peasant house. The father had already boys and girls within his family and he preferred that this time the newly born should be a girl, a blessed girl and that she should bear and have the name of his mother.

As a child, Jawhara was always in good health and she rarely fell sick during her early childhood. She was fed from the breast of her mother for more than two years before she was weaned and began to be fed by ordinary ways. She walked and talked earlier before the normal time and before all her brothers and sisters started talking and walking.

The little baby, Jawhara, smiled whenever somebody looked at her especially her mother. She never cried or complained of anything even when she was either hungry or thirsty as other babies do in such situations.

Of course, and as expected, the mother of Jawhara took care of her and never asked her grown up daughters to help her in taking care of their baby sister. As Jawhara grew up mentally and physically she showed signs of a rare type of a daughter, of a girl, not like the others.

Evidently, she was beautiful, very beautiful as a small black baby girl. And with the passing of time her beauty enchanted whoever looked at her. Her beauty was increasing in its charm, in its allure and its appeal.

Jawhara continued and persisted to be in good health. At the same time, she slept. She slept very well during all the night and during part of the day-time. Her mother considered her as her preferred daughter. Her mother had the feeling that Jawhara would be the source of happiness and well-being for all the members of her family and all the families living in the Valley of the Spirit.

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Nobody knew why the mother of Jawhara was all the time optimist and happy starting from the time she gave birth to this beautiful and blessed child.

Stroll
Above artwork is by the author's son Nawaf Al-Bukhari... See more!
© 1980-2017 by Nawaf Al Bukhari, Amman-JORDAN and Dubai-UAE

Jawhara grew up mentally and physically in a fascinating way when she was living in her family's house. She never knew anything about her future life and her future destiny when she was young and before she came to age and started to have her monthly period. She thought that she would be living there in the Valley of the Spirit. She liked the fascinating green landscape where her family had settled down since many years. She wished to stay there nearby the Eastern Bank of the Holy River in the Valley of the Spirit.

12) From time to time Jawhara went with a group of friends of her age, her mates, her companions and her comrades to the Eastern Bank of the Holy River. In fact, they were all, and always, six or seven black girls and according to tradition they were not accompanied by boys of their own age, ten, eleven or twelve-years-old girls.

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Boys of the age of eleven, twelve or even thirteen years went as a separate group to the Western Bank of the Holy River. Girls were never seen by the boys in those short excursions to the Bank of the Holy River. Jawhara found pleasure and joy in going to the River.

Occasionally, the little black girl imagined that somebody was calling her from behind the many shrubs that covered parts of the Bank. Jawhara in such occasions of joyfulness and gaiety used to look at the faces of the other girls to see and verify whether the other girls of the group heard the same voice, the same call that she was hearing in those days

In these very special and curious occasions Jawhara thought that she was imagining and nothing else. Sometimes, she thought that it was really the call of a boy who was asking her to go with him to the Western Bank of the Holy River. Anyhow, Jawhara was not sure that that was the voice of a boy. It was more than that. The voice was certainly coming from beyond the horizon, from another mysterious world.

But, in any case, nobody, a boy or a man, showed himself from behind the thick and dense shrubs. The mysterious call was repeated several times. Yet, Jawhara was not in a position to know the source of the call. Was it a natural or a supernatural source?

One day Jawhara informed her mother that she heard a whispering call as if it was coming from behind the shrubs near the Eastern Bank of the Holy River. The voice was inviting her to come to the nearest shrub.

Was it a spirit that was calling her? Or was it the Spirit? The mother of the black young girl was in amazement and bewilderment. How could she hear a call coming to her from behind the shrub? Could it have been the voice of the Devil, of the Evil Eye? The mother could not find any solution or explanation for these calls coming from behind the shrubs. There was nothing to do in this regard except to prevent her daughter from going down to the Bank of the Holy River.

The mother of Jawhara remembered that the great, great grandfather in Timbuktu and since about two hundred years back had a call in the mosque asking him to go in a pilgrimage to Mecca. Although this holy call was supposed to be a secret between the young husband of that time and his wife, the story of the call in the early morning in the Mosque of Timbuktu was well and honestly narrated from generation to generation in the territories of the Fertile Crescent and the edges of the Empty Quarter.

For two hundred years, the descendants of the man of Timbuktu told each other of this call for a pilgrimage to Mecca. It seemed, and maybe it was sure and certain that the mother of Jawhara told her daughter about the call which her great, great grandfather had in the mosque of Timbuktu.

The mother of Jawhara remembered the first call that ended by the establishment of the large family of that pilgrim of Timbuktu who came with his wife and established himself in Mecca two hundred years ago. Now, the mother remembered this second call in the history of the family which her daughter began to have in these days here in the Valley of the Spirit. What kind of relationship could be established between the two calls? The mother of Jawhara could not arrive at any explanation.

13) It was well known in those old days that bands of criminals were well organized the aim of which was to kidnap girls, small and young girls, who were found roaming around all alone far from their houses and in the midst of shrubs. The father of the black girl, Jawhara, was convinced by her mother to prevent and forbid his daughter from going to the Eastern Bank of the Holy River.

However, the little black girl, Jawhara, was confused and puzzled regarding the strange call of a young man down there on the Eastern Bank of the Holy River. The little girl continued to remember the strange call coming from behind the shrubs and the almost divine call coming from behind the horizon. She still remembered the two calls while she was almost incarcerated in or around her house.

At that time, when she was just thirteen years old, all of those who saw her realized that she was beautiful, or the most beautiful girl of the Valley of the Spirit. Jawhara was the most beautiful small girl not only among the girls of her black race but also the girls of the inhabitants of the local communities who were either of white or of brown complexion.

Jawhara obeyed her mother's warnings, precautions and alarms. She realized that she was an easy victim for anybody who had the intentions of kidnapping her. Of course, as a little girl, she was not aware of the several cases of black girls who disappeared all of a sudden while playing a little bit far from their houses. These lost little girls were never found. Maybe they were taken to places far away from their original homes. In fact, they were kidnapped and sold to rich families who employed them as maids and servants. However, these cases were very rare. Nevertheless, the mere mentioning of these cases of kidnapped little girls frightened all the members of the black community living in the Valley of the Spirit.

Jawhara kept herself in and around her small house in the plantation fields. Nevertheless, she had all the time her ears ready to hear any call, the mysterious and the enigmatic and puzzling call. In the house, the girl was persistently under the control of the monitoring eyes of her mother.

Once at about the age of fifteen years Jawhara had an early morning walk, without the knowledge of her parents, who tried to incarcerate her in the house, in the shrubs and small trees on the Eastern Bank of the Holy River. Suddenly she saw her cousin Amin naked having an early morning bath or swim. Jawhara at that moment stayed there for a while watching her naked black cousin and then she went back to her home and told nobody about seeing her cousin swimming naked in the Holy River. Jawhara, at the age of fifteen kept this incident a secret for herself.

Pink Woman
Above artwork is by the author's son Nawaf Al-Bukhari... See more!
© 1980-2017 by Nawaf Al Bukhari, Amman-JORDAN and Dubai-UAE

The parents, specially the mother, were waiting the event, the expected event concerning the life of their daughter, Jawhara, to take place. They were sure, based on a strange and bizarre feeling, that their daughter would be leading a type of life different from that of the other black members of her family.

Waiting for the coming of the event was becoming long and long. The favored beautiful daughter was adding more and more years to her age. She was growing older and her body was more and more richer in its beauty and in its charm. However, her shining and glittering black complexion was still the main source of her attractiveness and allure. At the same time, the parents of Jawhara were getting more and more worried concerning the future of their daughter.

Of course, no young black man came forward to the family asking the hand of the beautiful young daughter. At that time, very few black families were living in the Valley of the Spirit and both banks of the Holy River. Consequently, it was difficult to find young black men who were qualified to be a husband to the young black girl, Jawhara. According to the requirements of the fulfillment of the prophecy and the mysterious call that was repeatedly heard by the parents and their daughter herself, it was not absolutely possible that a young black man would present himself to be the husband of the young black girl, Jawhara.

The parents of the young beautiful black girl were increasingly overwhelmed by worries, anxiety and even nervousness. The father and the mother of the young girl were day and night afraid that their daughter would be, and for sure, an old maid destined to continue living with them in the house till the end of her life. What a life!! What a life!!

This was why the miserable disenchanted mother became angry and disturbed whenever she saw her beautiful daughter walking around the house as if she was lost or was living in an imaginary world.

The father shared with his disillusioned wife her worries about the future of his beautiful daughter. The father did not want to see his daughter, Jawhara, living in the house, as an old maid and forever till the end of her life in the Valley of the Spirit.

Very soon, in two or three month's time, Jawhara was to commence her twenty years of age and nobody has so far presented himself asking the hand of Jawhara. Nobody of the local black race community presented himself as possible husband of the beautiful daughter.

Still the belief that a man, from outside of the black community would come to the Valley of the Spirit and present himself asking the hand of Jawhara was persisting in the mind of the mother and the father. They still remember the call of the unknown coming to them in the Valley of the Spirit telling them that their daughter was destined to marry outside her race and outside her people and her community. The parents still recalled the call which their great, great grandfather heard two hundred years ago in Timbuktu asking him to go in a pilgrimage to Mecca.

The parents thought that the call in the mosque of Timbuktu which came to the founder of their house included not only the pilgrimage to Mecca but also the inevitable marriage of one of their daughters to a dignitary outside their race and their color and that this daughter would be a blessed wife.

The parents were expecting to hear a call to come to them from behind of the horizon. In other words, they were expecting some kind of a miracle to take place.

The parents of Jawhara knew that they were living in the Valley of the Spirit and that in one way or another they were promised by the Spirit that their daughter, Jawhara, would never be facing Evil and that she would never be threatened by the Devil.

The parents were convinced that their daughter, the favored daughter, would have a brilliant, lustrous and splendid life. The mother never showed to her daughter that she was worried because of her unknown destiny.

The mother smiled whenever she saw or met her daughter or came across her. Of course, Jawhara was very intelligent, the most intelligent amongst all the children of the family. She was able to read a lot of things in the eyes of her mother. In other words, Jawhara was well informed about the worry of her mother.

Jawhara was witnessing all the frequent marriage ceremonies of her sisters and brothers. But she came to the conclusion that her turn did not come yet. This was a self assuring conclusion.

Jawhara could see that she was beautiful and attractive and thus she was marriageable. But there was the problem of the call that was coming to her and to her parents in the Valley of the Spirit.

Jawhara, as a black girl, had to wait to be married to a black man. This was what the people of the community of the black minority group were saying because they did not know anything about the prophecy, the prediction of the mysterious divine call which the parents of Jawhara and their daughter herself have been hearing for the last several years in a hushed and whispered way

The magic mysterious call has been coming and heard by the parents lately less frequently. The final disappearance of the call that was coming in the Valley of the Spirit has signaled the possible appearance of a new phenomenon or most probably the realization and the fulfillment of a prediction and of an augury.

Perhaps, the call which the parents and the daughter herself were hearing was nothing but the call coming from their spirits, a call that was coming to them from their inner self, from the deepest parts of their spirit.

Maybe, their inner spirits told them that it was the will and the power of destiny or chance, that in a bright summer day morning, a man should introduce himself as the farmer of the quarter and the owner of the plantation. This dignitary would ask the hand of Jawhara from her parents.

It was mentioned, by their inner spirits, as an introduction, that the farmer of the quarter was already married to a beautiful and a gentle woman of a noble family origin. But the first wife, it was said, did not give the farmer his wanted and aspired posterity or what the farmer called as the heir who would inherit him after his death.

It was the promised day for Jawhara and her family. It was the fulfillment and the realization of a prophecy or more exactly of a call, of a prediction. Was this the end of the prediction and the prophecy? Or would there be a continuation? Was this the first part, the first act of the prophecy? Would there be several other parts, other acts of the same prophecy? Would there be later on a continuation of the story of Jawhara?

In few days time the family of Jawhara accepted the offer of marriage of the farmer of the quarter and the owner of their plantation. The black girl was made ready for the marriage ceremony in few days time. It was also well known by the family of the bride that the bridegroom was already married and that he did not have children from his first wife.

It was hoped that the second wife would give the husband posterity. Of course, until this point of the story, it was not yet known that the fault of not having children was possibly due to the husband, to the farmer of the quarter and not to the first wife.

Within the circles of the black family in the Valley of the Spirit, nobody knew at all that the bridegroom, the farmer of the quarter, was under the influence and the control of the sorceress of the quarter and that she was the person who asked the farmer of the quarter to get married to as many women as it was permitted by the divine rules, until the total number of wives becomes four. The sorceress also advised the farmer of the quarter to get married to three concubines hoping that he would one day have posterity.

After the arrival of the young black wife to the house of her new family, her husband waited for a period of time to welcome a child to be given by Jawhara. The farmer married two more wives and three concubines but the new added women did not show any sign of pregnancy.

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