**Affan’s Dilemma**


“Affan… Affan… Affan…” called the young man three times while standing on his head, but Affan didn’t look back or respond. Laughter erupted from onlookers, recognizing that Affan wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. The young man sat beside him and tossed some fish into the water for them to eat. The fish quickly gathered, and Affan, out of fear, started biting them. The young man smiled and shared more food with him. Affan’s face lit up with joy, exclaiming, “Yeeehhh!” Jabeer, the young man, promised to keep feeding them.


Jabeer couldn’t help but feel pity for his friend’s situation. He suggested, “It’s time for prayer. Let’s go pray and come back. I’ll continue to feed them.” However, Affan, craning his neck like a curious child, replied, “Um, I won’t pray now. My mom said I always pray because I don’t have any sins on my record.” Jabeer reassured him, “I told you, there are no sins written for you, Affan.”


Jabeer attempted to make him understand the consequences of not praying, saying, “So, you want to go to the blazing fire that’s hotter than hot Indomie noodles?” Affan, shocked, replied, “Yes, but I know who’s cooking the hot Indomie for me.” Jabeer explained that the fire he mentioned was the one God uses to punish those who don’t pray, and its heat was “a thousand times the hair of a goat.” Affan’s eyes widened in fear, and he stammered, “The fire that heats the water in the toilet heater is the one burning me when I take a bath.” Jabeer confirmed, comparing it to cold water on the fire of God.


Affan, terrified, began to retreat, saying, “You’re lying! I’ll ask my mommy.” Jabeer, quick on his feet, knew Affan would seek confirmation from his mother, so he hastily held his hand and admitted, “I’m lying.” However, when Affan pulled his hand away, he accused Jabeer of dishonesty. Jabeer called out to him, but Affan ignored him. Concerned, Jabeer waited for more than five minutes, and when Affan didn’t return, he decided to head to the mosque.


When Jabeer approached Affan’s mother, she asked where he had been. Affan nodded his head, his demeanor filled with fear. He recounted the story, hoping that his mother would save him from the imaginary fire.


His mother sighed and advised him to stop hanging out with Jabeer, calling him a liar. She urged him to break up with his friend, as his influence led him to do things against his will, even though they were both Muslim, and there was no compulsion in religion. She implored him to speak to his father about it. Affan got up, and at the mention of food, he eagerly headed to the dining room, calling for Hansa’u, their worker, to serve him.


His mother, relieved and smiling, remarked to Salma, her daughter’s father, that Jabeer was trying to ruin her plans. Salma, engrossed in his laptop, agreed with a chuckle. Affan’s mother dismissed it, saying that Jabeer was just exaggerating and that she would figure out how to separate them. Fareedah, Salma’s wife, chimed in, expressing her dislike for Jabeer. However, his mother brushed it off and resolved to handle the situation, assuring them that she knew how to deal with him.

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