My hands are cold and hurting. My knuckles are white from holding tightly on a rope, hoping I won’t fall into the muddy sea. The dingy is making slow progress and, being light, is being thrown around in the choppy waters. I turn and look at my other mates. I admire their resolve and hope to live up to their heroism. They are the true soldiers of Allah. Is there a better way to live? Indeed…is there a better way to die?

I think about the people I have left behind. Amma and Abba… they will be so proud of me. I hope I can live up to their dreams. I don’t know if I will ever see them again. The pain is too much. I ask my brother next to me to give me something to ease the pain.

It is better now.

I can see the hazy lights of the city now. Glimmering like a small galaxy of stars in a tepid, smoky sky. This is the sky of the enemy. These are the stars I will seek to extinguish. I see people, families now. Tiny specks in the distance. They will have to die. I have nothing against them. This is war and nothing is personal in war. Perhaps like my fellow Jehaadis… they will die and go to heaven too. Maybe allah will treat them as martyrs like He will treat me.

The leader is signalling us to be ready now. I take some more of the medicine to calm my nerves. I can hear my heart pound in my ears louder than the sounds of the sea. 

Relax Ajmal. This is what you have been training for. This is what you believe in. You are a son of the great Mohammed. You are a chosen one.

I am shivering now. My brother notices my angst and puts a hand on my shoulder. I look at him and see conviction in his eyes. They tell me that this is the moment in our lives which will set us apart from the rest. This is the moment when our destiny will be one with the destiny of our country, our enemy and our God.

The leader signals. We are there.

I close my eyes. Allah give me strength.

I give my hand to my brother who helps me out of this boat. My gun suddenly feels heavy. A sudden wave of panic hits me… what if we are caught before we do our job? What if we fail? I then remember the planning and the training. I remember how I was chosen over thousands of others because I was the best – much like my other brothers here with me. We have gone through this again and again… I can see the streets of my enemy’s city in my head. I can do this.

I quickly go into action. Precisely executing a sequence of steps as I am told to. There are so many people. Everywhere. There are children. They told me to kill without discretion. To strike terror in the hearts of the enemy of Islam. This is the job of a true Jihadi.

Allah… give your soldier, your son the strength to live his destiny. Give me the strength to die as a hero. May the world remember me as a martyr and nothing else. Ya Allah!

And I point my gun at the enemy and squeeze the trigger.

Ya Allah!