Love in Kandahar

Publishing House: Editions Difaf

Publication Year: 2016

Genre: Novel

Number of Pages: 150

In “Love in Kandahar,” Saudi author Mohammed Al-Zahrani presents a gripping narrative that traces the lives of Arab mujahideen who journeyed to Afghanistan for jihad in the 1980s, known as the Arab Afghans. The novel unfolds through the journey of three friends – Sand, Sulaiman, and Eid (the narrator) – to Kandahar. Sand is an adventurous, unemployed Bedouin; Sulaiman, a gentle and handsome man from Medina; and Eid, who couldn’t excel in school or join the officers’ college due to a physical issue, finds solace and conviction in the path of support and jihad, influenced by sheikhs and study circles.

Al-Zahrani sheds light on the concept of jihad in Islam and the arbitrary fatwas that advocate fighting against the West, America, and supporting Muslims in any land. The novel chronicles the journey of these three young men to the land of jihad in Afghanistan after a sheikh convinces them to leave their worldly life for an eternal abode, reminding them of the verses of jihad and the rewards in the afterlife.

The text considered as an exceptional addition to the narratives of jihad within the collective imagination, rather than individual fantasy. This distinction stems from Al-Zahrani’s remarkable ability to blend deep representation in exploring the self’s worlds and perceptions of the afterlife with the real world they inhabit. This is perhaps due to the Arab and Muslim connection with the concepts of endurance, resistance, self-discipline, and the ultimate dream of establishing an Islamic caliphate on earth.

After a challenging journey through different countries and battlefronts, the young mujahideen realize they merely pawned in a profitable deal for those they fought and risked their lives for. This realization encapsulated in a moment when they are informed that the Pakistani truck driver intends to hand them over to the Americans soon.

“Love in Kandahar” is a profound exploration of religious extremism, where jihad masked by religious texts interpreted to suit the motives of war and death. Eid’s narrative, from hope and conviction to disillusionment and introspection, offers a poignant reflection on the complex realities of faith, war, and the human condition.

Read More About Mohammed Al-Zahrani

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!