Searching for My Roots

(Brother Khaled tells his story to one of the brothers in the group.)

My name is Khaled Abdullah Al-Khaly; or it may be some other name. You see, I really do not know for sure. Let me relate to you something of my past so that you might be able to understand me better. I have an inscription on my chest that I have had since I was very young.

Photo of tattooed inscription on Khaled's chest

I remember noticing the inscription on my chest in a mirror when I was about five years old. The inscription is in Arabic and gives a name -- (Khaled Abdullah Al Khaly) the name of a great desert, or the name of a city (Rubh Al-Khaly), a year (1960), and the crescent and star of Islam. I do not know or remember when the inscription was tattooed on my chest. For some reason I was taken from the Middle East to Mexico at an early age and given a Spanish name. I do not know who my parents are so I cannot ask them these questions. This mystery is the reason why I am in search of the truth before I die.

I will relate to you some old memories that exist inside my head. These are memories of my youth. I have never forgotten these reoccurring images of my past and they have become the oldest memories that I have of my life.

I am about 4 years old. I am in the desert. I can see many men dressed in black. There are so many that I cannot count them. They are mounted on horses, their faces are covered, and they are carrying swords. It is night and I can hear people screaming in agony, in pain, and in fright. I can also hear men talking but I cannot understand what they say. There is fire everywhere. I see people hiding, running, and defending themselves from the men and the fire.

I am suddenly grabbed by the arm and taken away. It seems that I cannot move fast enough because my feet are sinking into the sand. I cannot make out the face of the person who is leading me but I am taken to a group of men standing away from the fire. The men are strong and tall but I can only see their backs. I remember turning around and seeing the large streaks of fire burning the town and hearing the voices of terror in the distance. I was then mounted and taken away on a white horse. I do not know if the person with me was a man or a woman. I turned around and could see many people on horses following us.

Soon, I see hills. Yes, I remember seeing hills. I then remember being inside of a basket with many small openings. From these openings I could see people moving about. I was in the basket for a very long time and I could feel the pressure of being held captive because I could not force myself out. Every once in a while someone would open the lid of the basket and hand me some bread.

I have another memory. Someone is holding me in their arms. At first I could not see the face but then she removes the head covering and I see tears. She is crying for me with much tenderness in her heart. I will never forget those eyes. Those eyes have been recorded permanently in my mind. Sometimes I wonder if those were the eyes of my mother. I remember that there were many people around us as she was holding me. Suddenly, she gave me to one of the men. I remember fighting and screaming because I felt attached to this woman. I did not want to leave her arms.

Later, I remember seeing a large cargo ship. I could smell the sea water and I could see men carrying sacks of clothes and baskets on their heads. I then notice a man that looks different from the rest of the people. He is wearing white clothes and a white hat. The man is tall and looks English. He looks at me and smiles.

I am now on the ship. I know that I am on a ship because the food, the candles, and the people sitting next to me seem to be rocking. I am on this ship for a very long time. I can not see the sun so I do not know if it is day or night.

In a few days or weeks we arrive in a city, but because of my youth I do not know what city it is. I came to know later on that the city was somewhere in Mexico. In Mexico, for some reason, I was given to an old man named Faruk. I only remember his name and something interesting that he told me. He told me that he was a descendent of the pharaohs. I lived with Faruk for a short time. Faruk died a few months later. Before his death he told me to remember that their was only one God to honor and that God was Allah. Those are the only words I remember Faruk telling me. There were two other children living with us. I think that they might have been my brother and sister but I am not certain. We were all about the same age. When Faruk died we were separated and to this day I do not know what ever happened to them. I was then taken in by a Mexican family.

I remember living with this Mexican family for some time. I knew that they were not my real family because I could sense that the love a mother and father have for their child was missing in their kindness towards me. I lived with two other families. All the families were Catholic. One of the families had two children and they took good care of me. I was taken everywhere with them. By this time the memories of my past were slowly fading. I was being acculturated in Mexican society and taken to church on a regular basis. However, I never felt comfortable in church and was never forced to participate. I believe that it was through the great power of Allah that my heart was being kept from church until I discovered the gift of Islam. This gift came in the form of Islamic images of Muslims praying on television. It was from these brothers on television that I learned how to pray. You see, there are not many Muslims in Mexico and I never understood the adoration of the saints or the virgin of Guadalupe. I felt more comfortable copying the Muslims on television than the Catholics in church.

For years I tried to figure out what the inscription on my chest signified but no one around me knew how to read Arabic. One day, I finally met a man who could read Arabic. This man deciphered the tattoo and gave me some hope of finally figuring out my past. The information was significant and made me contemplate life for a very long time. Soon, I made up my mind to leave Mexico.

Approximately ten years ago I decided to take destiny into my own hands. I stowed away on a ship heading towards the Middle East so that I could find some answers to my past. However, the ship stopped in Peru for ten days. I could not withstand the hunger for that long of time so I jumped off. I have been in Peru ever since. I am poor so I do not have any plans to go to the Middle East in the near future.

Throughout my life, however, I have had two recurring dreams that I feel are important and symbolize something of my past. In one dream, I am high atop a mountain feeling a cold breeze blow as I look out onto the land below. My curiosity grows from atop the mountain and I begin to descend. I begin to see thousands of people but I cannot make-out their faces because they are covered. They have long clothing that covers their bodies. I try desperately to see their faces but I cannot. I begin to advance through the thousands of people. With every step, they spread themselves open to let me through. When I reach the center, I see their leader or someone I believe is the leader. The person is in agony and dying. This person has a sock that is weathered by time. On his skin I see injuries of some sort. I think in my heart, "the poor man must be suffering", then another man holds me by the arm and tells me that I have to put the sock on. Fear fills my being as I think that maybe the sickness the man is suffering will one day strike me because I am wearing his socks. I think of Allah and believe that Allah will keep me away from harms way. The men then take me and slip the dying man's socks on my feet. When the socks are fitted on me the men take me and raise me above their heads to place me on a pyre of fire so as to test my strength. I am brought down and the thousands of people suddenly fall on their knees towards me in adoration. A man that is by my side says that with these socks I will have great power and many children. The thousands of people remain in reverence of me. This is a dream that has reoccurred many times in my life. I am searching for interpretations of my dream.

Another dream that reoccurs takes place as I am climbing a mountain. When I reach the mountain top I see thirteen white horses and horsemen. One of the men dismounts and raises me towards him. The man then places a crown on my head. I am delighted of this act but then the crown is transformed into a thin simple crown that is placed in front of three rocks or three diamonds. The rocks are in the shape of pyramids and each pyramid is of three colors; green, white, and violet.

I do not know what these dreams mean. I do believe, however, that they are related to my vague past. I am sure that there is someone out there in this present world that might have an answer to my past life. I am a man searching for his family, a homeland, and answers of my past. If anyone has the slightest knowledge of what I have said please let your heart guide you towards me. And may Allah, the all powerful, enlighten your decision to help me.

Important Reminder

We at the Islamic Bulletin would like to assist our brother Khaled in re-uniting him with his mother and family. We urge everyone to share this information. Should you have any questions or require further information, please contact: Editor of The Islamic Bulletin, P.O. Box 410186, San Francisco, CA 94141-0186.


The Islamic Bulletin
P.O. Box 410186, San Francisco, CA 94141-0186

February 1997
Ramadan 1417
Note from the Editor
Letters to the Editor
Trip to Peru
Searching for
My Roots
Islamic Dietary Laws
What Is Islam?
In Memory of
Shaikh Kishk
Why I Embraced Islam
Letter to Roman
Emperor Caesar
Cook's Corner
Qur'anic Science
Sayings of the Prophet
Women in Islam
The Wisdom in Islam
Stories of the Sahabah
Eid Stamp