All the brothers were listening attentively to their daily class. They gathered around their trainer. A gathering full of love and brotherhood. Suddenly all of them spread and took the lying position. They took all precautions needed to dodge shrapnel expected from a hand grenade. In this case it has slipped from the hand of the trainer. All of them spread except one.

In a situation where heroes shake, this brother took a rare heroic decision. A decision that defines the meaning of sacrifice and love. Actually it’s almost impossible to see one sacrificing his soul for others except those whom Allāh has blessed. This brother jumped and held the grenade as a mother would hug her infant after she had lost him. He hugged it to block the brothers from the shrapnel.

You know what happened next? Of course the grenade didn’t go off. It was just a drill. The grenade was educational. The trainer let it slip to see how his students would react if an enemy was to throw a grenade at their garrison. Would they act as he has trained them; lie down and avoid the shrapnel? This test was unannounced. The students were deceived. And when they realized it was just a test, the brother who loved his brother more than himself left the gathering with tears running down his face. The trainer gave him a look, admiring this sacrificial Mujahid. He then said, “Wallāhi this brother will have a great ‘thing’ to offer.”

Indeed the trainer was right. This brother is one of the lions who hijacked planes and crashed them in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on September 11. One of the lions who changed history. May Allāh have mercy on them.

– Narrated by Abu Dahdah who heard it from one of the brothers in prison.