About A Long Night


Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.
Charles Mackay 1852
Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds
(From the preface to the second edition.)
I
t was a long night in Kuala Lumpur trying to come to terms with contradictions in Islam that just wouldn’t go away.
Trevor had found welcome and acceptance as a teenage convert in London. It had seemed a relatively straightforward set of beliefs compared with the mental gymnastics Christianity required. It had been so easy to join in the fun of pulling moribund Christian notions to shreds as he wallowed in the warmth of belonging that his Muslim community offered.
Farid had struggled all night trying to reconcile the irreconcilable. Over the city, sound systems were being switched on to deliver the fajar azan as the inevitable dawned on him – all religion is artifice.
That night had seemed very long but, in truth, he had lived through a much longer night. Forty years he had been stumbling over hurdles that were simply not visible in the achromatic light of the Muslim crescent.
The story is told in two voices: The first is a novel about the gradual enlightenment and eventual epiphany of its hero, Trevor/Farid.  The second[1] is a selection from the author’s letters and thoughts as he came out of his own long night.