“Pemuda yang Membakar Neraka” or roughly translated as “A young man who burn the underworld” is one of short stories written by Candra Malik. He is an artist, a writer, as well as a Sufi figure known in Indonesia. Of the many short stories compiled in Mawar Hitam (Black Rose), I was most struck by the themes raised in his particular story titled above.
The story was told from the perspective of a teen boy, who from his childhood age, had been taught to obey the commands of religion, in this case, is salat. For the brief explanation, there are 5 pillars of Islam which are also considered mandatory by believers. The five pillars are Syahadah (Faith), Salat (Prayer), Zakat (Charity), Sawm (Fasting), and Hajj (A Pilgrimage to Mecca). When she was a child, his dad told him about a drunken young man who always disturb people around the main mosque in the area. He was famous by his clamor that he would burn hell. The tale about the drunk was very, very famous, even down from generation to generation.
Look at this eye? (noted: his other eye has already blind) He is able to see you, yet in fact, he was actually blind. I’ve given him half a century, but he still can not see God.
I so love this story so far. The topics in this very short story is mainly about how the drunken -which later became- old man, could not even say Syahadah, tho he was so sure of the God existence. There are a lot of controversial sentences which honestly contain very deep meanings. For instances, the old man would never be able to implement the rest four, as long as he could never say syahadah. Only ignorant people who believe salat should be the way to get closer to the God. These kind of thoughts are very rare and so difficult.
Well, I did not expect myself to read this kind of books until a dear friend presented the book to me. I understand that the contents of the book are not easy reads. Everything in the book will be brow-knittingly serious. However, I found not few things that should spiritually be contemplated. This book has become one of the few short stories took spiritual themes which is caught my attention.
As for its title, it was referred to the old man’s anger of his inability to say Syahadah. He just missed the Lord that if the underworld nor heaven would only interfere his closeness with God, then he would be willing to burn both.