'You were lost long before...You came here because you had gone everywhere else.' "The Order of Light" is one week in the life of a young Pakistani-American. The son of wealthy parents, he attends a prestigious American university and enjoys the comforts and privileges that come with it. He is also miserable. In the summer of 2001, he and his Indian room-mate Haris enrol in a programme at a language institute in Cairo to study Arabic and the Qur'an, so that they might better understand their religion. Their project fails in almost every respect - nothing quite bores the protagonist as much as attending prayers or listening to sermons. But having come from a family where every day he was told that Islam must come first, the discovery that he doesn't care to lead an Islamic way of life - and that much of the Muslim world doesn't seem to want to, either - disturbs him terribly. Frustrated with his spiritual lethargy, he finds it easier to run. He runs away from his apartment every other night, making Haris sick with worry. One such night, he finds himself lost in the winding streets of Old Cairo.Desperate, he takes shelter in a tiny, dilapidated mosque where he chances upon something altogether unexpected: five men, members of a self-declared Order of Light, who claim they are from the future; descendants of Salah al-Din's twelfth-century Kurdish retinue. They have travelled back in time to save the world from a horrific global conflict that will ultimately wreak havoc on the Islamic people. The problem with the modern age, the Order proclaims, is that Man has made himself an idol, and to repent this sin, Man must commit suicide in order to free his soul. The young Pakistani finds himself joining in their discussions, captivated by their teachings. But the more questions he asks them the more he ends up questioning himself. He wants to forget about the Order but seems to bump into its members wherever he goes. Are they following him? Are they trying to win him over? Then the suicides begin, and Cairo is plunged into panic and destruction.
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