In this short story Raza Ali talks about a child trying to make sense of his world and emphasizes how rituals and interpretations that come down to us are a starting point but in the end we create our own rituals and meanings.
When did his religious instruction begin? You could say that it began with Ayah telling him about the angels who would accompany him through all the days of his life. She said you could not see them, but they were there all right, one behind each shoulder. There was a good angel behind him on the right while an evil angel stood behind his left shoulder. The good angel would encourage him to perform pious deeds and be a good Muslim; the bad angel would do his best to get him to stray from the right path, the path that would lead him to paradise and to God. He was much impressed with Ayah’s version of things though many years later he would come across a different version according to which the two angels’ main function was simply to record your deeds, with the angel on your right recording your good deeds and the other recording all your sins.
His little brother needed attention, so she left Shahed sitting on the toilet, telling him to call out when he needed her to come and clean him, He sat there for a while thinking about what she had said. He tried to picture his two angels. What did they look like? In his mind’s eye, he saw the good angel looking a lot like his mother. She was dressed in white and had large wings. The bad angel was a man with a short dark beard and a crooked and ugly smirk on his face. Shahed determined that he was only going to follow what the good angel told him to do. He would be a good boy and that way he would please his parents, and Ayah, and the Prophet (Peace be upon Him), and God.