The sky was lightening when they pushed the last boulder away.
One of them clambered down into the hole, shifted the shawl and saw the baby nestled in the crook of her arm. Prising it free from the lifeless hands, he raised it to his friends.
It opened its eyes and smiled - a smile so beatific that the night’s exhaustion drained from them as if by magic.
As the first sunrays streaked gold, the light slowly faded from its eyes but the smile remained.
They tenderly laid it on a blanket, knelt down facing Mecca and cried, defiant, “Allahu- akbar!”