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The Stick, the Ball, and the Sword

Updated: Aug 14, 2020

I had a typical boy’s passion for soccer since elementary school and pretty much every other kid did too, I was known to be the best which didn’t last long because of travelling and long breaks without touching the ball. In Libya Street soccer was common and all age groups would play.


In my area I didn’t see kids play soccer but whenever I went over to my cousin’s house he always played, like twice a day every day. Being passionate about soccer as a youth I would go to his house often just to play.


In grade nine I took these visits to another level, my cousin and I decided to join a nearby club which made our dedication escalate. I had practice three times a week with a game. This troubled my uncle (Ibrahim) for many reasons including safety and security and as I confess I was a trouble maker and arrogantly disobedient.


My disobedience and attitude towards him was often something that provoked his anger, sometimes to the extent where he would hit me but when he tried, most of the times I would run to safety with Ejdayda (Grandma in Arabic) Aliya, she always broke fights, reconciled hearts, made constant Dua for guidance. She was wise with words and actions; she never started eating until everyone was present, yet if you started she wouldn’t shame you.


Anyhow, this concern of my uncle continued until it reached a point where he struck a deal with me:

“The day you wake up and pray Fajr in the mosque is a day you’re free to go to your games and practice.” -Ibrahim

Knowing me I did what any challenged and foolish kid would do:

“Yeah ok, easy.”

The first practice came around and I had not prayed Fajr in the mosque, and I left anyway. When I came home eventually I crossed ways with him and he said:

“Didn’t we agree if you don’t pray Fajr in the Mosque you cannot go to soccer?”

I replied with a typical excuse, so in reply he said,

“Don’t repeat it again! I’m not joking with you about this.”

Another practice came around and I hadn’t prayed Fajr in the mosque, you probably know what happened next. I went out, but this time I used my intelligence which later I learned in college that Psychologists classified it as a three year olds logic.


If I don’t see him he can’t see me. That logic didn’t even hold up for the same day, my older sister Alzahra came to and said:

“Amo Ibrahim wants you downstairs.”

As I am going downstairs, I first quietly tried to scope out the scene and assess his mood and where my grandma was if I needed refuge.

Eventually I walk in on him,

"What’s going on? Didn’t we make a deal and you said it would be easy?”
“Go get the stick. You’re a liar!”

I went into emergency mode and started to run for my life,

“EJDAYDA, EJDAYDA, EJDAYDA!”

I hid behind her and said;

“Amo Ibrahim is going to hit me.”

As if I didn’t do anything wrong or wasn’t continuously disobedient and didn’t break any deals. :P

“Mom move. Mother please move,”

He said to my grandma as she was blocking me with her body.

“He doesn’t listen; he is always causing problems and doesn’t even wake up for Fajr.”

He added.

“Forgive him may Allah forgive you. Forgive him may Allah forgive you.”

She said in reply.

“I will let this slide because of my mom, but woe to you if you try a stunt like this again.”

The next few day were off and then it was game day, as usual I didn’t go to Fajr, but I couldn’t miss game day, it would just mean I wasted my time and risked my life going to practice and practice is for games.


As I go down and was about to leave I noticed this time he was home early, the problems were a few, firstly it was nap time, because it was too hot outside which meant everything was too quiet, secondly the doors were two large metal gates that make loud vibrations when opened and need some power to close which makes even louder sounds. Last but not least, he was in the guest hall which is right beside these two noisy sellout doors. I would definitely be doomed just at the first door.


As usual my intelligence kicked in; I didn’t use any of those doors. I went around through the back kitchen door and climbed the wall which was about 9ft tall and 1.5ft thick, I managed to walk all the way around from the back on the wall to the front and jumped off to freedom.




After that game night I told my cousin and aunt what was going on back home and managed to sleep over, so I stayed at my cousin’s place for as long as possible maybe he would cool down.


Because of school the next week and my mom calling frequently; I was stressed because it meant home time, so as usual my intelligence kicked in with another genius plan, ‘go when he is at prayer.


SubhanAllah sometimes when something is written for you it’s just meant to meet you and there’s no way to avoid it.


When I arrived, I can hear men praying in the masjid from the external speaker and yet when I knocked on the outer door, the one I am trying my best to avoid opens the door.

“Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Baka,”
“Go get the stick!”

He said.

“YA EJDAYDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA”

I ran as fast as I could while he was chasing me.

While lifting his “Jalabia’ which when I reimagine it, it’s a pretty funny scene.

Going left and right;

“EJDAYDA, EJDAYDA!”

I bump into one of my aunts who said;

“Ejdayda Aliya is not home.”
"Ibrahim just left to go get her."

I just zoned out... Like those big bangs went off, and life is still moving but with ring, just a ‘BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP’.


It all started to make sense; he was not leading the prayer because he had to go pick his mother. He opened the door because he was about to leave, and I was inspired to come to that appointment.


Ultimately that was probably the biggest beating I got. I even broke the stick or I should say he broke it on me.


Fast-forwarding…


After some years while back in Canada, around the first year of college I started to have some deep reflections of life after a calamity, I starting thinking what is my purpose and what is this all about. I started thinking big as to what was the end result of actions I take. It started to make me more interested in religion because it was all about the end result, and especially because of the specific times we live in.


I really thought we lived in the end of times that the Prophet Mohamed Peace Be upon Him made mention of.


I came to realize that something’s in my life are repetitive, almost like a kid trying to get your attention. I thought maybe it’s a sign that I should take seriously, maybe I should try to obey and listen, and maybe it’s good for me.


I intentionally decided to go Fajr for the first time on my own, I was dumbstruck, and the experience was so powerful, it was something else. Beyond words, this really showed me that some things can only be understood through experience, it doesn’t matter how much you read or listen about them.


I was encouraged and started reading about the virtues of Fajr, and I was baffled;

“Whoever prays Fajr is under the protection of Allah...” (Muslim)

I realized my father put his little brother charge of my safety and security in a place like Libya and he knew I was always up to trouble so he wanted assurance and what better assurance than Allah’s.






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