Patience Leads to Happiness
Bismillah Ar Rahman Al Raheem.
My name is Saffin Alimamy and today, you shall be introduced to the full story of my life. Why do I share my story with you? Because I care and I believe that my story can change and probably save other people’s lives. Like yourself; I am human as well and so far, I have lived long enough to experience and deal with the many situations that life can deliver. Let me start off by telling you how this book is going to be set. Every chapter shows a year of my life, what I went through, and what happened. I hope you enjoy this book as well as appreciate the hard work that I went through to write this all for you. Remember; whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you are, I love you. I hope you can keep smiling and feel that special feeling throughout this entire book. Enjoy.
I would like to tell you in depth about my family background which isn’t something that I usually do. My father comes from Mosul, a city which is situated in Iraq, making him fully Arab from my grandfather’s side and Iraqi-Kurdish from my grandmother’s side. My mother comes from Turkey. My grandfather was Turkish and my grandmother is Iraqi-Kurdish.
I was born in a city called Sana’a which the capital of Yemen and I am a citizen of New Zealand. I also have originality backgrounds coming back from Saudi Arabia due to my father’s side, which originates from The Prophet’s family. Many claim to be from ‘The Prophet’s family of Islam’, but not many are from there. A lot claim that they’re from there but do not have evidence, yet I do.
++]]I would like to start off by telling you the story of my birth. I am a very weird person by default, and that means everyone who is normal sees me different, weird. On the 23rd of October, 1994, I was born in a Russian Hospital that was called Amal, in Sana’a, Yemen. Sounds all normal to you, right? Well, my birth was delayed for around two weeks as I wouldn’t accept to leave my mother’s stomach. I just… had things going on differently with me. I was born through a caesarean operation. Yes, the doctors had to cut open my mother’s stomach. I came out very tiny and grey-looking. I wasn’t able to cry and babies have to cry in order to breathe. I was neither able to breathe nor move and the doctors just had to wiggle me like a dead body until they inserted some pipes into my nose and mouth. They kept shaking me until I started crying and started breathing that way, Elhamdulillah.
I was born and still am a proud Muslim. Now wait, hold on. I know you know that I come from Iraq and that I am a Muslim but let me explain myself. I am neither Shia nor a member of ISIS. I am a Sunni and I do not hate anyone at all! There are goods and bads in this world and we need to focus on each one individually, not through groups because I’m sure that there are good people everywhere, and of course, bad people as well.
I have two elder brothers, one who is seven years older and another who is ten years older than me. Unlike myself, my brothers do not dream of becoming famous which is the reason as to why I chose not bring their names into discussion throughout this entire book. They were raised differently than me, but I still love them because they are from my blood.
++]]When I was a one-year old, I moved to Auckland, New Zealand with my family. I then became a citizen of New Zealand. Surprisingly, a lot of people would ask me what my nationality was before I became a New Zealander. Well, I didn’t have one, haha! It’s weird, but that’s what happened. I had my name in my mother’s passport at that time and that’s how I travelled to New Zealand. I don’t remember much during this age so this is one of the shortest chapters of this book. I guess I had the longest flight in the very beginning of my life. In 1995, Saddam was ruling, therefore, there were problems going on. In Iraq, it was a very strict and hard life.
I have heard my mother telling me stories of my past. One day in New Zealand; when I was 1 and a half years old, I was playing in the garden of the neighborhood and when I came back home, I had a long worm rolling around my hand, which my mother was terrified from. My mum told me that she was very scared of it which led her to shout and that ended up with me dropping that worm and cry. I guess now I know how people become scared of things while they’re young. They’re too innocent to differentiate between what is dirty or scary looking and what is not.
++]]My earliest memory of this blessed life that I can recall was when I was 4 years old. At that time, I enrolled to kindergarten. I went to kindergarten, what? Yes, I went to kindergarten very early, for fun. That was because my mother was a childcare teacher and well, I wasn’t able to go anywhere without her.
I remember that there was this one time when I got sick and I ended up having to stay at home. I remember spending my time at home playing a game called rider (I guess that’s what it’s called) on my PlayStation One. The game involved a girl who had a pocket gun and a knife running around in a jungle. I also remember that on that day, I ended up having marbles. I don’t know what exactly was going through my mind, but I inserted them in my nose and showed my father. Once he noticed the childish mistake that I made, he helped get them out for me.
There was this other time when I was in kindergarten and I remember that there was a huge gate that I couldn’t reach to open (it had a pull-button from the top of it, and I was too short). So, my father made a surprise visit to my kindergarten and took me out to eat at McDonalds. I was so happy. I enjoyed my time sliding down the slides in the playground inside McDonald’s. Later on, he took me back to the kindergarten.
++]]I remember some good memories at this age. When I was five years old, I had this nice toy car that I was able to fit in and my brother would push the car, making it an enjoyable ride for myself. I used to live on very nice hill area which lead to a forest. Our house was right in front of the forest and you would hear beautiful birds singing every morning. I remember spending my morning with my brother taking me over the hill with my red car as it was our early playtime.
My routine of life back then was to wake up very early at 6:00 AM, go out to kindergarten with my mother which was on the other side of the city (we had to cross this huge bridge in order to reach the other side of the city). I would then spend the whole day at the kindergarten and go back home around 4 PM. After a while, I would watch TV with my brother who is 7 years elder than me. He used to watch dragon ball Z and I would wait for his show to finish so that I could watch Teletubbies. On the weekends, I would get the opportunity to watch Postman Pat and Thomas the Train in the early mornings. My favorite breakfast was sprinkles and butter on a piece of toast with orange juice.
++]]In 2000, people thought the world would’ve ended due to a disaster taken upon technology. Well, I’m glad that didn’t happen or I wouldn’t be able to explain to you how my life was back then.
At this year, I travelled to The United Arab Emirates for the very first time. My uncle was living there at that time and we visited him in Dubai. Dubai on the other hand, was a completely different city than today’s. There were barely any buildings, it was mostly sandy, and life was quite poor for workers there (who weren’t citizens of the country). The majority of people I remember seeing back then were only Indians and Pakistanis. I remember we rented a very weird car at that time, it was a Mercedes, and the weird about was that it was green.
During that year, it was my very first time seeing someone who was related to my family. I never knew what a relative was until I met my uncle. He was really sweet to me and he would buy me a gift every single day when I used to live there. I used to wake up at around 10 AM and he would be awake since 6 AM, so when he would come back from work at around 2 PM or so, I would get a new gift. Compared to New Zealand, I remember that toys in The Middle East back then was very cheap. A pack of around 10 cars were only like 10 DHS (around $2.6 USD), while 1 car in New Zealand was around 30 DHS itself.
I also remember hearing the adhan for the first time. I was so scared because I didn’t know what it was or what was going on, which led me to ask my parents. Once I was introduced to it, I grew amazed yet curious of the different lifestyles that people had. There was this one time when we went to downtown Dubai and it is so different than the Dubai of today. It was exactly in the middle of Bur Dubai, where millions of people lived, and it was very crowded there. I really enjoyed the night shops that stayed awake until midnight. Life in Dubai was very beautiful especially knowing that there was no traffic there.
So, my parents and I enjoyed our time there but we had to go back to New Zealand. In New Zealand, we had an incident where a burglar came to our house and he stole a lot of items from our home. After that happened, I was really scared and I wasn’t able to feel comfortable being home alone as I was before. At that time, I started my first year in school and I liked it a lot because in school, the teachers were able to teach their students through entertaining them.
In the end of year, my dad received a job in Muscat, the capital city of Oman, and we all flew there. In Oman, I wasn’t stabilized with the Arabian culture yet as I spent most of my childhood in New Zealand. My brothers and I used to study online where we would get our books and assignments from New Zealand that had to be completed within a month then sent back in order to get new ones. One day, a parrot flew past our apartment in Oman. My mother closed the window and we caught it. We were so happy. We got our parrot a huge cage and an additional parrot to mate with. I used to have so much fun with them. We taught our parrots how to talk and they started speaking but unfortunately, we had to let them go.
One day in Oman, I was very bored at home and decided that I wanted to go to a real school so I asked my dad to enroll me to an Omani school. He was worried for me because I was different from the people of culture there and he didn’t want me to get hurt. So, we went there and as I was signing up, I was so surprised to see that people were dressed with white, long dresses called thobes. I learnt quickly about the cultural clothing and wanted to wear one of them myself.
During my time in Oman, life at home was fun but depressing at the same time. My brothers and I slept in one room and would play with our PlayStation together during the afternoons. My middle brother and I used to go down to the supermarket to buy Omani chips. During the late afternoons, my brothers would gather up and turn against me (as their ages were closer than mine). It was kind of sad but it was funny as well, like, they would lock doors and play alone without me.
I remember some good memories in Muscat, like Qurum center. It was a nice beach area with stones, spas, Jacuzzis and so on. I even remember thieves. We got robbed there. We went out to go shopping one day and realized that our car mirror was taken. We went back home and looked at every car’s mirror to match ours with it. We found one that had our car mirror (it was a different type of car that used one of our mirrors and we figured that because ours had some writings on it which were from the company) so we took it back from them. What was really funny was that the people who stole it were our neighbors and were watching from the window that we were the halal thieves, stealing our good back haha.
++]]At age seven, in the year of 2001, my dad got an offer to work in the UAE and so we went there. I was happy at that time because I had a better life experience in the Arabian culture. I felt like I belonged there. Everything was so simple, cheap, and calm. The weather was quite hot for me, but it was very good compared to the cold weather that we had back in New Zealand. Once we arrived to our new home in the UAE, I got my own room which was in front of a nice playground that was right in front of our home. I used to wake up at 6 AM in the morning to play there. I used to use small cars, toy soldiers, and would dig roads with mud by mixing water and sand. I used to also build castles and play with other kids.
At this time, I went to grade one again but I failed the year in that school. This was a very devastating moment in my life. I felt so bad because I repeated grade one for three times, once in New Zealand and twice in UAE. I was a year late and they taught students in an advanced setting of mathematics to which I had no idea of since the teachings in New Zealand consisted of entertainment settings rather than learning. So, the school decided that I repeat grade one the next year and so I did.
I was in a school called Sharjah American International School and the only reason why I went to it was because my brothers did. I hated it. My brother and I decided to go to a different school directly after I failed the year. On the next academic year, my brother and I decided to change schools to Wesgreen International School of Sharjah. I was happy at this school. Everyone was welcoming and friendly. I made some really nice friends there and I wonder where they’d be today but I hope they’re safe and blessed. I spent two years in this school and Elhamdulillah everything went well.
Also, at this age, I felt really lonely. I would see people playing outside together and I was too shy to join them. The reason why I felt so was because they seemed very confident. I hated to feel rejected and I intended not to give things a try, therefore, I was not able to communicate and become friends with them however, we did become friends eventually. I still remember that it was really hard to communicate with them because their first language was Arabic while my Arabic dialect was completely different from theirs which made me unable to talk to them. They did seem welcoming and friendly. I was so lonely at most of the times though, and I would end up sleeping on the pavement right in front of my home at times. This was very weird because I liked it. It was too warm and it felt good to sleep on. I wonder what others thought of me after seeing me lol.
++]]Once I reached grade three, my brother decided to go back to Sharjah International School of Sharjah which influenced me to decide to go back with him as well, although I didn’t want to. I used to be very lonely at school. During my break time, I would sleep under a tree and wake up from my nap whenever the school bell rung. I remember trying my very best to make friends in that school but it was very difficult for me as most of the students were not the ideal people that I would choose to spend my time with.
In that school, the teachers didn’t like me very much. I remember that my teacher used to treat me very badly. She used to tell me that I would get a ‘big fat zero’ on my exam paper. She also smelt terrible because she would smoke a lot, even on school grounds. There was this one incident when she left the classroom and the students and I saw her smoking from the window which had unfortunately, influenced some of the students in my class to smoke as well.
At that time, it was quite difficult for me to understand subjects in education since I never had any idea of what was going on in school. I wasn’t able to read, write, or perform the simple mathematical functions. I was also getting insulted, mistreated, and having my reputation degraded during my time at that school which was a tough period in my life but I accepted it that way. I still hated school very much. I used to cry every morning because I didn’t want to go to it. I would sleep at 2 AM from the fear of going to school because it was just so hard.
At this age, I started to become friends with the neighbors that were in my neighborhood and I remember having a wonderful time with them. One of my best friends was called Yasmine; she was a Canadian-Egyptian girl, whose brother was friends with my brother. The time we spent when in each other’s’ company was amazing. I remember going to Dream-land, a water park in Sharjah, with her and her family. She was a really sweet girl and we had a lot of fun doing almost everything together. A weird fact is that she inspired me to learn how to sew bracelets. I am aware that this is some sort of a girly hobby but until this day, if I had 4 ropes, I might still be able to do a bracelet or even a necklace.
I remember that I was a somewhat bully back then as well. I used to be very mean, especially when my friends would come and knock or ring the doorbell at a time when I wouldn’t feel like going out. There was this one time when Yasmine was wearing skates and knocked on my door. I was so angry at that time which led me to push her off the steps once I opened my door. She started crying and honestly, I feel really bad right now looking back at those days. It’s a good thing that we still ended up remaining good friends in the end.
I had another friend called Munawar; he was an Australian-Bengali. He inspired me to not differentiate between one another. He didn’t do so by words, but by actions. I was so closely tied to him as we had a very strong friendship. I used to spend every hour of the day at his house. We would spend a lot of our time playing with the piano, playing games on his computer or PlayStation, and share each other’s home food. We used to ride our bicycles out for hours which helped me into becoming a professional when dealing with bicycles. For instance, if a situation occurred to which the tires became detached from the bicycle, I would know how to handle it.
Another friend of mine was called Omar, he was a Belgian-Palestinian, and was considered as one of the closest of friends that I ever had in the past. I remember that we used to wake up early in the morning at around 6 AM to go and play out in the park. We used to dig up holes from sand and made tracks for our little toy cars. We were really friendly with each other. He would invite me to his house to play on his computer or watch Tarzan. I also invited my friends to my house all the time, especially when it was my birthday, back when I used to celebrate it.
We were good friends until one day, we got in a fight. I don’t really remember what exactly happened but Omar started throwing heavy rocks at me while I was on my bicycle. After that incident, we stopped talking. I remember days after that fight, I was riding my bicycle on the pavement near all the houses in my neighborhood. To my surprise, I hear his father shouting at me, threatening that he’d hurt me if he ever saw me riding my bicycle near his home again.
Another day came when I had accidentally scratched his father’s car from length to length by my bicycle’s side bars. My intention was to attempt to park my bike near to his car. I wasn’t able to leave my house for three days after that incident because I was scared and I think his family figured out that I was the cause of the damage to his car. Everyone assumed that I had done it and it was true. In the end, nothing happened between me, Omar and his father, and his father eventually fixed it.
I also remember that one of our neighbors next door was an old woman. I think she was a Palestinian. Whenever she would come back from shopping, she would always need help in carrying her shopping bags from the car to her house and I would always volunteer to do so.
She used to give me a treat whenever I helped her. I loved her with all my heart until one day, the news broke down to all of us that she had passed away. I remember being really upset and since this incident, I have realized that even the best of people can die. May God make her rest in peace.
At this age, I also experienced one of the scariest of incidents that has ever happened to me in my entire life. It was when I travelled to Switzerland with my parents to enjoy our summer break. My brothers didn’t come with us as they had university and other errands to attend to. Basically, I ended up getting lost on our very first day. I will explain in depth of how this all occurred.
When it was 6:00 PM, my parents and I were on a double-deck train going from Zurich to Bern. It was a 3-hour journey and our estimated time to reach Bern was at 9:00 PM. I was extremely tired after having such an enjoyable day and asked my parents if they could wake me up if I decided to take a nap until we reached our destination as I did not want to be forgotten on the train. They both laughed and reassured me that they would wake me up if I took a nap, and so I did.
I had a nightmare of me going into a different train after arriving because I was following someone who I thought looked like my dad but actually wasn’t. I then realized once I entered the train that he wasn’t my dad and grew terrified. I tried to pull this red bar to open the doors again but wasn’t able to reach it because I was too short. I thought all this was a dream but in reality, I was sleepwalking and dreaming of a moment that actually happened in my life.
Suddenly, everything disappeared as if I was still sleeping. Later on, I woke up in the train and realized that it was a single-deck train and I wasn’t able to find neither of my parents. I was so scared, I even ended up jumping off from two train parts (meaning, I had to go out of a door while the train was moving in order to reach the other). I toured the whole train and I still couldn’t find them. I remember seeing an old woman on the train and telling her that my parents were lost and asked if she could help me. I cried so much until I ended up vomiting from fear. Whenever I took a breath, I felt like a large amount of cold, minty oxygen was going through my lungs.
The woman intended to help me and so, she told the train captain. The train captains in Switzerland are somewhat close to being police officers and they have some extent to have some sort of authority. Once the train captain was informed of the issue, he contacted the police. I told the train captain that I was traveling from Zurich to Bern and he told me that this train was going from Bern to Zurich. I then started to understand the story much better and figured out that the dream I had, was real. I had already reached Bern as intended but ended up going on a train which led to Zurich while sleepwalking.
The train captain told me that once they drop everyone down in Zurich, he would take me back to Bern. He was so sweet that he calmed me down by giving me free train tickets. He even offered a drink to me but I rejected it as it something that I didn’t recognize. I know you’re a bit confused as to why I have rejected it. I’ve only done so because on our way back to Bern; we stopped in some city where the captain met other captains at this bar/café and that’s when he offered that colorful drink to me of which I wasn’t sure of had contained.
After that, we continued our journey to Bern and it was very awkward being all alone with the captain on the train. When we finally arrived, there was a crowd of people waiting in front of the train as if I was some celebrity coming out of it. My parents and a female cop were the first ones I saw. Just when I left the train, I jumped into cuddling my mum and it felt so good. At 12:00 AM, the cop took us all together to the hotel and stayed with us until we all arrived safely.
My parents on the other hand, had a devastating time looking for me and contacting as much people as they could while they were in the train station. They left their bags on the floor to look for me and didn’t leave them to be attended to. They remembered our baggage once the policewoman asked about it after an hour of our arrival. Thankfully, our baggage was still there when we arrived to the train station. The policewoman was shocked as the risk of having unattended property stolen was high since there were a lot of thieves. My mother told me that she saw a Moroccan guy who she asked if she was ever going to find me again and he said that it was very hard for that to happen. I would’ve eventually, non-voluntarily, joined the SWISS mafia for sure.
Another frightening event happened in Switzerland but it wasn’t as scary as the train station incident. In this event, I saw a church while we were looking for a bus to take us above the mountain to go back to our hotel. At that time, I thought that we would find information if I went upstairs to where the church was, and so we did. I went upstairs first and to my surprise, I saw around a thousand of graveyards and got so scared. I then ran downstairs as quickly as I could.
When I started grade four at the age of 10, I asked my mother if she could enter the class with me so that she could meet the teacher and establish a good relationship with her so that everything could go well for me that year. Well, it didn’t go as well as I had planned for it to be. I thought she’d be a great teacher until I saw how angry she could get at times. This teacher hated me so much due to my inability of understanding the concepts which were taught in class which caused her to treat me badly. I might sound stupid to all of you, but I was just different from everyone else. Life was very difficult and depressing during those stages of my life back then but I kept continuing on with life, believing that something better was there for me. The sad thing was that, both of those teachers were friends, and I am sure that they talked about me.
As previously mentioned; I was very lonely and spent my time sleeping under a tree. I then became friends with someone who was weird like me, it was surprising. I used to sell my homemade sandwiches to students for 10 DHS and would use that money to buy more food from the school’s cafeteria. Sometimes I didn’t have enough money to buy juices from the vending machine which required coins to be put in. One day, my friend discovered that the coins drop down from the machine after being inserted, so we used them to get free drinks. I know the act itself is unethical but it was funny to me since I was a child.
++]]When I turned 11, life got difficult. This was because I have looked for many schools to transfer to since my brother graduated and I wanted a school which was less strict for me to attend. I was a very sensitive person at the time by the way. I used to get scared quite often due to having to sleep early only to wake up to another school day in the morning. I was lacking in school. I used to sleep at around 2 or 3:00 AM and wake up at 6:00 AM for school. It was a very difficult time in my life, especially since I didn’t want to go to school because I would be insulted by teachers.
I transferred to more than 12 schools in total of my primary and secondary school timeline. When I was 11 years old; I decided to go to a school called, Choeifat International School of Sharjah. The only reason why I wanted to go to that school was because two of my neighbors went to it and I thought that we would have a great time together. Well, enrolling to that school wasn’t as great as I thought it would be. This school was stricter than Sharjah American International School and was far worse than it as well. On the first day of school, I was forced to have a few language exams and you might have thought that it would be easy, right? Well, not really. I had to take exams in English, Arabic, and either French or Spanish. It was crazy. I really didn’t know what to write in Arabic or French as I was weak in both languages.
Knowing how strict the school was made me hate it so much. The duration of the school was from around 7 AM to 5 PM every day, 6 days a week. I remember that right behind the school was a graveyard. That made me only handle a week of being in that school after begging my parents to transfer me to another as I was extremely afraid of graveyards at the time. Knowing that a graveyard was in my view made me uncomfortable, especially when I needed to eat. I used to believe that if a breeze of wind from a graveyard came on my food and I ate it, I’d probably die.
Life became much better after transferring. This was because a new school which was closer to my house had just started operating and it was a school that I fitted in perfectly. It was called, Australian International School of Sharjah. As previously mentioned, I dealt with learning through being entertained early on when I had first joined school back in New Zealand and preferred it that way over having to be forced to learn something. When transferring to this school, I had the opportunity to return to learning as I have done so in New Zealand since the school was based under an Australian curriculum. I loved this school very much and one of my best moments of my life was in that school.
When I was 12 years old, I started to pray. The way I started to pray is very interesting. I hope that this inspires you to realize how important prayer actually is. Back when I got lost in Switzerland, I had a religious necklace on my neck which engraved ‘ALLAH’ on it and since then, I had the belief that God was always going to help me. That was the beginning of my start of my religious life. I was feeling quite lost one day and had a really strong feeling of fear inside of me. I was scared because it was late at night and I wasn’t able to sleep and was worried that I wouldn’t be able to wake up for school the next morning. I felt this feeling daily during the time that I have attended school and it annoyed me very much and scared me as well.
That day, I went to my father and I told him of how I felt. His advice was the best suggestion that I have ever received in my entire life. He told me to pray and said that it would make me feel much better. At that time, I knew how to pray due to Friday prayers but I wasn’t a practicing Muslim at all. Later on, I prayed all my day prayers and I was able to sleep comfortably knowing that God was always with me. I then started praying all of my night prayers and that made me feel even better. I only stopped praying when I used to travel on vacation, having the excuse that I wouldn’t have the time and that I would be busy all day in order to have fun instead. After a while, I got rid of that awful habit of mine. I’ve always felt quite confused about life by not knowing its true purpose until I started becoming religious.
At this age, I also got my first phone which was one of those Nokias’ that would break the ground rather than the new ones that we have today that would become broken by the ground. I got a phone by force because of the incident that occurred back in Switzerland. Anyhow, I was really happy in my new school and made some great friends there. I also faced some challenges in this age as well. As a Muslim male, we need to be circumcised due to hygienic matters and the first time I got circumcised was in Yemen at birth, but by a Jew. As I got older, I realized that I wasn’t circumcised properly and needed another operation which I ended up doing immediately later on. It was a very difficult moment of my life because it was very painful but thank God, I managed to do it at that time.
++]]When I was 13 years old, life got a little harder. I became a teenager and I started doing things that I wasn’t supposed to be doing. I had an enormous crush on a girl in school and she was a Canadian-Palestinian. It was quite an embarrassment honestly because at that time, no one ever loved me and I wasn’t expecting it anyways. I was too chubby and no one ever saw me more than just a friend. I was also lost at that time because as I was not really religious. What made me upset was that I looked up to her though she made fun of me. She told all her friends whom were both boys and girls, that I liked her. When I passed by them one day, they all made fun of me. Nowadays, the same girl gives me more respect than ever before but the values I once gave her are gone from my side. I just see her as a friend.
Looking back at it today, I am actually very thankful of whatever happened. I’m glad that I still had that innocent heart of a child in me which wanted to stay white, clean, and pure. God blessed me with so much that He didn’t let me do anything that I would regret later on and that girl became a good friend of mine. A lesson that I learnt from this is that you should always treat people in the best manner of good that you could because showing off can lead you to degraded below their level one day and they would become the one you are inspired by rather than the opposite of the situation, as it should be.
At this age, depression was involved in my life since I grew into the beginning of my teenage years. The problem is, when you face a difficulty that’s not easy to handle or attack, that condition can stay with you for a long time, especially if you pick it up at a young age. I have OCD and depression but I am who I am. God created me and I trust God. That’s basically the only reason as to why I’m still alive, because of God, otherwise I would’ve not continued on with my life a long time ago. My religion has saved me from many things and you may not realize it but; the closer you become to God, the stronger the belief of you having a better life ahead of you is which would lead to you experiencing the ultimate joy of all of the world’s worthiness.
When I was a child, it was challenging for me to notice the differences between right and wrong as everyone seemed comfortable with performing many sinful acts which had involved losing one’s virginity. Sometimes you think that something is good for you while it is actually bad for you and vice versa. A lot of people don’t like to hear that you’re still a virgin and would laugh at you for being so, making you believe that you should be ashamed of yourself. But not at all, in fact, they are actually already ashamed of themselves for losing theirs! No one in this world would want to be labeled as a player, cheater, or even a gold digger and the majority of people won’t even admit that they are, even if they are!
It’s just as same as being drug dealer who won’t tell custom securities who the leader of a particular business transaction was or a person who smokes cigarettes and would try their very best to convince others that cigarettes are great and that they should try it. They only wish that they could try it in order to make them become addicted to them. They already know that it is bad for them but their intention is for them to suffer as they have because they’re selfish, greedy, and love themselves too much that they try to inspire others by doing wrong in order to make them feel less guilty of their themselves. Just because a majority of people indulge on a certain sin doesn’t mean that this sin is permitted. Alcohol, smoking, and so on is dangerous for you and all of those things can make you end up in hell. Therefore, you should reconsider your choices and think twice before committing something, and I tell you truthfully with full honestly just for the sake of yourself, not mine.
++]]At this age, I was really spoiled. I didn’t really like the life in UAE since I was raised in New Zealand and I just wanted to go back as soon as possible. I used to pray to God every day to go back to New Zealand but I didn’t realize what I had. I had a great life in UAE, a life everyone would have wished for. I lived in a beautiful home which was in the middle of the UAE and acted as an easy means to visit anywhere else due to that. I used to travel a lot between Sharjah and RAK because my mother worked in Sharjah and my father worked in RAK. I used to live in Sharjah at first but then my father changed his job so we moved to RAK. As previously mentioned, I really did love my school so I travelled with my mother every day to meet the satisfaction of having to go to Sharjah and visit.
I was very spoiled and rude to people at this age, though I was slowly changing for the better. I was somewhat a bully who used to lock people in toilets early in the morning for the fun of it but it was hurtful after I started caring for others a lot. I don’t know how I started to have feelings towards others but I guess it was by the impact religion had given me and feeling of empathy that I had towards others. I became close friends with a lot of Emiratis during my time there. I also had a small group of friends. Their names were Abdulla and Hani. Abdulla was from the UAE and Hani was from Iraq. I had the option to join a bigger group but they were much less practicing Muslims in comparison to my group of friends. Although they had more fun by going to different places, I didn’t feel right realizing that they used to hang out with girls and end up doing major sins.
I guess I was blessed from the beginning as I stayed innocent and remained pure. Even when I was asked by many girls to be their boyfriend, I rejected each and every one of them. It was funny because they ended up telling me that I was gay but I was actually proud of myself because I stayed true to never wanting to play with a girls’ heart or hurt myself.
I now want to be with someone who I’m serious about and to get married with in the future. What’s the purpose of sharing something special with multiple people? It won’t be special if everyone had the chance to use you but you know what’s beautiful about this life? That we still have a chance. There are people who think that it it’s too late to change, to become a better person or to have the chance to be used by a person. The truth is, they aren’t actually late because this life hasn’t ended yet since this is nothing but a test from God.
If you are willing to change, you sure could but only if you believe in yourself. Don’t let anything tell you that you can’t change or are unable stop a bad habit because if you really have the intention to change, with all your heart, you could. God helps the one who helps themselves in something, that’s part of our prayers. If you pray to pass an exam, you should study for it. And as you try your best to pass that exam by studying, God will do whatever He can to make it easier for you. Don’t worry about those who are planning to cheat or who have the previous version of the exam paper from the same professor. There could be an incident where God helps you by making that professor change the version of the exam. God knows everything that’s happening so why are you afraid if you know that God knows and is with you on everything since you satisfy God by doing what He wants you to do?
I remember being so in love with someone which led me to create a fake account on Facebook as a fake girlfriend. The thought of it all just ran through my mind and I left the idea once I realized that it wouldn’t work out as it would be quite difficult for me. However, there was this girl online who really loved me and thought that nothing could go wrong by me calling her a ‘girlfriend’. She was Turkish and was really kind to me. I wasn’t as religious as I am now which is why I accepted her into my life that way and just for a while, everything was fine. It’s honestly embarrassing for me to explain this story; not that I did anything wrong, but the ending of it all didn’t go too well. I didn’t really like her that much at first but as we kept on chatting, the interest grew. She was from my mother’s country so I thought that it would be okay for me to carry on so I stayed with her for 2.3 years from the 28th of August, 2010 to the 4th of May, 2012 until she left by cheating on me. I felt really bad for around 2 years and moved on after a while.
In end of 2009, I had enough of being shy and embarrassed from everyone else. I knew that I was weird compared to others and thought to myself that being weird meant that I was special. Yes, I know I do and think differently than others and sometimes have personal life problems and OCD issues as well but I’m special because I’m myself and no one can ever be like me. I don’t want to brag about this and call myself special. Everyone else is just normal and is special in their own ways but I noticed that I am a little bit different than others are. The majority of people to me are weird and they would see me weird as well but among them, they’d be calling each other normal. A lot of people say being weird makes you interesting, less boring and more special while normal people are just boring because you know what is expected of them.
It’s not that easy to deal with people who are different than you. Majority of the people I knew would seem happy towards each other and would ignore me for being weird, that’s what I’ve noticed. The problem I saw was that people like me are always silent and are too scared to express their feelings and thoughts because they think others won’t accept them. Let me tell you, a lot won’t accept you but those who do, will really value you and take everything you say into deep consideration. You’re special by being you and you can change the world if you wanted to, but you have to take action. One of the very first steps into taking action in this regard is to stop being shy!
I remember telling my friend Abdulla that I wanted to go on the next talent show at school and said that I didn’t know how I was going to able to manage it as I never put careful into it but I was just sick of being shy and being treated like a nobody to those whom I’ve cared about the most. Nowadays, you might notice that I am kind of famous online and that I am not shy at all but it was never easy to reach this place. I wasn’t born like this. I just asked God to help me and I worked my way through it. That’s how I want you to be to those who believe are like me in this regard.
My first talent show was very embarrassing. My friend decided that we’d sing, ‘We will rock you’ and I was shaking with a low voice while performing it that people were in shock. This experience was actually great for me as I went through the worse that I could so that I could build my confidence.
I started my own YouTube channel on the 8th of June 2010 and sung covers of songs by artists such as Justin Bieber and Jay Sean. A lot of people made fun of me at school after finding out that I was singing such covers, and they too, were embarrassing. But you know what’s good? I dealt with it. I went through the hate and believed in myself. Looking back at it now, I would say I was nothing compared to a singer.
I was very weird. I used to always see the number ‘23’ multiple times in a day and would guess the time correctly most of the time. I don’t believe in zodiac signs due to religious purposes but my birthdate has 2 zodiac signs – Libra and Scorpio. I have very strong interests in maps, geography, time zones, airplanes, and so on.
This was also the year where I had most of my fights in. I had so many fights in the past though I was innocent but I would like to keep them personal. Most of my fights that I had in this year were due to one person in particular and he was the eldest and the biggest at this school. This person was an American-Jordanian that was close friends with an American. At that time, I was still feeling insecure of myself due to my origins which lead to massive problems worldwide. Iraq was known as a bad country towards everyone at that time and everyone hated it, even Muslims. The problem is that people would judge you based on your country of origin, no matter what, even if you never lived there.
This American knew me since primary school and made fun of me ever since. I always kept quiet. One day, he sent me a message on Facebook calling me a terrorist and made fun of Islam. His message annoyed me so I responded to him saying that I will speak with him in person the next day. Upon receiving my response, he told me to prepare for a fight and I responded that I would never start a fight as I am not that type of person, I’d rather end it. The next day, he came to school demanding for a fight and I told him that I’d rather end than start. Suddenly, the other bully appeared out of nowhere and joined him against me, regardless of being aware of the situation. The bully approached me and pushed me towards the desks of the classroom which brought everyone’s attention towards the scene.
Luckily, I learnt how to box from my brother in the Martial Arts Club at his university. I thought to myself that if he pushes me one more time, I’m going to swing at him and it happened. He froze for about 5 seconds and I should’ve knocked him out at that time but I was worried about hurting him until he punched me back and that made me deaf for 5 hours. We didn’t talk to each other after that incident but he kept causing a lot of problems. There was a girl at school that he used to pick on and I went to help her because I hated seeing girls getting hurt from guys. I just couldn’t handle it because no matter what that girl was to him, she was crying. I went and we ended up having a fight again. I was so annoyed that I informed my brothers regarding this issue.
This boy lived next to my house at the time and once I told my brothers about him, they got up and drove to his house. They spoke to his father and settled things in a good manner instead of fighting about the issue. After that, we never got close to fighting at all. My brothers were only in the UAE for a vacation, they normally were in New Zealand. After a while, we finally travelled back to New Zealand and that was when I felt a strong sense of regret. There were no halal places to eat at, was really cold at most times, couldn’t hear the athan, and always heard music everywhere.
I first went to Dunedin, which is the city of education and the city of universities. I was enjoying my time there at first. I remember that in Ramadan I’d go out at around Asr time to go and walk in the gardens near my home. This is one of my favourite moments in my life so far because it’s memorable. I wish that I could take my future wife there one day and tell her about all of the memories that I have there. I used to go above this mountain and it was like a different world up there. It had different types of colored flowers which I used to enjoy the smell of. I used to go up there to pray and would go down to have Iftar. It used to take around an hour to reach the top.
On other days; I would record covers. At that time, I had no other place to record music besides the car. I literally used to take my laptop and mic to the car and start recording, blocking myself inside with no wind at all, and it was hot. I changed from R&B to hip hop because I noticed that I wasn’t good at R&B. I used to listen to a lot of 2Pac’s music and I was inspired by him. I learnt a few of his songs and then decided to write my own. Later on, I successfully succeeded within recording hip hop music. I released a lot of my own songs on YouTube and became popular with around 3,000 views on my first one. At first, I didn’t know how to speak American English, only British and it was a struggle because I really wanted to rap like 2Pac. I decided to look for the different words and learn the dialect myself. For instance, I changed, ‘I’m going to’ to ‘I’m gonna’ and ‘I want to’ to ‘I wanna’ and so on. By time, I noticed that I had an American accent rather than a British one.
I was also influenced to learn how to dribble with a ball by my friend, Hani. I used to go to a garden on days where I wasn’t in a good mood to go up the mountain. I’d stay down and try to dribble the ball for hours. I used to watch the people who pass by every day and sometimes I’d see new and old faces. I started making friends that way. I actually started meeting new people and started to have time to play some football with them, which was pretty exciting. After all that; in end of 2010, I moved to a different city in New Zealand called Wellington. I enjoyed the opportunity of activities there more than the ones in Dunedin, because it was the capital city but on the other hand, things were quite tough. I noticed that people who originate from Wellington were very difficult to deal with.
Overall, Wellington was a much bigger city and so, the bigger the city you live in, the more problems are caused, naturally. I ended up joining a public school which was quite fun. Public schools in New Zealand are only for the citizens of New Zealand, whilst private schools were for everyone. The only reason why I didn’t go to a private school was because I didn’t want to learn Christianity as I am not a Christian. On the other hand, they were quite religious by following a segregated system between girls and boys.
One night, we had a very weird incident that occurred outside of our home. We had a light outside in the garden where there was a sensor. Basically, whoever would cross a certain part of the garden would cause the light to turn on. So, one night, it turned on. We didn’t really pay attention to it, thinking that it just turned on due to wind or so on. In the morning of that night, we saw something that looked like cheese stuck on our windows. It had disgusting and weird materials which made us terrified, well, only me. We called the police to inform them about the issue and they advised that we’d call them the next time anyone intrudes our home and we agreed to it. After that night, I just wanted to leave New Zealand. I felt uncomfortable because this was the second time that I felt threatened. The first time was when I was in Auckland, which is the most famous city in New Zealand. Auckland is like the Dubai for United Arab Emirates which isn’t the capital, but it has been mistaken it for it a lot.
When I was 7 years old, someone decided to break into our house during our work day and rob us but they got caught around a week after and we got our goods back, while he probably went to jail. The second time was when we discovered weird stuff sticking outside our windows and door knocks, that was pretty spooky too. The scariest thing about being robbed or being threatened by people entering your private zones, is that you don’t know who they are, how they look like, how old they are, and what their minimum and maximum force of action towards getting the goods they plan to steal are. After that, my father received a job offer in Saudi Arabia and my parents asked me to make that decision. After experiencing the weird events that have occurred in in New Zealand, I didn’t hesitate to take the chance to move to Saudi Arabia.
At school, everyone used to curse and I hated that a lot. Although most of them were quite kind, they were also spoiled and naughty in their actions (fighting etc). I only found one boy that was quiet and he seemed kind, so I decided to approach him to start our friendship in art class. I made the first move by asking him about the colors that I had to mix together in order to form another. In New Zealand, they take art very seriously and so he knew and helped me. After that day, I started to continue talking to him and everything seemed so well. Later on, just before my dad’s offer, he messaged me on Facebook telling me that he was interested in me and was gay. At first, I thought he was kidding and laughed but he told me that he was serious and so I just had to let go of this friendship otherwise his imaginary desires would grow and he would start to assume things that don’t exist.
After evaluating my experiences in Wellington, I noticed that there were a lot of issues which brought me towards the decision to leave. In Wellington, I wasn’t able to pray freely wherever and whenever I wanted to because people would give me weird looks, it was difficult for me to eat food that was halal, the shops would close at 4pm, I didn’t have any friends, there was this guy chasing me, and I remembered that incident of the people whom have threatened us earlier. I did have one friend at school though but it fell out of place. She was a religious Christian and I was a religious Muslim. We would talk about religion calmly and happily together during lunch time. The only thing that bothered me was that I felt like she wanted to be more than friends. I never saw her that way so I tried to avoid her and reject her respectfully.
I don’t blame people for falling in love with me, it’s not their fault. I don’t want to sound like I’m everyone’s dream because I’m not. A lot of people might mistake me for someone else or would just like to fill an empty space in their heart. Everyone has people who love them and everyone has people who hate them. I brag a lot about those who love rather than those who hate because the ones who love deserve to be mentioned. I’m not referring to those whom I’ve met at school, but those who love in respect and can’t really make choices because it comes from their heart, we too must respect them. Many just can’t get over you even if you do not give them anything at all and that’s how life is. But you should always remember that life is a test by God and He wants you to stay pure so make sure you know who to share it with and not just anyone to fill that empty space in your heart.
Life may seem hard. You may get hurt by loving someone who doesn’t realize how amazing you truly are. Don’t force things if they are not meant to be and don’t worry. God is with the patient, if you are patient and you’ll get someone who fits you perfectly. I’m not saying those who reject you aren’t perfect, maybe they are but for someone else. Now you would probably think you’re valued less, but you shouldn’t think that way.
If you follow the path of what God wants you to follow, what are worried about? What are you worried about if you know that the creator of the entire universe is by your side? You haven’t done anything wrong and there’s something written for you which is better. As previously mentioned, you may love something so much but it could be bad for you and you may hate something so much but it could be good for you – this occurs when choosing spouses as well!
What’s so special about a beautiful face but a bad personality? Dear women, you want a handsome man but you don’t know as to whether he could be abusive to you at home. Dear men, you want a beautiful woman but you aren’t sure as to whether she is a gold digger or not. You never know.
When I was 17 years old, I moved to Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia. I remember that I moved there sometime in February 2011. To be more specific, I landed in Bahrain and the first thing I did was go to a McDonald’s and ordered a quarter pounder. It was really delicious and I then noticed of how the beef in Bahrain tasted really good compared to the other gulf countries.
I regretted going to Saudi Arabia at first, especially when we took the bus from Bahrain to Saudi Arabia where there was the hardest checkpoint you could ever go through in the entire world. It was very hot and we stayed for three to four hours outside to get an entry pass which we already waited for 2 months ago in New Zealand. It was quite tiring because we had a 24-hour trip from Dunedin to Auckland to Sydney to Bangkok to Dubai to Manama and finally, a trip to Al-Khobar by bus. The day ended up with dogs barking in my ears.
Things got much better when we entered the country. Although it was quite dirty and unorganized, I loved seeing Arabs and Muslims all around. The bus took us in the middle of downtown Al-Khobar. We went down and had a person waiting for us to see our house. We went to this compound where the houses were enormous and looked quite old and dirty for our standards of living so we decided to go and stay at a hotel. Just before that, they offered another place to us. We went to check it out and it was much better as we found it satisfactory to our standards.
When we visited the first compound, I spoke to the first person that I met upon my arrival in Saudi Arabia. He was a Filipino who worked over 10 years in Saudi Arabia and it was great to gather information about the country from him. At the other compound, I liked it. It was huge and had a lot of green areas. I started to like Saudi Arabia though the weather was super-hot compared to the weather back in New Zealand. In 2011, Saudi Arabia was quite different than today’s’. It’s more organized and has beautifully managed malls unlike ever before. Although there have been some improvements, it still doesn’t meet certain world expectations in some terms such as, having single men not being allowed to enter certain malls because they think they might flirt with a girl.
The funny thing is that I lived in New Zealand and I had much more freedom there than in Saudi Arabia and I didn’t commit such acts so why would I do so in Saudi Arabia? But anyways, that’s their rules and I have to accept them. Maybe it’s easier to gather the whole group of men, whether educated or not, to not enter a certain mall. People will always judge you on how you look, this is life how is nowadays. When I didn’t grow a beard; I entered the malls easily, and when I did, it was hard.
When I entered Saudi Arabia at first, I didn’t know how to talk with others in Arabic because their Arabic is different than Iraqi and Iraqi was the only Arabic I knew. I didn’t communicate with a lot of people using my Iraqi dialect besides my family. You might be thinking, ‘So what?’ at this point. Well, my Arabic is also mixed with Turkish and even if I speak Iraqi with an Iraqi, some words that I may think they know will turn out unknown to them because I wouldn’t know if it was Iraqi or Turkish.
The Iraqi dialect of Arabic is a mixture of multiple languages such as; Arabic, Farsi, Turkish, Urdu and even English. In Iraqi; they call rice, ‘timin’ which refers to a brand of rice back in the occupation of the Britain called ‘ten men’. It’s not only the language differences that bothered me. Whenever I told someone I originated from Iraq, they would ask me questions such as: ‘Do you like Saddam Hussein? Are you Sunni or Shia? Which city in Iraq do you originate from?’ (they asked so in order to assist in their assumption as to whether I was Sunni or Shia).
I felt like it wasn’t any of their business but even military guards would stop me sometimes to ask for identification and would end up asking similar questions. The thing is that the answer doesn’t bother me but the fact of someone interfering in a person’s life like that isn’t really nice. I am a Sunni and have friends who are Shia. I just didn’t look at it the way other Arabs in the Gulf had looked at it. The main reason is to see whether or not I am capable of hurting or threatening someone in any way, which I am not. Other than that, you shouldn’t really question others like that, unless you’re really into them and are ready to marry them.
Once in Saudi Arabia, I went with my parents to buy groceries. At that time, my brothers were still in New Zealand, continuing their studies over there. I swear it was a very difficult time in my life to be separated from my brothers for years. The first time I was separated from them was when I was in the UAE, where they went to continue on their studies in New Zealand. It is very hard, especially when the closest person to your age in the family is your middle-elder brother whom you are inspired by.
It was very depressing for me and I think that’s the reason of how I started to adapt to depression and how it started to become a habit. I was very quiet at that time with the rest of my family. The only person whom I was really close to was my middle-elder brother. I am the only son of my parents who has been raised in The Middle East for most of their lives, compared to my brothers. I was the first person to also see The Middle East, although my brothers have seen Iraq and I haven’t. I am the only family member that hasn’t seen Iraq and the only family member who was born in Yemen.
After spending 2 weeks in Saudi Arabia, my parents informed me that I had to go back to school. I never really liked school. I even hated going there to see my friends, though they were the only reason I’d go. I got into a lot of trouble in the past and had really bad experiences. That’s why I hated school so much. I always thought that school was pointless. What’s the point of studying at school when the knowledge we gained from there won’t be of benefit or of good use to us in the future?
I always believed that if someone was into learning something and had the interest in learning it, they would learn it without being forced to. I always loved geography, even if I barely studied, I would get a really good grade. How is that so? Because I learnt it all by myself. Nowadays, it is all about forcing you to learn something that won’t help you but you don’t realize that educational institutions are just there for business. People will make such systems, exams, educational institutions to make money off of it. The more we grow worldwide, the more useless structures are designed for us.
I do agree that to some extent, they’re very beneficial for you but most of the time, it just isn’t about the education, it’s about the money. I felt very pressured when I enrolled to a school in Saudi Arabia. I went to an American school called, ‘International Programs School’ in Al-Khobar. It was supposed to help me but instead it literally tortured me. I went there and they put me back in grade 9 for that year, as a listener.
So, let me add a refresher on my educational history up until this point. In 2010, I finished grade 9 in UAE and was ready to travel to New Zealand. In New Zealand, we have 13 years so they put me in year 11 for that year which I had successfully graduated from back in 2011. In the beginning of 2011, where I moved to Saudi Arabia, they put me back in grade 9 as a listener for the entire year. They should’ve at least put me in grade 10. It wasn’t even that late to get me into that grade that year, but again, people love to seek for money.
I hated everything since then. I became more depressed and wished that I had continued my studies back in New Zealand rather than in Saudi Arabia because I was now considered to be 2 years late from my life and I already had big plans for my future. No one ever cared and no one ever paid attention to that which is sad. Sadly; in Saudi Arabia, everything is decided according to the moods of people in authority.
I hated that American school the most because I felt stupid in many ways. They called it a ‘segregated school’ while there were mixed classes and you would sometimes get into deep trouble for communicating with the opposite gender. It was basically based on moods. The stupid thing about that school was that I was studying about all 44 presidents of America and had to learn their names while I was living in Saudi Arabia. I hated American history class. I also hated the fact that I had to study certain subjects that weren’t of my choice. The choice that the school had chosen for me was Science while I majored in Commerce.
It wasn’t that bad until I started the second academic year at that school, where the German principal left and a new one from America came. That American principal was a racist and everyone hated him, even parents. His wife was Venezuelan and they both teamed up to change the American curriculum to some Venezuelan curriculum instead. She was my biology teacher at that time and things got quite intense between her and I.
She was the type of teacher who’d pressure students terribly and I wasn’t good in biology. She loved helping students who tried but sometimes you just couldn’t reach the level of her expectations. She took the subject so seriously and it felt like I spent more time on it more than my week’s worship for God. She posted homework almost every day and a new project would be declared once or twice in a week (I don’t recall). It was horrible.
One time; she sent an announcement, online, stating that if we bought her 6 tennis balls, she would give us bonus marks. I really needed those bonus marks so I went to ask her in person if the offer was still on and she shouted, “What are you thinking? Are you out of your mind?” I felt so bad at that time. I already screenshotted that announcement the day before the incident between her and I, but I guess she deleted it. I didn’t know how to report it because the principal was her husband. So, what was the maximum that could be done to her? It would be impossible for her to get fired. As for me? I’d get into deep trouble.
The school’s talent show was coming up and at that time, I was having that dream of becoming a well-known artist all around the world. So, I joined the talent show and we had multiple rehearsals before the day of the show, which I’ve attended. I had to even give them a paper which consisted of my lyrics to make sure that nothing that I would say was wrong.
On the day of the talent show, I was fully approved to perform and I performed my song. While on stage; I was rapping my lyrics and suddenly, my show ended before the end of the song. I left the stage, thinking that my time was up. While I was leaving the stage; the principal came to me in front of the whole school, and shouted at me. He yelled, “How dare you use those words in a song! You should be ashamed of yourself!” The whole school was in shock and I started shaking and asked if I had done anything wrong.
He directly pointed to the back of the school field and said, “Go there and face the wall! You’re a disgrace!” I went there while holding my tears, not knowing of what I had done. Later on, the Arabic teachers started to come to near me and said, “Ignore that person, He is rude. You didn’t do anything wrong. Your performance was amazing and I loved it” Many of my teachers said the same but I was still upset and continued to cry in the corner.
My lyrics mostly involved religious lines, such as, “We gotta make a relation and make this a better nation, open your eyes, and stop the cries, lies, get up from that chair and start being surprised, we all wanna achieve heaven, layer number seven, what we got here from there is nothing, so let’s be strong and work hard, we might get something.” As I was wondering of what I have done, I was thinking that they didn’t like inspirational messages.
Moments later, I heard many students saying that an American teacher called Libby told the principal that I said something bad in my lyrics. The lyrics in the beat of the background were, “I’ll be on the top, I’ll be on the bottom.” While the teacher thought it was, “I’ll be on the top, you’ll be on the bottom” as I sung along with the background beats. This made me angry and disappointed, seeing that I had no fault in this at all. The talent show was the last day between mid-break and I went home very sad and disappointed and spent my vacation extremely upset. I informed my parents of the issue and they became furious towards the school. Right on the first day, we went to the school and my parents shouted and insulted the principal in his office.
This is a good lesson to learn from. Never judge someone from another person’s view. Maybe the person who gives you a certain judgment has hatred towards that person or are the ones trying to hide their identity by blaming others. For example, maybe that teacher had a dirty mind and she ended up blaming me in order to hide it. What is funny is that her first name is Libby and her last name is Lies, so that was an obvious catch from the very beginning.
After the academic year had ended, I realized that it was better to leave. Thank God, that biology teacher made me pass, even though that was the only D+ that I had ever received in my life. I believe that I deserved more for all those late classes to make up for all of the work which I wasn’t required to do – due to the unethical amount of work one subject could give. I left school by forcing myself not to go to it and at that same year, my mother left to work in the UAE. I ended living with alone with my father, the least person I used to communicate with or knew how to communicate with. My life was really hard at that time. I was very depressed and had suicidal thoughts run in my head from time to time. The only thing in life that kept me alive was my religion. I prayed and practiced it as it was the only thing that I had full hope in. I didn’t know what to do in my free time. I had so much time to myself but I wasn’t satisfied with the way I was using it.
++]]In this year, I joined another school. It was called, New World International School and was in Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia. I honestly hated that school during the first few days because I had to take a mathematics exam and I hated math already. After realizing that the system of education in this school was more flexible and productive at the time, (it helped me use the knowledge obtained in that school in my university), I thought it was amazing. Most of the students were Muslims and no one judged one another based one’s nationality, background, or origins. Everyone was equal.
The majority of students at that school were Pakistanis and I fell in love with the beauty that Pakistanis had. I was always told that Pakistanis are dirty humans and are violent but that wasn’t true at all. Everyone should be judged individually. I learnt many Urdu words and I also learnt a lot about Pakistan’s beautiful landscapes, like Lahore, which I plan to visit one day.
In that school, I was able to choose a lot of subjects of what I wanted to study. The school offered accounting which helped me by gaining the skills needed as I was going to university and held a major interest in business at that time. I always wanted to be a police officer or a commercial airline pilot but the school didn’t offer that and it was easy to get through with whatever they had. If I were a cop, I would have to work in limited countries rather than multiple ones. If I were a pilot, I would have to pay half a million for the hours of flight and degrees, so I kept it aside as a long-term plan.
I used to go to school at around 6:45 AM and would leave school at around 9 AM. It was that fun! On the other hand, I had more exams to take in that school and that made me feel even more comfortable. The more you practice something in life, the easier it gets. Who ever thought that I would write a book if I had a fear of writing an essay? Never give up on your dreams, you know yourself best, no one else knows who you are, so show that talent and believe in yourself that you can achieve it.
I used to always complain about the pressure that I had in my past experiences regarding my time spent in schools. I believe that it’s not about the school’s brand in the view of the people, or the amount of money that you have in order to pay for it, or the curriculum that you’re lied upon that you will benefit from in the future, it’s about what you fit in, and that’s what matters. I went to about more than ten schools in my life and not one had reached the conformity as the last one did. I did enjoy many of them but you don’t need to be an educated person to go to an expensive and a luxurious school. You just need to find what’s right for you and find the school that teaches what you want to study.
Nowadays, most of schools and universities are just a joke. People who make schools and universities do such institutions for businesses. You can always cheat the education system to make a school sound ‘perfect’ when it’s actually one of the worst. The school that cost SR 60,000 didn’t teach me a thing that I was going to learn in university, maybe only the core subjects, but not the major ones. While the one that cost around SR 14,000 taught me most of the subjects and I can always recall to and that helped me in university.
If someone seriously wants to learn, they would learn. On the other hand, giving too much assignments or assessments to a student won’t help them learn as much. Investigating their strengths and weaknesses, the type of learner that they are (visual, hearing, writing, learner, etc), the suitable measures to their learning style, their exam preferences, and so on, is more helpful. Most graduates do not hold a certain pattern of learning though it is something that is important for one to learn. Learning how to learn is the key of learning, the key of studying, the fine line of understanding the overall purpose of education and of exams.
I also became more religious during my last 2 years of school because we had a Mosque right in front of it and I used to pray in it after school finished (whenever I stayed until 2:00 PM). I also became more faithful because I used to take a 15-minute walk to school and see a mortality wash. I used to be so scared during the first few months until I became more comfortable crossing the street and nowadays I love visiting graveyards as it is a reminder of our future.
I learnt if you are too afraid to face your fear then you’ll never be able to develop strength towards your fear. If you are too scared to get close to a nasty looking lizard or snake, then how do you plan on becoming brave? If you don’t get close to a mortality wash, or go in a graveyard, how do you expect to face it in the future when you have to? Souls may fly, but bodies will stay, and your body will eventually go there one day. We will all go there one day, so we have to learn to be strong that way. I reached a level where I started holding dead people after the Muslim prayer of death, where people end up taking them to graveyards. Now I’m at the level of even willing to wash dead bodies because it’s a good deed to help others who are in need. I actually sat with grave diggers the other day and it was past midnight, it was a wonderful experience to be a part of.
So, I finished high school after having a hard time without any of my family members and felt so comfortable after all those years of facing depression. I used to buy food from the supermarket near my school and kept that food with me until the end of the day. When I had the time, I would buy food from a pastry place nearby as well – all within a walking distance. It was really hot on those days because it reached around 50 degrees Celsius and the only transportation that I had at the time were my feet. I am actually the darkest member of my family now, I guess I know why. I used to also face spooky, weird moments at home whenever I’d be home alone. I use to hear the sounds of devils at random times but I wasn’t scared for I was religious. At times when I would be asleep and have heard them, I would tell them to shut up and carry on with my sleep. My sleeping pattern was messed up. I slept around 2 PM until 2:00 AM or around that time. I always slept in the morning and woke up at night.
I thought I would have the choice of moving back to New Zealand to continue my studies but I didn’t. My parents wanted me to complete my Bachelor Degree in Saudi Arabia and I actually find it great looking at it from now. Most of my friends who finished school with me that year left to different countries to finish their studies such as; Turkey, America, Canada and so on. On the other hand, I was forced to stay, but I am thankful because I realized that most of my friends in the West who moved there had faced difficulties with studies. In Saudi Arabia, it’s much more flexible.
When it was 2014, I felt the strongest sense of depression that I have ever felt. I remember feeling very lonely, suicidal, and lost. I felt so down and low when I felt that there weren’t any friends to hang out with anymore. I didn’t know what to do. I was still an emo at that time and was just so lost about the YouTube dream of mine of being a musician. I did have supporters and a lot of views but I felt that it wasn’t enough and that I wasn’t being noticed. I felt like I always wanted to make more friends but within making music online, that isn’t going to give you much. I knew so many upcoming singers who used to be working on their dreams as well. Some of them quit and some of them actually started releasing legit songs. Though I do not listen to music anymore, I highly recommend one of my best friends if you listen to music. His name is Ramin Rezai.
I used to be inspired by Justin Bieber, Jason Derulo, and Chris Brown. However, on this year, my views changed. I kept looking through YouTube and had always received comments from people telling me that I looked like someone called Adam Saleh, after a while, I searched for him on YouTube and started watching his vlogs every day until I became inspired. He was so down to earth, full of happiness and smiles, and loved helping others even though most people had tried to tear him down. Such incidents happened in my past as well and I could relate easily towards his life story. I used to be a bully, then became the bullied, became religious etc.
I really got inspired when Adam mentioned that he used to lie about him being a Muslim because I used to lie about where I came from. In the past, I would not know how to answer if someone asked me where I was from. But now, I can explain the whole story of where I come from, which is the truth, and what is I’m proud of because Adam helped me. Of course, it also means that God helped me find such a person to make my confidence stronger.
I was so inspired; I decided to change my dream from being a musician to a vlogger. I always hated vloggers and thought that they wasted their time filming every day of their lives. I always had plans to show people outside the Arab world how beautiful it can be, how I really was, and who I was so that I would make more friends. Depression started to slowly fade as I started to see myself within the Adoomies (in reference to Adam Saleh’s fans) which made me a happier person.
I deleted all of my singing videos because I always felt guilty of people listening to songs, especially if they were love songs, and it if it had made them sad. I felt like I was doing something sinful and I just thought of doing vlogs instead. I didn’t know how to start in the beginning, but I learnt how to do so all by myself. As a musician in the past, I knew how to play well with audio, so I learnt how to use the tools needed to make videos and am still learning till date.
++]]I became more religious, and I had hope that Adam would grow and become famous. I made videos for him on YouTube, letting others know about how good of a person he is, and that everyone makes mistakes. After that, I suddenly received a notification from Twitter telling me that he followed me on there, the weird thing was that I wasn’t even following him that time (I wasn’t active on Twitter).
I tweeted him, telling him how he inspirational he was and how he inspired me. He replied with, ‘my man.’ At this time, I started to become happier and more religious than ever before. I would say that my religion helped me grow into becoming a better person. Without my trust in God, I would’ve never met someone amazing as Adam Saleh. A lot of guys would make fun of me for supporting him, especially since he loves to entertain young children but that didn’t really matter to me. I’m not telling people to love him. I just don’t like seeing people backtalk or hate on someone who hasn’t done the same, that simply shows who the better people are.
We all make mistakes, even as YouTubers. Famous or poor, even sheikhs of Mosques make mistakes. We are created to be imperfect, but God has given us some extent of power to control ourselves from the bad and stay around the good and that’s one of my goals of this dream of mine. I don’t like seeing people judge others based on how they look, even if they look messy. I purposely look messy in order to open the eyes of those who think that they may be better than others who are lower than them. In the end, we are all equal. We all will die in a grave one day and that grave will look the same no matter who we were in this life. Be it a king or a homeless person, we are one, and we should help one another.
I started becoming happier by time and when I did, I started to notice the love. I remember that I’ve done great vlogs in the beginning of my vlogging career and that helped me in becoming a happier person. Though I learnt a lot from my music career, I felt that what I have done in the past 4 years was a waste of time as I didn’t settle towards a proper dream. Seeing myself do vlogs made me feel like I was closer to my dream.
I have learnt how to edit pictures with Photoshop, fix banners, profile pictures, edit vlogs and audio through multiple programs, save in multiple files, choose HD or normal graphics and upload speed. At this time of the year, I also had crushes on new people which I planned to marry. I don’t like talking about it but long story short, it didn’t end well. I then felt depressed again but thankfully, I wasn’t as depressed as I was initially. I have realized that in the end of those broken hearts which I had fixed, I learnt that I should ignore the fact of such relationships as God forbid it for a reason.
I have learnt that God doesn’t like it when we are involved in such relationships because we would hold it as a priority over our own religion. It is forbidden because it hurts us. Many people have ended their lives after a heartbreak or have lived their life and had it filled with sorrow. God loves when couples get married because they stay together. Imagine, the both of you, signing papers that you will stay together. By Islamic law, you cannot just leave all of a sudden because you’re married. While on the other hand; if you were in a relationship before marriage, the type of boyfriend and girlfriend one, one can suddenly leave. I noticed that many Muslims fall in the same gap that I have once fell, and my recommendation is to be patient, use your time productively by studying or do whatever you can to help fix yourself in this this life. In our religion, it says that if one can’t get married, (s)he should fast. I sometimes fast on Mondays and Thursdays as it keeps you in good shape and faithful.
Never give up on life because God will always accept and help you if you turn to Him. If you really want to change, you can change. Don’t let the devil lie to you by saying that you won’t be forgiven by God. You will be forgiven if you ask for forgiveness and God loves those who repent. Remember, since you’re still in this life, it’s never too late, and you should keep having hope that you will be forgiven by strengthening your belief towards God.
If you are a person with a broken heart and feel very depressed, this is a message from me to you. If you are close to God, you should never feel bad if someone left you. You’re just blessed but you cannot realize it. You may think that the person who left you is good for you while they may not be. God knows best and we don’t and He will always give you something better than what has been taken away from you. There are three types of acceptance of supplications (duaa). God will either give it to you directly, give it to you later, or He has something much better planned for you.
A good way to keep a good relationship with God is to pray at night. Before you sleep, pray two rakkahs, and shafe3 and witr. I promise you, if you take good care of your prayers and believe in God, you’ll have a better life immediately. Always make sure you appreciate your life and thank God for everything that He has given or taken away from you. Remember to praise Him as He is indeed The Greatest, and we are just His slaves in this world.
This is how I attacked depression and believe me, if I had not been close to God, I would’ve committed suicide a long time ago. We all face depression from time to time but some of us take it to another level. It is hard to control depression, especially when we reach a level to which we lose control and do crazy things to ourselves without using the ability to think. I want to always help others and I always will do it for free because I love seeing people happy. I want to tell you this side of the story in order to help you, especially for those in need of this.
I became stronger even when I felt lonely at that time. I built myself from nothing to something and did so by the power of God. I swear by God that if I didn’t have God, I wouldn’t be able to do anything. You might think that you have nothing around you but when you have God in your heart, I promise that you would have everything. You’re worried that you are not out there in the world looking for the right girl for you to marry? You don’t need to worry. God will set a perfect time for you to meet and marry her and what if it’s not written for you now? Be patient, God is with the patient.
Anyhow; in 2014, I enrolled to a university and it was my first time actually studying with Saudis. I noticed that they had common aspects such as, not liking to attend classes. I used to skip a lot of classes at school but since the university records absences, I attend most of the time. Saudis come from schools where memorizing is like, the key of learning. While foreigners, come from schools where they’d actually learn something so that’s how we differentiate from them in terms of learning. It’s sad that a lot of students love to cheat or pay someone off to do their assignments but there are also good ones that try their best and outsmart others.
I dealt with a lot of love and discrimination. The students wouldn’t treat a foreigner badly but the university would help them out more than others. Foreigners don’t have full access to everything. They couldn’t be the president of the student council, join events that could bring a change to the university’s environment, or help people in Makkah during Ramadan. There are much more disadvantages to this but I am still happy that I have learnt a lot and grew to respect the culture and the environment of Saudis.
I sometimes feel much happier being at university than at school. The university gives you more freedom though there are a lot of times where education lacks up. Lacks up in terms of instructors forcing all of the materials, assignments and exams upon you at the end of the term while they had the whole semester to lay them all out. I guess this occurs in many parts of the world as it must be difficult to communicate with every instructor and inform them of the certain tasks that should be completed before a student’s’ request. There could always be a way of solving this problem though, maybe by setting up dates of when the test is supposed to be done with a gap in the week before the day of the test in order for the students to prepare for it.
The problem is, I think that the universities in Saudi Arabia do not really follow up with the American curriculum. American universities start after we do and end before us. Some of them don’t even require you to attend but that’s because many students will show up. In Saudi, none will. Additionally; in Saudi Arabia, we have two midterms and that doesn’t make sense to have two midterms since it is defined as, ‘the middle of the semester’. Perhaps quarterly is the right word since we cannot have two?
I have worked at my university as a teacher assistant and loved it. I do have a lot of issues towards this university but honestly speaking, it did help me grow. I love how we have to learn about Islam in Saudi universities, it’s pretty unique in comparison to the other universities in different parts of the world.
++]]Before turning 23, I had the opportunity to experience wonders. My life basically changed. I started to feel stronger and had more of a mature view of my life. I met Adam Saleh, which was a dream come true and I was lucky enough to meet him again thanks to Waqar Majid, a special friend of mine. Upon meeting him for the second time, I noticed that I seemed to repel from him. I’m not saying that he’s a bad person, not at all, but maybe I felt so because I have already reached my goal. Although a bigger goal of mine was to chill with him and vlog all around The Middle East, which didn’t happen, it’s all good. I am still thankful for everything and am already blessed enough.
I started to dig through my YouTube channel and I ended up changing my videos into different types of content that I could do in order to please others. There were sometimes where I would put music in the videos and there were other times where I wouldn’t. I guess that I have now settled to not include any music in my videos because in my religion, it is a sin that is ignored by many. I want to change the world and show the true beauty of Islam which many people around the world like to put down. I also want to show the peace and kindness and the rules that we follow from our religion that saves us from harming ourselves. Whatever God has put on upon us, it only for the best of us and many of us who call ourselves ‘Muslims’ ignore the message from God and end up getting hurt. Of course, you’re going to be hurt if you don’t follow the religion’s rules. For instance, having a boy/girlfriend is haram but some people never intend to focus on that.
I’m not a sheikh or a religious person who claims to know everything but I prefer to help and remind others of what we are supposed to do. I try to show people the real message of our religion; to remember the truth and to understand the religion better. I do so because I used to hate religion and religious people a long time ago. I only called myself a Muslim by name but never understood its true beauty. Remember, if a person claims to be religious, and is harsh towards you, it’s not the religion’s fault; it is theirs because religion can always be dealt in kindness and that’s the best way to show others the right path in my opinion.
I graduated in November 2016, but not fully. I only had my graduation at that time because I would be kicked out of Saudi Arabia the moment I was done and wouldn’t be able to have a proper graduation then, haha. I will miss the days in Saudi Arabia and I wish that one day, everyone would love each other. I noticed that loving others can only bring good, even if you see no benefit in it. You’ll realize that you’ll need love from others later on in life. Remember, what you give, you get. If you hurt others, others will hurt you. If you love others, others will love and help you whenever you are in need. A heart with no hatred is the best type of heart anyone can have, so love one another and always try to protect and forgive others because we aren’t perfect.
During my time here, I realized that there is a lot of unfairness towards foreigners in Saudi Arabia but I am still thankful that I went through the way it has been set for me. This is because I gained the experience, patience, and many other things that were involved to handling life here. I might be saying that Saudi Arabia is a bad country, but it really isn’t. In fact, it is very peaceful and many of the people here are kind and would help you if you are in need. There are goods and bads in every country and my expectations before coming to this country were much worse than what I had actually seen. There is a lot of freedom in Saudi Arabia but a lot of Westerners who come here do not like to mention it. In my opinion, I realized Westerners who live in Saudi do not tell the others back home how beautiful Saudi is, in all terms except certain fairness. I believe that this is because they wouldn’t like to have other members of their hometown come over and get as much money as they could.
It is funny to say but, Westerners get more advantages here than those originating from Arab countries. I guess this is not written in any book in the world but, I wanted to let it out there to show Westerners that Saudis treat you better than the Arabs around. It’s not always the cause as I cannot judge a whole nation, but that happens a lot. As a New Zealander, you can get a lot of benefits that way. For instance, I once drove with the car around the town at night and a cop pulled me over. The car wasn’t registered under my name and I didn’t even have the documents. Just by giving the cop my license; he read ‘New Zealand’, I spoke to him in English, he gave it back, and let me go.
There is also unfairness with police here though. Once, a cop stopped my friends and I for playing loud music in the car. I wasn’t involved in it at all. The cop saw me wearing a necklace which had the word, ‘Allah’, engraved on it and tried to steal it from me. At that time, I was just a kid. I gave the necklace to him in anger and started to weep. As I called my parents to inform them about the issue, the policeman felt bad for me and gave it back. There’s no rule of not being allowed to wear a necklace and that’s not the reason as to why he pulled us over, but I guess cops all around the world can be unfair sometimes, just wanted to point that out.
After all I have through, I can finally say that I am a stronger person now. Maybe you will always be negative towards yourself along with view of life, but you are blessed. You won’t realize that you’re blessed until you lose something valuable. You might be living in a house with great air conditioning, that’s the least you can consider yourself of being blessed with.
I honestly feel lonely at many times during a single day. I do want to share my life with someone, but do you know what’s keeping me single? I can only accomplish dreams of mine this way, or I believe so. Reason being; if I get married, I know that I wouldn’t focus on helping people change in life and would rather spend my time taking care of myself and my wife. Also, when I challenge myself with the difficulty of staying single while trying to promote my religion, (i.e., to show people the right path and to help others in anyway as much as I can) I don’t really care about death. I actually expect death to occur at any second and I’m not afraid of it because I believe that God is with me. He is The One who has blessed me and has written my timeline for me already. Maybe I have lost many people that I loved in my life, not necessarily by death, but by leaving me. That made me weaker at a moment but now I am actually stronger and I thank each and every one who has ever left me because I can actually work on my goals better.
I believe that my kingdom of ELUZ is going to grow and that we will spread love and change this world into becoming a better one, I know that we will make a change and I can see it already. Maybe many don’t see it right now but the vision is quite clear to me because I get messages from many people all over the world thanking me for the videos that I provide and that they helped them in certain ways (i.e., through depression, needing motivation, and even learning a different view of my religion). Thank God for this blessing of a life. I hope you all can support me during this journey of mine and when I’m gone, I hope you’ll show others that I made it.
I would like to thank each and every one of you for coming along with me on this journey. I really appreciate each person who has given some value to the work that I provide for others to watch or enjoy, I work really hard for them. I really do hope that I can make a world tour and perform amazing shows one day. My shows will be quite different from other YouTubers or celebrities because I’m more of a storyteller and I love mixing stories with inspirational messages as I experienced a lot in my life. Of course, in this book, I haven’t mentioned everything that occurred in my life, so there’s still amazing things to look for in shows.
I would love to surprise certain supporters as well. I hate using the word ‘fan’ because I don’t feel that its special. I love calling each supporter an ‘Elü’. Elü is a very valuable name to me because it’s my nickname. Since that’s what I love to be called, I use it for others as well. The plural form of Elü is Elüz. Anyway, you can help make my dream come to a reality if you could share my content, tell others about it, let them subscribe to my channel (so that I can become more noticeable around the world and be accepted to travel for shows), and send me emails of suggestions you think that I can fix or do. Thank you once again, my second family.
One more thing that I would like to mention, in order for me to make the world a better place, I need you to help me out. I know I sound like a beggar here but, if I get out there in fame, I could actually make changes which I have already planned to do. I would love to build Mosques that would teach others about our beautiful faith. I would also love to also build charity organizations, so that I could help feed the poor in multiple countries. I would also love to make others happier by helping them through rehab. Lastly, I would also love to surprise my followers who are young and inspired by visiting them. Also by having the opportunity to perform on stage and make others happy, because that makes me happy too! This cannot happen without you. One share may mean nothing to you but it means a whole lot to me because it can get more people to notice me. In order for me to be able to do shows all around the world and have my dream of building a nice and a respectful entertainment event, I need your help and I swear I would appreciate it.
A special thank you to Maryam Alghareeb for editing.
I would like to thank the people mentioned below for helping me, by making my life better:
Mum, Mum, Mum (I ain’t got 3 mums, only one, but it’s a religious thingy ^^), Dad, my whole family, Aaliyah Patell, Abdallah Alivio, Abdulla Al Amri, Adam Saleh, Adrian Qian, Afie, Ahmed Zaidy, Aila Salvador, Ali Al Hamood, Almaha Alkuwari, Amina Vang, Anamta Shaikh, Annie Rainie, Antonio Carvajal, Daniel (my first friend ever – don’t know much about him anymore), Doaa, Fatima T, Fattyma, Hala Ismael, Hani Sharif, Ihsane, Ikram, Insaff, Jhonastas Nilson, Khadejah, Khadijah, Laila Sahadi, Lupita Nava, Maha D, Marwa Ali, Maryam Alghareeb, Mirza Ibrahim, Mohamed Ahmed, Mohamed, Mowlli, Naila, Nelly, Nis, Nora, Olaya, Omar Saleh, Ramin Rezai, Rashid Al Amri, Razan, Reemahi, Reeman, Romaissa, Sameh, Sara, Sara, Sharifa Batarfi, Sondos, Tamara, Ummalbraa Ashwaq Yahia Al-Taheri, Wael Yousif Suliman, Waqar Majid, Yasmine O, Youssra Abali, Yusuf, Zakra