A Libyan Adventure by James Scurr

At the age of 62, Nadr Farah Farah, although overweight, was not obese and being a tall man he carried his weight well. He manoeuvred his way around his large office desk and eased himself into his opulent, leather cushioned office chair, having just returned from mid-day prayers in the small Mosque in the oilfield village and after consuming a very large lunch he was now ready for his daily nap. He sighed with contentment, belched loudly raised his well padded buttocks and with well practiced ease let rip with a loud explosive fart, as he settled comfortably back into his chair he closed his eyes and has his mind meandered through the tendrils of time to his distant past he drifted off to sleep.

Nadr was born and raised in the township of Al-Abyar, situated to the east of Benghazi it was an area exclusive to the well to do members of the Libyan society who considered it to be the in place to live His father Amin Farah was the sole owner of a supply company with offices and Warehouses in Benghazi Nadr was the second oldest of four sons.

At the age of 21 he had completed his education and also his two years compulsory military service and was now employed as a foreman in one of his father’s warehouses. At that time Libya was not a strict Muslim state and was a popular Mediterranean tourist attraction with its beaches, nightlife and night clubs.

Amin Farah, however being a devout follower of the Muslim faith deemed that Nadr and his brothers would become like him true believers in the faith and from a very early age they had been instructed and tutored in the readings of the holy book. The Quran.

Nadr over six foot in height was a natural athlete and in his early school years he had excelled in all sports especially football. He was gifted with the ability to strike a ball powerfully with both his left and right foot; he was ferocious tackler of opponents and a brilliant header of the ball. He had the ability to control, read the game and pass the ball with ease. This had brought him to the attention of an Italian retired ex professional footballer who recognizing his raw talent had coached him to become what he now was a star semi professional football player in Benghazi’s top soccer team and was tipped to be the first Libyan player to play in the Italian league.

Being a well known, handsome and popular personality in the city of Benghazi Nazr from the onset of his semi pro career had been in constant demand for the after match celebration parties.

At the first party that he attended he had been overawed by the amount of alcohol being consumed by both men and woman and a how free and easy the woman had been with their favours to the players. By the fourth party Nadir had not only lost his virginity he had also acquired a taste and liking for what was expressly forbidden in the Quran, alcohol and fornicating with woman. From that time Nadr had began questioning his belief in Islam.

Nadr, in the words of his father had lost his faith in Islam and had to be punished and brought to order, as a teenager if nadr had erred from the path of truth his father would beat the wickedness from him but now has he had grown into manhood he had become to big, strong and powerful to accept a beating and so his father had resorted to other means of control ,he had arranged two marriages but Nadr ,much to his father’s shame had refused on both occasions to meet with the families of the intended brides, he had informed his father that he would not accept any arranged marriage and that his bride would be of his own choosing. In despair his father had contacted the community leader the Imam

………….

Shafi Yacoub had sat in his office with his head in his hands cursing his luck and the failure of Allah to answer his prayers. What had he, a much respected, successful businessman done to deserve such a catastrophe that now faced? “Perhaps the bitch will now fall down dead with shame” he had muttered to himself ending with the obligatory “inshallah”

Shafi lived in a sumptuous, very expensive, six bed roomed house in one of the elite districts of Benghazi, he had three wives and five devoted sons who obeyed their fathers every command and a daughter, Sharnez, who at twenty four years of age was the eldest of his children and who at that age should have been married and presenting him with grandchildren but who instead of which she was now single again and from what he had just been told convinced him that he had sired an evil jinni a disciple of Iblis, Satan
His daughter being his first child had been his favourite and although raised in a strict Muslim household and against the advice of the clerics she had been allowed total freedom. At the age of eleven she had to the delight of her father and without any pressure from her parents chosen to wear the full hijab. Her father trustingly had proudly enrolled her into a very expensive private school in Benghazi which also tutored children of European and other nationals that lived and worked in the city. Sharnez’ had excelled in her studies, both in the school curriculum and also in the bodies of her male student friends. When she had completed her schooling she had been awarded diplomas in business and secretarial skills. Armed with these and with her father now even more convinced that she was a true believer in the faith, had once again ignored the advice of the clerics and had allowed her to be employed as a PA to his most senior manager a European whom he knew could be trusted to chaperone his daughter having known her since her childhood. She had seduced him on her first day in the office.

Sharnez now no longer a teenager but a young woman had begun to change, she no longer wore the Hajib preferring western clothing instead she had also against her father’s express wishes began to use make-up. Even more serious was that she no longer acknowledged her position has a female in the Muslim faith and would, in her father’s eyes shamelessly engage in friendly conversations with strangers, male or female whom she met in the office or in the street, she now refused to pray and constantly to his intense shame, disobeyed and argued with him in front of his staff and colleagues.
Her parents now realizing that she had in fact been influenced by her European schoolmates and friends had tried to bring her under control. Under the threat of being beaten by her father she had been forced to wear the Hajib whenever she left the house. But to her father’s dismay he discovered that she was changing back into western dress when reaching the office, being more than willingly assisted by her manager
On numerous occasions when she had, had to work late her father had only allowed it if the manager had been present to chaperone her not knowing that the Benghazi nightlife that she was savouring was being organised and paid for by his trusted lieutenant. It had all been revealed when a roving photographer unbeknown to them had taken a photograph of the couple in a very raunchy clinch that was later innocently included in a newspaper as part of the publicity for the nightclub.

Shasi had instantly dispatched his now discredited unemployed manager, wife and family back to Europe and he had then promptly arranged for the marriage of his daughter. He had chosen for her a husband whom he knew to be a devout muslim, a strict disciplinarian who would control her and if need be would beat her into submission. Wasim the chosen man had been from childhood a very firm friend and although not rich had a small construction company that afforded him his three wives and eight children a comfortable life style. Sharnez would become wife number four and has the junior wife would clean, cook, fetch and carry for the whole household, until she became pregnant. Wasim was looking forward to the marital bed and the impregnation of a younger woman whom he had admired from afar since her early childhood. Sharnez had, had no say in the arranged marriage she was there like a chattel to be given to any man that her father chose Finally after various meetings with the families and a lot of haggling over the size of the dowry the marriage had been agreed.

After the marriage had taken place Shasi elatedly had attended the Mosque and made extra prayers to Allah for finally ridding him of the problem that was his daughter.
On the first night of the marriage as they had prepared for bed Wasim had ordered Sharnez to undress and prepare to receive his mighty tool instead as he had turned to face her appendage proud and erect he had felt the blade of a knife at his throat.”Husband “she had said “With this knife” I will give you a second mouth, and with this knife “he had felt a second blade touching his what was now a flaccid shrivelled up mighty tool “I will cut this off in slices and feed it into the mouth” Trembling with fear and close to evacuating his bowels Wasim had fled from the bedroom. Not wanting to lose face with his other wives he had spent the remainder of the night, wide awake and trembling with fear in the kitchen.

On the second day Wasim had instructed his wives to search the bedroom and remove anything that could be harmful to him. They had stripped the room finding only the knives which they had brought to him and smiling grimly in satisfaction he had broken the blades and cast them into a waste bin”bitch”he had thought “tonight you will find out who your master is”

That night in the bedroom he had turned to Sharnez and told her forcefully that he was the master and she would submit to his every demand. He hadn’t seen the stave of wood that she had hidden and was now sliding down the sleeve of her hajib and into her hand. The first blow taking him completely by surprise had broken his nose and forced him reel back in shock a second blow had laid waste to his mighty tool doubling him up in agony onto the floor the beating had carried on until he had crawled from the room.“

On the third day Shasi had wondered at what the commotion was in the main office outside of his. “Is that the voice of Wasim I can hear “he had thought and then with an almighty crash his office door had flown open and confronting him had been his newly acquired purple faced enraged son in law.”Wasim my friend my son in law “he had said and then he had looked closely and noticed the crutch the heavily plastered nose with blackened eyes and the left arm in a sling.” have you have been in an accident “he had enquired quite innocently.

“Accident”, Wasim his face contorted with rage had shouted at him, “accident, this is what that evil bitch that you call a daughter did to me”

With that he had dragged Shanez forward into the office.”I am returning her and her dowry to you “he had howled “and hopefully with Allah’s blessing may she be made to fornicate with a moth eaten pox ridden camel and produce nothing but camel spiders “With that he had stormed from the office.

Shasi was at his desk with his head in his hands he glanced up at his daughter and then reaching for the telephone he had dialled. When the Imam answered the phone Shasi had said “Rafeek my brother I need your advice”

…………

Shari and Amin were seated in the mosque office deep in conversation with the Imam Rafeek Kazi.”My brothers “he had said “this talk of ibis and” jinn’s he looked at Shasi “your daughter being an evil jinn “he then glanced at Amin “and your son also, is only folklore and figments of peoples imagination. In the distant past it would have been reason enough to have had them executed under Shari’ah law but not now”

He paused to study his notes ” here in Libya we, the religious clerics are proud of our modernistic approach to Islam and having spoken to other Imams and learned clerics the answer to the problem is to marry them” Shari had snorted in derision “And how do we get them to agree to such an arrangement “He had nodded towards Amin “do you not think that Amin and I have explored all avenues to be rid of them “The Imam had rested his elbows on his desk steepled his fingers sat back in his chair and after appearing to be collecting his thoughts put them into words

“When they learn of the punishments that they could receive under Shari’ah law “he had said” for losing their faith in Islam “he raised his head and with a wise nod had said.” they will agree to this marriage it is written, Inshallah”

Nadr and Sharnez had been summoned to the office of the Imam along with both fathers .Without any kind of pre-amble the Imam had told them of the arranged marriage, and before either of them had, had chance to reply he had laid out the terms of the contracts.”I could “he had said “under Shari’ah law have you taken to the main square on Friday and have you publicly flogged for your lack of faith “Both Sharnez and Nasr alarmed had looked at their fathers in a state of shock, who had shrugging their shoulders in resignation and ignored their distressed looks.

“There is however an alternative to being flogged” The imam had said” but only if both of you accept the marriage contract”

Nasr had glanced a look at Sharnez who at the thought of being flogged was rapidly nodding her head in agreement with the Imam. ”Nasr “the mocking tone of the Imams query had cut Nasr to the quick ,but knowing what the outcome of a refusal to accept the contract would be had said.”I will agree”

The contents of the marriage contract had been spelled out to the bride and groom, Amin ,Nasr’s father would buy and furnish a house for them to live in, Shari,S harnez’s father would pay for their wedding and provide a large dowry Both of the fathers would share the travel costs of their banishment to Tripoli, where the wedding would take place, this being the alternative punishment to being flogged.

On the long trek to the capital city, Tripoli they had not been allowed to be alone, as was the custom, four chaperones had accompanied them, these chaperones two female and two males had also witnessed their short and brief wedding.

In the marital bedroom on the night of the wedding, Nadr as with Wasim was threatened with knives. Without a word he had walked from the room and spent the night alone in one of the other bedrooms. The next day he had searched for and removed the knives. That night again in the marital bedroom he had approached Sharnaz who not wearing a hajib had secreted a stave of wood under a pillow she had slyly reached for it only to find a large white goose feather instead, as she had turned to face Nasr she had felt one knife at her throat and the other at her left breast, Nasr had smiled, Sharnez had returned the smile, Nasr had started laughing and Sharnez had laughed with him, and then howling with laughter they had both collapsed onto the bed. Their marriage had been well and truly consummated.

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