August: First Annual Youth Camping Trip
The First Annual Youth Camping Trip took place at Astico County Park, a 45 minute drive to the northeast of Madison. By Friday evening we arrived to the camp site with all our gear and pitched tents by the light of the moon. After erecting the tents and building a tall fire we sat down to a home-cooked meal followed by lots of fire-toasted s’mores. Around the fire we played games and talked throughout the night. Shaykh Al Hagie and Shuaib shared some of the scariest jinn stories that anyone had ever heard and many of us decided to wait until after Fajr prayer to sleep. Praying together at the campsite was a wonderful experience, whether under the star-packed sky or amid the morning mist, experiencing the miracle of Allah’s creation increased the imaan in us all.
Saturday morning we made breakfast as our campers stumbled out of their tents one by one. Despite the hot and humid day we spent nearly the entire morning playing soccer, during which Zaid Nolly earned MVP-status for his 4-goal performance. After Dhuhr prayer and lunch we had a spontaneous question and answer session with Shaykh Al Hagie concerning various aspects of our deen. Rain threatened that afternoon, but some of the youth decided to explore the park’s trails and others decided to test the canoes out on the adjacent Crawfish River. Those who remained around the campsite played bocce ball or football, or even took a nap in the tent. In the evening we enjoyed another big fire, conversation, and s’mores. Basheer’s legendary barbecue was on the dinner menu. Many of us were still tired from the previous night, so all retired early to recharge for our last exciting day at the park.
Sunday began with breakfast and a fire, then we slowly began breaking down the campsite in preparation for our departure. Those who wanted a final trip on the canoe or a last soccer game had the opportunity, and another wonderful meal prepared by Basheer. Content and grateful to Allah for the blessings of the weekend we returned to the masjid before Asr, all of us looking forward to next year’s trip.
September: First Annual Fathers VS Son Soccer Match
We had an amazing turnout for the First Annual Father/Son Soccer Match, which took place on a beautiful fall day at the Qur’an School on Watts Road. In preparation for the match we purchased two soccer goals and a spectacular trophy which would be handed over to the winners at the conclusion of the match. Players for both sides kept arriving as the game began. As both teams felt each other out it remained scoreless for several minutes. No sooner did Shaykh al Hagie arrive and lace up his cleats did he streak down the field and score on the Youth Team, drawing first blood. The morale of the Youth
Team, captained by Huzaifah Sohail, took a serious blow and subsequently let up two more goals to the Fathers’ team, both scored by Shaykh Al-Hagie. At half-time the Fathers’ Team was leading 3-0, but the Youth Team rallied in the second half and scored a quick goal, followed by another several minutes later. With the score 3-2, time was winding down and the Youth Team was desperate to tie the game. In the final minute, the Fathers’ Team committed a hand-ball right in front of their own goal, setting the stage for a final and decisive penalty kick. If the Youth Team scored, they would tie the game and send it to penalties. Hussein was in goal for the Fathers’ Team and Haradin Munishi stepped up to shoot for the Youth. Haradin fired a rocket toward the goal but Hussein skillfully blocked it, ending the match in favor of the Fathers’ Team, who carried the trophy back to Masjid Us-Sunnah where it is still displayed atop the bookcase.
October: Fathers VS Son Soccer Rematch
No sooner had the first Father/Son Soccer Match ended that both sides clamored for a rematch. The Youth squad claimed a disadvantage in the first half because of players under the age of 12 and the Fathers’ team said that the field at Watts Road was too small. So we all reconvened the next month at the fields behind US Bank for a rematch. Players for both sides again turned out in great numbers, and the Fathers’ Team once again got out to an early lead. With bigger nets and better spacing many more goals were scored, so many that by the end of the game players differed as to the final score. What was clear, however, is that the Youth Team again rallied late and by the referee’s count the game ended in a 6-6 tie. At the end of regulation we all prayed Maghrib together on the field and dispersed, both sides agreeing to yet another rematch once the weather turned warm, inshaa Allah.