Under His Nose…
Under his glasses, engineer Philip stared at Sulaiman as he entered his office reluctantly. He waved him to sit while he returned his concentration to his writings. Confused as to the welcoming treatment, slowly, he bent his knees until he felt his rump touching the chair. He sat comfortless, holding his bag to his chest. He was nervous and could feel himself started to perspire.
The silence seems to be endless and Sulaiman almost ran out of patience when once again, engineer Philip glanced at him, then away and finally, he vocalized.
“What are you waiting for?”
Not sure of the response to give, he fumbled for a word to say but ended up saying none.
He dropped his pen, reclined his arms on the table and intertwined his fingers, “why are you here? What can I do for you?”
He stuttered, “I w-was here…”
“With those I sent away and it’s asinine to return here alone for the same matter!”
“Actually s-sir, we thought you wouldn’t want your office to be crowded so I came on their behalf. I hope you would listen to me… Sir…” His voice faded.
His long moustache curved up to almost what could be called a smile, “you are undaunted. I’m listening, what did the girls say I do?”
He shifted slightly in his seat and carefully picked his wordings, “they conceded that they were wrong and admitted their guilt… It was time for prayer and they thought you would understand, that you won’t be offended so they excused themselves. They regretted their actions and we are begging for your pardon, sir.”
“Do you mean they regretted leaving my class to attend the prayer?”
For the first time, he glanced at the man’s face, trying to read the meaning to the question. What response would he like him to give?
“They regretted offending you, sir. They never meant to be rude.” Seeing his response wasn’t satisfying him, he added, “they are Muslims and they can’t regret praying but they regretted stepping on your toes, sir.”
“I thought you would say they regretted leaving my class for the prayer like many have been telling me. I know you fanatics, you take your religion as serious as hell! Even more, than your clerics do. I’ve attended many of your religious occasions such as weddings, naming ceremonies and Qur’an graduation ceremonies. I’ve seen your clerics going on with their programs uninterrupted when the call for prayers was made. They prayed when they were through. My class was to end at exactly 2 o’clock, waiting till then would have cost them absolutely nothing. You said they didn’t mean to be rude but that was rudeness. You children of nowadays have no respect for elders… Especially for us your lecturers. You were compelled to respect your teachers in your primary and secondary school days but in higher institutions, we thought you would be matured enough to understand morality. The reverse is the case! You pass by us every day without simply uttering good morning or good afternoon. Most of you would even do as if you do not see us. We spend sleepless nights making research, upgrading ourselves to advance your knowledge… Of course, it’s my job and I get paid but I think I deserve more! Which are respect and appreciation? Not every one of you is bad, which is why I’m listening to you. If it were to be any of those men you came with, I won’t have granted him any audience… Anyway, considering their perseverance, who am I not to accept their plea? Henceforth, they can attend my classes.”
He hardly believed his ears, “have you pardoned them, sir?”
“Yes,” he nodded, “you heard me clearly. I have my principles but I’m not a mini-god!”
His face glowed with smiles and he stood up, “thank you very much, sir. Thank you very much…”
“It’s time for my lecture young man, you can show yourself out.”
Enthusiastically, he wanted to storm out to relay the good news to his friends but he suddenly felt the urge to address a misconception he perceived.
“Sir, please give me a moment… This was really unexpected and thank you very much for granting me the honour. Also, sir, it’s disheartening seeing those that carry the umbrella of Islam not representing Islam as it is. Our five daily prayer is one of the items that make us Muslims, that also distinguishes us from other religions. If you see us taking it so seriously, please understand it as part of our faith. Unlike other religions, we have our rules and guides and every of our act of worships is prescribed in our divine guidance, Al-Qur’an. We are to keep up prayers and every prayer has its prescribed time. Not all our clerics treat prayers in such a lackadaisical manner, although there are some that see themselves as above the laws or better still, hoping that Allah would pardon them. Some of us just can’t take the risk of delaying the prayers else we have no choice, then we hope for Allah’s Mercy. I’m pleading to you sir, to always grant us at least, five minutes to observe the prayer whenever it’s time…”
“It bemuses me to see fellow Africans treat foreign religion with such reverence and acquiescence.” He interrupted and frowned, “I think you want me to reverse my pardon, right?”
“Ah! No sir, I’m sorry…”
“Then use the door.”
He understood clearly that he had overstayed his welcome and swiftly, he reached for the door while the man murmured.
“You’ll be surprised when all you could find when you get to heaven are your deeds and not your Islam or Christianity… Hey, young man!”
He was about to cross the threshold of his office when he heard himself being called, he responded, “sir!”
“Tell no one I cried for respect because you children of nowadays have no wisdom than to make a mockery of your elders.”
He nodded and exited. Utterly bewildered by the man’s perception of religions, it is far more than he had expected it to be. He had never at any point of his life thought such a person could exist in this life.
“Who has a brain hanging in his head would ever take a glimpse at Islam and wouldn’t fall in love with it?” He murmured. “This man does prove himself to be intelligent, I wonder!” Unknowingly, he said aloud and looked around if no one heard or saw him soliloquizing.
By this time, he had already reached his anxiously waiting friends who upon sighting him had stood on their toes.
“Returning from the lion’s den akhy, how did it go?” Abdulwaris enquired, chuckling.
“Fish or crab akhy?” Asked the ameer, seriously expecting a response.
Sulaiman smiled in response, “fish! I mean a very big fish.”
“Maa’sha’Allah! Tabaarokallah!” Ameer embraced him.
Puzzled Abdulwaris separated them, “you didn’t go fishing, why the fish or crab idioms? Tell me what really happened?”
“He meant his mission was successful. The sisters can now continue attending the Prof’s class.” Ameer excitedly explained, “but you don’t seem that happy akhy.”
“Maa’sha’Allah! How did you do it akhy? What did you say to him?”
“I’m happy of course… I have a class now, can we…”
“Sure, I have a class too.”
Together, they moved. Abdulwaris wouldn’t stop pestering him with questions on how he bearded the lion in his den.
“I did nothing. I think he already had it in mind to forgive them, I just happened to be the lucky one to talk him into it. Please forgive them sir and he said ok, they are forgiven!” So he said.
Abdulwaris giggled, “and you want me to believe that. I’ll really like to learn, there must be a persuasive speech you used…”
“As-salaamu’alykum brothers!” Unanticipated, Mutmainah interrupted from behind.
The trio turned to them like robots.
“We’ve been following and calling you for a while now. How was it?” Said Mutmainah, holding his friend’s hand.
Abdulwaris wanted to respond but Sulaiman pulled his cloth to keep him quiet, leaving room for the ameer to talk.
“Alhamdulillah sisters.” The ameer smiled and exclaimed, “Engineer Philip has accepted you in his classes again!”
“Maa’sha’Allah! Alhamdulillah!” The two friends hugged each other.
“Jazaakumullah khairan brothers, jazaakumullah khairan!” Mutmainah expressed her gratitude.
“I knew it Mutmainah! I knew it! I prayed and cried to Allah fervently during qiyaamulayl… Thank you very much, brothers. He should be in our class any moment from now, we have to go… See you later!”
They rushed ahead while the three brothers stared at them amazingly.
“Mutmainah and Maymunah! Maa’sha’Allah!” Abdulwaris blurted.
“Has anyone of you heard Maymunah talked before? I think this is my first time…and… Maa’sha’Allah! Her diction… subhanallah!…heard how the words rolled off her tongue?”
“Subhanallah! Astagfirullah! I don’t think what we’re doing right now is right.”
“How akhy?” Replied Abdulwaris, “good and religious sisters are scarce on this campus, those we find are always precious jewel, not because of their looks or shapes but Allah’s Noor (light) upon their souls. We aren’t lusting after them, we are only appreciating their personalities as a bachelor looking for his miss right. Alhamdulillah, I’ve written an application already.”
“All praises to Allah too.” The ameer added.
“What application is that?”
“Don’t worry akhy, enough competitors already. You won’t want to join the long queue.” Replied Abdulwaris.
“You should come by the masjid often brother…” The ameer tapped his shoulder, “we will detail you later. The classes are starting, as-salaamu’alykum warahmatullah wabarakaatuhu.”
“Wahlykum salam warahmatullah wabarakaatuhu.”
They departed and he sauntered to his lecture room with the thought of engineer Philip weighing heavily on his heart. He wished he could have the chance of conversing with him once again.
A lecturer is already in his class, Toohir waved at him to come over and sit beside him which he complied. The topic was new but uninteresting and for some moments, everyone was attentive until the wind distributed an offensive odour around the class.
“Who the hell ate beans and egg?” A male student bellowed from the back.
“May the person’s stomach never rest in peace.” Bawled a female student from the back.
The concentration of the disgusting odour was high in the air and the lecturer left the class immediately and the cranky words exchange continued,
“May Ogun’s dog eat the mouth of the speaker.” Another male student yelled back.
Possible pandemonium rented the air as a male student threatened to beat the female student that talked. The whole classes divided into two groups of interest – the majority who wanted the violence to occur and the minority who wanted to stop the violence. Sulaiman was among the later but Toohir pulled him out of the class.
“I can’t meddle in that fight and neither can you because if you do, I wouldn’t have a choice and I don’t want to.”
“Is that why you pulled me out? So, we’re to leave him to beat the girl because you don’t want to interfere?”
“You haven’t caught on that situation, have you? Who would want to beat a girl because of a simple verbal utterance? Base on my own knowledge, Kike has some history with three men in that class including her threat. So forget about her and let’s go to the masjid, dhur is almost here.”
“Still I don’t think it worths it. No one should stoop so low to beat a girl.”
“Okay! The good Samaritan. Let’s just inform the security men.”
Luckily, they met some daring security men on their way to the masjid and the incident was reported to them. They quickly called for backup and dispersed immediately to the scene.
Watching the security men rushed ahead, Toohir shook his head, “I just hope he hasn’t started beating her.”
“Toohir, why did you say you couldn’t interfere? Are you also among the men she had a history with?”
He simpered and folded his arms, “how did you catch on that?”
“Let’s say I’m getting to know more about you. You left yesterday without returning, I guess you took a girl home. Am I right?”
“Man! I didn’t take a girl home, a girl took me home but you’ve got me right in the ass. Congratulation!” He extended his hand for a shake.
“I’m not taking that. So you slept in a girl’s house yesterday?…’ He folded his arms, “when my door was opened to you throughout yesterday night.”
“Okay! This is a secret but I know it’s safe with you.” They kept walking leisurely, “the girl happened to be the Kikẹ in our class, we met at the party yesterday and started talking. We also danced together and I ended up in her house after making out at the party.” He winked, “you won’t want the details so that’s all… Also, the guy threatening to beat her is her boyfriend. She’s trying to jilt him and date me, I think. She even invited me over for dinner tonight. So for that drama to happen back there, I think the guy has found out her little secret and I can’t get involved.”
“Subhanallah! So you fornicated yesterday. I knew such would happen. One sin surely leads to another if not repented.”
“May Allah forgive me. You should also pray for me often. I only intended to eat, watch and vamoose but the girl’s temptation was just irresistible. I had a break for more than a month man! I’ve never stayed that long without seeing a girl.”
“Your repentance isn’t sincere akhy because you still have it in mind to go back to it. When you repent, you have a vision of not ever repeating the sin again. Then you work fervently towards its achievement. It may be hard to abstain and it might want to keep repeating itself but with your determination, you just keep pushing and repenting. In the end, you’ll just find yourself so free from the sin that you would wonder why it was so difficult for you in the first place. Fa-inna llaha gafuurun rraheem, then Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”
Now in front of the masjid, Toohir stared at his friend in the face, “you are the only person in my life that could give me this advice. Honestly, I also want to be free from fornication but I don’t think I can. You should be happy and thankful you are you, my friend.”
They both had bent down to unhook their sandals. Sulaiman was the first to rise up and he noticed the t-shirt his friend was wearing folded up when he bent, leaving part of his back bare. He touched his bare skin.
“This is how your body would be uncovered during solat, you can’t pray in this shirt akhy. Also, your trousers are tight, showing the shape of your groin.”
He stood up and checked himself out as he pulled down his shirt, “I’ll just pull up my trousers too. I just thought I should look trendy today.”
“Yes because you’ve got a new girlfriend, I know.”
He chuckled, “you’re not serious. She isn’t my girlfriend.”
“I hope so… I think you should go home and change.”
“Ahah! Is it that bad? Take a look, my whole body is now covered.”
“No, it’s wrapped. Muslim women aren’t the only ones to be modest in their dressing so should Muslim men too. There are always many talks on Muslim women hijab however, little is said about men’s hijab. Our awrah (nakedness) is to be covered with ample dress not wrapped in tight jeans and body hug shirts. I do watch some bothers praying in the masjid with a painful heart. Due to their tight trousers, they find it difficult to rukuu (bend) properly in angle 90 degree and their short shirts leave part of their body or buttocks bare during solat. Some would even try to be funny by pulling their shirts down and trousers up during solat. They appear immodest before their Creator, don’t they fear Him? Why going out in a cloth you can’t pray with? A Muslim’s life revolves around his faith and ibaadah! If you can’t pray in it, you shouldn’t go out in it.”
Toohir rolled his eyes, his hands hanging on his waists, “in short, you’re sending me home to go and change my shirt.”
“And your trousers. I’m not sending you home, I’m beseeching you to go home and the choice is yours. If you want to exercise your body, you can stay. If you want to pray and be rewarded, then go and change your clothes.”
“Okay! I’m choosing the latter option. I’ll be right back.”
He was about to leave when Sulaiman thought of him not coming back or even not observing the prayer anymore.
“If you can’t make it here on time, then pray at any nearby masjid and let’s meet at my house, I’m cooking vegetables with smoked fish and ẹ̀bà for lunch.”
“O ṣé bàbá mi! (Thanks my guy!)” He departed with unexpected ardour.
Sulaiman smiled while proceeding to perform ablution, “it’s good that monkeys like bananas.”
His smile brightened more as he saw Yusuf in the ablution section, they eagerly exchange tasleem and handshakes.
“Where have you been brother? It’s been a while we saw each other.”
“I do see you with Toohir. I’ve just been busy alone… studying, reading and doing some kinds of stuff. You know our semester’s exam starts in three weeks time and I’m not a good student. I had passed in my National Diploma and I do not want such to repeat itself. I have to leave this school with at least Upper Credit this time.”
“May Allah crown our efforts. You just have to discover the reading strategies that are best for you. Attendance, assignments, tests and practicals also in the CGPA.”
“Sure brother! I just don’t have the brain to assimilate so many things at the same time so I had to find a way to multitask my brain and Alhamdulillah, I’m now improving.” He stood to leave.
“Alhamdulillah… Later akhy.”
“As-salaamu’alykum akhy.” Abdulwaris greeted as he sat beside him to perform ablution.
“Wahlykum salam warahmatullah wabarakaatuhu.” They exchanged a handshake.
“I heard from ameer that you are the sister’s neighbour, I mean Maymunah and Mutmainah.”
“Na’am, our rooms are next to each other.”
“What do you think of them? I mean tell me what you know about them.”
“I don’t know much either. But they are as good as they appear to be.”
“Hope no problem?”
He grinned, “not really akhy, I just want to know.”
He continued with his ablution, leaving Sulaiman to wonder about his enquiries.
The plague is pandemic,
Do not take it as comic.
We are striving to publish our stories. Please, kindly click on the link below to support and donate for Allah’s sake!
Prevention is better than cure,
Be sure to protect yourself and care.
Personal hygiene is important,
So are your morning and evening adhkars.
This is a test from Allah,
The best is to get closer to Allah.
#You just have to stay safe,
#So you can stay alive bi iznillah.
As-salaamu’alykum warahmatullah wabarakaatuhu dear lovers.
Jayeoba Kafayat Modupeoluwa, mostly known as Ummu Abdillah is a Technologist in Electronics and Telecommunication engineering but presently only active as an Islamic writer – so do not bother to ask her about diodes and electromagnetic waves 🤗. Happily married and recently gifted a princess.
She is a lover of teenagers and marriage and does make it her occupation to study them.
Also, she’s a knowledge seeker who loves to learn new things every second and teaches them as well to whoever cares to learn.