As-salaamu’alykum warahmatullah wabarakaatuhu pals. How’s ibaadah? I’ve decided to be bringing the story in small small like this so as to be meeting up with the weekly update. Pray Allah help me. Expecting you to show your love in the comment box. Fee amanillah!
He had fallen into his great grandmother’s warm receptive arms and was showered with dutiful encomium while sitting almost weightlessly on her delicate lap. His mother’s gaze had fixed on the lap and also monitoring her grandmother’s expression for any change until she couldn’t take it anymore and signalled to her son with her hand to stand up and find a seat. He only smiled in response and reclined, placing his cheek on the old woman’s cheek. She was about to get up and communicate with actions when she was shunned by her grandmother,
“Leave my little boy alone! He has been away for more than two months now with no one to care for him. Now that he’s back, you should pull out your breasts and let him suck to his fill before he returns to school.” Snapped grandma as she supported her response with few signs.
She could read lips, she understood very well and could read how upset the old woman had become so she sat back. Sulaiman giggled – old age really manifests people’s behaviour greatly – the old woman used to be strict, sarcastic and quick-tempered but had a caring, soft and unselfish heart. And as usual, Àníké knew how to deal with it all – with the patient! Whereas, they are each other’s favourite.
Before, when he was a kid, the old woman would insist he prostrated flatly on the ground to greet her, argued with his mother that the Yorùbá culture which was considered an act of due respect couldn’t be compromised by any religious beliefs. He had to succumb until a day he observed and discovered his mother’s trick which gave him an idea to concoct his own. Ever since then, upon sighting his great grandmother, he would rush forward to her with a warm embrace and a kiss on her forehead. She used to love it and reflected how he made him think of her late husband and for hours, she would rave his eulogy. Most Muslims found themselves in a family or tribe where cultures and traditions are esteemed profoundly even when they some Islamic tenets. In reaction, some Muslims tend to split the difference, some succumbed willfully, some stood firm but arrogantly then their behaviour became the yardstick to evaluate the essence of such belief which in turn made them a bad egg. While some applied wisdom, unshaken in their faith and exhibited it’s great comeliness with humility and made their adversaries become the ones to compromise. Verily, Allah makes it easy for the ones who hold on steadfastly, no matter the tribulations according to Qur’an 4 verse 175, ‘Then as for those who believe in Allah and hold fast by Him, He will cause them to enter into His mercy and grace and guide them to Himself on a right path.’
Tired of sitting on his own weight, he finally excused himself and find a carved log in the palm-frond-roofed outdoor kitchen. He brought it into their midst in the walled backyard and sit, partially listening to their small talk while engaged in pressing his phone. Then they digressed and he heard his name mentioned.
“Your mother said you only came home for work. When are you returning?”
“But you said you would be spending a week to get the needed materials.” His confused mother signed.
“I’m no more taking the contract.” He said and signed, “the middleman wants me to give a wrong quotation to the client and get more money than required so he can have a share from the excess and I can’t do such.”
“Isn’t that what every successful contractor does? There’s a say that a bricklayer gets the bricks for his own house from the bricks of his clients. If one isn’t wise enough to get more money from his handiwork, one could die of poverty. Wise up, my child.”
His mother had got agitated and tried to interfere but Sulaiman calmed her and talked for himself.
“Grandma, if everyone one has to cheat before he succeeds, then no one on earth would ever escape oppression! In the quotation, I’ve listed the cost of my workmanship and I’m not denying him his own percentage as the middleman. Acquiring more by lying to my client is an act of usury in Islam and Allah has promised not to bless usury. If anyone succeeds by doing such and never realized his wrongs till he’s covered beneath the earth, then he’s bound to doom! And if anyone is chastised by Allah for engaging in such an act, then he should be thankful and repent. In everything I do, I seek Allah’s blessing at due time and not vice versa. There are many installers that would dance to his tune but I won’t be among. Allah is sufficient as my Helper!”
The old woman sighs, “you sound exactly like your mother. Look at me! She inherited this foodstuffs trade from me and look around and see her achievements. What has been mine so far except you and your mother? I remember when she was still young, under my care, she would cry and refuse to hawk whenever I tried to reduce my measurements. She would lecture me about the consequences but I wouldn’t heed. What consequences than to gain more profit and be able to raise children to be successful, I would sneer! Her father becomes successful but never look back at us while his siblings would give economy meltdown as an excuse whenever I demanded upkeep from them. Retiring from work and reaching old age give one time to think and every day I used to try to connect the dots and look where I’ve gone wrong. I thought about how I got my wealth from prohibited means but I kept telling myself that wouldn’t be the source. Until now my son, that must be where I went wrong! I bless the day I took Àníké from her mother and the day you were born to her. I can’t ask for more than to see your child before I die…” She cries.
Moved by her tears, reminiscing the days she spent growing up with her, tears welled up his mother’s eyes and she moved closer to her grandmother, petting her back in an embrace. Sulaiman not sure of how he would react because the whole scene had been a drama as he was distracted by a WhatsApp message sent to him by his friend Toohir, telling him he saw Maymunah and Mutmainah hanging around their lecture room. He had asked them what was wrong and why they weren’t entering the class for the lecture but they refused to answer him. His emotion torn between replying his friend out of the concern and joining his family in the moment of remorse, he stood still for a moment then walked towards them and touched his mother, asking “what’s happening?”
“Granny hopes to carry your children soon.” She signed as she withdrew to her seat.
His face full of surprises, he chortled. “I don’t even have a fiancee and you’re expecting a grandchild.”
“Why?” Signed his mother, “isn’t there any girl in your school? You’re good looking, religious and responsible – every quality a responsible girl wants in her prospective husband. If I were a girl and not your mother, I would propose to you by myself. Why? What’s the problem, my son?”
Seeing her worried face and great grandma’s gaze of expectation, he understood how serious they meant. He put a smile on,
“Why are you mamas looking so serious?” He returned to his seat, “I’m still young. Bride and children will come at due time.”
“Àníké,” the old woman turned to his mother, “your childhood friend Àsàké came along with her second daughter last week and they stopped by to greet me. The girl appeared to be a good girl, she wasn’t in this kind of your hijab but was also well covered. And Àjàdí, if you see this girl. She’s plump, light in complexion and of average height. A kind of girl a virile man like you can throw around…” She teased.
His mother snickered and queried if her son was really virile to handle such a plump girl. He became embarrassed and blushed but quickly rejected their offer. He had no choice but to reveal his little secret when his mother insisted on visiting the girl’s mother,
“Really, there’s this girl I’m working on… Subhanallah!” He sucked his lower lip, “do I have to tell you? I don’t even know if she will marry me!”
“Why won’t she marry you?” Both queried at the same time.
His mother added, “alhamdulillah! You are born as a complete man… If it’s about wealth, I’ll add mine to yours and it would mean more than something. Why am I working?”
He felt like pouring all his mind before them but what possible solution could they present? His mother would only definitely insist on coming to the school to see the girl or expect him to get her number and converse with her on social media. He was ready for none to happen as he could see such an action debasing him, saying he isn’t a man enough! He just still wanted to take his own time.
“Tell me about the girl.” She continued.
Amused at his mother’s curiosity, he started giving every detail he had known and learned about her. It brought a brighter smile to his face while his mother grinned as well in astonishment.
“I would like to meet her!” His grandmother commented.
“In fact, I should follow you to school tomorrow!” His mother exclaimed.
The discussion gave him more courage and the determination to keep his nose to the grindstone a bit more. He had given his mothers reasons for not to be overeager and leave him to work things out in a manly way. They trusted him and let him be. He couldn’t wait, to bring smiles unto their faces. So he entered the school campus, carrying himself with humility and positive anticipation. He was spotted by Toohir who was trying to ensnare a petite girl under a tree. For a moment, he contemplated not minding him and continue his business to welcome him as he had missed the days without him. Finally, he chose the latter and released the girl from his snare.
“I’ll see you around sweet girl. I’ve got to see this friend of mine before he escapes.” He winked and the girl simpered. He shook his head – he hasn’t got to anywhere with her at all and here he had to ruin it all by leaving her.
Sulaiman felt a tap on his shoulder and he removed the earpiece playing the Qur’an in his ears and looked back. They embraced each other and he asked when he returned.
“I got back just now. I haven’t been home. I’m afraid Mar’yam’s boyfriend might kill me tonight.” He grinned.
“Oh! You’ve got not to worry anymore. I’ve dealt with the issue. Even if you want to date Mar’yam, that boy won’t make a sound anymore.” He assured.
“What do you mean?” He asked, perplexed.
Toohir giggled, “it’s just something a big boy like me does. I protect my friend.” Seeing the confusion wasn’t dissolving, he added, “I just talked into his sense and nothing more. Cheer up, dude! Let’s go home.” He put his arm around his shoulder, urging him to walk on.
He resisted, “I was even joking. I’ve done nothing wrong so I’m running from no one… I’m just here for what you told me yesterday. What happened to the girls?”
“Yeah! I’ve even wanted to call and inform you but I was kind of occupied. That yesterday, after I messaged you, I saw Yusuf and told him. So, we went to their lecture room together. It’s this troublesome lecturer giving them a problem, Engineer Philip. During his lecture, dhur arrived and they left for the masjid. When they returned, the lecturer had shut the door on them and promised not to allow them in ever. Till he stops being their lecturer. And you and I know he would still take them engineering drawing in year two.”
Sulaiman sighed and Toohir dropped his head.
“Engineer Philip isn’t an easy opponent to deal with!” Sulaiman remarked.
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.