She stepped out from the veranda where she was sitting and reading on an old deckchair. The deckchair, together with a black sunlounger, permanently placed under a mango tree in front of the house usually remind her of her deceased grandpa whom she used to read as well translate the unrelated content of the so-called breaking news, with the gripping headlines written in bold type in the local newspapers. She would never forget the day that a ripe mango, half-eaten by sparrows, fell on her grandpa’s head while she was massaging his legs.
The blue sky was pointing at the centre of her head. The rays of the scorching sun were hitting her ears along with her chubby chin. It was 12:55 pm. The adhan for the Zuhr prayer was heard from the nearest mosque. Each subsection of the adhan was creating the fascinating voice of Bilal in her heart. Bilal was the first person to call to prayer on top of the loamy dome of the Prophet’s mosque in Medina. The Hayya ala Salah, Hayya alal Falah reminded her of how it is important and rewarding to observe the five-times daily prayers as and when due, and in congregation.
She couldn’t go to the mosque while wearing a scarf that would show her rounded neck or make her ears that were pierced and adorned with three different pairs of earrings transparent. She had torn her hijabs into pieces to the extent that they were not useful in any way of transforming them into wrappers or rags. She couldn’t agree with her mother on setting the hijabs ablaze, so she felt that tearing them into pieces would be less offensive.
She had been subverted by her dear mother to embrace her former way of life. She had no other choice. She couldn’t forfeit the admission. She remembered the story of Tawakkaltu and Mulkat; how they dropped out after the second year in the university because of the similar issue. They refused to take off their hijab, socks and gloves of which it provoked their parents to stop paying their school fee. She remembered how Nimat became a sachet and bottled water hawker in every rush-hour traffic of Lagos in order to sustain life after her parents had disowned her because of the same issue. Thence, though she was already on the horns of a dilemma, she didn’t want to face the predicament endured by others.
“As-Salat khaerun minan-Naum!” She heard the second adhan of Salat Subh that echoed through Ahuja Flat Horn speakers into her eardrums and she instantly came back to her senses after a very long deep thought since her mother had left the room and slammed the door. She couldn’t sleep; the two options of either the hijab or the tuition fee continued trembling her mind from 1am till 5:30am.
To be continued….
By: MOSHKUR AJIKOBI
….To be continued Bi’idhnillaah!