After she had supplicated the morning adhkar, she did the domestic chores all alone. Her younger brother, Jameel, had gone back to sleep immediately after Salat Subh. The house chores never for once existed in his daily routine. His masculinity overrated him in the house and being the only male child of the family immunised him against any task related to females. He regarded himself as effeminate if he should partake in the housework. No one in the house would question his decision to doing anything or not, not even his father.
The stressful duty lasted for hours, but she did it all alone. Although her mother was already in the kitchen preparing breakfast. The kitchen—well equipped with cooking items —was adjacent to the dining room. She rushed to join her mother in the kitchen, however, she was asked to relax and just watch her while she cooked. “No, mummy. You should be the one to relax and watch my cooking prowess. You will have no choice but to confirm it after a taste”, she replied jokingly.
“Okay ó, ìyá alásè”, her mother responded jocularly too, then she was exiting the kitchen when she immediately turned back as if she remembered something or wanted to give another instruction on the next thing to do. “Eehn eehn… My daughter, what do you have to say about our discussion at midnight?”, she asked while she rested her palms on the granite worktop. “Look, you are my child and it is not possible that I lead you to the dungeon pit of destruction. At least, I should be your mirror in everything you do. Over my dead body would I allow you to continue wearing khimar. Don’t you feel heat underneath it?”
Her mother kept persuading her with a series of sweet words that seemed provocative to her, but she didn’t show her indignant feelings in her response, rather she responded with a smile then she said, “mummy, if it is because of the heat that you want me to stop wearing khimar, I sincerely appreciate your motherly love. However, mummy, that was my thought too until I got to school and attended a hijab conference on campus then I started wearing it. Ma, I got to realise that even if there is heat, as far as it is a commandment from Almighty Allah the enormous reward of wearing khimar is worth the heat”, she concluded. She didn’t stop cooking. She was adding the nourishing ingredients to the egusi soup that she was cooking while she gave her quick response.
“Nevertheless, your father too is against you wearing khimar and you know very well that he is a renowned Alfa, a Chief Imam precisely. He knows everything about Islam including the issue of hijab. I don’t want you to get on his nerves because of this issue. What is the big deal for you to do whatever that pleases him? I’m indeed apprehensive that he will stop paying your school fee as he had vowed to, if you refuse to follow his path”, her mother continued persuading her, but now with a less offensive voice.
“Mummy”, she faced her mother. She had done cooking the egusi soup. She placed an average pot filled with water, to prepare ẹ̀bà, on the gas ring and she increased the level of the fire. She continued, “that is why I would have to sit and talk to daddy about it. I’m aware that he knows about Islam very well and the fact that he is against the hijab baffles me”. She hasn’t stopped talking that her daddy entered the kitchen surprisingly. He told them that he heard their conversation loud and clear from the dining room where he was sitting pressing his phone.
“Ro’unaqah! Are you the one who gave birth to me or I am your father? I ordered that you stop wearing khimar and you are here telling your mother that you have to sit with me. On what issue exactly?! What do you even know?” Her father freezed her on the spot she was standing with a series of rhetorical questions that she dared not to answer. Not that she didn’t know what to say, but she had to maintain a perfect silence while her father talked. She couldn’t raise her eyebrow. She was just staring at the ground like someone who was observing Salat.
One would see the anger written frantically on her daddy’s face. He ordered her to follow him and they both walked to the sitting room while the mother completed making the ẹ̀bà.
In the sitting room that was decorated with different types of Islamic interior decoration, a wall clock that calls to prayer every hour of Salat, an Islamic calendar that was hung beneath the wall clock, different framed pictures of the day her father was turbaned and titled the Chief Imam of Ireakari Land were almost all over the wall of the sitting room and a flat screen television that was showing a Yoruba movie. Her father switched off the television and commanded her to sit on the sofa chair that faced another one he was sitting on.
“Now, talk. What is it that you want to say? What is it that you know about the khimar that you refuse to take it off?”, her father asked.
She thought that it was a perfect time to express herself now that her daddy was a little bit calm. Though she had to present each word she would utter with apex level of caution and carefulness in order not to awake the beast of anger in her daddy again. She started by praying for both parents, then she said, “daddy, I can’t argue with you because you are my father and I’m happy that you know every bit of details of hijab in Islam. However, sir, it is clearly stated in the Quran chapter 33 verse 59 that Allah instructed prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to command his wives and every Muslim woman to wear jilbab”, she wanted to continue but her daddy interrupted, “so? Is that why you want to turn yourself into Eleha in my house? Moreover, do you know that hijab, khimar, jilbab, niqab, whatever name you call it, is just an ordinary culture of Saudi Arabia? In fact, one of my Sheikhs confirmed this fact. So, are you telling me that you know more than my Sheikh too?”
“Sir, I’m not saying that you and your Sheikh are ignorant of Islamic rules on hijab, but sir, in one of Muslim Students Association of Nigeria (MSSN) programmes on campus of which Dr. Tanimola delivered lecture on hijab, he stated that wearing khimar is mandatory on every mature woman. He even cited a hadith from Sahih Bukhari that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said that Allah will not accept the Salat observed by a mature woman except that she wears khimar. And…” she was interrupted again, and now her father was irate to the extent that his face was dark again with rage.
“Sharraap! I’m telling you that even my Sheikh too is against hijab, you are quoting hadith. What do you mean by Sahih Bukhari? Ehn Ehn! So you have joined those alakatakiti that would one day tell you to denounce and deny us as your parents!”, while her father was fervently talking, she was trying to calm him down by saying sir repeatedly in a low and pleading voice, yet he didn’t give her any other chance to talk and he continued. “I say you should shut up your mouth! Look! Before they brainwash you that we are kafir and that powdered milk is equivalent to your mother’s breast milk, I will show you that I am your father and it is whatever I command that you must follow. Now, I give you just two minutes to pack all your khimar and come and meet me in the backyard!”
To be continued…
BY MOSHKUR AJIKOBI