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THE PATH TO YATHRIB (EPISODE 4)






Mubaarak Olayemi Ismail


Second semesters of most of higher institutions in Nigeria is usually filled with distractions, FUNAAB is not an exception; as its second semester was also filled with so many activities like departmental and students’ government elections, all sort of ceremony among different religious, educational, social and cultural groups. Unsuspecting students will be distracted by these and before they could know it, the examination will be around the door and these leads to their failure.

Time flies so quickly, as the second semester examination was over and everybody were happy to go home, it was a mixed feeling for me and Nailah, we are happy and eager to see our family; whom we’ve left for a long time but we did feel sadness and fretfulness whenever we remembered the strict warning our dad gave us regarding our religion, we knew him to be a man of his word and he won’t care in going any length in punishing us for adopting the Sunnah.

After a stressful two hours journey from Abeokuta to Lagos, I and Nailah arrived home and members of our nuclear family were already waiting for our arrival. As we entered the sitting room, we rushed to hug mum and dad as planned; so as to dodge the prostration and kneeling culture. Everybody was happy to see us and before they could initiate any chat with us and notice our dressing, we quickly rushed into our respective rooms and changed our clothings as planned; I changed to my black overall Jalabia as I do wear domestically at home and Nailah also changed to a small hijab since she’s among her mahram.

It was a memorable day for us, we were served a royal Amala and efo riro and we ate to our satisfaction. The rest of the day was filled with discussions and gist; Aunty Zaynab couldn’t wait to narrate almost everything that happened at home and society for the period of our absence, she narrated how some of the society clerics went ahead to exchange punches over the money they realized from a burial function; she narrated it a very humorous manner and everyone laughed.

Hiding our new way from our parent soon became a burden for us; I found it uneasy to dodge observing Salaah behind our local Imam who was known for performing sorcery with sand, I knew that Salaah behind him is invalid but I couldn’t tell anyone; I would wait till everyone had already left the masjid and I would repeat the Salaah. I would have to lie severally to dad that I’m sick so as to dodge attending the congregational adhkaar with him, congregational adhkaar is bid'ah as it was neither practised by the prophet nor his Sahaabah, and they were the best of these Ummah, but I couldn’t summon the courage to look up to dad and tell him that it is not permissible. Living in this kind of religious polluted society made me feel constriction; though how wide and vast the earth was, I wish the holiday was over and I’m able to be among my brothers once again.

Our clever plans of hiding our new found way soon failed; dad outsmarted us as he noticed that I and Nailah always find a way or the other to dodge the daily and weekly congregational adhkaar, he also noticed that Nailah would change to her khimar whenever she’s about to go outside the compound. Dad summoned us and asked us about it; I’m tired of lying and I patiently explained everything to him. Dad couldn’t wait for me to finish my speech as he got enraged, he called on mum and ordered us all to kneel, he hurled insults on us and made a declaration that he had disowned us and he has nothing to do with us and our education again. Before we could utter any plead; he angrily went to his room for his car key, he returned to the sitting and instructed us to pack our luggage and leave the house, he said “I must not meet you in this house when I return; you are no more my children; Alhamdulillah I have other blessed offspring who would never dare to desert my way – If I should meet you bastards at home when I return, I swear to my God, I will make the police arrest you for terrorism, bloody terrorists!”

Dad gave the last words heatedly and went out; mum broke to tears and kept pleading to us to do as our father wished, she threatened to commit suicide if we refuse to,  Nailah also joined her and they were both crying uncontrollably. I was confused and I don’t know the next action to take; the only person who could talk to Dad is Fatimah’s dad, Alhaji Onikunkewu, but we couldn’t go to him since they were birds of same feather, he had also warned us not to desert their ways, he would never agree to beg dad on our behalf.

I thought of leaving the house for a while and find a very good time to come back and beg him but I have nowhere to go; while I all these thoughts were running through my mind, dad returned and met us in sitting room, he looked at us angrily but didn’t utter a word and went to his room. Mum quickly rushed to him but he sent her back. 

Few minutes later, we heard a knock from the gate and before we could make moves to see who it was, dad rushed outside and went to meet them. They were police officers, as soon as Nailah set her eyes on them, she told me that the police officers came for us and told me we should run away. I wanted to face the consequence and insisted that I won’t run away, Nailah soon found her way to the backyard and ran. The police came for me and got me arrested.

When we reached the police station, the police went ahead and put me in the cell without asking me any question.  The cell was full of dirt and filths, the inhabitant of the cell are mostly rogues, as if they have been informed of me before my arrival, they welcomed me with the most severe beating I ever experienced, they were asking me to give them money and I told them I don’t have any, they beat me severally and I screamed. A police officer heard me screaming and crying, he quickly came to see what was going on, he saw me and pitied my condition, he pleaded the well-built man who was beating to stop but the man didn’t answer him.

When the rogue beat me to his satisfaction, he faced the policeman and said “You have no right to question our actions here, we are your customers and customers are always right – customers are kings”, the police officers was dumbfounded by his statement and he went on his way.

I became a subject to this kind of treatment because I agreed to practise Islam in the correct way.

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