VEILING IS NOT FAILING
A True life feature stories of Muslimahs in face veil
Story Seven (She prefers the blog)
Our feature guest for today is Hajia Haleemah Alli Bankole
She was born in Lagos state, though an indigene of Kwara state. Her Late dad Alh Jimoh Mohammed Alli retired as the General Manager, Audit department of the defunct Nigeria Airways. She was daddy’s girl. Her mum Rosaline Alli nee Osagie is an affectionate and brave woman.
Haleemah completed her primary school at BOLS International School, Lagos before proceeding to the Federal Government Girls College Zaria for her secondary school. Afterwards she went on to Federal University of Technology Minna to study Quantity Surveying. She later obtained a diploma in creative writing from Writers Bureau of Manchester through distance learning. She has also completed Mutiat Olagoke’s ‘Write like a Pro’ online course. A few years back she attended the Ebedi International Writers Residency where she gained more insight into writing.
The journey to hijab was with hiccups. There were two previous instances where she started then stopped before the final time. She had always used a scarf throughout her off and on hijab days. The first time she stopped wearing it was not long after she started. Schooling in the north was a great influence such that she decided to wear the hijab at home during her first holiday after the end of Jss1. An hairdresser was able to convince her to leave the Deen in her heart and stop wearing hijab but stay with scarf.
The second time was also short lived. She had been critically ill in 400 level and as such started learning to formally read the Quran for the first time after being a runaway student as a child due to Mallam’s whip. As a student of Quran, she got convinced but was soon confused by a friend for a reason she can’t remember now. The final moment for Hijab was during her youth service. She had resumed to her place of posting after a break to be informed she was made MCAN Amirah of her local government area. This got her to remember her friend Khadijah who had challenged her that when will the – I will soon wear hijab- she always told her come to pass. Khadijah also asked her then: ” Do you know when death will come?” In addition, Haleemah didnt want to mislead people about Islam because she believed that as Amirah, people will take her actions as Islam. So her soul finally settled to understand hijab and then she started and never stopped. It started from covering the bossom till eventually it reached the ankle after a few years. She fondly remembers Sister Jamila who got her that first hijab as Amirah and always encouraged her softly on hijab and deen related issues including wearing of socks.
Her journey to face veil is interesting because she had never dreamt or desired it and even felt pity for munaqabites in the past, seeing it as extremism. It all started from her suitor now husband educating her about hijab cause at that period her hijab was bossom lenght. He explained the requirement in hijab lenght characteristics and also enlightened her that use of niqab was meritorious to a muslimah as part of hijab. These discussions got her thinking and researching especially because at that moment in her life she was very keen and acutely aware of deen related issues. Her husband never insisted that she had to wear it.
By Allah’s will, the love of niqab came upon her not long afterwards with a sense of urgency. She bought a niqab and tried it on to her place of work which was a construction site in Minna. At the moment she started she wasnt married yet and it came to her suitor as a shock because he didn’t expect her to wear it that soon especially with the struggles she was facing in some other things which she didn’t need to add the struggle of fitting into society as a munaqabite.
However, she couldn’t help it as she was in love with niqab and has never regretted it. In fact, there are times she is no longer self conscious that she is a munaqabite.
Alhamdulillah, she’s counted a decade in a polygamous marriage that is full of Allah’s Rahmah. Her Awwal pampers her so much that their friends sometime tease her awwal about that. What she cherishes most about her awwal is that she constantly reminds and encourages her to be steadfast on the deen. She is grateful to Allah for the gift of her husband who is her friend, confidant and mentor.
Alhamdulillah, she has her dad and husband to thank for nuturing and cheering her to embrace her talent of writing. Her husband after seeing that she wasnt passionate and proficient about sewing which she had embarked upon encouraged her to take up her writing gift professionaly. With the assistance of her husband’s friend she was able to publish her first book titled “Lets Talk Love” – a motivational book on abstinence. Her husband also helped her register her company- Pen Publishers. He also guided her on the art of marketing and business proficiency. Pen publishers has 6 story books & 5 non fiction of which one of them is a biography. She has organised two short story writing contests for secondary and primary schools respectively and published the winning stories.
Her experience on teen challenges and temptations on sexuality while growing up birthed the book – ‘Lets Talk love’ which in turn birthed her motivational talk to teens on abstinence. She has spoken in Lagos, Iseyin, Ife & Osogbo.
Her Awwal is the Proprietress of Eemaan Foundation Nursery and primary school. After the existence of the school for 14yrs it extended to having a college and that was how she became the pioneer and current principal of Eemaan Foundation College. She finds the experience educative & interesting. She believes in every child and is eager to learn more and do more to help them reach their potentials.
She always reminds herself that Allah comes first. This she applies at work and home. She also believes everything has its allocation. At home, the family comes first and is the most important so she puts this in mind when planning her day. Reality is that all gets interwoven but she reminds herself of her obligations to Allah and the upkeep of her husband, the children and the home. She thinks this state of awareness, conscious planning, seeking and relying on Allah’s help goes a long way in keeping the balance.
Its important to understand children at their different age groups and peculiarity of each child to be able to relate appropriately to their needs. It’s extremely important to understand your husband, his likes and dislikes. It’s also important to have good and efficient communication with every member of the family. Make conscious efforts to smile at each other, crack a joke, show concern and be involved.
Her effort towards the deen is her life’s goal. It’s a constant challenge and always on her mind and in her prayers. Personally, she believes she can do much better. She recited a little portion daily while hopeful to do more. She is eager to memorize much more of the Quran & hadith.
Writers should write with a good aim and careful intent of words. It’s discouraging writing for money only as its not that financially lucrative because most people aren’t reading. Writers are pen soldiers. That should be a primary focus of a writer while the money is added advantage. This attitude will make a writer exceptional. It’s most definitely important to have a good command of the language you are writing in; the rules and all. This shouldn’t discourage a writer, just make a little effort to learn it. Writers can explore making e-publications. There are also magazines looking for stories or articles sometimes. A writer could also try belonging to the Association of Nigerian Authors.
Haleemah has partnered with Az zeenah Creativities to host eid-l-Fitr get together in Osogbo for 4yrs now. Two years ago, they both held a first Muslimah Teens event which they plan to be continous as they are both keen on muslimah teenagers staying on track in deen.
Her advice is to be sincere with yourself. It’s not advisable to use the face veil without conviction. It’s only rewarding when done for the sake of Allah. That is when you get courage and fortitude to face all odds. It’s good for your husband to also wish for it for Allah’s sake. A muslimah should always be honourable and not proud. A munaqabite needs to have this in mind. Its also important not to let people’s perception of angelic piety to munaqabites lead you to live in self denial of your flaws. Niqab is not automatic Jannah ticket. Do not neglect your ibaadah because less people are reminding you as they are reminding others. Please have a realistic plan in case you are forced to quit a job because of the use of niqab. Be beneficially empowered no matter the financial status of your husband. Empowerment is not only about money, it also helps to develop the intellect.
Niqab enhances life. You have one less headache of male admirers even after marriage. It saves you from unnecessary unsolicited workplace familiarity. While using Niqab, you can still be a professional. Try to get facts from people in your desired field.
The words of Allah are true. I’ll advice as a scholar encouraged when i was going to start the Niqab: “Allah will make a leeway for whoever strives in His cause”.
Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story with us.
I have been looking up to your good examples as far back as 2010 when I came across some of your books.
I love the fact that you’re a focused person and a goal getter.
Thank you for being a good role model in all ramifications. You’re indeed a beautiful and amazing writer. I appreciate the fact that I didnt go through the stress of editing the manuscript you sent to me. It speaks volume of your writing prowess.
The ummah is indeed blessed to have you. May Allah increase you in beneficial knowledge. May He uphold the love in your household and grant you the best of both worlds.
Keep penning! Keep inspiring!! And keep soaring higher!!! Jazakillahu khairan.