TRIALS, TEARS AND TRIUMH [Triple T]
The light of the day drains away as the sun disappears slowly. The heat of the day has been replaced with the blowing breeze. Out on the balcony were Uncle and Enitan, they were obviously enjoying the cool weather and also awaiting Taiwo’s return.
After the twins’ mother left in the morning with Kehinde, Enitan’s tears hasn’t stopped flowing and her uncle summoned her to the balcony where she could feed her eyes with what was going on in the neighborhood so that her mind would be free from worry.
Uncle cheered her with funny stories. They only took a break for solat and after solat, they returned to the balcony again. At first she didn’t see a reason to smile but when uncle was unflagging with his funny stories, Enitan started smiling unconsciously and her uncle was happy. After a while of telling her stories, he stared straight into her eyeball to summon her attention for a serious discussion.
“That young man……….do you really like him?” Uncle started.
“I’m sorry uncle. I don’t want to talk about him.” Enitan said bitterly with tears and just because her uncle didn’t want to aggravate the situation, he didn’t ask anything further.
It was Magrib time and the duo went inside to observe the prayer. After the prayer, dinner was served and they were eating when Taiwo returned from school.
She joined them at table and when she didn’t see her twin brother, she turned to her grandpa.
“Where is Kehinde?” Taiwo inquired.
“Your mum took him along with her.” Uncle replied softly.
“Why……..why…..I mean why would she do that?” Taiwo lamented.
“She was angry that I whipped him.” Uncle replied again.
“Hmm, why is mummy doing this for goodness sake. She always laments that my daddy is an irresponsible good for nothing man and now she’s raising Kehinde to be exactly like our daddy. I don’t understand her at all.” Taiwo lamented bitterly and Uncle smiled and shook his head at Taiwo’s intelligent insight.
“My daughter, may God give you a long life with plenty success. This is the reason why I don’t indulge Kehinde because I know he has irresponsible traits just like your father. But now I am helpless since your mother has taken him away angrily. She wants to raise him like your paternal grandmother raised your dad so that his future wife too would suffer the way she is suffering in the hand of your father. I thought once bitten is always twice shy but it’s a pity your mother is not learning from the mistake of her mother in law. In fact, you can’t believe she slapped Enitan twice and wanted to beat her just because I beat Kehinde. She said Kehinde hasn’t raped her so I shouldn’t have beaten him because of an attempted rape. She even said I should send you over to her.”
“Never! I can never go to live with her again. She is not a good example I wishes to emulate.” Taiwo said and turned to Enitan. “Enitan please I am very sorry about what my mum and brother did to you. I want you to know that you’ll always have me as a support system. Please don’t be sad.” Taiwo placated Enitan who was now crying while grandpa cuts in.
“Do you know what embitters me the most?” Grandpa asked Taiwo.
“What’s that sir?
“Enitan’s suitor came around and we bumped unto the rape scenario together………….
“Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!! This is really pathetic. What is all these wahala for God’s sake! You didn’t narrate what happened to this extent when you narrated the incidence to me yesterday. Enitan I am so sorry. Should we go beg him?” Taiwo asked.
“No, don’t worry. It will be like throwing myself at him. I know with time I’ll get over him. No sane man would witness such horrible scenario and still wishes to marry the girl in question. I’ll be fine. in fact I am fine don’t worry.” Enitan replied as pool of tears settled on her eye lid.
“No you are not fine Enitan, if you are, you wouldn’t be crying. And it is true that the scenario was horrible but a rape didn’t occur so he should be able to overlook.” Taiwo said and this time around Enitan excused herself and proceeded to the bedroom.
The duo of Taiwo and Uncle understood her action as not wanting to talk about the situation and they allowed her be.
The family went to bed after ishai and in a couple of hours, they woke up to embrace the next day which was Wednesday. Taiwo went to school as usual and after Enitan was through with the chores, she had her bath and was eating when her uncle called upon her. He told her he’d secured a hairdressing salon for her to work. Enitan jumped up at the news as happiness radiated on her smiling face.
She thanked her uncle profusely and equally showered him with prayers. At least the work would take her mind off her troubles and she would think less about Taofeeq, she thought. After her meal, her uncle took her to the salon that was just two streets away from their house.
It was a newly opened shop and the owner, being a government worker needed hair stylists to work in her absence. She needed two stylists and had already gotten one. A placard was placed in front of the shop for a stylist needed and fortunately, uncle passed by the shop and saw the vacancy. He went in to make enquiry and the owner told him to bring the applicant.
That morning, uncle took Enitan to the salon. The salon was very beautiful and the entrance was covered with a blind. In front of the salon was ‘Modesty Salon’ boldly written. The outside was adorned with hair posters and banners with blurred faces. The shop was adorned with a blackout blind and only people inside the shop could see what’s outside.
They met the owner who assessed Enitan. She was pleased with her work, and then congratulated her for getting the job. She told her the job specification and that was when Enitan was dazed.
Enitan was dazed because the owner who happened to be a woman adorned in Hijab, told her the shop is exclusively for Muslim sisters and others too who would only style their natural hair as fixing of hair extension of any kind is strictly disallowed in her salon.
Enitan nodded her head in surprise and that was when she observed that the second stylist hired before her was also adorned in Hijab. She glanced at herself and thought she looked odd with only scarf on her head but the boss told her she was okay like that.
Enitan’s uncle left after he signed some guarantor’s papers and the issue of salary sorted out. It was also agreed she would be at work everyday except Saturday which she would go to school. The boss also left for work remaining Enitan and the second stylist. Work started as two customers who were adorned in Hijab walked in together to make their hair.
Both Enitan and the second stylist attended to each of the customers and the customers who were really happy couldn’t stop talking.
“In fact, may God bless the owner of this place! I have truly come to the end of my troubles as far as making hair is concerned.” Customer one said.
“You can say that again. You don’t know how happy I am about this place. Now I don’t have to expose myself or beg hairdressers endlessly to come home to make my hair. This is indeed a great relief. Now I won’t be forced to carry a hairstyle for months simply because there is no stylist. I am really elated.
The customers discussed as their hair was being made. After some minutes, the stylists were through and both customers checked their hairs in the mirror in front of them. They were wowed at the stylists good skills and the smile they had was delicious. Before the two customers left, other customers were already waiting and it was really a busy day for Enitan and the second stylist who was introduced as Jamilah.
Customers trooped in and out of the salon and they all praised the exceptional skills of the stylists. Enitan was pregnant with questions and when they had a short break, she quickly asked Jamilah what has been bothering her.
“Why are we disallowed from fixing hair extension? We would get more customers if we do that you know!” Enitan asked in confusion.
“We can’t fix hair extension. It is not because we dislike it, it is against the dictate of our religion.” Jamilah replied.
“What religion? Am I not a Muslim too? How come I don’t know that?” Enitan asked again in confusion.
“Some people like you don’t really know while some know but are just being stubborn and disobedient. The prophets [SAW] said “Allah has cursed the woman who joins [her hair or someone else’s] hair [with the hair of another man or a woman] and the woman who asks for her hair to be joined [with hair of another person]” Bukhari.” Jamilah explained quoting a hadith.
“Subhan’Allah……..though I have never added hair extension to my hair. Not because I know but because my hair is very long, even longer than adding extension when I make it so I see no reason adding extension. But I do fix for people, and according to this hadith, the curse is for those who fixes and those that do the fixing right? Enitan asked.
“Yes my dear, it’s for both. May Allah save us from his curse! And as for getting more customers if we’re doing fixing, it is not about money but the blessing of Allah upon our business.”
“I now understand. I can see we’ve had plenty customers today. I am just saying there could be more………..but now I understand. I thank God for making my path cross with this salon. I had been incurring the curse of Allah upon my head all this days without knowing. May Allah forgive me.” Enitan prayed while shaking her head
“Amin. Since you didn’t know, you may have no curse incurred. But now that you know, it’s better to take heed.” Jamilah advised.
“I will, definitely. Working here will even assist me to take heed.” Enitan said with smiles and work continued.
By the time their boss returned, they’ve made an awesome sales and the boss was really happy. It was a beautiful start and she was grateful to God for having two vibrant and promising stylists.
The salon closed for the day and Enitan left for home. Working at the salon all day took her mind away from her predicament and returning home now, she started thinking about him again and suddenly she wished he emerges upon her. And suddenly too every man she met on the way looked like Taofeeq. She would have to take a critical before realizing he wasn’t the one.
The following day which was Thursday arrived and it was another work day at the salon. Customers turned out like the previous day and sales was good. The two girls had time to discuss and Jamilah educated Enitan about Hijab upon her enquiry. Enitan was very inquisitive and she couldn’t help but ask questions. She got convinced as Jamilah is a girl who is well versed. She told her everything she needed to know and her mind yearns to observe that aspect of her religion.
She hopefully expected her first payment so she could buy some Hijab but Jamilah after seeing how convinced and eager she was about wearing the Hijab offered to give her some of her own. She told Jamilah to hold on and allowed her discuss with her uncle first.
She got home and discussed with her uncle who firstly raised an eyebrow but when he saw her determination and zeal, more so when Enitan was able to convince him with the quran and hadith, he agreed that she could use it so long she observes her basic hygiene.
Before going to bed that night, she also discussed with Taiwo who wished her best of luck. Taiwo was indifferent about the issue of Hijab and it would take some effort to convince her.
It was with great enthusiasm that Enitan got to work the next day. She met her boss and Jamilah was out of sight. The boss told her Jamilah would resume work in the afternoon as she has a test in school that morning.
“Test?” Enitan exclaimed.
“Yes test, she’s running a part-time degree course. She’s in final year though.” The boss explained and Enitan nodded her head.
The boss left for work and Enitan was the only one attending to customers. She was quite fast so Jamilah’s absence didn’t create much vacuum.
Jamilah returned at about half past one with a man. The man stayed outside as a man is not allowed into the shop. Jamilah walked in, fetched a book from a drawer in the shop and went out. She walked in again and Enitan was inquisitive.
“Who was that man?” Enitan asked.
“Really! You’re really married?” Enitan marveled.
“Yes, am I too young?” Jamilah asked with smiles.
“Yes now, you look quite young.” Enitan replied.
“I am 22.” Jamilah replied.
“When did you get married?”
“Six months ago.”
“I see………our boss said you are running a part-time course, why part-time, why not full time?” Enitan queried, she wanted to know everything.
“I had to work to sponsor myself. My parents are late and my siblings are not too buoyant. So that’s why I opted for a part-time.” Jamilah explained.
“Ok………..hmmmm……….errrrm…………errrrrrrrm.” Enitan stammered. She wanted to ask a lot of questions, personal questions, but she didn’t know how Jamilah would take it but it seemed Jamilah understood.
“Don’t worry you can ask me anything.”
“Really?” She said excitedly.
“Yes.” Jamilah replied while nodding her head.
“Thank you so much…………How did you meet your husband, I’m sorry to ask.”
“We met in school. He was a full time student studying engineering. He proposed, I did my istikhaarah after which I accepted his proposal.” Jamilah explained.
“Istikhaarah? What’s that?”
“It’s a prayer for seeking Allah’s guidance on any intended matter or affair. A two rakat prayer would be said and an already designed prayer as taught by the prophet saw.”
“What’s that prayer?”
“Do you have a ‘citadel of the believer?”
“Yes, I always go everywhere with it.”
“Bring it out.” Enitan did as instructed and Jamilah showed her where the prayer of istikhaarah is in the citadel.
“Why are you so keen on knowing about istikhaarah, do you need it for something?” Jamilah queried.
“Hmmmmm………..how do you know you’re in love?” Enitan asked suddenly out of the blues.
“Are you in love?”
“Please answer me!” Enitan pleaded.
“Well…………there is love and there’s infatuation. There’s just a slight difference between the two. They are both feelings of affection towards someone which occurs when a close rapour is shared or a distance admiration. The difference however is that , Infatuation fades with time while love doesn’t fade. Did I answer your question?”
“Yes you do…………………I think I’m in love. No matter how much I tried to take my heart away from him, his thought keeps popping out of my mind. Despite the fact that he’s out of sight, I can’t sleep well as his thought really occupies the whole of my heart. What do I do?”
“Who’s this person?” Jamilah asked and Enitan explained everything to her.
How they met and the circumstance through which they met. She also briefed Jamilah about the story of her life for her to know more about her and to know the correct advice she would give her.
“Hmmmmm……………….I would have advised you do istikhaarah but since the man in question isn’t even asking after you since the day he walked away, it’s really complicated. And I won’t advise you to go look for him. That would amount to throwing yourself at him. Just fold your arms and trust Allah, if he’s yours, he’ll definitely come back.”
“If he’s mine, he’ll definitely come back?”
“Yes.” Jamilah assured and Enitan heaved a long heavy sigh.
“Before I forgot, where is my Hijab?” Enitan stretched her hand
“You told me you’ll talk to your uncle first. I didn’t know you’re ready.”
“Yes I am ready. I discussed with him and he said no problem………………..ohhhhhh, what do I do now that you didn’t bring it? I’ll like to wear it to school tomorrow.”
“No problem, we can go to my house together after close of work.”
“Great idea! Thank you so much. I am really grateful.” She said happily while giving Jamilah a tight hug.
She wore the Hijab home and since she’d told her uncle about it before, he just smiled wryly at her and shook his head.
The next day which was Saturday, she wore the Hijab to school and strange stares were all she got but she wasn’t bothered. After the first course, attention was shifted from her as the class governor announced that exam date had been shifted forward. The student ran out to the administrative block to check the new exam date. The exam is scheduled to start by Tuesday of the following week, just three days away and the students hissed as they dispersed the building one after the other.
The day had been fast spent and the courses were already done with. Enitan carried her bag and was on her way to the school gate to board a vehicle home when she saw a shadow fell across her line of vision, she looked up and what she saw sent her aback. Staring at her strangely was Taofeeq. Their gazes locked and they were both mute for some seconds while staring at each other in surprise. After a while, Taofeeq broke the uncomfortable silence.
“Enitan how are you.” Taofeeq asked softly and Enitan burst out crying instead of responding while Taofeeq joked.
“Why cry in public? Your crying mouth is not good at all……….close up please.” Taofeeq joked but Enitan didn’t stop.
He then summoned her to a quiet place where they could talk. After they’d both seated, he started softly.
“I am sorry for not reaching out all these days but I won’t lie to you, what I saw that day really saddens my heart and I was embarrassed and angry at the same time. I decided I won’t have anything to do with you again but what I feel for you is greater than my anger and irrational decision. I just had to come back. I am sorry I left you to bear the pains alone, hope he didn’t hurt you?” Taofeeq asked but Enitan didn’t stop crying.
“I am sorry but you have to stop crying.” Taofeeq said in a whisper and this time Enitan found her voice.
“I am not crying because you hurt me, though you do. But I am crying because I am ashamed of what you saw the other day. I am so sorry. I am so sorry I had to embarrass you. Honestly if had known that boy was that useless, I wouldn’t have opened the door for him. I am so sorry.”
“There’s no problem. You don’t have to be sorry because we are in this together. I think I have to act fast to prevent further occurrence. I’m coming to your house tomorrow to ask your uncle for your hand in marriage.” Taofeeq said and Enitan gasped.
“No………not too fast. I haven’t said yes to your proposal remember! Besides I want to pray about it, I want to do istikhaarah.” Enitan said firmly.
“Okay, it is a good thing to ask for God’s guidance. In that case I’ll wait a little bit but I won’t wait forever…….Wait a minute Enitan! Will you deny you don’t have feelings for me?
“Errrrrrrrrrrrm………………….ermmmmmmmmm.” She struggled between words while Taofeeq smiled and as if he just saw the Hijab on her head, he pointed to the Hijab before speaking again.
“Congratulations on becoming a modest woman.” Taofeeq said with smiles.
“You’re pleased with it?” Enitan asked in amazement.
“Why not, I love it.”
“Oh thank you darling…………..”
“Did I hear you say darling.” Taofeeq cut in sharply with a smile while Enitan got up and ran along.
“Won’t you wait for me?” He shouted as he ran to catch up with her.
He caught up with her and pointed something to her. She screamed at the sight of a car.
“You got a car?” She marveled.
“Yes, the Abuja deal pays off.” He replied with smiles.
“Oh congratulations. May Allah protect you while driving always. The car will never be your casket by Allah’s power.” She prayed heartily while he replied with a resounding Amin.
He took her home and they discussed further along the way. The scores was settled and they were both happy at each other. Enitan had her radiant smile back again. This man really makes her happy and she’s always full of vigor around him. They got to Uncle’s house and Taofeeq pulled the car to a stop. At the balcony of Uncle’s house was a woman who was staring at both of them with venom. The woman hissed after Enitan said goodbye to Taofeeq and walked inside. Taofeeq was worried with the way the woman reacted. He called Enitan back and inquired about the woman.
“Who is she?” He asked worriedly.
“She’s the twins mum.” Enitan replied with a dried throat, she was scared already.
“I see, please be careful. Don’t be intimidated. May Allah protect you from their evil.”
“Aamin. Please go now, it’s getting late. Drive safely.”
She said as Taofeeq started the engine and zoomed off. She climbed the stairs and entered the house. Her heart almost popped out at what she saw. She saw Kehinde the rapist and a cold shiver ran through her spine. The twins’ mother noticed her countenance and spoke harshly to her.
“Are you surprised that my son is back? My son is back to his grandfather’s house. My son is a true son of the soil and so he won’t leave for you. It is rather a bastard that’ll excuse us in this house.” Mama twins said harshly but Enitan greeted her and made an attempt to walk away when she pulled her back.
“Are you not the one I’m talking to, won’t you reply me or do you think I’m a radio that talks with receiving response?” She said but before Enitan could say anything, both grandpa and Taiwo came out of their rooms.
“Iya ibeji leave this girl alone if you don’t want my trouble.” Uncle cautioned.
“Daddy please don’t tell me to leave her. I won’t leave her until she vacates my father’s house.” Mama Ibeji retorted.
“Mummy Enitan is going no WHERE.” Taiwo stressed.
“Really?” She asked her daughter daringly.
“Yes mummy, this is her uncle’s house and she has the same right as we have in this house.” Taiwo affirmed and grandpa seconded.
“Yes, she is my dear late brother’s daughter and I can’t shove her away because of your prodigal son.” Grandpa said obstinately while Kehinde defended himself.
“Grandpa I am not a prodigal son. Please don’t call me that again.” Kehinde said rudely to his grandpa.
“Kehinde please leave them. We shall see!” Mama Ibeji threatened and walked away angrily.
[“……….When will the help of Allah come? Yes! Certainly, the help of Allah is near!” Al-Baqarah verse 214]