Fatimah got home and went to greet her father in his room where he was seated reciting an hadith from the holy Quran. She knelt down respectfully and greeted him, making sure she was well covered with her veil for he never condoned any act of indecent dressing by his children.
Fatimah: “there is something I will like to discuss with you baba” she said respectfully.
Baba Fatimah: “okay then, go ahead, I am all ears” he said.
Fatimah: “I like to discuss it with you and my mother” she said.
Baba Fatimah: “then go and call her. No, let me just go with you to the sitting room where she is” he said and followed her there.
Baba Fatimah: “our daughter here says she has something to tell us” he said pointing at Fatimah who sat on the floor with head bent between her parents.
Mama Fatimah: “tou, Fatimah? I hope there is no problem?”
Fatimah: “no mother, no problem at all” she said without raising her gaze.
Mama Fatimah: “alhamdullilahi. Go ahead and talk, we are listening”
Fatimah: “baba, mama, a man has asked me to marry him and I accepted but I told him that I have to discuss with my parents first before I allow him come to visit you people”
Mama Fatimah: “Allah sarki! Alhamdullilahi” she said raising her palms in praises to Allah. Even though her daughter was 23 years old, she was already getting worried of her spinsterhood.
Baba Fatimah: “this is a very good news and we thank Allah SWT for it. Who is the man and where does he come from? Is he a devout believer and how long have you know him?” he asked her.
Fatimah: “erm…his name is Abdul…alhaji Abdul”
Baba Fatimah: “oh, he has even gone to the holy land, that is impressive. Go ahead” he urged her.
Fatimah: “he is a Muslim father and he is from this state” she said deliberately withholding details from them because she was afraid of their reactions.
Mama Fatimah: “but my daughter, when you came back after NYSC and I asked if you have anyone asking for your hand in marriage, you said you didn’t even have a boyfriend talk more of a fiance. how comes few months later you are telling us about marriage?”
Fatimah: “actually, I met him on the day I passed out from NYSC and I didn’t take him serious that time because he told me that he was already married” she said quickly.
Baba Fatimah: “so you want to go and become a second wife as young as you are? Can’t you get a young man who has never been married before to marry you? Or do you want me to get one for you among the children of my friends? Anyway, tell me more about the man so that I can make enquiries about his first wife and see if it will be safe for you to share the same husband with her”
Fatimah: “he is alhaji Abdul Isah, he has 3 wives and he is the chief executive officer of Dulla group of companies”
“What!” he father screamed causing her and her mother to startle.
Baba Fatimah: “you mean the famous alhaji Abdul? The rich and influential business tycoon is the father of the man you want to marry?”
Fatimah: “no, baba. It is he himself that I want to marry”
Her father drew close to her like he was seeing a ghost and gave out a loud “no”.
Baba Fatimah: “you want to marry alhaji Abdul, a man with 3 wives whose first son is older than you by far? Is this not the same alhaji that celebrated his 50th birthday in a big way some time ago? How dare you look at me in the eyes and say you want to marry him? Oh, you want to marry your father’s age mate right? It will not work” he said stamping his feet on the floor.
Fatimah: “but father, I love him and…”
Mama Fatimah: “ku dagata (you people should wait) is it the same alhaji Abdul that we always see on our television screen that she is talking about?”
Fatimah: “yes, mother”
Mama Fatimah: “ki na hawka ne? (are you mad), of all the men in the world, is it the one that has 3 wives already that you want to go and marry? Can you stand the heat of polygamy when it starts brewing?” she asked rhetorically.
Fatimah: “mother, alhaji is nice and he has promised to get me my own apartment, a car and a job after marriage. That way, I will be occupied with my job and live far away from his other wives, there won’t be any confrontations between us. Soon I will be 24 years old and most of my friends are married, I cannot allow this suitor pass me by. Recently he travelled to Dubai and he gave me so many gifts including wrappers, veils and expensive jewelries to give you. He also bought a new phone for me to give baba. Please allow me marry him, he is a devout follower of Allah” she pleaded.
Her mother began to soften when she thought of the material gains attached to her daughter marrying alhaji Abdul.
Baba Fatimah: “will you shut up your mouth? What do you know about marriage? At 24 you think you are too old to get a young man or what? How dare you tell us a man that we have not met gave you gifts to give us? That means that you have been going out with him and spoiling your body. I said it that your going to live in Kaduna city with your aunty does not favour me. I know that your maternal aunty indulges you a lot. So you have been desecrating your body before marriage right?”
Fatimah: “no baba, I have not done anything like that with him” she said innocently.
Baba Fatimah: “I did not bring you up to lie to me. Which man will spend so much for a woman he has not slept with? Tell me, which man?”
Fatimah: “alhaji is a devout Muslim and he has never asked me to sleep with him. There has never been any form of body contact between us before. You and mother taught me to remain a virgin until I get married. That is what I am” she said cleaning a tear from her eyes.
Baba Fatimah: “well, all I know is that I will not allow you marry a man who is older than your father. I was brought up in a polygamous home and I witnessed firsthand all the conflicts, restlessness, back biting, accusations and counter accusations. That is why I promised myself that I will never marry a second wife. What I cannot stand, I will not push you into it” he said with a note of finality in his voice.
Mama Fatimah: “but mai gida, you are not the one pushing her into this, mana. She is the one who brought the husband and since she says he is a devout Muslim, then we should allow her marry him” she said as gently as possible.
Baba Fatimah: “you are saying this because you are not the other wives. Put yourself in the shoes of his first wives and imagine how you will feel if I decide to take a wife that is young enough to be your daughter” he said.
Mama Fatimah: “but the prophet permits a man to marry up to four wives…” she started to say before he interrupted her.
Baba Fatimah: “woman, it is not in our culture and religion for you to argue with your husband. My daughter cannot marry him and that is final” he said getting.
Mama Fatimah: “she is my daughter too. I carried her in my wombs for nine months and went through excruciating labour pains to give birth to her. I approve of her getting married to alhaji Abdul” she insisted.
Baba Fatimah: “fine. We shall see whose daughter she is and whose name she bears” he said and stormed out of the sitting room.
Question: The battle line is drawn! Who do you think she will listen to? Is her mother’s blessing alone be enough for her to enjoy her marriage?
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