Fatimo was one of the first students to submit the test. No, it wasn’t because she was brilliant per se; it was because she was in haste to corner Idris at his Department before he disappears again. The lecturer in whose hands Fatimo had placed the paper was going to flirt with her the usual way but Fatimo was too impatient for his baloney. So she just surged to the door speedily, picking her bag from where she had placed it and made a run for Idris’s Department. That man mustn’t escape her today!
For the past two weeks, Idris hadn’t been answering her calls or reply her chats on WhatsApp and Messenger and she had been seeing posts from him on Facebook. How could he have been on Facebook and not see her messages on Facebook Messenger? Plus, the markings on WhatsApp did show that he read her messages but only ignored to reply. Whatever it was the snub was all about, they would have a compulsory class at the Department and Idris would be there.
When Idris bumped into her, he looked quite shocked, like he had met a ghost, but beside the shock, Fatimo saw pity in his eyes.
“Idris, what happened? Why are you behaving like this suddenly?”
“Like how?” he asked, trying carelessly to sound like he didn’t know what she was talking about.
“You want to tell me you didn’t see my calls? Why didn’t you call back?”
“Let’s finish this class, I’ll call you.”
“I swear by Allah’s name, I will.”
“Okay then. I’ll say you said so.”
Both are Muslim Hausas and they had met in school, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria two years earlier, nursing marriage ambition, and their relationship had been gleeful until recently when Idris seemed to have negatively changed, avoiding Fatimo. Two hours later, Idris did call Fatimo and they chose to meet at a cafeteria where Idris finally opened up.
“I told my dad about you,” he said slowly. “So… he asked about you and I… I told him. But you know, my parents are Alus-Sunnas, they don’t like Ahmadis, they said you’re unbelievers. But I was thinking, if you could leave Ahmadiyya, our relationship could work out.”
Silence lingered for a while before Idris continued. Fatimo’s eyes were bloodshot and puddled then.
“The Ahmadis too,” continued Idris, “you know, they won’t ever allow you to marry me unless I’m one of you. But if you could just leave them and become a true Muslim and not infidels like them, my parents could-“
“You’re very stupid,” interjected Fatimo. “What do you mean we’re infidels? Shege! So, you didn’t know that I’m an Ahmadi when you approached me, uh? You Alus-Sunnas, I don’t know what’s wrong with you but you got the idea of this Islam totally wrong, thinking you’re the perfect ones. Don’t worry, go and marry an Alus-Sunna like yourself. Allah zai maka hukunci! Allah will judge you, you hear? Shirme!”
She stood and flounced off with her khimar blowing dramatically to the wind’s music. She cried home and Idris sat where he was, feeling very bad, watching her melt into the distance, memories flooding his mind. He loved Fatimo, he truly did but they didn’t belong to the same Islamic sect and Alus-Sunnas would never marry Ahmadis unless the Ahmadis convert to their side, and vice versa. Both are Muslims but they see each other as unbelievers.
Love is natural but is always at the mercy of religion; and again, for the umpteenth time, religion beat love, but this isn’t the end.
…to be continued!
-Lord eBay (and his random ruminations, 2017)
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