I can still hear them laughing sarcastically, laughing at my friend, laughing at the elder sister I never had. It was in the staff room. There they were mocking, I was in fury mode but I tried to conceal it. I wanted to defend my friend, to stand up for her, I wished they would stop but they jeered on. What could I do after all they were all my teachers. ‘Future ambition: Housewife!’, I think one of them said. They were reading an edition of THE BEAM (AFCS IBADAN’S school‘s mag). I was in my final year in high school and the edition of THE BEAM was the just concluded edition. Some pages, particularly in the middle of the magazine were usually dedicated to the graduates of that year in which the magazine was published. The pages included their pictures, Future ambition, address and phone/e-mail. I can’t recollect what I was doing in the staff room but I remember vividly that I was there. Bidemi had just graduated and her profile in the magazine had caused an uproar. She had put in HOUSEWIFE has her future ambition and like most present day educated ignoramus my teachers had thought that was backward just like many people would think. Though back then I might not have had cogent reasons to defend my friend if I was given the opportunity to but now I know better and Bidemi, may Allah bless her wherever she is (sad, that I have lost contact with her) knew better even when we were that young. Now, we might think Bidemi is just some ordinary girl that was never exposed or brain-washed by some ‘alfas’, Well you’re very wrong. Kudirat Abidemi Yussuff was no ordinary lady, she was well exposed. This is late Air Marshall N. Yussuf’s daughter I am talking about here. Her Dad was the former CAS (Chief of Air Force Staff) in the early nineties when the military were in POWER! To me, he practically owned AFCS IBADAN because it was during his tenure as CAS that AFCS IBADAN came to being. (My secondary school used to be a Teacher Training college). I never had the opportunity of meeting Bidemi’s Dad but I knew he was a very PRINCIPLED man and I pray Allah forgives him. This was a man whose son didn’t pass the interview examination to gain admission into AFCS IBADAN, and since he didn’t pass he tried again the following year and then got admission! So Bidemi was not an ordinary lady and if Abdul-Mujeeb Onawole was to give a list of influential people in his life with respect to the deen in particular and he forgets to add Bidemi’s name he should be SPANKED SERIOUSLY.
What could have made me to remember Bidemi’s future ambition after all these years? Well, it’s Rifdha, a 10-year old wonderful Hafiza from Maldives, (you need to hear her recite the Qur’an). I saw Rifdha in the documentary titled KORAN BY HEART by GREG BAKER (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpO-a8AIz7M). She had the highest score of 97/100 and even before I saw her score, I knew she surpassed all other contestants despite the fact that she was the only female in that competition. Rifdha is a lovable individual, she’s shy and yet funny in a special kind of way, mama’s best friend and I guess you get the rest of the picture. She tops her class and she wants to become an explorer but her Papa, who repented and became a better Muslim on his Father’s death bed after about 30 years of Jahiliyya, wants her to become a housewife, now this is where Bidemi and Rifdha meet. Rifdha’s father understands that when you educate a female, you educate a nation but when you educate a male, you’ve educated only one individual. By the way kudos to Lautech sisters, I know a lot of them are striving to be students of knowledge as compared to we, brothers and it gives me this great hope that the future is going to be so bright considering the impacts they would have on their children but then it saddens me that the gap is too wide between the Sisters who know and those who don’t (that’s what I’ve observed and I stand to be corrected). I know some brothers might not attend circles of knowledge regularly but there are some basics of the deen they know but I can’t say the same for the sisters. Sometimes I just get shocked at the level of ignorance. Rifdha’s Dad thought that Egypt would be a good place to migrate to but upon getting there he realized that things aren’t the way you imagine. He found out that they might have good Qaris (reciters) in Egypt but he hardly saw people who practiced the deen from their appearance with respect to the beard and Izbal issues.
The stereotype idea that someone who is going to be a housewife should be uneducated should be DELETED WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT from those who still have such in their heads. If you meet some females and you try to know why they are in school you would realize a lot of them are in school for the wrong reasons. I’ve met ladies who came to earn a degree so that they can have something to ‘fall-on’ when their husbands start cheating on them, some came to do engineering courses just to prove that what a man can do a woman can do better, can you imagine! I recall during my IT attachment, an Engineer gave me and a lady a lift his car to the factory as we entered through the factory gates, I could hear the Engineer teasing the lady while signifying to a man who was leaving the factory gates. The woman was resuming for morning duty while her husband was leaving the factory after working on night duty, little wonder the world is in a topsy-turvy. I look at A’isha Al-Hajjar , an editor on SAUDILIFE, who HOME- SCHOOLED EIGHT CHILDREN. Do you think she is a block head who doesn’t have a college degree or do you think the job of home-schooling children is a walk in the park? Among the things Islam as taught me is that JUSTICE IS NOT THE SAME THING HAS EQUALITY and when you look at the Qur’an and Sunnah you find places where the men are above women, places were women are above men and places where we’re both equal. Look at people the world refers to ask ’successful women’ you’ll find out that their family life is (or was) trash, is it Oprah Winfrey or Tyra Banks or Queen Elizabeth the first. During my IT there was this Engineer Obasanjo that specifically said with his own mouth that women were not supposed to be working in factories like this. He further suggested that they should be in the education sector and this is what I tried to portray in Aisha’s character in my VALENTINE’S STORY:JUST ANOTHER DAY (http://www.mujeebunleashed.blogspot.com/2012/02/just-another-day.html) and in some cases you have SAHM-WAHM(Stay At Home Moms- Work At Home Moms). I do not know where Islam stopped women from working, from earning her own wealth but what I know is Islam greatly encouraged women to stay in their houses and we have people that work from home and are millionaires, some are even more famous than people who go to another location to work.
I know Rifdha is very smart but I hope she’ll understand that her father wants the best for her. I hope she’ll understand what Bidemi understood. So I’ll conclude with the words of Francesca in the movie, THE PERFECT SCORE when asked what she wanted to be. She said ‘…I’d just be a mom. Not just a mother. I would be a real mom. Who cared more about the title of parent than the one on her business card…’