Abu Ja’far Al ‘Asqalaaniy.
“As Salaamu ‘Alaykum ma.” Saalihah greets as she meets the same woman she saw during their excursion to Ibadan buying some fruits by the road side.
” Wa ‘Alaykumus Salaam my daughter.” The woman replies concentrating on the bunches of banana she’s buying.
“Did she just mention my daughter? Maybe she can recognise me but she’s not really looking at my side. Let me wait till she’s through.” She thinks.
She rests her back against a jeep waiting for the woman to pay the grocer before approaching her.
“She’s even coming towards me, oh my God! She’s really my mother, Alhamdulillah.” Saalihah continues thinking as the lady approaches her with a smiling face.
“But she’s not using Niqab (veil) like my stepmother,not even khimãr (a garment that covers the body from the head to toe.) Look at the short hijab (head cover) they she’s wearing. Well, she’s still a muslim and she’s as pretty as she was during her youth.” Saalihah can’t stop thinking.
“My daughter, please I’ll have to reverse the jeep.” The lady says,extending her hand for a handshake.
“Ummiy,do you recognise me?”
“I can’t and I’m not even your mum, I don’t know you my dear.” She coos.
“It’s me Saalihah,daughter of imran your husband.” She expresses.
Concentrating better,she asks “Did you just mention Imran? Do you mean Imrãn Adebayo?” She offers her a seat in the jeep.
“Yes ma,Alhamdulillah for meeting you again.” She remarks.
The lady embraces her warmly “Alhamdulillah, so you’re my Saalihah. So at last we’ve met. Alhamdulillahir Rabbil ‘Aalameen.”
“Ummiy,what really happened? Why did you leave me at infancy. She inquires gently.
“My dear,I’m sorry. I left your father because of poverty for a rich politician. Though I loved your father but my mum pestered me to go for a wealthy man and I obeyed.” She explains apologetically.
“Ok ma,but can you now return since dad is now rich.” She murmurs hiding her frowned face.
Stretching out a piece of paper to her “please write your home address here,I’ll visit you very soon In shaa Allah.”
Saalihah writes the address very quickly as if the paper is flying away then she returns it happily.
“But Abiy told me that you were dead. Why that wrong information.” She expresses her thought loudly.
“I think he gave you that impression so that you may not grow up hating your mother.”
Saalihah steps out to leave but her mother gives her a handshake and thrusts some naira notes in her palm.
“Saalihah! As Salaah!” The voice of her friend Habeebah wakes her from the pleasing dream.
“Subhaanallah! So I’ve been dreaming.” She exclaims out of surprise.
“Haa Saalihah the dreamer. Yes you’ve been dreaming.” Habeebah makes jest of her.
“Ummiy,please come back to me.” Saalihah sobs.
“Mummy’s pet,get up joor. The girls are outside and the Tahajud period will soon be over. So let’s join them fast.” Habeebah yells as she drags her up.
“Does it mean I’ve been discussing all the while with a dead one?” She wonders ignoring her friend.
“Saalihah,don’t worry we’ll chat about that later. Let’s get going dear.”
Rising from the lower bunk,she yawns covering her mouth with her right hand.
“Remember to say your Dhikr.” Habeebah reminds her as they join the girls.
“Oh! *Alhamdulillahil ladhiy ‘ãfãniy fee jasadiy wa radda ‘alaya rūhee wa ’adhina lee bi dhikrih*.” She invokes.
The girls clean their mouths with the brushes and head towards the masjid for Tahajud (midnight prayers). They observe it individually according to the strength of each person. The school has programmed 4:00am to 4:45am for the students to observe their tahajud daily.
After Tahajud they take their baths and return to the masjid by 5:40am for Salaatus Subh. The Salaah is started by 5:50am enabling the students to observe two rak’ats supererogatory prayers commonly called Rak’atayn fajr while the correct pronunciation is Rak’atal Fajr.
On the completion of the adhkaar after fajr (dawn) Salaah, Habeebah enquires about Saalihah’s dream.
“I’ve forgotten about her long ago,but seeing that woman during the excursion brought her memory back to me and I couldn’t forget since then. More so, I’m becoming confused, I don’t believe she’s dead.”
“Let’s inform Miss Adegbite for she’s a good adviser.” Habeebah advises as they go to prepare for school.
“As salaam ‘Alaykum ma.” The girls greet their House-Mistress Miss Adegbite.
“Wa ‘Alaykumus Salaam,the Head-Girl and her health counterpart.” She returns the greeting, hailing them.
It is recess so the two friends decide to meet the mistress in her office.
“How may I help you my girls?” She inquires after exchanging pleasantries.
“Please ma,we’ll like you to advise us on a disturbing issue.” Habeebah responds for Saalihah.
“Hen hen,no problem, go on I’m all ears.”
“My confusion now is that if she’s alive,how do I find her? Saalihah expresses after narrating the incidents to her.
“My dear,this is a simple issue so don’t complicate matters.” Miss Adegbite places her hands on the table.
“Hmmm…” Saalihah sighs.
“You should first understand that in Islam, the dead can never return to this earth. They’re in another world called Barzakh which is between this life and the hereafter. The souls are either enjoying or facing punishment. Islam is alien to all idolatrous beliefs among which is incarnation. As Muslims we don’t believe the dead ones return as human beings that the Yorubas call *Akudaaya*. You may have heard cases of *Akudaaya*,know that it’s only the handiwork of the jinns.
“The jinns are creatures of Allah given a lot of power among which is transforming to any form of animal especially snakes and cats. They are also capable of changing to human beings. They see us while we can’t see them with our naked eyes except with the help of demonic powers.
“It is authentically established that every son of Ãdam (‘Alayhis salaam) has a jinn attached to him called Qareen. And among the features of jinn is that they live much longer than us. Therefore after the death of a person the Qareen of such person if he doesn’t really take care of his duties to Allah when alive may transform to human being in his picture and live the lifestyle of a man or woman as the case may be especially in another town but will later die.
“There are beliefs also that bad souls are sent back to this world for punishment in the form of animals or other objects like plants or even stones. This belief contradicts our own belief as Muslims.” Miss Adegbite explains.
“But she said in the dream that she didn’t die rather she divorced my father…” Saalihah tries to argue but the mistress cuts her short.
“My dear,she told you that in the dream right? Where is the money she gave you in the dream?” Miss Adegbite probes rhetorically.
“Dreams shouldn’t be so much believed. Believe what your father told you and forget about the dream. Prophet Muhammad Sala llah ‘alayhi wa sallam explained to us in an hadith that dreams are of two types; one from Allah and that is the good one and (the bad) one from Shaytan.
“Next time that you have a frightening dream,stand up to make ablution and observe two rak’ats voluntary prayer,seek refuge in Allah Ta’ala from the bad dream and pray the dream doesn’t turn real. I assure you it won’t happen in reality then return to sleep.
“If standing up is hard at that moment,change the side you slept with making sure you sleep with the right side after spitting air to the left side thrice. If sleep is still not coming due to fear say; *A’uudhubi kalmaatillãhi tãmmat min gadabihi wa ‘iqãbihi,wa sharri ‘ibãdihi wa min hamazaatish shayãteen wa an yahduruun*. Cast your fear aside and sleep.” Miss Adegbite urges.
“Ma, are you telling me now to forget about my mother being alive.” Saalihah demands adjusting her hijab.
“Well, I’ll say yes but if Allah Ta’ala wills you’ll meet her if she’s not dead.” She assures.
The Junior School Time keeper announces the end of the recess “Ad Dukhoool!”
“Jazaakumullah khayraa ma.” The girls utter together as they hurry back to the class.
“I love Miss Adegbite,she advises with knowledge and wisdom. Many Allah Ta’ala increase her in both.” Saalihah exclaims as she returns with her friend from the dining hall after dinner.
“Exactly, that is why I advised you to visit her.” Habeebah agrees.
“I think the school should appoint her as the school’s counsellor she has advised me to study medicine,therefore I’m choosing science department in the next academic session.”
“I’m just thinking of meeting her for that,but I think I’ll be studying nursing, so I’ll be in the science department too.”
“But that shouldn’t stop us from doing istikhãra.” Saalihah opines.
“Istikhãra,what is that?” Habeebah inquires.
They sit at the dormitory’s balcony to finish their discussion before parting for their different rooms. Saalihah tries to explain it to her.
“Istikhãra is the seeking of consultation from Allah Ta’ala over any affair or step a wants to take.
“It is very important because man is created out of anxiety so we want to know how safe and successful the future is before its arrival when the knowledge of the unseen and future is with Allah Ta’ala alone as He explains in several verses of the Qur’an, not with the soothsayers nor the fortune tellers even if they call themselves Islamic scholars. Islam makes us know that they are liars and believing in them is tantamount to kufr (disbelief) because the prophet sala llah ‘alayhi wa sallam says in an authentic hadith; *Anyone who visits a soothsayer and believes him has disbelieved in what is revealed to Muhammad.*
“To satisfy our human anxiousness, the prophet Sala llah ‘alayhi wa sallam taught us how to consult Allah Ta’ala directly and he assured us of success if we could do that.”
“And how is that done? Mind you the prophecy of these soothsayers are sometimes real even they at times tell you some of your worries before informing them. My mother visits one regularly.” Habeebah worries.
“My bestie,it’s true and the prophet has exposed their plots to us long ago.
“These people employ the service of the evil jinns to perpetrate the evil actions. The jinns climb upon one another till they reach the first heaven since they’re huge creatures poking into the discussions of the angels, Allah Ta’ala thereby throw the stars at them making them to crash down. The little information they get is mixed up with various lies which they pass to the soothsayers as information from the unseen. It is for this reason that Rasulullah (Messenger of Allah) Sala llah ‘alayhi wa sallam told us that if the soothsayers gives a piece of information. It is mixed with ninty-nine lies and one truth. Those who visit them remember the truth and forget the ninty-nine lies. Some of them even make hypothesis only but their unsuspecting followers take that as prophecy. As for their knowledge of someone’s privacy that is possible because they consult the jinn that is attached to us I.e Qareen. He gives them our full details since he’s with us always.”
“Hmmm…Ustaadhah,how about the istikhãra.”
“Let me quote the hadith as narrated in Saheeh Al Bukhari by Jãbir bn ‘Abdillah Radiyallah ‘anhu he said; The prophet Sala llah ‘alayhi wa sallam used to teach us to seek Allah’s counsel in all matters as he used to teach us a surah from the Qur’an. He would say; *Allahumma innee astakheeruka bi ’ilmika wa astaqdiruka bi qudratika wa as’aluka min fadlikal ‘adheem. Fa innaka ta’lam wa laa a’lam wa taqdir wa laa aqdir wa anta ‘allãmul guyuub. Allahumma in kunta ta’lam anna haadhal amra (then mention the affair) khayrun lee fee deenee wa ma’aashee wa ‘aqibati amree -‘aajilihi wa ‘aajilihi- faqdurhu lee wa yassirhu lee thumma baarik lee feehi wa in kunta ta’lam anna hãdhal amra sharrun lee fee deenee wa ma’aashee wa ‘aaqibati ‘amree -‘aajilihi wa ’aajilihi- fasrifhu ‘anniy was rifnee ‘anhu waqdur liyal khayra haythu kaana thumma ardinee bihi*.”
“Saalihah,I’m not in anyway comparable to you ooo when it comes to Islamic knowledge, you memorised all these!”
“Allah Ta’ala is the owner of knowledge, He grants whomever He wishes a bit of it. Thanks to my dad he taught me and my siblings.”
“That’s the advantage of coming from a pious and knowledgeable home.” Habeebah says as she stands to take her leave.
“Well,you may be true but my dad is not an Arabic Scholar ,he’s only striving upon knowledge and the path of the pious predecessor.”
“I’ll try to advise my mum to stop visiting those soothsayers in shaa Allah. I pray she understands me and stops it.” Habeebah decides.
“In shaa Allah she will.” Saalihah prays.
“Ok As salaam Alaykum, don’t dream tonight ooo.” Habeebah teases.
“You aren’t serious. I’ll but probably about home this time. Wa Alaykum salaam.” Saalihah remarks as they part.
©Alfuad Folami Adewale
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