So a mother and a father have agreed to let their son marry a woman exactly twice his age, in Kano? And as we all know this isn’t the only thing ‘wrong’ or odd about their alliance. Other notable oddities, in this relationship, are that the ancient bride-to-be is a white American, a non-Muslim and a divorced mother of two.
Needless to say, I couldn’t believe that those two had given their blessings to a marriage that will see their young son packing his bags and heading for the US. Granted, the father has embarked on a security check, through our Department of State Security on his son’s fiancee in order to find out everything about her, but is that enough when the young man is set to leave your side and start an entirely new life so far away?
The last time an odd relationship, such as the one between Jeanine Delsky and Suleiman Babayero made headlines in the United States, famous TV hostess Oprah Winfrey invited a reputable psychiatrist to assess the situation. His verdict was that the woman, a secondary school teacher who was involved with her teenage student, was simply bi-polar. It is a mental disorder which makes people act irrationally at certain moments and normally at others.
Now, here we are faced with a woman who travelled halfway across the globe to meet a guy half her age, and who insists that this young, black, African boy, that she met on Instagram, is ‘more real and sincere’ than other men she knew previously; and yet we are not ready to question her sanity.
Why should we find it right and acceptable that she had no qualms about travelling this long distance to woo a young man just because she said she has ‘genuine feelings’ for him? Would we all be quiet if, for instance, a Lagos socialite who is twice our son’s age, who also belongs to a different tribe and religion, arrives at our doorstep seeking our son’s hand in marriage? Surely we will question her motives and very likely refuse to give our consent by citing ethnic and religious differences, if not the age and relocation factors.
Meanwhile Lagos is in Nigeria, you do not need a visa to visit. A Lagos socialite is of the same race with us and shares a lot of our characteristics as a fellow African, still we would be reluctant to give our consent to it because the odds are stacked against the young husband.
So if we won’t contemplate allowing a fellow Nigerian to take away our son in this kind of cradle- snatching affair, why would Suleiman’s parents think there is nothing wrong with this foreign-based liaison, and even set a March date for the wedding?
One of the father’s conditions for the marriage is that his son is allowed to practice his religion in the US. But what guarantee is there that this would be adhered to or even that his son will remain interested in Islam after being exposed to a totally alien lifestyle?
I honestly thought that the father’s first condition will be that his son will remain here and the bride can relocate here if she wished; after all she had the maturity and financial Independence to make that move doesn’t she?
The young man himself had the guts to say he was following Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) example by marrying an older woman but did the Prophet marry a virtual stranger, someone whose origin or past was totally unknown to him?
In actual fact Rasulillah SAW married his employer, a widow he worked for and who was impressed by his honesty and good character and therefore proposed to him. Nana Khadija (RA) was only 15 years older than him, she was of the same race, tribe and location with him. There was no fear of him (SAW) being taken away and exposed to a different culture or orientation.
Another condition given by Suleiman’s father was that he wanted his son to continue his studies in America. But he has forgotten that this woman did not come to give his son scholarship, she came to marry him, so sponsoring him through university when she has her own children to sponsor can’t possibly be part of the dowry she plans to pay. All she is after is a young husband, not an adopted child.
And if, like me, you are ready to question Jeanine’s frame of mind, I would like to invite you to question Suleiman’s sanity also. I mean how can a man expect to have 10 children with a 46-year-old woman, in this day and age, and in the United States?
On the whole, reasonable people should step forward and stop this marriage. Lured obviously by the promise of a better life for their son, Suleiman’s parents have decided to sacrifice their son at the alter of worldly gain. He is being led like a lamb to the slaughter, while his spiritual life and overall safety have been forced to the backstage. It is left for our ulama and traditional rulers to talk to his parents, with a view to convincing them to withdraw their consent for this potential disaster that they agreed too.