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To Sheikh with love

‘Oh poor, poor lady, I wonder what she must be going through now.’ I thought aloud, not knowing that Tahir was within earshot.

‘What poor, poor lady are you lamenting about? he asked, walking into my room.

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‘It’s the Nigerian lady who fell in love with the renowned Sheikh, Mufti Menk. It’s a sad thing he can’t reciprocate her feelings.’ I replied.

‘A sad thing indeed. Why should she choose to fall for Mufti Menk when there are millions of Nigerian men to fall for? Believe me Bint, it’s not even love, it’s hero-worship. She is just infatuated with an Islamic scholar who seemed to embody everything good and is therefore greater than any Nigerian man she knew. Well serves her right for aiming too high. Now she’ll have to stay home and start looking for someone of her own race.’ He said, sitting on the edge of my bed, opposite where I sat on the bedroom chair.

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‘But Tahir, she already had a fiancé, she just ditched him, at the last minute, because she preferred the Sheikh.’ I explained.

‘Really Bint? Well I think this young lady got just what she deserved. How can she ditch someone of her own race for Mufti Menk?’ He demanded.

‘And why not hubby dear? Somehow it never occurred to me that you might be a racist. But you just managed to sound like one, with that comment.’ I complained.

‘But this isn’t racism, it’s being realistic. She is a Nigerian, which makes her ‘African’ in the Southern African context. You know in Southern Africa, which includes Zimbabwe, where Mufti Menk comes from, and Namibia as well as South Africa, which had all suffered from apartheid in varying degrees, there are three kinds of black people. One category of blacks is the Indians, the second category is the mixed-raced or coloured people, and the last group is the Africans, people like us. So even in today’s Zimbabwe, she is no match for the scholar. Then outside racial lines, she is only an ordinary Nigerian, the man is a world-class, globetrotting Islamic scholar. He meets adulating fans like her wherever he goes, when will he find time to get romantically involved with any of them? She is a fool to think she can jilt her proposed husband and easily get hitched to Mufti Menk.’ He concluded.

‘Well, it says here that he gently turned her down by saying his life isn’t as glamorous as she thinks. He isn’t rich enough to give her a very comfortable life. He is always on the go, due to his da’awa work, which keeps him away from his family most of the time. And others have added that he once said he already has two wives.’  I quoted.

‘Just where are you reading all this from?’ Tahir asked, rising from the edge of my bed to look at my phone screen.

‘It’s from a blogger who said the request for Mufti Menks’ heart was made through her.’ I replied.

‘Do you think she’s credible, can we afford to believe her?’ He asked, doubtfully.

‘Yes, she’s quite believable and credible and also has a reputation to protect. She won’t make up a story like this.’ I answered.

‘Then it’s almost certain we’ve seen the last of Mufti Menk in this country.’ Tahir said sadly.

‘Why do you think so? Surely just one declaration of love, from what you called an adulating fan, cannot scare away Sheikh Isma’il Menk. Not with the kind of knowledge and wisdom, Almighty Allah has given him. He knows that people with his level of fame and exposure easily conquer the hearts of the opposite gender. He will understand.’ I opined.

‘That’s not what I’m referring to. What I mean is, a friend of mine who attended the Abuja lecture, told me that Mufti Menk complained about the hero’s welcome he received in Maiduguri and how shouts of ‘Allahu akbar’ intermittently during his lecture made him feel he was being treated like a demi-god. Now add this to the fact that a bride-to-be actually jilted her future groom out of love for him, and you’ll find a recipe to keep the Zimbabwean scholar far from our shores henceforth.’ He predicted.

‘I hope that never happens Hubby dearest. Somehow I feel that Mufti Menk will understand that Nigerians only adore him, and he’ll also know that they extend the same kind of adulation to even our local clerics who impressed them.’ I said, countering his prediction.


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