Friday, November 1, 2019

BETWEEN AISHA AND MICHELLE (2)










In a Hadeeth narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas in the Book of Prophets, the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam mentioned the earliest settlement in Makkah which composed of Ismael and his mother, “the first lady to use a girdle”; how Prophet Ibraheem (Abraham) left them, at Allah’s behest, “in an uncultivable valley near” the “holy House” and prayed Allah to “incline some hearts of men that they may yearn toward them” (Ibraheem 14:37). And so it was that Zamzam water attracted new entrants to the settlement and with that the subsequent birth of a community. The settlers were the Arab tribe of Jurhum from where little Ismael learnt the Arabic language, and when he attained the age of majority, married one of their girls. 

It is a long narrative that touched on a number of happenings one of which was how Ismael’s father, Prophet Ibraheem came visiting his family decades after he left them but he only met his daughter-in-law who did not know him. He asked her the whereabouts of her husband and she said: “Ismael has gone in search of our sustenance”. He further asked her concerning their condition generally and she answered: “We live in straitened circumstances, in abject destitution.” She painted a very bleak picture of the household. It was then that Prophet Ibraheem said: “Convey my salutations to your husband when he returns and tell him to change the protective cover of his dwelling.” 

When his wife told Ismael the whole story after his return he interpreted his father’s allegory in these words: “Yes the unknown visitor is my father and he has ordered me to divorce you. Please return to your family.”

From the above, some jurists averred that such union be set asunder in which the wife will not conceal, but will, instead, noise abroad the weakness and internal blemish of her husband.


The Obama’s had their “frustrations” and tense moments, “as if at the centre of” their “relationship there were suddenly a knot” they “couldn’t loosen” but still “loved each other deeply”. Michelle “had seen other marriages come undone in a way that made” her “feel protective of” theirs. “I had close friends go through devastating breakups,” she said, "brought on by small problems left unattended or lapses in communication that led eventually to irreparable rifts.” But instead of speaking to the press they took to counselling though “Barrack was reluctant at first to try couples counselling.” Michelle said counselling “turned out to be the big revelation” to her: “No validating went on. No sides were taken. When it came to our disagreements, Dr. Woodchurch (not the real name of the psychologist) would never be the deciding vote. Instead, he was an empathic and patient listener, coaxing each of us through the maze of our feelings, separating out our weapons from the wounds. He cautioned us when we got too lawyerly and posited careful questions intended to get us to think hard about why we felt the way we felt. Slowly, over hours of talking, the knot began to loosen. Each time Barrack and I left his office, we felt a bit more connected.” 

Michelle and Aisha, each one of them has a husband around whom crazy rumours swirled during their first and second term campaigns for election to the presidency. Obama, it is said had “been schooled in a radical Muslim madrassa and sworn into the Senate on a Koran. That he refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. That he wouldn’t put his hand over his heart during the national anthem. That he had a close friend who was a domestic terrorist from the 1970s.” As for Buhari, aside all lies said about him, his bitterest foes said he died long ago, that he had been “cloned”, replaced with a body double called “Jubril” from Sudan.

Unlike Aisha who only got new sets of aides recently, Michelle had all the personnel she needed even before the first inauguration of her husband as president. Thus, she had control of her residence vast as it is. “It is a huge place,” she said, “the White House, with 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, and 28 fireplaces spread out over six floors….” This is where she stayed with her husband, two girls, Malia and Sasha, and her mother, Marian Lois Robinson who reluctantly agreed to come and stay with them at White House. No interference from anyone in the way that Michelle superintended the affairs of her residence. Yes, there were instances when she had to be mildly overruled by secret service personnel due to security reasons, but largely she was the “mom in chief” of the White House. 

Better late than never; let Aisha use her reinforced retinue to speak in her stead on national issues in order to forestall the gaffes in improvised press interviews like the one she granted at the airport upon her return from the United Kingdom. Certain questions are better left unanswered, or by simply denying to comment on them.  

Every woman wants that space, let alone the First Lady; needs to have control of her residence. If Aisha Buhari had that control in her residence that viral video would not have been recorded in the first. Only Allah knows the details of what actually happened, and of course the parties involved; Aisha, as a human being, may have her own issues in her interaction with the people in the Villa, but this conjecture itself proves the point that the First Lady is only exercising a blunt influence within her dwelling due to unexplained factors. I really cannot imagine any of the past first ladies of Nigeria to be subjected to anything near the apparent indignities that Aisha endures. I heard of a former first lady in whose presence some cabinet ministers crouched down and seated themselves beside, and not on, the sofa cushions. It was not possible for the president’s nephews, if there were any during that reins of power, to provokingly block the path of the first lady, in her husband’s residence, in order to record her angry reactions for the world to see. 

I am indigent Almajiri but my scant study of the Seerah of the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam taught me how he consorted with his consorts, and how he respected and honoured them. My wife will not be undermined because of my relationship with any mortal, besides parents; (even parents understood the invisible sanctuary and respectfully avoided approaching it during their lifetime). That is a redlined mark that no-one will approach without incurring my wrath. Dishonour to my wife is a disgrace to me, as whoever honours her, honours me. It all begins with me; if I treat her with respect, people will accord her dignity in like manner. On the other hand, if my attitude is bereft of any honour towards her, even the family chauffeur will debase her!    


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