It was her.
She had to be the one. She had said she was in the mosque and she would meet me outside. This was about ten minutes after 9am. We had agreed to meet by 9, but I had to help a friend and I had informed her I’d be a few minutes late.
I called her number again. I smiled as the figure not too far in front of me picked her phone call. “Hello?” “Hello, Aisha, is that you?”
She turned around.
The first thing I noticed was the sneakers. Under the hijaab. I thought “Dope!” She was a tad taller than I had imagined, but every bit as jovial and creative. She wore glasses, but they did nothing to hide her bright eyes.
“Let me get my bag.” We talked as we walked all the way from Fajuyi Hall to Social Sciences basement, where we sat.
I was really excited to meet her, and i could tell the feeling was mutual. Actually, this was the very first time we’d ever be meeting in person, although we had corresponded a lot online. What happened was; Victoria hit me up on Whatsapp one day, all excited and everything. Like, “Fifun, I met this amazing girl yesterday. You have to meet her! Her name is Aisha. I went to visit a friend and she interviewed me. She made me talk!”
(And, if you know anything at all about Victoria, that’s a feat of wonder: getting her to talk at all. Talk less of the chances of that happening on your first meeting.)
I was intrigued, because even though we were chatting, her excitement was quite obvious. She gave me Aisha’s number and i got chatting with her.
I intoduced myself and where I got her contact from.
The first thing that struck me was the fact that she introduced herself as “Aa’ishah”. I have never, ever, ever seen that anywhere. All I ever see is Aisha. We got chatting, and the rest, as they say, is history.
So finally we met in person, and even though we both had other plans, we ended up talking for over two hours! Aa’ishah is a bundle! Energetic, inquisitive, willing and ready to learn, proudly Muslim yet religiously tolerant…a bundle!
We talked about a lot of things, love, relationships, implications of interfaith marriages…she actually said she wouldn’t mind if her husband wanted to marry another wife, as long as it was by agreement! Bold thinking! We talked about the educational system and how wack it is. She said she’d love to homeschool her children.
We talked about her kind of guy. “Honestly, dude, you’re good looking o, but I wouldn’t be attracted to you.” For lack of a particular feature which I won’t mention. I told her she was beautiful, if she didn’t mind me saying so. She blushed.
We talked about modesty and dressing. I asked her to educate me on the hijaab and niqab and she did. She told me the story of how she came to her decision to wear the hijaab and reactions she received from parents and friends.
We talked about writing. She said she hadn’t posted much of what she had written on the group I added her to because she felt most people wouldn’t relate. “Wait…why?” “Well, i dont like to seem like I’m pushing my beliefs in other peoples’ faces.” I encouraged her to write and express exactly who she was. “Those who get it will get it, don’t bother about the rest. Faith is very important. It’s the way we view the world, a lens through which we see, that colours our vision. You can’t hide it. So be proud of it. And…if you can’t defend or be proud of what you believe, then you probably don’t really believe it.
We talked about faith and freedom. I challenged her with my understanding of what freedom truly means. I told her I believe freedom can’t possibly be freedom if it has boundaries. I quoted a scripture, and surprisingly she said there was something similar in one of Islam’s books (not sure which, but I don’t think it was the Quran). I told her that, most times, we fail to understand the difference between freedom as it was conceived amd the exercise of freedom.
“What makes a man truly free is his ability to do whatever he wants. God created us as free moral agents, in his own image and likeness. That’s why he gave Adam the freedom to choose what he wanted to do. For example, if a citizen of a country is truly free, he is actually free to take up a gun and start shooting people. But that wouldn’t be a responsible exercise of his freedom. And there would be dire consequences. So, there’s freedom to do whatever we really want, but how we handle it is our responsibility. Uncle Ben said ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’ Freedom, essentially, is power.”
We talked about stereotypes, we talked about love, we talked about forgiveness and patience, which she said she had issues with. I challenged her with my perspective on patience and forgiveness: “If, after all I’ve done, and still do, God forgives me, who am I not to forgive others. Besides, when you hold someone in your heart, what you’re really doing is holding yourself. It takes love to forgive. And love is a nature, the very nature of God.”
One amazing thing to me was how much we actually agreed on, even with our different worldviews.
She said she would love it if everyone on the 60 Day Writing Challenge group that was on campus could hangout sometime. I said I’d been thinking about it and would try to see if it could happen.
Eventually, around 11:45am, we decided to part. I told her it was really wonderful meeting her. She said she was glad to meet me too and she had really learnt a lot.
The end (of our meeting).