She called the office on a Friday evening just before we closed for the day. Her father after coming home drunk had become violent, abusive and she had to run away. The mother did not, or was not in a position to assist.
After she became a Muslim on 12th December 2014, her family’s attitude towards her changed. The father could not fathom why she made the decision; her mother was cross with her because a particular lady who was their benefactor and a staunch Christian would cease whatever help she was offering them.
The said benefactor other than assisting them with food and bursaries for her other siblings had also promised to pay for her college. Now all that, according to her irate mum would all be taken away.
Her two younger brothers would not be in a position to attend school anymore, supposedly!
Why are you doing this to us, she asked her, why?
The father is quite aged, looks like something above 50, and a habitual drunkard; he drinks cheap, local brews morning and evening. By the will of Allah they allowed her back home on a Monday morning and the father demanded to be brought to our centre.
One, because she mentioned that a group of Muslim sisters we had introduced her to, wanted to assist her get a job and second coz he wanted to really understand why a girl who was still living with her parents would get the audacity to flip religions without their consent.
The first reason was the greater in magnitude coz inasmuch as they are against her reverting to Islam they depend on her on several issues, especially food. She uses the little money she earns from inconsistent gigs at local warehouses in Mombasa to buy food for the family. Warehouses where supervisors want particular favours to give her a consistent job. Now she has to make do with the inconsistenciesSince since she turns down their offers and indecent approaches.
With that in mind (a job), he was keen to know the kind of work she would be getting and how much she would be earning!
When they arrived at our Revert centre, it was obvious he was a bit scared. I donno, maybe because the centre is right next to a Masjid and it was right after Salatul Asr with so many Muslims milling around. Or maybe coz he was still drunk from whatever cheap stuff he had taken in the morning.
Even in his half drunk state he knew that a mosque is a place of worship, no drunk theatrics and hanky panky in a mosque!
After enquiring in detail about the aforementioned job, he told me that it was wrong in his culture (which is my culture too!) for a woman to make a decision without the consent of her father.
According to him, and true Gikuyu culture, a woman takes the religion of her parents and only changes it if her husband belongs to a different one. Even if the said husband worships squirrels and indigenous trees she will be required to do so, according to our guest. He considers it the ultimate show of disrespect for her daughter to change, especially to Islam!
I asked whether he attends service, he said yes. He used to be Catholic then became a protestant since the aforementioned benefactor belongs to a particular protestant group.
We, by the will of Allah talked to him about the culture and religious outlook by use of his own mother tongue which he really appreciated. He even felt much better knowing that we hail from the same place!
To date, he has ceased being abusive to his daughter. He even asked the pastors who had taken to visiting his home every day to pray for Warda, saying that she had been bewitched and only the blood of Jesus can save her, to stay away!
Which is another thing that New Muslims living with non Muslim families have to contend with- accusations of being bewitched and joining the religion of terrorists and ‘jinn keepers’. Pastors keep praying for them, in tongues even, in the hope that they go back to Christianity!
None goes back except those in whose hearts lies insincerity, insecurity, weak faith and a love for this world…..
“He whom Allah guides, he is the rightly guided; but he whom He sends astray, for him you will never find no Wali (guiding friend) to lead him (to the right path): Quran 18: 17