Our lessons for the day had ended very late. On my way home, I thought of running away. Something big had happened.
My phone kept ringing out loud on my laps. I wouldn’t dare busy his call so, I put it in silent mode.
The woman sitting beside me gave me a suspicious look when she saw “Harām” as the caller. She must have thought I was a suicide bomber. I had saved his name with Harām.
I wasn’t wearing my hijab. I had long stopped being afraid of him. He had thought I stopped attending those lessons. I had only promised him so he’d keep his mouth shut; I still secretly attended them.
On reaching home, the door was wide open. I saw him sitting on a mat from the stairs, his white skull cap resting on his head and his loose flowing garment gracing the floor. He never sat on the couch.
“Hanan, I couldn’t reach you all day. Where are you coming from?” he asked in a tone that surprised me, turning the pages of the Koran. I didn’t know how to answer. I didn’t want to lie.
“Where are you coming from?” he repeated, raising his eyes to mine. He wasn’t shouting this time. I guess he got tired of shouting too.
“I was recording a song in the studio and we had a music video to shoot dad. I didn’t know it was so late.”
“I have told you that music will never be an option for you. Music is harām. Don’t you fear Allah?”
“You are a Muslim, female! How can you keep throwing so much mud on my face? You know my reputation around here.”
“Dad, music contains nothing against the will of Allah. When The Prophet came into Medina, he was welcomed into the city with a song (Tala’ al Badru ‘Alayna – Oh the white moon rose over us).”
I wasn’t prepared to talk. Something else roamed my mind. I had fallen in love with a man who goes to a temple and not to a mosque – double trouble.
He had captured my soul and I couldn’t imagine why such love was so wrong. He was the reason I came back so late. We had made love.
“Go to your room,” he said, giving up.
In my room, I couldn’t sleep. I thought myself and how I’m very different from the religious I was born into. If Islam wouldn’t let me be who I truly am, then, maybe, it’s not for me.
Instantly, I picked a pen, tore a sheet of paper and started scribbling:
Forgive me. I have fallen in love with a Christian, and I have chosen to pursue music. I’m glad you have other children because tonight, I’ll be leaving to chase my dreams.
I’ll understand if I come back some time in future and find no place for me in this house. I know I’m risking a lot, but I’ll be risking more if I don’t follow my heart.
He was sound asleep on the same mat when I dropped the note on the table. I left, taking nothing but myself. Noiselessly unbolting the door, I smelt freedom. I was ready to face whatever consequences that came with my decision (if any), and nothing in the guise of religion would stop me.
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