I am Zainab, a mother of three. This is my story.
I was born and bred in Ilorin to the family of a great Islamic Scholar. I was given both Islamic and western Education. I was very versed in the recitation of the Qur’an and I do teach some of my mates in the school.
My parents were so proud of me because of my sound understanding of Islam, they promised to give me a surprise gift when it’s time for me to get married. I was not only versed in the recitation of the Qur’an, I was also a brilliant student.
My love for Islam made me promise myself that I will not marry any man that is not a Muslim because I could not imagine myself practicing another religion, that made me keep a lot of Muslim friends and I hardly talk to any man that I know is not a Muslim.
When it was time for me to get married, I had a lot of suitors but the Muslims ones were married men and I have vowed never to be a second wife, I don’t mind being the first wife though. The single men that approached me were Christians and I didn’t give them attention.
As time went on, I couldn’t find a single Muslim guy to propose to me. One day I was at the supermarket and a young man approached me and said the teslim (Islamic way of greeting), I replied him and we got talking, we exchanged contacts and became friends.
We did talk regularly for about a month after which he told me his intention, he said he had watched me and he was very pleased with me and will like me to be his wife. I asked him if he was a prctising Muslim, he said he was a Muslim but he was not a very practicing one that he hopes to learn more from me, I told him its not a problem since he was willing to learn, so I accepted his proposal.
After three months he introduced me to his parents and they welcomed me, they never showed any sign of disinterest in me, that gave me a settled mind. One thing I noticed was that there was nothing to show that they were Muslims but I ignored it because there are some people like that. I also introduced him to my parents and they accepted him.
We got married not long after in a grand style and my parents surprised me with the gift of a new house. They said they were glad that I had to be patient enough to find a good man for myself.
On the night of our wedding day, my husband knelt before me to ask for my forgiveness, for something he was about to reveal to me, I was confused and asked him what revelation was he about to tell me that could warrant him seeking for my forgiveness, he asked me to promise him that I will forgive him and not leave him. I said I will forgive him whatever it might be.
He told me he had never been a Muslim that though his parents were once Muslims but they converted before he was born, that his grandparents gave him the Muslim name.
I was shocked, he said he pretended to be a Muslim because he knew I would never marry him if he had told me the truth, he said he loves me and didn’t want to lose me that I should please forgive him. I was furious with him and just left him and went to the guest room and locked myself inside, I cried myself to sleep because I felt betrayed. In the morning I woke up to see him sitting at the door of the guest room, he immediately went on his knee to beg me, I told him I forgave him and I was not going to leave him, because we signed a life contract and I love him to look beyond his shortcoming. He promised not to force me to change my religion, that I was free to practice my religion. We lived happily ever since.
One year later, my mother-in-law cane visiting and told me that it was time for me to start following them to church, I told her she know I couldn’t because I was not ready to practice their religion, she said if I was going to stay married in their family I must become one of them fully, that they can’t have me practice another religion aside theirs. I told my husband and he said I should be patient with her, that she already told him but he didn’t oblige that was why she came to me herself.
My mother-in-law kept on disturbing me amd even called a family meeting on me, they all resulted to me choosing between my marriage and my religion, I was already heavily pregnant and I couldn’t obviously leave my marriage, so I accepted their choice. I never told my parents what was going on, because I was afraid they might ask me to leave the marriage.
When I had my child, we did the naming in the church, that was when my parents got to know what was really happening, they were angry at me for not telling them what was going on, I begged them to forgive me that I didn’t want to bother them with my plight. My father said there is nothing they could do about it that since the situation is not life threatening, the decision of my husband and his family supercedes theirs and that I should take it as my fate and continue to be a submissive wife to my husband.
Ever since I became a christian, my mother-in-law had been so good to me, she took me just like her daughter and we never quarrel on anything, we virtually agreed on everything. I am now carrying my third child and happy in my marriage. My parents have been good to me because they knew it was not my intention to leave the religion, it was just fate. Though I still go by my Muslim name, I didnt get a christian name and I gave all my children Muslim names.