To the best of my recollection, the very first book gift I got was from my elder brother, Bayo Bajo, on the occasion of my 14th or 15th birthday anniversary. It was a book on Public Speaking that significantly boosted my confidence and passion for rhetorics.
The second was from friend and colleague, Mujib Jimoh — a statute book containing African regional laws on human rights. This has proved helpful during research for one or two essays.
The third was received around this time last year from Omoya Yinka Simult, my dear intellectual omnivore. The book is Richard Dawkin’s autobiography: An Appetite for Wonder — by all means a great read.
This post, however, is about the fourth and latest. This is especially special (permit me) because it is from someone I have never truly met, but whose works I follow reverentially here on Facebook. Not long ago, Abdulbasit Kassim gifted me with a copy of “Beneath Her Headscarf,” a novel written by another dear brother and exemplar, Tohib Adejumo.
Since I became older, and since the days of Sebastian and Carolina, I have honestly taken little or no liking to “love stories.” Their end is nearly always predictable, and the lovey-dovey plot line always a bore. I assumed Beneath the Headscarf was one of such novels. My roommate, after reading the first and final chapters, did too.
We were wrong.
Click here to buy
In two sittings, I finished devouring the book. Surprisingly, at the second reading (which was yesterday morning), I even snubbed the call of nature and the grumblings of my belly just so I could reach the finish line.
It is a classic work of fiction, which draws its flavour from a combination of Islamic traditions, Yorùbá culture and youth life. While enjoying the author’s expert storytelling ability, you consciously and subconsciously also learn native aphorisms, religious tenets and methods, and lifesaving lessons for seeking knowledge, sustaining marriage and facilitating good interpersonal relationships.
The most crucial theme, I think, is the presentation of ideal Islam as that which is neither extreme nor lax, but moderate. The shortcomings of those on both extremities were comically presented and didactically, though tacitly, addressed.
Short as it may appear, the work is loaded with invaluable gems for Muslim students, spouses, parents and leaders. I recommend it for everyone.
I thank Abdulbasit Kassim for his kind gesture. I thank Nurdin Tèmítáyò Búsàrí, of AMAB, for consummating the gesture. And I thank Tohib Adejumo for making all these at all possible. May your orchard of wits continue to blossom, and may your good works thrive in the lush garden of prosperity.
Kunle Adebajo is an essayist, speech writer, and an editor for Agbowo, a magazine for new African arts. He has won prestigious prizes for his essays and speeches. He lives in Ibadan.