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French woman at the Paris mosque

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[FILE PHOTO] Muslim woman

She is French. She lives in Paris, France. Ordinarily, to be French and live in Paris, is to be constructed as the other of Islam.

This is because Paris is not in anyway a city of Islam the same way Madinah is not in anyway synonymous with Madrid. But thanks to modernity and globality, the city of Paris is cosmopolitan in ways Madinah cannot be. There in Paris, there are Muslims who live as if they are Dahran; there in Montpelier, Islam is reenacted and projected, every moment, most times in its most solemn and positive ways. Paris is renown as the city of magic. Whenever the city occupies the front pages of the print or electronic media, it is usually for good reasons.
Until recently.

Yes. Recently, some individuals who identified with Islam sought to turn the city to a theatre of war and violence. They perpetrated acts that are not only abhorrent to the religion but have also inflamed the fire of Islamophobia. Until recently. Paris had known peace and tranquility. But when the Yellow protesters took over its streets and boulevards, the familiar quickly became unfamiliar.

Thus, that particular morning, she took hold of her son’s hand and headed straight to that mosque in Paris. Her name and identity? Unknown.

The young boy was fourteen years old. His name? Unknown. His father’s whereabout could not be accounted for. He was simply at large. He was probably one of those men whose notion of fatherhood is delimited to the task of depositing the seed and moving on with their lives. These are men who treat women as estates; men see the female gender as spoils of war or arch-enemies to be exploited and plundered.

Perhaps not. Perhaps the reason his father was present by his absence lies elsewhere not in gender politics. Yes. The young boy’s mother could have been the reason he has no male hero to look up to. She was probably the one who opted out of her marriage in order to become ‘a baby-mama’.

Marriage in the West and, by extension nowadays, is like lottery- everybody buys the ticket; only one or two people win. Thus she could have opted out of the wedlock in order to be free. Yes. The more modern the world has become, the more slippery traditional values have become; the more ‘advanced’ the world becomes, the more the number of single-parents in our cities witness an increment.

Upon their arrival to the Islamic centre, she instructed her son to enter the mosque, seek out the Imam and ask him to perform the ritual of acceptance of Islam for and on him. Having known no other god except his mother, and having become acculturated to not question or query his mother’s instructions, the young boy entered the mosque and pointedly addressed the Imam: “My mother wants you to assist me embrace Islam”.

Apparently taken aback by the unusual request and having sufficient knowledge of the conditions governing the validity of acceptance of Islam, the Imam asked the young boy in return: ‘do you wish to accept or embrace Islam?” The innocent boy responded saying: “I have not given that any thought at all. It is my mother who wanted me to embrace the religion.

Then the Imam asked the boy again: “This your mother…is she a Muslim?” The boy replied in the negative and added saying: “I do not know the reason she wants me to embrace Islam”. The Imam then asked the boy: “Where is your mother”? He replied: “She is outside the mosque”.

The imam therefore asked the boy to go and bring his mother. When they came, the Imam asked the woman: “Is it true that you are not a Muslim but you want your son to embrace the religion? The woman responded in the affirmative. The Imam was surprised. He then asked her: “why”?. The woman’s response to the Imam’s question occupy the core of today’s sermon. She said: “I live in a condominium at the Paris city centre.

In the flat opposite mine, there is a woman who lives with her two young boys both of whom are students in the university.

Now, every day, whether in the morning or at night, I observe that whenever the two boys go or return from their schedules, they kiss the forehead and the hand of their mother out of love. They relate to their mother with such strong honour as if she is the president of the country. I therefore want my son too to embrace Islam so that when I become old he would not throw me to the Retirement House for the old and the aged; he would show concern for me and relate to me the way Islam demands that children relate to their parents”.

The moral in this story is self-evident- the necessity to teach children how to adore and care for their parents.

Perhaps most importantly, in this story is one other evidence to show that Islam is not only comprehensive but is indeed better by far. May the Almighty grant the requests of our brethren whose desire for the fruit of the loin and the womb remains outstanding. Amin.


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