Fatima-New Work

Amina’s screams could be heard for miles across the open sands of the desert. Sheikh Bajes, walked the tent like a tiger pacing on a chain. He was pensive; he wanted was to hold his wife’s hand through this trial, something a man of his status could do if he chose in any circumstance, save this-birth.

He knew the specifics of all things that happened in the tribe, save this great mystery. This was the only thing he knew nothing about or what magic the women in the tent did. He only knew that children were a gift from Allah, and he had been waiting so long for a child. His wife had seemed barren, and now…now in her late 30’s a miracle happened, she became pregnant. Finally, he had the chance for a son, a son to rule after him, to lead his people.

Many told him divorce Amina, or take other wives. Many would have, but not Bajes, he could not imagine laying with anyone other than his Amina, it would be betraying his own heart. And his heart felt like a knife went through it ever time he heard her scream. He had to defend his foolish heart to many men and women who told him otherwise for the sake of the tribe, his name, his family honor, but with one look from his fearsome eyes, eyes that had watched a thousand men die underneath him, they typically shut their mouths quickly.

When she became pregnant he felt that his prayers and faithfulness had been answered. Amina too felt that the goodness of her husband would be rewarded with a son, a son to rule after the great Sheikh.

Amina screamed again, then silence. Bajes waited, there was no ululation from the women, fear gripped him. So many women lost their lives in childbirth, so many young women, Amina was far from her youth. Then footsteps in the sand, hurried steps sliding like a snake. One of his advisors, drew back the curtain of his tent.

“Sire, forgive me.”

“What is it! How is the child? Is it dead? Amina? Tell me!”

“No, no…they both live. I’m so very sorry Sire. The child…is a worthless girl.” Bajes rushed from the tent to tent where his wife had given birth. All the women kneeled in the sand, afraid of the dark look in his eyes, illuminated only by the spitting torch light and stars. Now…now would he finally put this woman away, Nabila the midwife’s assistant as he passed by, Nasira kicked her into silence.

Bajes, entered the tent. Amina’s face was very tired, her hair, black as obsidian, was drenched in sweat, in her arms, swaddled was a small and silent thing.

“Beloved, I am sorry…” her voice trailed off into tears.

“My heart…why…why do you cry.”

“It is a girl…I did not give you a son you so desired and deserved.” Her exhausted body was wracked with sobbing.

Bajes, was at her side in 3 steps, and scooped up from her arms the tiny silent baby girl. As he held her, she opened her hazel eyes, the color of his eyes, and tears ran down his face. He turned to Amina, and spoke, “This is my beloved daughter with whom I am well pleased. Her name will be Fatima, and she will lead her people, for she is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.” The great Sheikh took the baby out to the tribe who had gathered outside the birthing tent. He held the small girl up to the crowd. In a booming voice he shouted to the crowd, “This is Fatima! My beloved daughter! With whom I am well pleased!” All the women began their celebratory ululation. He brought Fatima down to his chest, cradling the tiny baby in his strong arms, he whispered to her, “You are my bright star, I will always lead you to your true north and protect you on your journey in this life. May Allah give me the wisdom to raise you in accordance with his plan for you, my beloved daughter. May you always find comfort and safety in my arms.”

And so it was, that Fatima, the greatest of all warriors entered the world.

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