At home, we poured out the whole story to my husband, who then said,”I know the husband of the mudeera. I will go pray Isha with him and find out what’s going on.”
He was gone longer than usual that evening, but we were waiting for him at the door when he returned.
“Everything is OK now,” he said, “they will phone you tomorrow and ask you to come back.”
“What?!” For the second time that day, I was in shock.
Turns out, one of the madrassa teachers recognized my girls as daughters of an Egyptian woman who had been a teacher several years ago. She told the mudeera, who was then suspicious. Why were these Egyptian girls coming with an American woman who pretended to be their mother, and they pretended to be her children? Stranger yet, why did this American woman read Arabic but did not speak it very well? And where was the real mother of these girls?
The mudeera decided that I was a spy for the government, though for which government, she did not know. However, that was the most plausible explanation. So she kicked us out, not wanting any trouble.
When my husband told the mudeera’s husband that he had divorced the girl’s mother and sent her back to Egypt, and later married an American Muslimah, the other man understood, and explained the situation to his wife.
My girls’ dignity had been insulted to the extent that they said, “We’re never going back there!” but I said, “Let’s go back and show those people that they cannot push us around. We want to learn tajweed, so let’s make them teach us.”
The next day, a woman phoned and said, “Well, are you coming back or not?” and I said, “Yes,” and hung up the phone. No salaam, no sorry, just that question. I knew these women were not of a more fortunate social class, but I was surprised at their crude manner and narrow attitude. I needed all my courage to go back the next day and convince my girls to go with me.
We did. We were reinstated and everyone acted as if nothing had happened. That was fine with me. All I wanted was instruction, nothing more, nothing less, and I got it. We stayed for several months, but the biggest blessing was yet to come.