Alhaji Mahama Bila or Mahan Bila was one of the renowned preachers in Tamale. He founded the famous Arabic institution known as Nawariyyah Islamic Institute. The common mentality of many Muslim preachers at the time Hajia Mariam was born was not to allow female children to attend secular institutions since women were only expected to learn their religion perfectly to be good wives to their husbands.
Hajia Mariam was left with no option than to attend her Fathers, institute thus Nawariyyah Islamic Institute. According to Hajia Mariam her father, Alhaji Mahama Bila made her start studying Al-Ahadri, Al-Ashmawi and her favorite Al-Zaburah, and many many other books. Her relationship with her father began to tear apart when she declined to marry the man her father chose for her, to make matters worse, she fell in love with a Yoruba man.
But we didn’t know that as hajia was growing up, in other for her not to stray, her father had formed a marriage alliance with another family. However, hajia made it clear she wanted to marry me. We tried all we could to get her father to agree, but he insisted he couldn’t break the alliance.Alhaji Alhassan Alolo
A lot of well-known religious men came asking Hajia Mariam’s hand in marriage, but she refused, she wanted to marry the Yoruba man. “And the Yoruba man was attractive, he was fair and rich, and was also religious, but my parents were not in support of the idea of marrying a Yoruba man, they asked me if I have seen any family member marry a Yoruba before”.
Prior to this incident, Hajia Mariam had rejected a marriage proposal, so her mother went to her uncle asking him to talk to Hajia Mariam about the issue. His uncle told Hajia Mariam’s mum not to pay attention to her, that she is not responsible for herself, they are. So his uncle asked one of his family members who had one wife at the time to ask for Hajia Mariam’s hand in marriage, he made the situation worse.
So without Hajia Mariam’s knowledge, they prepared and then went through all the marriage procedures, then told Hajia Mariam after everything, but she refused. By refusing she made things worse, they started making up stories about Hajia Mariam, and the Yoruba man she wanted to marry, they told her father she didn’t want to marry the man they chose. Upon hearing, Hajia Mariam’ and friends went to the man’s shop and insulted him. When her father heard of this, he got so angry that he called Hajia Mariam’s mother (Hajia Zainab) and asked her to look for a father for her
This particular man who wanted to marry her, even I was wondering, imaging people saying alhaji mahan-bila gave her daughter out to a yoruba man, and as at then we feared them, we were afraid of the Yorubas, if he gave out to a Yoruba, I thought of this, but I didn’t say it outwardly.
Then, those that were seated around told my husband to send me away, so I would take hajia Mariam to her father to give her out for marriage, that she isn’t his child, I went in, I picked my child, I can’t remember who exactly it was, so I picked the child and then boarded a car to kunbungu, and hajia also left and boarded another car as well.Hajia Zainab (Mother of Hajia Maraim Alolo)
we were still on the issue when she left for her uncle’s place at aboaboo. We went to her father and he told us she wasn’t there, he had even sent her mother away because of the issue, he felt she was the one encouraging her. So she came to my mother pleading with her to tell me to leave hajia alone because her father was very angry and hajia had to go to her uncle’s place. So hajia’s father later asked us to go to her uncle for her hand in marriage, so it was from her uncles that we sought her hand in marriage. Her father later agreed to the marriage and after all the procedures were done, he realized there was no wrong in us getting married, and since then, he blessed the marriage.Alhaji Alhassan Alolo