She was as beautiful as a Princess from Sudan, this Muslim girl of African origin from Deigo Martin who was married at the San Fernando Jama Masjid last Friday to the distinguished Afro-Surinamese Islamic scholar and my beloved brother, Shaikh Ali Mustafa Seinpaal. In fact she had an African name which meant ‘queen”.
Her father had passed away, and so she asked me to function in his place and to give her away in marriage. I thus became her Wakeel. She was the only Muslim in her family, but her family members were present for the wedding. Her mother informed me with a warm smile that she had come from Grenada, and, typical of Grenadian people, she and all her family were so friendly to us Muslims. They could not, and would not, be part of the wicked ‘war on Islam’ now raging around the world.
The Princess had become a Muslim because of the impact of Maulana Siddiq Nasir’s lectures that were broadcast on radio. She listened to his words and they touched her heart, and she came all by herself into Islam. Last year she became my student and I was amazed at her sincere dedication to the pursuit of knowledge. I must confess that it was I who first spoke to the Shaikh a few months ago about her.
And now to the wedding itself – she was delighted that Maulana Siddiq Nasir, through whose preaching she had been drawn to Islam, was present in the gathering and would deliver the marriage sermon. But before that could take place I had to first go to her and reconfirm that she had authorized me to be her Wakeel. Then followed the proposal of marriage given by Shaikh Ali Mustafa.
Since Islamic decorum requires that women sit behind (and not in front of) men in the Masjid, the bride sat at the back of the men and I had to take the marriage proposal to her for her consent. The law required that she speak out the words and say No! if she rejected the proposal, and since a woman cannot be married against her will in Islam, that would be the end of proceedings. But if she accepted the proposal her silence would legally imply consent. She also had to approve of the dowry that was offered with the marriage proposal.
I took with me two witnesses to witness the event. But they had to be people whose evidence was acceptable in court. The law of God is such that someone who tells lies (“I am a master of deception”) cannot be a witness since his evidence would be absolutely worthless in any court which operates according to Gods law.
When I returned with the good news that the marriage proposal and dowry were both accepted, Maulana Siddiq Nasir then delivered the marriage sermon. He reminded the audience, as well as the couple, that the Qur’an had declared that Allah Most High had “created mates for you from your own selves that you might dwell with them in peace, contentment and tranquility, and had placed betwixt your hearts love and kindness, and surely in this there were signs for a people who reflected over such phenomena.”
After this it was time for me to formally offer the Princess in marriage, and for the bridegroom to pronounce the words “I hereby marry you in Allah’s blessed name.”
The simple marriage ceremony was now over. Maulana Mushtaq Sulaimani of Pakistan then offered a prayer for Allah’s blessings on the marriage. And this was followed by a wedding luncheon.