I am back from Europe and my beloved London. There were so many things I wanted to do, but only so many things I got around doing.
There’s one moment I kept imagining before I went on this trip, the moment when I got off the airplane with Layali. How I would breathe in London’s hustle and bustle and share it with my little one. Instead – Layali had poo’d and I had to rush to the next changing station to avoid leakage. But alas – the damage was done! As we were delayed as well, I had to then rush out to find my Auds. Even before I got off the plane I got drawn into the hectique and had barely a moment to enjoy it as much as I had idealized. But – who am I fooling? I love it no matter what!
Being back in London – well, other than talks of Brexit still going on and nothing cleared yet, nothing had changed. It was still the melting pot of a city that I loved and missed so much. The most interesting bit was yet to come though. The reunion with my family after the drama that happened last year, and the religious ceremony!
When Brandon arrived in Europe, he was very nervous about it. And as I had never gone through a nikah before, I didn’t know what to expect either. This one was gonna be a special one as it was going to be a nikah between a Muslima and a Non-Muslim. Not a lot of imams are happy to perform a ceremony like that. “Nikah is not permissible between the two of you”, is the response that I got from the Islamic Centre in Kansas. And that’s just one example of the narrow mind that some Islamic clerics like to keep.
And when the day came, family members started turning up at my uncle’s door. I didn’t even know who was gonna attend. It is not unusual to perform the nikah at the bride’s place, or in this case at her uncle’s. Well, when my uncle’s friend turned up, Ayman dived straight into it. But before the ceremony started or a very large part of it, was to “invite” my husband to Islam. Yes, we had found a cleric that was happy to perform a wedding between a Muslima and Non-Muslim, that doesn’t mean though, it shouldn’t have been given a try at least to convert another person to “the right path”. A Muslim is a person with a specific set of values that every decent person follows anyways, we were taught. If you can agree to those values, then in Ayman’s view you were basically a Muslim. There was some good pressure put on Brandon to sign the certificate and “become” a Muslim. It would ease my life and my family’s because the community would be more accepting. They basically didn’t understand their own religion well enough to show the tolerance they were supposed to show. Why wouldn’t it make sense to lecture the community instead? To teach them about their own shortcomings? Reach out and be public about your own “progressive” views? My husband resisted and I am proud of him. Fear of reaction or exposure should never be a motivation to do something you can’t stand for.