The news of mine and Tariq’s engagement exploded throughout PE and I was caught in it’s backlash. Dozens of congratulatory messages flooded my phone, from people I knew and people I had never met before. Our house phone didn’t stop ringing off its hook, from well wishers as far as Durban and Cape Town. Invitations to dawats started arriving by the dozen, from family and friends of the Kadwas. And all this was on top of the frenetic weddings preparations that were already under way.
Tariq’s family wanted a huge bash as they said their circle of family and friends was very large. I, on the other hand, wanted a small and simple wedding, without all the frills and fuss. We had many discussions on the topic because the Kadwas wanted to bring their large entourage even to the nikah dawat and I refused to have a big wedding. I put my foot down and said they could bring a maximum of seventy guests to our dawat. Then if they wanted to invite a thousand people to the walima that was their business. Mum and dad took my side on that alhamdulillah so that was settled, albeit a few grumbles from the boy’s side.
The other issue that arose was the wedding date. The Kadwas wanted a minimum of six months to prepare though I didn’t know what they had to prepare for since I was the bride here. I wanted the nikah in a month’s time because of the hadith I had done in madrsssah;
“It is narrated on the authority of Ali R A. that the Prophet (SAW) said to him, “O Ali! Do not postpone three things: prayer when it is time for it, funeral when it is ready and the marriage of an unmarried woman when a suitable match is found. [Ahmed 828, Ibn e Majah 1486]
At least Tariq took my side in this matter and convinced his mum to compromise and have it in six weeks instead. And so the date was set and the preparations began in earnest.
Luckily for me the August holidays rolled around at that time so I could prepare without madrassah stress getting in the way. Mum and dad took me to Jo’burg for a few days to shop for the main things and we gave a lovely woman who lived down my street and sewed like a wonder to prepare the rest of my trousseau. I made lists upon lists so I did not forget anything. Amira and Aliyah, and Zee whenever she got the chance, jumped in to help me out and willingly allowed themselves to be dragged from shop to shop in search of various things that a bride needs. My older, married cousins pitched in with a variety of advices on what else a married woman needs, some of which made me blush crimson and sent my cousins into gales of laughter. It was crazy, it was hectic and yet I enjoyed myself most of the time because it gave us cousins chance to spend ample time together and do crazy things.
Tariq messaged me two days after we got engaged, just a light, friendly message.
“Hey, salaams. Hope you’re well. Busy busy already?😉”
I stared at the message, my mind whirling. I knew this was wrong and from the beginning I was totally against communicating before marriage because it saps all the barakah from the marriage. But how to tell him that without hurting his feelings? I read his message again and again, sifting through my mind for the correct words; forming a reply, casting it aside as too blunt or too rude, forming another reply. Finally I took a deep breath. Polite but firm, Faz. Let him get the message but not feel bad about it.
“Wslm. I’m well alhamdulillah and hope you’re well too. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to come across as mean or prudish but I would prefer to begin our interactions after nikah, as that’s where the most blessings lie and I want our marriage to begin on the right foot and flourish inshaAllah❤”
I probably sound like a big apa, I thought, cringing, but I pressed send anyway. A few minutes later his reply came and I opened it with bated breath.
“No problem, I totally understand. If you do have any questions feel free to ask me or you can get in touch with my sister, Sameera. Au Revoir❤❤”
I let out the breath I’d been holding in a rush. At least he understood and didn’t make a fuss alhamdulillah! I didn’t have Sameera’s number but I would get it somehow if the need of it ever arose.
So far the need hadn’t arose. I didn’t have anything to ask him that couldn’t be asked after nikah. I would get to know him later, I mused with a smile. Leave the mystery and intrigue for now. Smiling to myself I skipped down the stairs to ask mum what else she needed to get done.