The fear of coronavirus has delayed many Muslims who wish to walk down the aisle. However, for some others, the COVID-19 pandemic is not going to be a stumbling block towards beginning their marital journey.
In the part 2 of this series, RASHEED ABUBAKAR and ABDULLAHI ABDULGANIY share the stories of beautiful and ideal Nikaah ceremonies despite the pandemic.
There are hundreds of single Muslim men and women in Nigeria who opted to hold their Nikaah during COVID-19 lockdown, Muslim News investigations have revealed.
Like Abdullah’s scenario narrated earlier, many of them said they’ve held either wedding familiarization or introduction and fixed different dates to throw up a big event for their wedding ceremonies few months before the outbreak of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
Muslim News learnt of cases in Ibadan, Oyo State, Ilorin, Kwara State; Benin city, Edo State and several Northern states in Nigeria where people took the opportunity of the ease on lockdown and relaxation of ban on interstate movements to organise low-key wedding ceremonies.
Lateef Sanni and Sofiyat Oyesanya
Lateef Sanni who just tied the nuptial knot with his heartrob, Sofiyat Oyesanya told Muslim News that he felt devastated when it occurred to him that the Coronavirus pandemic will impact adversely on his wedding plans.
According to him, the Nikaah was slated for Saturday, April 11, 2020, long before the index case of COVID-19 in Nigeria, adding that familiarization and all necessary formalities had been done as they only awaited throwing up a big bash for the Aqdun-nikaah.
He said he never believed that anything would impede their plan.
Expressing his feelings about the development, Mr Lateef said;
“I felt so devastated to say the least. However, being a Muslim and strong believer in the will of Allah, I, as well as my spouse, believed that whatever delay was for the best as Allah is the Best of Planners. It’s easier to say now that everything is over but, it was not easy to accept, AlhamduliLlah.”
The newly wedded groom confirmed to Muslim News that they used the opportunity of the ease on lockdown and lifting of ban on interstate movements to quickly organise a low-key nikaah on Saturday, May 16, 2020 at the bride’s family house in Ibadan, Oyo State.
He said, “We didn’t want to delay because there was no reason to as holding a party wasn’t a necessity. Moreso, there wasn’t even any guarantee that the whole pandemic would get cleared out anytime soon. Besides, it’s not in the sunnah to delay nikaah.
“We tried as much as possible to follow the social distancing rule and adhered to the restrictions on gatherings in the state,” he said.
Like others who organised low-key wedding celebrations, Lateef revealed numerous benefits in the Nikaah under lockdown. According to him, advantages are embedded in it, saying that the cost is low and it’s actually less time consuming unlike the usual elaborate parties.
Muhammed Aliyu and Lateefah Odebode
Also speaking with Muslim News is Muhammed Aliyu Oluwasegun who explained how the novel Coronavirus paralysed the plans he had for his wedding, noting that the lack of knowledge of when the pandemic would ease away forced him into a low-key celebration.
“My name is Muhammed Aliyu Oluwasegun and my wife’s name is Odebode Lateefah Temitope. The Nikaah date was agreed since December 2019 before we even heard of COVID-19 in Africa, let alone Nigeria.”
According to him, “The introduction was done since November 2019, but the Nikaah date was not fixed until December. So, since that time, preparations for the Nikaah had kickstarted. The news of the COVID-19 outbreak did not upset my mind since the preparations began until some cases were recorded in Lagos and Abuja.
“I was more disturbed when the federal and Lagos state governments restricted the number of people in any social gathering to fifty persons. The situation worsened when the Edo state government also gave a directive that the number of persons in any gathering should not exceed twenty,” he said.
Aliyu noted that when the ban on social gatherings was made, there were concerns from family members and invited guests if the nikaah would still hold. He added that the wedding ceremony wasn’t postponed as he was advised and he resorted to a low-key event amid the lockdown order.
According to him,
“By the time measures from governments were getting stricter, some invited guests were already asking if the Nikaah will be postponed. In fact, some family members advised me to postpone it.
“But I was not ready to postpone it for two reasons. First, no one knows when the end of COVID-19 would be. Again, I had been praying for that day to come; so a delay would not be okay. I just had to pray for the best.”
Aliyu Adam and Habeebah Zekeri
Sharing the same view was Aliyu Adam Arebu Junior who had his wedding celebration in April, 2020. He believed that there was no need for further delay since no one knows the end of the novel Coronavirus, adding that they had to comply with the present reality.
Unlike others who fixed their Nikaah last year, Adam and his spouse, Habeebah Zekeri Momodu Adam had their official familiarization in January, with introduction on the 29th of February, 2020 when the Coronavirus disease first hit Nigeria.
They eventually fixed a date for the wedding ceremony, which turned out to be low-key due to the lockdown order and social distancing policy.
Speaking to Muslim News on how he felt when things turned out to be as they were, Adam said, “I didn’t feel bad. I put it in mind that if Allah wanted it to hold nothing would stop it. So, even with the COVID-19 pandemic, we kept pushing our plans while Allah was doing His majestic work. My wife also had the same mindset that Allah holds the final say while we do the human part of it”.
The wedding ceremony which held at Ikabigbo, Uzairie in Etsako West local government area of Edo state, Nigeria around 10:30am on the 12th of April 2020 was overseen by the Deputy Imam of Ikabigbo with his entourage in compliance with the government laid down rules.
Adam said that he could not delay the wedding ceremony because he never knew when the Coronavirus pandemic would stop, as he was eager to clinch the reward in completing his Deen (religion) with his remaining half.
He noted that the biggest advantage in organizing Nikaah in this period of pandemic was the less stress accrued to it as against the hustle and bustle of the flamboyant wedding ceremony, saying however that his disappointment was that many of his invitees were not able to grace the occasion.
Despite the rush for Nikaah under lockdown, some prospective couple however prefer to hold on till the coast is clear for them to gather family and friends for a big celebration.
“They are comfortable postponing the event till further notice in order to make an elaborate celebration. To us, women, getting married is once in a life time affair,” Zaynab Oladipupo said.