Last night after Maghreb my husband and I celebrated his 23rd birthday and I had the best evening by far. He even surprised me with supper for his birthday! Since it was the first birthday shared as a married couple it was extremely special for both of us and I tried to make it as special as possible. He loved all his gifts except one. I got him a 23rd birthday key. For those of you not familiar with the tradition, in South Africa turning 21 is a big deal and people have generally had big celebrations and were gifted a 21st birthday key to symbolize the importance of the birthday. When Rameez turned 21 he did not receive a key and despite his nonchalance I know he wanted one. In his defense I did say I would get him one. So, instead I got a 23rd birthday key for this day. Although it is not part of the tradition I told him that his 23rd birthday is actually the milestone. We got married this year, he will graduate this year IA, started marriage classes which is honestly a big step for both of us, he is officially working this year and many more things are happening. Eventually he warmed up to it and now it stands proudly on our dresser. Even though it is his birthday i am celebrating too as my mom in law got him two tickets and before he could decide on his plus one i claimed it as my own haha! Ed Sheeran and i are good friends so it only makes sense that i attend you know?
On Tuesday we attended our first marriage class as husband and wife. Husband and wife. Husband and wife. Still cant get over it lol! It was a very happy lesson for us as everything being said is now being practiced. Before, everything we learnt was to prepare us for marriage, but now we have to do it. This week An important topic was touched on which is the Walee. The Walee is the father of the bride. As I have mentioned before, the women has many witnesses and delegates to stand on her behalf during the Nikah and engagement preparations. This is because Islam is aware of the needs of women and the fact that we need strong and faithful husbands to care for us properly. The various rules and requirements for marriage is to ensure the wife will be taken care of properly. Something many Muslims do not realize, me included, is that this could make a marriage batil(invalid).
So, what is the Walee? The Walee is the father of the bride. There is a major emphasis on the presence of the father as well as the right the father has to accept or reject a proposal for his daughter. The politics comes in when the father is not present, not practicing Islam and not making decisions on behalf of his daughter with her best interests in mind. If the Walee is not around, not in a sober state of mind, far away or has died then the rights goes to the next family member which would be the grandfather. If he is not able to then it passes on the uncle etc. The father, despite how he lives his life or his faith cannot be disregarded unless it falls under one of the cases which would make him not the ideal person for the responsibility. (there are various cases you can look it up if you are interested to see where it applies for the father to forfeit his responsibility as your walee)
According to my Sheikh there are many cases when women claim their fathers are not around or living with bad habits and he is just not a father figure in her life. Unfortunately, if the exceptions do not apply she should try to get her father involved first before saying he cannot be present. She should even go as far as bribing him and being nice saying “daddy please can you do this for me or if you do this I will reward you with a nice gift” so it might help him prepare for the big day. Again, the main factor to remember is that all of these regulations are there to protect our women. Although the world does not know it, Muslims know the status of a women is Islam is higher than a male. For this reason marriage has to be done correct to protect the female.