Net Gain: Expats Tying The Knot On Webcam!

RIYADH: Babar Ali Malik, 33, from the Pakistani city of Lahore and Iffat Shaheen, 28, from Sargodha, had planned a grand wedding. However, their plans fell flat with Babar’s inability to travel to Pakistan from Riyadh at the eleventh hour because of some problems. But that did not deter the couple. They kept their date with destiny and married here Friday night. All they did was remove the frills and went ahead with what can be called an “e-nikah”.

The nikah was performed at a simple ceremony organized at the house of Shaheen’s sister Parveen Jameel, who has been living in Riyadh for the last several years.

In another case, Amir Ali, 25, and Amina Jabbar, 22, both from Lahore, also got married online. Ali, who works for a local maintenance and construction company, will be traveling to Pakistan after Eid holidays.

Babar and Ali have similar plans now, either to travel to Pakistan after Eid holidays or to procure family visas for their spouses to bring them here as soon as possible.

Ali, who hails from Lahore, is the third among nine brothers and sisters, while Amina is second in a family of three brothers and three sisters. Despite being separated by over 4,000 km, the two Pakistani couples made history in the holy month of Ramadan when they decided to exchange their marriage vows Islamically over the Internet, while their faces glazed as they stared at each other over the webcams. The two marriage ceremonies were organized separately in the capital city.

Explaining the e-nikah ceremony, Parveen said that “Babar, who has been living in Riyadh for the last several years, was unable to travel to Lahore for the wedding and hence both families decided to make use of the Internet to solemnize the Nikah.” She said the nikah ceremony at her house was attended by about 40 people including women and children from both sides. Parveen said that the scholars gave the nod for e-nikah and hence “we happily went ahead with our plans.”

Bride Shaheen uttered “Qubool hai (I accept), Qubool hai, Qubool hai” into an Internet phone in front of her family members as an imam from her side asked for Babar’s consent from Sargodha. “It was a unique experience, I never thought that I would get married this way,” said Babar, a senior advertising executive.

Shaheen is the youngest daughter in the family and hers was the last marriage in the family. Her sister Parveen, a housewife, made no attempt to hide her joy. “I am happy the way my sister got married. Maybe she was destined to marry this way,” said Parveen.

On camera, Shaheen’s face gleamed through her bridal wear, while Amina was happy to tie the knot after several years of waiting. “I was a bit upset as I could not enjoy my marriage the way I had planned it, but then the conditions were such,” said Ali.

Many expatriates, who fail to travel to their home countries, opt for e-nikah nowadays. Prominent Islamic institutions in the Middle East and Pakistan approve of the Internet nikah. The Internet assumes the role of a lawyer in such cases and was therefore competent to formally supervise the Ijaab (offer) and Qubool (acceptance) made by the bride and bridegroom.

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