Ali’s phone rings. One message received…
Ahmad: On my way.
15 minutes later, the door is knocked.
Ali: Waalaikumussalam warahmatullah! Come in.
Ahmad: Are your parents home?
Ali: Nope, they went out to buy food for iftar.
Ahmad: And you didn’t go with them?
Ali: Nah, I don’t feel like it. This year I wanna cut back on my trips to Ramadhan bazaars ‘cause I always step out of one with more than I need.
Ali: Hey, take a seat bro.
Ahmad: Thanks. So…what’s happenin’ bro? It’s been three weeks. When are you going to make your move?
Ali: Yeah, bout that. Recently I’ve been preoccupied with my parents, talking to them about this marriage thingy. My parents, Alhamdulillah they do have Islam, but sometimes culture can take over you know.
Ahmad: Oh, what seems to be the problem?
Ali: Well, the usual stuff I guess. My mom wants me to do a bersanding session, a big ol’ walimah, an engagement party, and the list goes on and on man. Some of this cultural stuff I don’t even know about dude!
Ahmad: What about your dad?
Ali: He’s a simple guy. He said no hantaran, mahr is enough.
Ahmad: Well, that’s good right? Hantaran is not even a requirement. Besides, people tend to go overboard with that kind of stuff.
Ali: Yeah, I guess. But he still needs convincing though.
Ahmad: Was that all that you guys discussed?
Ali: We did discuss about Alia. I briefly told them about her based on what you told me. You didn’t lie to me did you?
Ahmad: Bro, I think you had too much falafel for suhur. I wouldn’t lie to you, especially in something like this. Everything that I’ve told you about her is 100% true; the good and the bad. If I did lie to you, you would find out about it after marriage anyway and all hell will break loose! I wouldn’t do that to you, you’re my bro.
Ali: Whoa, hey! I’m just checkin’ to make sure. No need for bromance.
Ahmad: But I gotta be honest with you. I’m a bit worried about your potential walimah, especially the whole bersanding thing. I can’t bear to see my sister looking like some Chinese opera character and being displayed to people like that.
Ali: I hear you. I keep reminding them the real reason why we do walimah in the first place and that is to publicize the marriage to people, and not to publicize how rich we are. Not only that, I told them that I want Allah’s blessing in every step of the way.
Ahmad: What do you mean?
Ali: You know, I wanna start this marriage on the right foot. If my beginning is not blessed, then what about my ending? Gotta think long term bro. That’s how we roll.
Ahmad: Masha Allah, you’re right. I hadn’t thought of that. Must’ve been hard to convince your parents.
Ali: It is. But Alhamdulillah, I noticed that their heart is opening up to how I wanna do things. It’s not that I’m against our culture. Some of them are actually very good. But you gotta filter ‘em out you know? What goes well with Islam will stay and what doesn’t will go bye bye.
Ahmad: So, what now?
Ali: Well, I’ve arranged a meeting between my parents and this one Ustadh I know. FYI, he’s cool. I think it’ll be easier to get the message across if they heard it from someone their age and of religious authority, hopefully.
Ahmad: I hope everything will go well.
Ali: Ameen. Wait a minute! Don’t you have driver’s ed today? Why did you come here all of a sudden?
Ahmad: I had to postpone it, pulled some strings in the process. Kinda pulled my hamstring on my way over here too. Man, I gotta fix that bike ASAP!
Ali: Still riding that bike around huh?
Ahmad: You bet! Anyway, I got something more important to do.
Ali: What’s up?
Ahmad: Lia sent me here. She wants to propose to you.
Ali: Say what?!