At the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dearborn MI, a mixture of Muslims and non-Muslims are pouring into the hotel lobby from the parking area. They all make their way into the banquet hall that can hold at least two hundred people. In front of the hotel, a white limousine waits outside. The limo driver gets out of the limo and opens the back door. Emerging from the limo is an Arab woman in her early twenties. Her name is Zuleika bint Malak.
Inside the banquet hall, it is decorated in purple silver, and white. The table is decorated with a high quality of cotton. Vases of flowers set on each table, and the dinner was sterling silver. However, there was an area set up for the wedding ceremony.
Zuleika has a beige skin tone Arab woman in her early twenties. She wears all white Muslim garb consisting of an abaya, hijab, and a niqab. The niqab that covers her face contains jewelry that consists of silver and amethyst stones. Zuleika has green eyes that are beautified with dark kohl eyeliner and a smoky purple eye shadow that gives her an exotic look. She escorted by other Muslim bridesmaids who are wearing purple abayas with silver hijabs and pearled floral broaches. In front of the groom sits an Imam who is wearing a white thobe and kufi.
Bride maids escort Zuleika to the front of the banquet, where the groom is an African American male in his late twenties. The groom sits on a large oriental rug that can fit at least five people. The groom has dark skin African American male in his late twenties. His healthy physique is shown through the fit of his marriage clothes; he wears a royal purple thobe with silver embroidery with a white kufi. Draped across his shoulders is a checkered purple and white keffiyeh. His name is Asad ibn Hajj.
The Imam begins the ceremony with an Islamic prayer of salat, giving four rackets reciting the four Quls of protection. Even though it was not custom but the particular Imam believed that reciting these specific surahs would give and added blessing to the marriage.
"We come here today see a beautiful blessing of Allah as he has shined his mercy upon these two servants of his. As all Muslims know that it is a blessing and mercy that marriage offers as it fulfills half of our deen. As we know that there is a dowry price, which the bride asks for none, but brother Asad like to present one any away.
"Asad Ibn Hajj, please presents the dowry?" The Imam requested.
Asad reaches next to him for a cherry-stained wooden box with Islamic calligraphy written in golden brass. He hands it to the Imam. The Imam opens it and shows it to the crowd as dowry are gold bars worth over $6000.
"Al'ukht zaliqat Hal tuqbal hdha almhr? yurja altaakid biqawl 'anani 'aqbil thlath maraatin. Sister Zuleika, do you accept this dowry? Please confirm by saying I accept three times.)" The Imam asked in Arabic.
"Nem 'aqbil , 'aqbil , 'aqbal. (Yes I accept, I accept, I accept,)" Zuleika replied. The Imam hands the dowry to a trusted bridesmaid.
"As of this day under the decree of Allah, I pronounce Asad and Zuleika united in matrimony."
Hours after the wedding ceremony and the walima (wedding party) Asad and Zuleika retire for the night inside Presidential Suite. As the married couple sits on the bed, the room is filled with the aroma of Three King resin (Frankincense, Sandalwood, and Myrrh) burned in a silver incense holder, giving the room a spiritual cleansing fragrance.
The groom is a dark skin African American male in his late twenties. His healthy physique is shown through the fit of his marriage clothes; he wears a thobe, kufi, and keffiyeh royal colors of purple and silver embroidery. His name is Asad Ibn Hajj.
The Muslim woman is and beige skin tone Arab woman in her early twenties. She wears all white Muslim garb consisting of an abaya, hijab, and a niqab. The niqab that covers her face contains jewelry that consists of silver and amethyst stones. Her eyes are green, yet they are beautified with dark kohl eyeliner and a silver metallic purple eye shadow that gives her an exotic look. Her name is Zuleika Bint Malak.
As they look at each other, Zuleika takes off her niqab, revealing almond color skin tone to her husband, her plum painted lips. She smiles at her husband, showing her perfect whites. She looks at her love with affection in her eyes.
"Ana uhibbuka!" The Arabic woman states, "I love you" in Arabic. Asad smiles and returns the verbal affection, "Inna ahbk aydaan!" Asad replies.
Asad moves closer to Zuleika until his lips meet hers. Zuleika closes her eyes and puts her hands that are decorated with henna, on the back of Asad's bald head. Zuleika presses her lips tightly against Asad's. until she pulled back.
"What is it. You want to to...wait?" Asad asks with a sincere look.
"Promise me. Promise you won't hurt me as those men did in my country. Asad smiles.
"I promise. You are my wife, and you are very precious to me, but Allah."
Tears of joy fall from Zuleika's face upon hearing Asad words. Even though Asad had a deep baritone voice, his words sound like soft violin music that she been longing to hear.
As I laid next to my American husband, I felt a sense of peace that I haven't felt in a long time. I have long waited for a husband that American's would call a prince charming. Even though I am not what my prince would call me a deserving bride as he is not my first husband or my first time marrying Asad. I have been married so many times that I cannot remember. You may ask how this was possible.
(Five Years Ago)
My story began in Iraq in the city of al Kadhimiya. I was married at the age of 14 to a friend of the family. His name was Farooq Ibn Abbas. He was 42 years and already been married twice. My parents arranged the marriage, which I was not happy to through. I was still a child when I lost my virginity. During my first marriage, my husband was abusive. He is not like my Asad. Asad gives me all the right of a wife should have in according to the teachings of Islam. Asad gives me money and bought me clothes, expecting nothing but the anticipation of marrying me.
My first husband did not do those things. I was restricted to the stereotypical duties of a housewife. Cook, clean, and service my ex-husband's needs in the bedroom. I pregnant twice but had miscarriages due to my husband's beatings. When he nearly killed me, he made every attempt to leave him when I was released from the hospital. However, Farooq made it easy for me to leave when he said he wanted to divorce me when he met another 14-year girl to marry. I was 18 when my husband through me out on the street with no food or money.
I was homeless for nearly a week, sleeping in alleyways and any place that sheltered me from the weather. I had not eaten in days, and I had to steal food. May Allah forgive me. I thought I was at the lowest point of my life when I met a Sheik. His full name was Sheik Abdelnour. Sheik saw me walking alone with a sad look on his face. He approached me in secret and gave me a card. He told me to meet him at his office late at night. I did so. I knew it was an adverse judgment. If I was caught with him alone, I risked jail time and possibly death. However, I was dead rather it was from starvation or being executed by the Iraqi estate. So I took my chances and went to his office. He opened the door just enough for the chain on the door would allow it to be open. He instructed me to go around back to the back alley to avoid suspicion. I went to the narrow alleyways and waited at the designated area. He opened the door and told me to hurry inside.
Sheik fed me Arancini ball (fried potatoes stuffed with meat) and black ice tea. While I ate, he asked why I was living on the street. I told the Sheik my story while. He gave me some comforting words and offered a solution to my problems.
"Sister, I can help. How do you feel about temporary marriage," Sheik asked as he stared at me, waiting for an answer. I could not find the words as he was referring to Muk'tah marriage. It was a common practice in the Khadhimiya when marrying women for the short term.
"I dunno, I want to be married for the rest of my life."
"Sister, you are divorced. Take my word that no man wants to marry a divorced woman in Iraq."
"Then why would you offer Muk'tah marriage as an option."
"Because men will pay you to marry them and have sex with you."
"I am not a prostitute."
"You won't be. You will be married. He will pay you a dowry, which you will pay me 70 percent for finder fee and process for the paperwork. When the marriage is over. You'll be richer than what you are now."
The Sheik made what the suggestion sounded simple, and I had no choice. Simple is was not, but he clearly I have no choice. I needed money to eat. Once I agreed, he gave me a key to an apartment, a cell phone, and enough dinar. He told me to used the money to go shopping for clothes. When I excepted his offer, I did not realize what I was getting into.
When I entered the apartment, it was small. I that it was literally was a studio apartment with a bathroom, the kitchen, and the bedroom was all in one area. I could not complain as I had a roof over my head and some money. The first night I showered and washed my clothes with a used bar of soap. When I was done cleaning myself and my clothes, I hung my clothes in the bathroom and laid in the bed, nude. The only thing I had was a bed sheet to cover myself. I went to bed so I can get up and shop for all the essential supplies I needed.
When I was shopping, I received a cell phone from Sheik while shopping for clothes. He said he found someone that wanted to marry for a day. I had no choice but to except. He proceeded with the marriage over the phone. He asked me was I doing this of my own free will. I said, yes. Then he asked me, "Do I except" three times, and I replied three times with the answer, "Yes." Next thing I know, I was married. I had to finish shopping at that moment and rush home. I already bought makeup and needed a new garment. I bought the two I already had picked out. I paid and quickly made it back. My temporary husband had not shown up yet, so it gave me time to make myself look presentable. I put on some makeup and some perfume. I dressed in the new clothes I bought and waited for him. I literally waited hours for my temporary husband. It was night time, and I fell asleep. I heard a knock at my door around midnight. I opened the door, and I saw a middle-aged man with a graying beard. I was very nervous and wanted to change my mind, but I had no other option but to let my husband through the door.
There is no way of counting how many times I was married. All I know, I had to find a way out. The Sheik was setting me up with men who like to get physically abusive just to act out their sick fantasies. A lot wanted sodomy, which I refused as it was not permissible. When I rejected the idea, I was beaten and forced to do it anyway. I tried telling the Sheik. He told me I must please these men regardless if I was married to them for one night. He even excused sodomy. He said if my heart was not into it, then the sin was between the husband and Allah. Yet, deep down inside, I felt just as guilty, and I needed a way out. My body could not take the abuse. I was bruised, tired, and used up.
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