Love From Al Kadhimiya

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Zulaika is an Iraqi woman living in the Al Kadhimiya district in Iraq. After being divorced and forced into poverty conditions, Zulaika meets Sheik Abdelnoor, a local religious leader who offers her the opportunity to make money through Muk’tah (temporary) marriage for money. Shortly after excepting Sheik’s offer, Zulaika soon finds herself being prostituted to countless men. Asad is an American Muslim who goes on Hajj to find himself after going through a terrible divorce. Shortly after his pilgrimage, Asad travels to Iraq. While taking a taxi to a hotel, Asad saves Zulaika from jumping off the Al Aamah Bridge. Not long, Abdelnoor claiming to be her Wali (guardian), quickly whisk her away. Feeling obligated to check on Zulaika’s wellbeing, Asad decides to track her down. After successfully locating Zulaika, Asad discovers the so-called religious leader has been trafficking Zulaika for profit. Asad decides to save Zulaika by marrying her and moving her to the U.S. Now Zulaika and Asad live in American, both attempting to adapt to their elope marriage lifestyle.

Age Rating:


It is the middle of winter in Bagdad, Iraq. Inside a marriage magistrate office in the Thawra district (Sadr City), couples wait inside a crowded room to say their vows. The early morning 45-degree weather was the perfect climate for marriage. Young women starting at the age of fourteen are getting married to men who are eighteen and older.

One particular couple stood out from amongst everyone else. The groom is a 27 year old African American male in his late twenties. He has a healthy physique that is displayed in his torso and biceps. He wears a black thobe that flows to his sandals’ ankle; and white Kufi and a checkered black & white keffiyeh. He is 6′3 in height and weighs about 230 lbs. His face has a clean-shaven beard with connecting sideburns. His beard luster with shea butter gives his face an ebony glow. His name is Asad Ibn An-Nas.

His bride is an Arab woman of Iraqi descent who is in her early twenties with light olive skin color. She is 5′7 in height and weighs 180 lbs. Her body carries the extra pounds gracefully in her breast and hips. She wears a pink abaya, white hijab, and brownish-red boots. She wears makeup to enhance the beauty she already possessed. Her emerald green eyes are beautified with dark kohl eyeliner and smokey grey eyeshadow. Her lips glistened with a magenta color lipstick, enhancing her exotic look. Her name is Zulaikah Bint Malak.

Zulaikah is shaking with nervousness while Asad sat next to her with a firm, calm demeanor. Asad’s arms and legs are folded as he waits patiently. The couple waited for hours to see a marriage magistrate. Zulaikah notices the condescending stares she was getting from the men. One person mumbles in Arabic, “She is marrying an abd.” It is a derogatory remark meaning slave, a word used against Iraqi citizens of African descent.

Within a five-hour wait, Asad and Zulaikah opportunity came to say their vows. Asad and Zulaikah stood before the middle-aged magistrate who wore a judge’s robe that was accustomed to the Iraqi court system. He prepares the paperwork by signing his name and date. When he is done, he grabs the Qu’ran and tells them both to put their hands on it to swear the two into marriage.

“As you know that marriage is a serious matter. There must be sincerity, trust, and, most importantly, no coercion. Zulaikah, you may state the marriage vows.”

“I Zulaikah Bint Malak offer you myself in marriage in accordance with the instructions of the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him. I pledge, in honesty and with sincerity, to be for you an obedient and faithful wife.”

“Zulaikah, do you accept this marriage to Asad? If you do, say I accept three times,” Zulaikah repeats “I accept” three times.

“Asad, you may state your vows.”

“I pledge, in honesty and sincerity, to be for you a faithful and helpful husband.”

The magistrate asked Asad to accept Zulaikah as his wife by saying “I accept” three times.

Asad confirmed as he replied three times. The magistrate requested Asad to present a dowry. Asad gives Zulaikah an envelope with $1000 inside. Zulaikah was surprised as she did not ask nor expected anything but a new life with her soon-to-be husband. After Asad paid fifty American dollars and Asad and Zulaikah signed their names and stamped their thumbprints on the page. The two were presented with a marriage license written in Arabic.

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