A Muslim couple who planned to wed on Boxing Day had a shock of their lives when on the eve of their wedding day, Church officials from Four Square Gospel Church in Mbayani, Blantyre refused to let them use their Church as a reception hall.
What started as a normal confirmation routine by the organising committee turned into a nightmare when around 6pm on December 25, 2012 the Church officials cancelled the reception booking at the church if Muslims were to play Islamic songs at the reception ceremony.
Affiya Mosamma who was getting married to Fatima Chisonga booked the church, which usually houses wedding ceremonies for their nikah officiation ceremony scheduled December 26, 2012 and the church clerk was reportedly pleased with their booking because they were eager to “witness an Islamic wedding.”
However, the Church’s Treasurer was ordered by her husband to cancel the booking because he had heard reports that Muslims would play Islamic songs during the reception ceremony, which would not go down well with the church’s teachings.
“They told us that they had no problems if we were to play secular songs, but they cannot allow us to play nasheeds in their church, as Muslims we cannot accept that” said one of the organisers on condition of anonymity.
The organising committee chairman Ishmail Kazembe, while confirming about the incident, refused to divulge more details.
Some critics however argued on whether it was ethical to conduct Islamic activities in churches but relatives argued that all neutral venues in the area were all fully booked on the day.
Heated discussions ensued till the night with the Church sticking to its guns and the organisers had to endure a headache of identifying another venue during the night and communicate to all the people who were invited to the nikah reception during the same night since they could not afford to cancel the nikah at that eleventh hour.
A compromise was therefore made, that the Church officials should identify an alternative venue by themselves and that they pay a cancellation penalty to the organisers. The Church complied and therefore booked another place at the Assemblies of God school hall at Chemussa in Blantyre and also paid a 20% penalty for breach of contract.
On Boxing Day the ceremony nevertheless went on well without any incident with the nikah being officiated at Al-Fateha Masjid in Mbayani and the reception ceremony at the Assemblies of God school hall at Chemussa.
The nikah ceremony was facilitated by the Nikah & other Islamic Functions Association (NIFA) from Blantyre.