Q: My sister had an engagement function recently. I was under the impression that it will be completely separate. I had spoken to my sisters and mother before and they said there will be a purdah in the center and my sister will sit on the ladies side and her fiancè will sit on the mens side.
On the day of the engagement when I went to the hall there was incomplete seperation between males and females – the partition covered only 2/3rds of the hall. Men seated at the front were in full view of women seated at the front. There was a table for both the bride to be (my sister) and the groom to be seated together on the ladies side. There was only 1 tea table was set for both men and ladies.
I tried to speak to my sisters who were there that it wasnt what I had expected but they kept brushing me off. I was then furious and I phoned my mother and told her that that was not what I had expected and that I will not attend the function. I might had spoken to her abit harshly. She spoke to my sisters and they decided to put a second pardah at the back but it was still not good enough as the seperation was incomplete.
This was a few hours before the function and we went back home to get dressed for the engagement. My cousin and brother in law started arguing with me that its not serious and that its my sisters function and im being too harsh and strict. When I spoke to my wife she was half minded about going but we decided to go to keep family ties. My wife is in niqaab and after the function started, she told me that she is not happy with the incomplete seperation, 1 tea table and that the bride and groom to be seated next to each other on the ladies side. My wife ask me to drop her off at home which I did and I was half minded about going back, I did but I did not go into the hall to eat but stayed outside and helped them to dish out etc.
My family is very upset and disappointed that my wife left the function without saying anything and that I did not sit and partake of the food which was served. I felt it was wrong for me to be part of such a gathering as I wear kurta, turban and have a full beard. They feel that we are breaking family ties when Allah commands us to obey our parents even if they are non Muslims. I am the only son by the way. They are also upset about the way I spoke to my Mother. They are saying that people were asking them where is my wife and why am I not in the hall. Someone else had also said we visit shopping malls which are mixed and make tawaaf which is mixed therefore howcome we “made such a fuss” at the engagement which was not completely seperate. They also say that we do other things that are not correct so why are we so strict with this.
Kindly advise whether what my wife and I did was correct, how to unite the family and the way forward regarding such events in future. Any other advice will also be appreciated
A: This is gross misunderstanding. They are not taking cognisance of the fact that they are breaking their tie with Allah Ta`ala by breaking His law. This break up is initiated by them.
And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.
Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)