Mohammed Qasim lived in a small town in north India.
One afternoon he came home and sat on the ‘palang’ placed in the courtyard. While serving the lunch, his wife said, ‘What have you planned about the marriage of our daughter?’ Sitting on the chabutra of the kitchen, the daughter was washing the lentils, at a short distance.
Mohammed Qasim glanced at his daughter. He got down from the ‘palang’, wore slippers and went into the ‘baithak’. His wife shouted from behind ‘at least have lunch!’
Mohammed Qasim asked a person to call Maulvi Abdullah. Abdullah was his nephew and was still studying in a madrasa. He lived in a room nearby. He rushed to the call of his uncle. His dress would be always clean but the trouser had a tear and the shirt had a stain of ink.
Mohammed Qasim asked his nephew. ‘Son! Do you have any plans about your marriage?’
Abdullah was a little embarrassed by the question. He said ‘how can I think of my marriage in the presence of my elders?’
What do you say about ‘Ikraman’? If you agree Nikah would be solemnised’.
Abdullah thought for a while, and said ‘Uncle whatever decision you and father will take, I won’t dare to reject.’
Mohammed Qasim’s brother-in-law lived in Gwalior. He had told Qasim to marry Abdullah if he finds any suitable proposal. Listening to the reply of Abdullah, Qasim asked him to stay there itself, went inside the house and told his wife. ‘what do you say about Abdullah for our ‘Ikraman’? He is our relative; there is nothing to enquire about him. If you agree let us solemnize their Nikah.’
Qasim’s wife also found the proposal suitable. Both agreed Mohammed Qasim came to his daughter. She was still busy washing lentils. He sat beside his daughter and said ‘Daughter! We have decided to solemnized your Nikah with Maulvi Abdullah. First let us have your consent?’
Ikraman buried her face between her knees in shame.
Qasim’s wife told him, ‘How can you talk of her marriage with a girl? Qasim said’ what’s wrong in that. It’s about shariah. It is necessary to have girl’s consent. There’s no place of shame in the matter of shariah. If Ikraman doesn’t agree, we will find another match. But it is necessary to have her consent.’
Qasim’s wife said ‘modest girls don’t show their consent openly. Had she to refuse the proposal she would have looked at me or would have left the room. This way I would have understood her wish. In such matters girls’ silence is their consent.
After listening to his wife Mohammed Qasim stood up and went outside. Abdullah was still waiting for his uncle in the ‘baithak’. Two or three other persons were also present.
Mohammed Qasim called them and said. ‘I am giving the hand of my daughter Amtul Ikram in the hands of Maulvi Abdullah for Nikah.’
He gave 2 paise to a man and asked him to bring dried dates from the shop at the corner of the street. The persons present there became witnesses, and the Nikah was solemnized in few moments. Then Mohammed Qasim asked the groom bring a Doli (palanquin) and take away his bride. When the doli arrived Mohammed Qasim came into the house and sat beside his daughter who was on the prayer mat to offer Zohr prayer and said, ‘Daughter! By the grace of Allah I’ve solemnized your Nikah. Maulvi Abdullah is waiting for you outside, now you go to your house with him.’
Mother was also surprised, she said ‘you should have given me some time. I would have made some good dresses for our daughter. At least I would have changed her dress at the time of Nikah.’
‘Why what’s wrong in this dress? Can’t she offer Namaz in this dress? When her dress is good for namaz why not for Nikah’ asked Qasim.
Meanwhile Ikraman wore burqa. Mother prayed for her, father patted her and took her to the doli. On their way he gave her sound advices about rights of husband and domestic responsibilities.
The next day Qasim invited daughter and son-in-law at his house. Served whatever food was available in the house to the people present in the ‘baithak’ and told them that it was the valima of Maulvi Abdullah.
The story is of Deoband. Mohammed Qasim was later popularly known as Maulana Mohammed Qasim Nanotvi, the founder of Darul-uloom Deoband.
His nephew Maulvi Abdullah used to study in Darul Uloom Deoband itself. After passing out from there he went to Aligarh. He was counted among close friends of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and became the first Nazim-e-Deeniyath of Aligarh college.
Narrated by Mohammed Tariq Ghazi, grandson of Maulana Abdullah Ansari
republished from Siasast Daily