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Nobel Prize winner Malala gets married! Plus a look at the Nikah Ceremony

Published Wednesday, Nov. 10th, 2021

Photo via @Malala on Twitter (image has been cropped)

Nobel Peace Prize winner and women’s rights advocate Malala Yousafzai wed Asser Malik this week in a small nikah ceremony, attended only by the couple’s family and close friends.


Malala tweeted the happy news of her marriage to Asser on Tuesday, writing: 


“Today marks a precious day in my life. 
Asser and I tied the knot to be partners for life. We celebrated a small nikkah ceremony at home in Birmingham with our families. Please send us your prayers. We are excited to walk together for the journey ahead.”  



Photos from the wedding show Asser signing the marriage contract with the imam, while Malala sits beside him adjusting a gorgeous dusty-rose headscarf. 


Malala’s tweet has received nearly 400,000 likes in under 24 hours, and has been shared almost 40,000 times, with admirers commenting “Mubarak!” and “Mashallah” in encouragement and support of the newlyweds. 


Congratulations to them both! 



Photo taken from Malala's Twitter shows the young couple signing the marriage contract following the nikah

Photo via @Malala on Twitter (image has been cropped)



What is a nikah ceremony? 


A nikah ceremony (also spelled nikkah) is a religious wedding ceremony for Muslim couples. Nikah is the Arabic word used for ‘marriage.’


During the ceremony, a couple agrees to marry in the presence of an imam by saying “I accept” or “I consent.” This is similar to the American “I do” exchanged during the declaration of intent. Wedding vows may or may not be exchanged, and the imam shares a few verses from the Quran or other special readings. 


After the ceremony is complete, the couple signs a marriage contract to make things official. 


The nikah is very important in Islam and is the only valid way for two people to marry. As a religious ceremony, it secures the couple’s relationship in front of Allah. The ceremonies are traditionally simple and inexpensive, and are often performed in a mosque. 


Common parts of a nikah include the mahr (a gift given by a groom to his bride, similar to a dowry), a religious sermon on marriage, the nikah contract signed in the presence of witnesses, and the walima (a large dinner following the first part of the ceremony, a reception dinner.)


The nikah religious ceremony isn’t legally recognized on its own in the UK (where Malala and Asser live and were married), and Muslim couples there must also complete a separate civil ceremony for the union to be fully binding. 



Malala and Asser pose next to beautiful orange leaves during the nikah ceremony

Photo via @Malala on Twitter (image has been cropped)



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Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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