From left, the Chief Imam of Ibadanland, Sheikh AbdulGaniyy Abubakri Agbotomokekere; the Alfa Agba of Ibadanland, Alhaji Abdulfatai Alaga; Dr Barhi Adetunji and the Founder/General Overseer, Al-Balag Islamic Foundation, Sheikh Taofeeq Akeugbagold, during a mass wedding conducted for 25 Muslim couples in Ibadan, last Saturday. PHOTO: OLUWATOYIN MALIK.
HISTORY was made in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, last Saturday when 25 couples were joined together in the first mass wedding to take place in the South West.
The ceremony was held at the Oja’ba Central Mosque.
It was learnt that each of the 50 individuals was linked to their partner through an Islamic match-making organisation, Ebi Alayo, an offshoot of Al-Balag Foundation.
The Founder/General Overseer of the Foundation, Sheikh Taofeeq Akeugbagold, told the Nigerian Tribune that the initiative was to meet the need of those who desired marriage but could not get the right partners because of the moral decadence in the society.
“We have looked into how the world is going; how people are behaving. It seems adultery and fornication are becoming popular, and from my observation, there are many people who want to get married but are unable to get the type of partner they want.
“There are many men and women who don’t love adultery or fornication but for one reason or another, they are unable to find their choice partners. So, we decided to use this channel, that is, our preaching on radio and television, to invite those who are in need of partners”, Akeugbagold said.
He described the gesture as the Foundation’s “little way” of sanitising the society of adultery and fornication.
“We started this in January, and within the first six months, more than 1,000 people responded. Today, we are celebrating 25 couples, making 50 people altogether. That is about the first mass wedding in the South West of Nigeria,” the cleric added.
Sheikh Akeugbagold disclosed that the next mass wedding would come up in December with 200 couples as target.
“Insha Allah, we are targeting about 200 couples in December; it will be an elaborate wedding which prominent people will attend.
“We are using the one we just did to encourage people that there is a godly way to get their partners without fornicating or going into adultery, and even Pr0stitution. That is our goal and target,” he said.
He pointed out that the approval of the families of the couples was sought before the wedding in accordance with Shari’ah.
“A marriage cannot be considered valid unless there is the permission of the parents. We told each of the couples to seek the consent of their parents before the marriage; that if their parents agreed, then they should come back and if they didn’t, they should also come back to us so that we could find out what was wrong,” he said.
Akeugbagold, who is also the chairman of Oyo State Pilgrims’ Welfare Board, Muslim Wing, said the Foundation ensured that the grooms presented their brides with gifts.
Advising the couples on achieving godly, happy marriages, Shiekh Akeugabgold said: “The institution of marriage in Islam is something for which one will be compensated by Allah. The Prophet tells us that whoever marries has completed 50 per cent of his assignment, and he should go and complete the other 50 per cent with good behaviour. So, they should shun adultery and fornication, while embracing good behaviour. They don’t know the time appointed by Allah for them to depart this world.
“I am grateful to Allah that those we are joining together today have all listened to us and followed our regulations strictly. So, today, we are holding the marriage ceremony after their parents had given their consent.”
The Chief Imam of Ibadanland, Sheikh Abdulganiy Abubakri Agbotomokekere, who performed the Nikkah, stressed the need for men to marry religious and pious women and vice versa.
Sheikh Agbotomokekere warned against men battering their wives and advised women to respectful and submissive to their husbands.
He admonished men to see the matchmaking as a blessing, while he enjoined the brides to respect their husbands and be well-behaved.
One of the grooms, Mr Nasirudeen Muraina, described the wedding arrangement as interesting and God-ordained, saying it had helped him to find his soul mate, with whom he hoped to serve Allah without distraction.
“This is a good programme; I appreciate Alhaji Akeugbagold, his staff members and the Chief Imam of Ibadanland. They have all made it possible for me and my wife to become one today. Whoever is looking for a good thing must surely go to a good place. That is why I came to this organisation. I am happy I was able to meet my wife through it,” Muraina said.
He advised dedicated and pious Muslims still looking for life partners to come out so that they could be connected with their partners.