CRISTINA PEDLER WRITES — Malala Yousafzai, human rights activist and champion of women’s education, announced her marriage to the world via social media on November 9, 2021.

The happy couple tied the knot during a Nikah ceremony – a legal agreement between bride and groom in her home of Birmingham, England, surrounded by family and close friends.

You may remember her from the story, in 2012, of a Pakistani schoolgirl targeted and shot in the head by the Taliban for championing girls’ education. That was Malala at 14 years old. Now, almost a decade later, she has won a Nobel Peace Prize, founded a nonprofit organization in her name, published a bestselling autobiography and is the subject of an inspiring documentary.

The 24-year-old Nobel Laureate stunned the world with her announcement: “Today marks a precious day in my life. Asser and I tied the knot to be partners for life… Please send us your prayers. We are excited to walk together for the journey ahead.”

Who is the famed hubby, anyways? Apart from his first name, Malala didn’t share much about the newlywed. What we know is this: Asser Malik was born in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. And according to his LinkedIn profile, currently serves as  General Manager of High Performance of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

Asser shared a heartfelt note on Twitter, saying, “In Malala, I found the most supportive friend, a beautiful and kind partner — I’m so excited to spend the rest of our life together.” Accompanying the beautiful wedding photos and lovey twitter post was mention of the Islamic marriage ceremony.

Kienan A. Taweil, program coordinator for Muslim Student Life at Loyola Marymount University, explained the faith foundations to the Muslim marriage ceremony: “Nikah is a contract between the bride and the groom that signifies their marriage and it’s made public so that everyone knows that they are a couple united in matrimony.” The Nikah legitimizes the relationship before God, and when the couple recites a short dialogue in Arabic they become husband and wife.

Mr. Taweil continued: “There’s a saying in Islam that getting married is completing half of your faith, so it is important to get married. With this, Malala is completing a part of her religion.”

As a prophetic tradition, Nikah is one of the most celebrated occasions of Islamic culture. Some customs vary depending on the region and family preference, but the fundamentals of the Nikah ceremony are always the same for the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims: It is supposed to be as simple as possible, so as not to place a financial burden on the couple. This certainly held true with Malala’s small ceremony held in private at her home.

The young Malala has made her mark on the world. Now, in their private life, congratulations to Malala and Asser! Wishing them a lifetime of happiness together!

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