I usually don't work on holidays but when my friend Bilal asked me to bring my camera to his nikah on July 4th, I couldn't say no. Getting engaged on Independence Day is somewhat of a contradiction in terms, but that's beside the point. Anyway, the imam opened the ceremony with a joke and here it is to the best of my memory.
'A boy asked his mother where human beings came from. His mother said, "Allah created Adam from clay, Eve from Adam's rib and they had children, who became adults and had more children, and so on." The boy then went to his father, asked him the same question and he told him, "We were once primates and then we slowly evolved to become like we are now." The boy ran back to his mother and said, "Abbi said that humans come from monkeys!" His mother replied, "Your father was just talking about his side of the family."'
Based on nothing more than appearance, i had initially taken the imam as a stiff, conservative type but he got off a good one, turned out to be alright and from there he hit on communication as being key to any relationship surviving. These similar and recurrent messages and deliveries really affirm my belief in the universality of the human experience. I only wish more folks shared in the richness of diversity and pluralism and subsequently lived free from fear and separatism. For those who don't or won't, here's the next best thing, a glimpse into the lovely engagement ceremony of Bilal and Maria- two beautiful people pursuing love and surrounded by people who have their back. I'd call that the American Dream, but I've heard that folks are partial to the good life pretty much anywhere you go.