Cape Town has been buzzing with interest in the news that Mandla Mandela wed Rabia Clarke in an Islamic ceremony over the weekend. Mandla is the grandson of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.
Speaking to VOC on Monday, Shaykh Ebrahim Gabriels, who performed the nikah, said it was a momentous occasion.
“I was very honoured to officiate at the wedding ceremony between Nkosi Zwelivelile ‘Mandla’ Mandela, the grandson of our great leader – the father of South Africa – and Rabia Clarke, the daughter of my good friend, brother Aslam Clarke,” he said.
The marriage took place at the Kensington Mosque on Saturday morning at 9am. Shaykh Riyadh Walls delivered the naseegha (sermon), followed by the marriage ceremony delivered by Shaykh Gabriels.
Shaykh Gabriels confirmed that the father of the bride verified Mandela’s reversion to Islam.
The Shaykh noted that many of the Ashaab (companions of the Prophet Muhammad) did not change their names once reverting. It is therefore understood that changing ones name is not a necessity when reverting to Islam.
Shaykh Gabriels further asserted that the reversion by individuals into the religion of Islam whilst being married in non-Islamic marriages is not only common to the modern era. The Shaykh stated that Ashaab who reverted to Islam did not divorce their wives whom they married prior to reverting. The Ashaab instead, afforded to their wives an opportunity to see the beauty in Islam. Marriages that are entered into prior to an individual’s acceptance of Islam is therefore not considered null and void.
During many meetings convened between President Nelson Mandela and the Muslim community, Mandela often spoke of his respect for the religion of Islam. Many stated that Mandela’s character, as a struggle icon, reminded many of the heroes of Islam. According to many individuals’, the only aspect of accepting Islam that Mandela required was the Shahada.
“I said at the nikaah (marriage ceremony) that Mandela would have been a very proud man on Saturday for his grandson getting married into the Muslim community, because he was obviously very close to the Muslim community”, stated Gabriels.
Mandla reaffirmed at the ceremony that his grandfather had the greatest admiration for the Muslim community as a result of the support that the Muslim community provided him during Apartheid.
This marriage, Shaykh Gabriels elaborated, he hopes will break barriers between the Muslim community and the indigenous people of South Africa.
“There is no racism in Islam,” Gabriels asserted.
Gabriels concluded by stating that he prays that both Clarke and Mandela become great leaders of this community.
VOC (Thakira Desai)