The house is quiet for the time being. Iman, Magdy, and Basma are out for some last minute shopping; Ali has his headphones on and is watching an old Egyptian movie on his laptop; I am trying to regain consciousness after a nap that followed a seizure. Life is good, except that I can't find the darn cord to hook my iPhone up the laptop so that I can download the pictures I took this afternoon!

Today, in the presence of her parents, his father, her uncle and his wife and daughter, and my and Ali's best friends, Iman and Magdy completed the kitab (translation: writing in the book) portion of the wedding. So what's this kitab thing, you wonder? It's not too complicated, really -- it is the signing and witnessing of the marriage contract between a bride and groom. Marriage completes half of a Muslim's religion and to safeguard and protect the rights of both spouses, they set out a contract in which they stipulate things like the dowry (marriage gift) that the groom will give to the bride, the compensation the bride will receive should they divorce, and any expectations they may have for their married life. Basically, it is much like a Western style prenuptial agreement. Before the contract is signed, the imam asks both the bride and the groom if they are entering into the marriage willingly and without coercion. If they say that they are willing to be married, he continues with the ceremony by reciting some verses from the Qur'an about marriage, talking to them about the importance of being kind to and patient with one another, and asks them again if they are marrying willingly. With their agreement, they each publicly pronounce their willingness to marry. When this ceremony is finished, they are halfway there.

The second half, the announcement of their marriage to family, friends, and the community at large, in the form of a party and celebration, will complete the marriage ceremony. That's what's coming tomorrow.

As soon as I find the darn thingie to connect the iPhone to the laptop, I'll post a few pictures of today's events.
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