KIDAPAWAN CITY: Muslim preachers and leaders of Muslim Mindanao region welcomed the Filipino music icon Freddie Aguilar and his 16-year-old bride Jovie Gatdula Albao for embracing Islam.
The marriage drew mixed criticism because the bride is a minor and Aguilar’s decision to convert to Islam.
“There are conservative Muslims perceived this (Aguilar’s conversion to Islam and marriage to a minor) as an act of monafiq (hypocrisy),” Khadaffy, a local elected official told the Manila Times.
“Even in the social media websites, the marriage became more controversial,” he sasid.
Fatima, a Muslim businesswoman in Kidapawan, commented: “Bakit naman ganyan ang idol ko si Aguilar?”
Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu said marriage was solemnized through Muslim rites under Presidential Decree 1083 (Muslim Family Code of the Philippines), after the couple converted to Islam.
“It will be their accountability to God,” said Mangudadatu said after the wedding ceremony Friday in Buluan town.
The civil code prohibits persons below the legal age of 18 years from marrying. In Islamic Shariah Law, however, the qualification for matrimony is reckoned on the first menstrual day of the bride.
Kamil, a Muslim scholar, said “there is no objection in Islam for their marriage and they are welcome to Islam. Allah knows the best of their intentions.”
“The proof for that is, in Islam, the Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, married Aisha, when she was about 16-year and the Prophet was more than 40-year,” he added.
Ustaz (Muslim cleric) Abdulwahid Sumaoang, who solemnized the wedding, said the singer was named as “Abdul Fared Aguilar” after his conversion, and his bride, “Sittie Mariam Albao,” coined from the Islamic name of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ (Prophet Isa in Islam).
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Mujiv Hataman said in a text message he was hoping that by marrying in the Muslim tradition Aguilar was motivated by a desire to practice Islam and not by personal convenience.
Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr. said Aguilar could be another “asset” in promoting a better understanding of Muslims and their religious practices.
“Let us give him (Aguilar) the chance to prove his worth. He can be a replica of famous British singer Cat Steven, who is now dedicated to Islamic propagation under a Muslim name of Yosuf Islam,” Adiong said in a text message.
He lauded Mangudadatu for facilitating Aguilar’s conversion, which he said would give more credence to the Christians-expressed plaudits drawn by Muslim relief missions in Visayan provinces devastated by Super typhoon “Yolanda.”
MOH I. SAADUDDIN