8th January 2018 was a day of mixed feelings for Madanan, a Hindu man in Kalariparambu village, Thrissur, in India’s southern state of Kerala. His eyes welled up as he bid goodbye to his adopted daughter Khadeeja, who got married to a young man Akbar. Even though Madanan knew that he and his wife would miss Khadeeja’s presence in their house, the satisfaction he enjoyed as a father on his daughter’s wedding day, was much greater.
A devout Hindu, Madanan adopted Khadeeja when she was 13-years-old. Impoverished and with no one to look after her, Khadeeja’s sorry state was brought to Madanan’s attention by a friend of his. Madanan and his wife Thankamany didn’t have to think twice about adopting Khadeeja into their family. The couple had two sons and had always longed for a daughter, and Khadeeja soon became their dear daughter and their sons’ little sister.
Madanan and Thankamany raised Khadeeja like their own daughter, taking care of all her needs and showering her with parental love. At the same time, they ensured that Khadeeja grew up as a devout Muslim. They did all they could, for Khadeeja. They had a special area in the house for Khadeeja to perform the five obligatory prayers every day. Thankamany cooked her favorite dishes for her during Ramadan, for Suhoor (pre-dawn meal) and Iftaar (breaking the fast). Every evening during Ramadan, Madanan would buy Khadeeja her favorite snacks.
When Khadeeja reached marriageable age, Madanan took up the responsibility like a true father. Not only did he find Khadeeja a perfect match, but he also bore the entire expenses of the marriage. He sought the local mosque’s help to conduct the marriage according to the laws of Islam. Madanan was also present at the nikkah ceremony, as the Imam of the local Masjid performed the formalities in the presence of the office-bearers of the Masjid-committee. Relatives of Madanan, as well as Khadeeja’s Muslim relatives attended the marriage.
The nikkah ceremony
Formerly an expatriate worker, Madanan is now settled in his hometown, and pursues agriculture as a full-time occupation. Both his sons work in the Middle East; in Oman and UAE. Madanan and Thankamany are preparing to visit Khadeeja’s new home formally, according to a local tradition where the bride’s family and relatives officially visit their daughter’s new home to inquire about her well-being.
Madanan and Thankamany have resolved to continue taking care of Khadeeja always. “Her marriage doesn’t change anything. She will always be our dear daughter,” the couple said.