Love brought them together: a marriage in the time of Corona

By Sameer Ibrahim

Since ancient times, wedding traditions have differed from society to society. In Arabic countries, a marriage takes place only after the consent of the parents. A marriage is performed at the registry office, and there may also be a religious ceremony. But for the marriage of Alhamzah and Ibtihaj – both younger than 30 – it was not so… love brought them together!

Before the marriage, they lived together in an apartment. In October of 2019, they planned to get married on April 11th, 2020. They hoped to hold a big party with 350 guests, but because of the Corona pandemic only 100 people were invited.

How did the couple first meet and what is their life like? At the end of 2016, Ibtihaj, from the Palestinian city of Nablus, came to Germany to start a master’s degree course in civil engineering in English in Munich. She had already found an apartment in Munich. When she arrived at Stuttgart airport and contacted the landlord, the landlord apologized and informed her, without giving any reason, that the apartment was not available for her. Consequently, she first moved in with friends in Tübingen.

Time passed in Tübingen without Ibtihaj able to start her intended studies. Her savings dwindled. She did not want to remain idle, so she took a class to learn German. Because she could not pay the full course fees, she decided to skip the A1 course and started with level A2 right away. She successfully passed the language course. Afterwards, she was able to commence her university studies.

During the German lessons, Alhamzah admired his classmate Ibtihaj. He did not know then that the feeling was mutual and that she would become his partner. In Iraq, Alhamzah studied psychology and took piano courses at the National Music Institute in Baghdad. He also enjoyed and successfully wrote poems. Due to the deteriorating situation in the country, he emigrated from Iraq in 2015 to settle in Germany, the country of poets and thinkers.

Alhamzah is currently completing professional training in Tübingen to care for elderly people. At the same time, he does not want to abandon music. Alhamzah would like to have a place among artists and music professionals. In Iraq, he was a good piano player, but here in Germany he had to realize that there are many professionals and that his achievements were not appreciated very much. But then he remembered that Iraq is seen as the origin of human civilization and that there, the oriental caste zither, the mother of all Arabic musical instruments, takes on the role of the piano. That is why he now plays mainly this instrument, which is rarely heard in Germany.

Alhamzah did not know for a long time that he lives on a street full of art and music. One day, when he sat in his living room, melodies came to his ear. He opened the window to hear more clearly and tried to find out where the music came from. It had to be nearby – maybe the neighbor?! He went off in the direction the music came from and looked for the player.

They got to know each other, formed a band consisting of people of different nationalities playing western and eastern musical instruments. The band is called “Babel” (“Babylon”) and performs at various cultural activities in the city of Tübingen and other cities.

Impressionen zum Leben in Zeiten der Corona-Pandemie: Foto: tünews INTERNATIONAL; Sameer Ibrahim, 11.04.2020

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