The practice of Valentines Day traditionally hasn’t been an important event in the lives of Muslims in general. Although, among the younger generations, it has fallen in, and out of favour over the years. However, the concept of love and respect between a married couple is an essential teaching in the Muslim faith.
For which reason I feel very honoured to have witnessed one of longest lasting examples of such an enduring love and true friendship.
Saddiq and Saffia Lone came to London from Kenya in the late 1970’s. Saffia was my mum’s teacher in Kenya. They met each other again in the local High Street and soon became from close family friends to the closest thing we had to grandparents. Sadly, Saffia passed away in February 2013 with Siddiq passing away later that year in December.
As couples indulge in displays of affection, I thought it would be apt to share an article published in June 2011 in the local Guardian newspaper as the couple celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.
Couple celebrate platinum anniversary
2:11pm Monday 13th June 2011 in News By Ima Jackson-Obot – Walthamstow Guardian
LOVE and laughter is the secret to a long and happy marriage, according to a couple who broke with tradition to tie the knot 70 years ago.
Siddiq Lone, 90 and his Wife, Saffia, 88 of Milton Road in Walthamstow, celebrated their platinum wedding anniversary with a family get-together on Sunday. As children, they travelled to Kenya from their native Kashmir when their fathers took jobs building railways. They were both sent back to Kashmir as teenagers to continue their education. Living only a few doors from each other, their bond strengthened and eventually they fell in love. While the strong tradition of arranged marriages and objections from Saffia’s family caused initial problems, the couple eventually cemented their union in 1941. Their son, Jamil 66, who is based in New York, said: “What you have to understand is that it was a love marriage. “During that time marriages of love were unheard of. Arranged marriages were more the tradition.” After both qualifying as teachers, the couple returned to Kenya, where Siddiq taught English in a secondary school and his wife worked in a primary school. Siddiq said: “I love my wife and she loves me.” “She is beautiful, very intelligent and very funny.” “Even now she still has people in stitches.” The couple moved to Walthamstow in the 1970s after they both retired. They overcame personal tragedy when their only daughter died at the aged of 23. Jamil added: “It tore a whole in all our lives and devastated our parents. “But the one thing that has kept them going is love and laughter.”
The couple received a congratulatory message on Sunday from the Kenyan Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, who they met last year.