It’s now over half a year after the engagement and Victor and I haven’t actually done any preparation for the wedding except for booking a hall for the Bersanding event (the wedding reception; refer to this). We sorted that out back in February since venues suitable to hold weddings are quite limited* here in Brunei; you’d have to book the place minimum a year in advance.
* That’s if the couples decide to hold the event outside the vicinity of their homes.
Anyway back to the topic of this post, last Tuesday Victor and I went to the Syariah Court to get the Borang Nikah (that is the form for the permission to marry). We went there around 10am and once we were there, we had to go to the information counter to ask for directions. We were told to sign in the guestbook and then head over to the room on the left and take a queue number. In that room the seats for men and women were separated so Victor and I sat far apart from each other. It took quite a while before it was out turn since there were a few numbers before ours.
Here’s the Syariah Court’s working days/hours in case anyone plans to go there:
Monday – Thursday
8.00 a.m. – 12.00 p.m.
2.00 p.m. – 3.15 p.m.
8.00 a.m. – 10.30 a.m.
Counter Closed (p.m.)
8.00 a.m. – 12.00 p.m.
2.00 p.m. – 4.00 p.m.
Once it was our turn we were attended by this nice lady. She asked us why were there and we told her we were there for the Borang Nikah. She then proceeded to fish out a number of papers and I was like, “whoa that’s a lot of paperwork to be done.” She then asked us several questions like, “what’s your current marital status (bachelor/divorced)?”, “is this your first marriage?” and for me (they’ll ask this to all female applicants), “is your father still alive?” “are your parents still together (not divorced)?” To those unfamiliar with Malay Muslim weddings, these questions might seem strange and bordering nosy but they are necessary.
Since not all parts in the forms need to be filled in, the lady kindly marked the bits that we need to fill in. She laid out the forms (Borang 1 for the groom-to-be and Borang 2 for the bride-to-be) and explained what we needed to do to complete them. She talked so fast and even though I understood it all at that time, by the time we walked out of the building I have already forgotten some of them (so Victor ended up going back to see her for clarification lol).
For female applicants, there is an extra form to be filled in aside from Borang 2, which is the Borang Soal Selidik Wali (Wali Survey Form). Wali is an Arabic word meaning guardian. Unmarried females who wish to get married must get the consent from their Wali (even if she doesn’t actually have any). The Wali must be an adult male and a relative of the bride-to-be, and is normally the father of the bride-to-be, however, if the father is deceased/missing, the grandfather(s) would take up the role. And if the grandfather is also deceased/missing, an adult male sibling would do. If she doesn’t have any adult male siblings, the Wali would be her uncles/nephews/granduncles/any adult male relative she could find. And if she has none of the above, she has to enlist the help of Wali Hakim (Magistrate Guardian – basically a Wali appointed by the Curt).
For both male and female applicants, you’d also need the signature of two witnesses. These can be anybody as long as they are Muslim adult males. Note: The Wali can not be a witness as well.
Next there’s also a section where the applicants have to get the permission from the village head of the village they live in (practically everyone in this country lives in a village even when you live in the city – this bit is confusing but let’s leave that for another day). At this point I was already thinking, “the heck? I have to bother a bunch of people before I can get married”.
Aside from filling in the forms, there are few other accompanying documents that need to be submitted as well.
Copy of valid Identification Card (3 copies)
Copy of Birth Certificate (3 copies)
Copy of the Wali‘s valid Identification Card (2 copies)
Copy of the bride-to-be’s parents’ Marriage Certificate (3 copies)
I am still in the process of getting the forms filled so it’ll probably take a couple of weeks or so before I go back to the Syariah Court to submit the forms which I will cover in Part 2.