MALACCA, MALAYSIA: They are childhood sweet-hearts with a love story beyond words.
Syukur Salim and Hafizah Abd Aziz are both deaf-mute. They tied the knot in their traditional akad nikah ceremony using only sign language.
The ceremony was held at the bride?s home in Kampung Ayer Molek on Friday evening - with the help of their long-time teacher Rosli Aliman, 42, who acted as interpreter when the required vows were performed before imams Adam Sabtu and Rustami Abu Bakar.
Rosli said it was a moment to be cherished for he had taught the couple from primary school at SK Pendidikan Khas in Semabok right up to the secondary education in SMK Tun Mutahir, Batu Berendam.
"I am blessed to have watched them grow up and witnessed their relationship blossom over the years.
"They were like any other kids. The only difference is, they expressed their feelings through hand signs and gestures," he said.
About 500 family members and friends from as far as Kedah and Singapore gathered for the occasion.
It was also a first for 70-year-old imam Adam, for he had never married a special couple before.
"The ceremony was like any other marriage but it took a little longer as the vows had to be written out and translated for the couple," he said.
Meanwhile, a beaming 25-year-old Syukur, an electrician, said Hafizah was a good friend whom he had grown to love over the years. He only courted her in Form Five.
"We used to meet in school and pass notes to each other, before relying on SMS messages later.
"Our relationship grew stronger although I attended college in Shah Alam while she took a tailoring course in Pasir Gudang, Johor," he said using sign language.
The bride's father, Abd Aziz Omar, 60, said his 24-year-old daughter suffered permanent hearing and speech impairment after a fall when she was only eight months old.
"I know Syukur like my own son. Both of them used to attend school, play and do schoolwork together."