In Islam, marriage is a contract between the man and the wali of a woman, who gives her to the husband to be his wife. The bride is to consent to the marriage of her own free will. A formal, binding contract is considered integral to a religiously valid Islamic marriage, and outlines the rights and responsibilities of the groom and bride. There must be at least two Muslim witnesses of the marriage contract.

This happens mostly in the morning of the wedding day without any violation of the Islamic procedure of Nikax. Everyone believes that this is the only way a man can marry a woman. Even those who did not learn and practice the Islamic law believe it.

What happens after this legal Nikax astonished me. In here Mogadishu, there is what is called JAM. The word has the same meaning like dance.  A group of young Jam professionals of mix gender play each other in a place where many people gather in order to watch them. There must be a music sounding loudly, and the group must play with that music. They are organized group and they are hired to play that day during the wedding ceremony after Nikax.

There are different organized groups in every district in Benadir region. Jam players have special features that you can separate from others. Boys wear their trousers near the anus and the trousers sweep on the ground. Their hair is quite longer than usual. They hang Tusbah on their neck – the Tusbax represents in the place of necklace use by the western dancers.

They trust each other, for example a boy may acquaint a lady, tell his name and ask her name, give his telephone number and take her telephone number as well. If there is a Jam in somewhere he knows, he calls her, she immediately accepts him and prepares herself to go and play with him during that Jam.

To play Jam during a wedding ceremony can come from different sides. The groom and the bride may demand it, or one of the partners may demand. But the other amazing thing I was told is that if both the groom and the bride dislike it and agreed not to play Jam in their wedding, one of the relatives or friends of either partner may induce Jam to be played. If there is a limited budget and the groom is not able to pay the expenses, those demanded pay it, so it is inevitable to you to accept it even if you dislike and believe that it is not good thing since other influential authorities are advocating it.  

The amazing thing is that those educated and even graduated from universities hire Jam team in their wedding. This has many effects. But the most important one we can mention is that it increases the number of girls demanding to play Jam in their wedding ceremonies because those educated use it.

The effect of the Jam is far from what we are thinking today. The Jam is from western cultures. It is totally contrary to our Islamic and Somali cultures. It causes adultery and fornication. The children from those families established with Jam playing weddings will not be good ones, ‘hal booli ah nirig xalaal ah ma dhasho.’ After decades, we will see many young teens that disobey their parents and come with bad actions that create problems to the society because of the faults made by their parents.

The Jam is now bounded in several regions, but if actions to manage it are not tried, it will spread gradually to other regions in Somalia. In order to solve this problem, I am suggesting several options that may help decrease Jam problems:- First, the government should come up a policy to control such actions. The policy can be in the form of media orientation, legal acts and etc. Second, the elders should take their role and induce their children not to play Jam in their wedding ceremonies. Finally, every mother should try to control their children not to play jam and also not to watch it.  These will lessen the problems that the jam can bring to our society.

Mahad Abdullahi

Mogadishu – Somalia   

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