Sultan Ibrahim Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, the Sultan of Johar, has responded to the reports of Indian hockey captain Manpreet Singh marrying a Muslim woman from Malaysia. The wedding had stirred a nationwide debate over the girl's religious status after she married as per the Sikh customs in India without leaving Islam.

Manpreet Singh Marrying Malaysian Muslim Wife
Manpreet Singh with his wife

The head of Islam in Johar expressed his sadness over the reports of Muslim woman Illi Najwa Anuar Husin Saddique marrying a Sikh without leaving Islam but urged people not to prematurely react to the issue. "I have ordered that all necessary efforts be made by the Johor State Islamic Religious Department (JAINJ) to verify the woman's status through her family members and also via the Malaysian High Commission in India.

"The woman is facing a trial by media although she herself has not declared that she wanted to leave Islam," he is quoted as saying in a media statement uploaded on his official Facebook page.

According to the Sultan Ibrahim, people should not hastily react to the issue which could eventually create difficulties for her to return to her country and possibly creates troubles within her family. "I am confident that JAINJ and the Johor State Mufti Department will provide all necessary assistance to the woman to maintain her Islamic faith in accordance with Syariah (Islamic law)," he said.

The 62-year old said that any news pertaining to a relationship among Muslims should be verified without prejudices. He also claimed that the issue is not just about a Muslim woman marrying a Sikh as it also involves the relations between two countries.

Manpreet Singh with Illi Najwa Anuar Husin Saddique
Manpreet Singh with his Malaysian wife Illi Najwa Anuar Husin Saddique. Twitter

Sultan Ibrahim added, "Let us all pray to Allah so that the woman and her partner always remain in Allah's care and given guidance to resolve this issue in the light of faith and the guidance of Allah,"

After being in love for about eight years, Manpreet Singh tied the knot to Illi Najwa Anuar Husin Saddique, who is the niece of National Unity Minister Halimah Mohamed Sadique. They married as per the Sikh customs in Punjab in India on 16 December.

The wedding pictures had gone viral following which the debates over her religious status started. There were also reports which claimed that Indian hockey captain Manpreet Singh had converted to Islam.