A Tra­di­tional Mus­lim wed­ding

Brides Essence - - Front Page -

When the cou­ple de­cides to get mar­ried, the groom-to-be asks his fa­ther / guardian (wali) to ap­proach his prospec­tive fa­ther in law. If they (the fa­ther-in-law and bride to be) agree to the man’s hand in mar­riage, they are now of­fi­cially en­gaged. At the sec­ond meet­ing, a date and time is agreed upon for the wed­ding cer­e­mony to take place. Mus­lim wed­dings are con­ducted as per Is­lamic tra­di­tions.

The Mahr or Dowrie

The cou­ple would dis­cuss the “Mahr”. The Mahr must be agreed upon by the mar­ry­ing part­ners them­selves and not by their par­ents. The Mahr is the Brides right, to which her hus­band re­mains in­debted. Im­por­tantly, it is a free gift and not her price. The Mahr may be cash, kind or non-ma­te­rial (such as train­ing or teach­ing ). It can be paid up front or can be in the form of a prom­ise to pay upon de­mand; de­cided prior to the sol­em­niza­tion of mar­riage. How­ever, it is much rec­om­mended to pay it be­fore or at the time of Nikah it­self. The “Mahr” / dowrie is only given to the bride on the wed­ding day. It is handed to her by the Imam or by her fa­ther.

The Nikah or Nup­tials

Once the bride-to-be has ac­cepted the of­fer of mar­riage, she then meets with the Imam of the mosque, whichever one she de­cides upon, and asks his per­mis­sion to per­form the Nikah and per­mis­sion to use the mosque fa­cil­i­ties.

The ac­tual cer­e­mony is called the “Nikah”. It is usu­ally a sim­ple cer­e­mony and in­cludes recit­ing a verse or verses from the Holy Qu­raan. The bride is pre­sented by her fa­ther or ap­pointed guardian or an­other male mem­ber of her fam­ily. The Imam, who is au­tho­rized to of­fi­ci­ate the cer­e­mony, will deliver a short ser­mon. Ac­cord­ing to Shariah (Is­lamic canon­i­cal law based on the teach­ings of the Qu­raan ), the wife-to-be says, ‘An Kah’tu­naf­sakaa’ lalmah’rilma’loom’, “I have given away my­self in Nikah to you, on the agreed Mahr.”

Im­me­di­ately the groom replies, ‘Qa­bil­tunNikaha’, “I have ac­cepted the Nikah.” If the mar­ry­ing part­ners are not able to re­cite the for­mula in Ara­bic then the ap­pointed Imam will of­fi­ci­ate this. With these pro­nounce­ments, they be­come hus­band and wife. The cer­e­mony ends off with a Duah which is a prayer of bless­ing.

Once the cer­e­mony is com­plete the bride­groom now sees his bride for the first time as a bridal cou­ple and the guests are there to con­grat­u­late the cou­ple.

The Wed­ding At­tire

On the wed­ding day the bride wears a “Me­dora” or head-dress so that her hair is cov­ered, a beau­ti­ful wed­ding gown and has the best make up avail­able. She sees her guests af­ter the cer­e­mony in her first wed­ding dress. Usu­ally in Is­lamic wed­dings the bride has two wed­ding dresses, one for the cer­e­mony and an­other for the re­cep­tion. The wed­ding dresses are more west­ern­ised these days but it is com­pul­sory for the bride’s body to be cov­ered.

The Re­cep­tion

Af­ter the cer­e­mony the bride changes into her sec­ond wed­ding dress and pre­pares for the groom’s re­cep­tion which is usu­ally a lunch for his rel­a­tives. Pho­tos are then taken to record the cou­ples spe­cial day and once done, the bridal group gets ready for the sec­ond re­cep­tion which is a sup­per given by the bride’s fam­ily.

As the evening comes to a close, the bride is taken to her new home by her in laws or “khu­jadi’s”/ Had­jjis which are el­derly ladies from the groom’s fam­ily which have com­pleted their pil­grim­age, known as Haj. This how­ever is a tra­di­tion and is not com­pul­sory.

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