A Traditional Muslim Nikah
The Traditional Muslim Nikah
Mangni (Engagement ceremony): This is not a requirement in Islam. A mangni may take place once the couple has accepted each other for marriage. It is provides an opportunity for the two families to come together and for the couple to exchange rings, if they so wish. The outfit of the bride-to-be is traditionally provided by the groom’s family.
Mehendi (Heena) Ceremony: It is traditional for the bride to hold a mehendi ceremony, usually at home, shortly before the wedding. The groom’s family provides the henna, which is applied to the bride’s hands and feet. Following the application of mehendi, the bride does not leave the house until the nikah. Her wedding clothes are also provided by the groom’s family.
What is Nikah?
Marriage (nikah) is a solemn and sacred social contract between bride and groom. This contract is a strong covenant “mithaqun Ghalithun” as expressed in Quran 4:21). After agreeing to getting married, the couple need to consult each other’s families and set a date!
The nikah is a simple ceremony in which a man and woman declare their commitment to each other as husband and wife. It is a “contract” to which both must agree and it is considered an act of worship (ibadah). In the very simplest form of the ceremony: there is the Al-Ijab wal-Qubul (offer and acceptance) only, where the Wali (woman’s guardian in marriage) offers the bride to the groom, who then accepts. One matrimonial party expresses ‘ijab” willing consent to enter into marriage and the other party expresses ‘qubul” acceptance of the responsibility in the assembly of marriage ceremony. Islam encourages its followers to announce a marriage and to celebrate this wonderful relationship between a man and a woman.
The marriage sermon (Khutbah-tun-Nikah) is a way of blessing the marriage and begins by praising the almighty, Allah. The main body of the sermon comprises three verses from the holy Qur’an and one Hadith.
It is written in the Qur’an that mahr must form part of the marriage contract. The groom gives mahr to his bride as a demonstration of his commitment to her and to providing for her. It can take the form of money, property or possessions. There is no set amount, although moderation is recommended, and the gift is agreed between the bride and the groom. Following this, the Aqd-Nikah is announced to all who attend the nikah.
Walima: the marriage banquet
The wedding banquet (Walima) is traditionally held by the groom after the nikah has taken place. It may take place immediately following the nikah, on the following day, the following week or at a future date, but the purpose of the banquet is for family and friends to share in the groom’s happiness on the occasion of his marriage and to give thanks to Allah.
The Prophet said: “The best wedding is that upon which the least trouble and expense is bestowed.” [Mishkat]
The Walima gives family members and friends the opportunity to congratulate the happy couple: the bride is congratulated by the women around her and by her family and friends;
The groom receives the congratulations of men. The newlyweds are also presented with gifts. It is believed that gifts given willingly will strengthen the relationships between people. Therefore, it is important to keep gifts affordable.
We had an absolute pleasure of working with a couple for their wedding that incorporated Muslim rituals and traditions. We were very excited to receive these encouraging words from the Bride & the Groom after their wedding. May Allah shower His countless blessings and love on them, now and forever…
“Pushpa is a highly effective, highly professional wedding ‘day of’ coordinator for our event this past summer of 2015. Despite a host of different challenges associated with our venue, she helped identify key areas to focus on, consolidated communications from a range of different vendors, provided advance warning of potential challenges, and ran the actual day of events seamlessly. She is a clear communicator, a highly competent project manager, and deft at dealing with numerous stakeholders in the wedding planning process. I commend her unreservedly. “