Muslim Marriage Culture
Main characteristics of Muslim marriage culture are consent of the competent parties, presence of witnesses and dower (Mehr) to wife. No ceremony or ritual is required for a valid Muslim marriage contract. However, Muslims observe colourful marriage customs is different parts of the world depending upon their local cultures. Most of the wedding customs are innocent in nature while some are against basic principles of Islamic marriage jurisprudence.
You know the Muslim marriages are famous for the best in inviting and welcoming the guests. This kind of Muslim marriage culture provides people a chance to entertain guests in bulk and strengthen their social bonds. Not only bride, groom and their families but also neighbors and their friends enjoy marriage event with different rituals.
Muslim marriage culture is famous for the best in inviting and welcoming the guests. Wedding customs give them a chance to entertain guests in bulk. Muslim marriage can take place at any convenient time. Also the marriage venue can be the bride or groom’s house.
You may contract a marriage at any place and time in Muslim marriage culture. Some prefer night hours but there is no legal or religious restriction. Marriage may take place at any venue including bride or groom’s house. However, generally the wedding ceremony takes place at bride’s place. Following common practices are observed in Muslim marriage culture:
Welcoming the Marriage Procession
If you are a groom, you are supposed to go to the bride’s house with your friends and family in the shape of a marriage procession which is called ‘Barat’ in India and Pakistan. The bride’s family receives the procession with a warm welcome. The sisters and female cousins of the bride may play a number of welcoming games to enjoy marriage event. You are required to offer them gifts in certain situations. They offer milk to the groom and demand some gift which the groom generally pays with cash. Similarly, you should be watchful as some girls may hide your shoes for some gift. Such naughty games add a lot of color to the marriage event.
Delivery of Sermon
The wedding ceremony starts with delivery of a sermon by a Qazi or Imam. Though his services are not required at all for a valid Muslim marriage contract but traditionally no Muslim marriage is conducted without such a sermon. In Pakistan Nikah registrars not only register the marriages but also deliver the sermon. It not only gives a sacred character to the marriage but also helps the families to announce the marriage. A sermon may even be delivered by someone from the families of bride or groom.
Generally, the Qazi or Imam recites following verses from Quran:
“Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in God. If only the People of the Book had faith, it were best for them:
among them are some who have faith, but most of them are perverted transgressors.” (Quran 3:101 Abdullah Yusuf Ali)
“O mankind! reverence your Guardian-Lord, who created you from a single life, created, of like nature, His mate, and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;- reverence God, through whom ye demand your mutual (rights), and (reverence) the wombs (That bore you): for God ever watches over you.” (Quran 4:01)
“O, you who believe! Fear God, and (always) say a word directed to the Right. That He may make your conduct whole and sound and forgive you your sins: He that obeys God and His Apostle, has already attained the highest achievement.” (Quran 33:70, 71 Abdullah Yusuf Ali)
The sermon concludes with the announcement of the marriage with the necessary formalities such as ijab (offer) and qubul (acceptance) and Mehr.
Marriage Party by Bride’s Father
After wedding ceremony, the father of bride offers some drinks or food as per his financial capacity. There is a law in Pakistan which prohibits heavy spending on such marriage parties. If the bride’s father does not offer a lunch or a dinner, the groom or his family has no right to ask the same.
Welcoming of Bride
When the groom brings the bride to his home for the first time, the whole family, close relatives and the neighbors welcome the bride and offer gifts and cash. The mother and sisters of the groom play a number of colorful games.
Valimah (Marriage Party)
Valima is a name given to Muslim marriage feast which is offered by the groom on the next day of marriage. Some claim it a Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) and it is used to announce the marriage. The relatives, neighbors and friends are invited. However, lavish spending should be avoided. In a Muslim marriage culture, the husband welcomes the male guests and wife welcomes the female guests. Then they mingle with their respective gatherings.
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