Marriage in Islam differs as per the culture, geographical location and beliefs of the family. Right from the United States, to Arabian countries to Asia, Muslim matrimonial has a lot of different rituals and traditions. Marriage is known as Nikah in Islam and is considered to be a religious obligation which is a contract between the couple and their god Allah.
Practices during the Wedding
Muslim weddings are not conducted on a specific date as per a Muhurut. The families usually pick a date as per their convenience. Earlier, the wedding would take place at the residence of the bride or groom but in modern times, many Muslims have started booking banquets or halls for the ceremony. The primary requirement in a Muslim wedding is the signing of a marriage contract. In a Sunni Muslim wedding, it is mandatory to have two consenting adult males as witnesses to the ceremony. However, in Shia weddings, this is not a pre-requisite. Compared to Shia weddings, Sunni weddings are much shorter and simpler. Usually, Muslim weddings are not conducted in a Mosque. The wedding can be officiated by anyone from the religion who understands the Islamic tradition. Many Muslims opt for a qazi or Madhun to oversee their marriage rituals.
The marriage contract in a Muslim wedding includes a Meher – which is a monetary amount that the groom gives to his bride. There are two sections of a Meher, one includes a prompt due amount that must be given before the marriage is consummated and the other is a deferred amount that must be given to the bride throughout her life. Many modern couples use the engagement ring as the prompt. The deferred amount can be a gift, education, land or money which is the bride’s security and freedom within the marriage.
During the Nikah ceremony, the marriage contract is signed and the groom must state the terms of the Meher to the bride and the families. Both the bride and groom must say Qaboolhai three times as an acceptance of the marriage to each other. Once the contract is signed, the marriage is legal as per the religious and civil law. According to Islamic customs, the couple can exchange a sweet fruit like a date after the ceremony.
Vows and blessings for the couple
Many times, the person who is officiating the ceremony adds another ritual to the wedding which includes reciting the Fatihah, which is the first chapter of the Quran along with Durud (blessings). Traditionally, Muslim couples don’t exchange vows but listen to the officiant about their responsibilities in the Muslim matrimonial towards each other and towards Allah. However, some couples do exchange vows that are mentioned as per the Islamic culture.
Muslims are strong believers of their faith and tradition and therefore, you will notice that a Muslim wedding is full of classic rituals and traditions that have been carried on for generations. Though there might be slight differences based on sect, culture and location of the bride and groom, overall, all Muslim weddings are highly influenced by Islamic religion and follow strict customs in their ceremonies.