Setting: Wedding Hall. Stage in the centre and draped with soft silks.
Music playing in the background. Six hundred eager people conversing and anticipating the arrival of the bride.
Enter the bride.
A dazzling young beauty, laden with only the finest and softest materials enters the hall. Glittery ornaments sparkling in her hair and diamond earrings hanging low, result in some favourable murmurs and nods of approval amongst the women and leaves others baffled at how she managed to grow double her hair length overnight. She smiles, walks down the aisle, and approaches her husband who carefully hands her an exquisite bouquet of the choicest flowers and takes her seat next to him on centre stage. She holds her head and shoulders as a proper bride should—high and elegant. Some start making their way to the front for family photos, handing over gifts, and congratulating the newlyweds. The slideshow on the wall project family photos over the years and the live DJs engage the audience with some heart-warming tunes to get the mood rolling.
Amidst the clattering of forks and knives enjoying the five-course meal, eyes focus on the young lady who has taken the mike on stage. The bride’s sister says thanks the guests for attending, despite the big derby game, City vs. United, drawing some laughs in the audience, especially amongst the brothers. She says a few words to embarrass the bride, wishes her well on her life ahead and jokingly threatens the groom to make sure he takes care of her (not-so) little sister. She proceeds by adding,
“We pray Allah makes her a wife like Fatimah (Radhiyallahu Anha) and him a husband like Ali (Radhiyallahu Anhu). May they live the lives of the Sahabah before us and follow in the footsteps of Nabi Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam…”
I tuned out, too busy looking around me. Everyone clapped and happily resumed their meals.
Exeunt. Curtains fall.
Was I the only one who found her speech a little pretentious? Ameen to the beautiful Duas and Allah is the sole judge of our hearts, but to make a mockery of the Sunnah like that? I was offended. Couples want to court before marriage; they want to choose a best man for their wedding; brothers want the best cars to take their new bride home; sisters demand a mind-blowing Mahr and want a henna ceremony dancing to Bollywood tunes, an over-night hen party (the list goes on and on and on) and then they expect a marriage like the queen of the women of Jannah? We have functions of rife as a public challenge to Allah, inviting his wrath and then expect His Mercy and blessings in it as if we have a right to it? The audacity!
My beloved Nabi’s Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam life and his families’ lives aren’t there to flower our events and to tick the box for the more “religious” in the crowd; or to balance all the wrongs in the event by adding a few Islamic lines; or to appease our guilt in carrying out such an event. The life of Nabi Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam and the lives of the Sahabah and Sahabiyaat (Radhiyallahu Anhum) are there as examples for you and I to emulate in EVERY aspect of our lives including marriage. A marriage is a sacred union between two people, and it is our duty to keep it sacred. My beloved Nabi Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam said,
“The most blessed Nikah is the one with the least expenditure.” (Bayhaqi)
When my Nabi Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam asked his soon to be son-in-law Ali (Radhiyallahu Anhu) what he had as Mahr to present to his daughter Fatimah (Radhiyallahu Anha), he replied that he only owned a sword, an armour, and a horse.
He sold his armour for four hundred and eighty dirhams which was then presented as a very simple dowry to Fatimah (Radhiyallahu Anha). For the wedding feast, Sa’d bin Ubadah (Radhiyallahu Anhu) offered a sheep and some Ansar offered some corn.
When nikah (marriage) becomes expensive, zina (adultery/fornication) becomes cheap.
The simplicity and ease of their weddings was what put so much Barakah and happiness in their marriages. Nabi Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam instructed,
“Hold a wedding feast, even if only with a sheep.” (Muslim)