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Wedding Customs

In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

It is the greatest mercy of Allah سبحانه وتعالى, the creator of all that He has blessed us with Islaam as a way of life. Obedience in Islaam does not simply mean praying to Allah but will also entail us ensuring that we conduct our day to day as prescribed by our Beloved Prophet, Sayyidina Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم.

Our Islaamic culture is rich, colourful and also virtuous. We need to draw upon it for the enrichment of our lives. The fortunate ones are those who conduct their lives according to Islaamic traditions, hence they reap the benefits thereof in both the worlds. No matter what activity a person is involved in, if it is performed in accordance to Islaamic teachings, then the doer will be rewarded for it by our Bountiful Allah سبحانه وتعالى. Unfortunately many of our intentions and actions have become diametrically opposed to Islaamic teachings.

One such great misery upon our community is to be witnessed at weddings. This great event, the union of two individuals, has unfortunately become an occasion of obscene violation of the Sunnah. An occasion in which Allah سبحانه وتعالى ‘s mercy and blessings ought to be sought has transferred into an open and shameless violation of His commands, hence inviting His wrath.

Not only are the two respective families satisfied in breaking every rule of the Shariah, but they amass hundreds if not thousands of people to take part in wrong and thereby multiply the sins into millions.

Almost every aspect of the marriages today is alien to Islaam, some based on pagan traditions handed down to us and others copied from other communities or from TV advertisements. Only the nikah ceremony itself has remained intact and is sometimes sadly held in halls which is against the spirit of Islaamic weddings, as our Beloved Nabi صلى الله عليه وسلم has encouraged us to conduct our nikaah ceremonies in the Masaajid.

From the engagement to the photographic sessions and everything in between, almost everything has been derived from non-Islamic cultures. As for the Muslims from the Indian subcontinent, they have merged Christian and Hindu traditions into their weddings.

One of the dangers has been, over time, rituals taken up for mere fun have been integrated into our wedding occasions as important, compulsory elements, without which a wedding is thought to be
incomplete. As the importance of these alien events is raised, they are repeated in subsequent weddings andthe rituals become customs. A few of the many wrongs which are presently taking place in our wedding ceremonies will be shortly explained here with the hope that individuals can assess how deeply they have immersed themselves in imitating the non-Muslims and henceforth mend their ways and restore our Islaamic weddings to its simple, pure and pristine form.

I. DANCING AND MUSIC

This point needs no further elucidation regarding its impermissibility in Shariah and its being derived
specifically from other religions, especially Hinduism and Christianity where it forms a vital part of the
wedding ceremony. It is extremely sad that we have adopted this “hypocrisy-creating” evil and have even dedicated a part of the wedding day for it.

Hadeeth: -Nabi صلى الله عليه وسلم said,

“Most certainly a group from my Ummah will drink wine and label it differently, instruments will be sounded close to them in the presence of singing girls. Allah سبحانه وتعالى will make the earth swallow them and transform them into monkeys and pigs.” (Muslim)

And in a narration recorded in Bukhari Nabi صلى الله عليه وسلم says,

“A group from my Ummah will make adultery, the wearing of silk garments, the drinking of wine and music permissible.”

2. DRESSING

Commercial pressure from the media and sheer negligence has led the present day Muslims to dress scantily and outrageously immoral when attending these functions. Some have even adopted the religious garments of others, such as saris etc, for the simple reason that it is in fashion. There is no doubt in all of this not being permissible.

In a narration recorded in Muslim, Nabi صلى الله عليه وسلم has said,

“There are two groups from amongst the inhabitants of jahannam that I have not yet seen a group brandishing whips like the tails of cattle which they use to abuse people; and women who are clothed yet naked i.e. they cause men to be inclined to them (attract them) and they themselves are inclined to men. Their heads are like camel humps (hairstyles). They will not enter paradise nor will they enjoy the fragrance thereof, whereas its fragrance can be enjoyed from a distance. “

One of the extravagances noticed in weddings is the notion that a new garment be purchased not only for each wedding, but rather for each occasion associated to a wedding, which many a time runs into spending thousands of Rands for a garment that is normally utilised just once! This form of unnecessary expense, ironically, at a time when almost half the Ummah is barely making ends meet!

A narration in Mishkaat explains that simplicity is part of Imaan. It will be truly sad if we do not take
lessons from these traditions

3. EXTRAVAGANCE

Those who have adopted non-Islamic rites in marriage, indulge in extravagant expenses up to the point where financial loans are necessary. Thousands of Rands are spent without thought or consideration. For many this amounts to savings of a lifetime. Unfortunately, many families have to take out a loan and succumb to paying interest, which is likened to declaring war with Allah سبحانه وتعالى. Others who are in debt incur further debts to hold a wedding rather than pay the original debt.

This burden is self-imposed and also a means of depriving ourselves from the mercy of Allah سبحانه وتعالى. Extravagance is against the Shariat and invites the wrath of Allah سبحانه وتعالى. Allah سبحانه وتعالى has equated the spend thrifts to being brothers of Shaytaan. Allah سبحانه وتعالى grants
wealth which has to be spent in accordance to His commands and prohibitions. Extravagance is a sign of ungratefulness and a rejection of Allah سبحانه وتعالى ‘s command :

And waste not by excess, for Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) does not love wasters. (AI-An’aam 141)

A marriage which is celebrated without due consideration of excess expenditure is deprived of Allah’s سبحانه وتعالى blessing. What a sad way for the couple to begin their life together!

Hazrat A’isha رضي الله عنها reports that Nabi صلى الله عليه وسلم said,

“The matrimony with the greatest blessings is that which is simple and Incurs the least trouble.” (Bayhaqi)

Inviting friends and family to a Walimah is Sunnah, but to invite people for three or four or more days is an extravagance against the Sunnah. Similarly it is not proven that the bride Is family hosts the groom’s family at a reception after Nikaah.

A Walimah meal provided by the groom a day or two after the Nikaah is Sunnah.

Nabi صلى الله عليه وسلم advised us,

“The invitation of those who serve food as a return for name and fame should not be
accepted.” (Musnad Ahmad)

Some of the other customs noticed at our weddings, with no basis in Shariat, are:

I. Stag/hen parties also known as bachelor and bachelorette parties.

2. Dance nights.

3. Mehndi parties.

4. The displaying of gifts exchanged.

5. Shamelessly displaying the bride to everyone including strange men.

6. The printing of lavish wedding invites.

7. Mentioning the virtues of the bride and groom at the reception and walimah functions respectively
which is an imitation of the toast at Christian weddings.

The Weddings of the First Community

As Muslims we have to follow the path shown to us by our Beloved Nabi صلى الله عليه وسلم and there are many weddings documented from his time to follow and base our weddings upon.

One of the wealthy Muslim traders of Makkah Mukarramah had been Abdur Rahmaan Ibn ‘Auf رضي الله عنه. However, after migrating to Madinah Munawwarah he became relatively poor for a while. He set off to the market and began trading and soon became prosperous again. In Bukhari and Muslim his story has been recorded as follows :

Abdur Rahmaan Ibn ‘Auf رضي الله عنه came to the Messenger of Allah and he had traces of yellow on him (perfume used in weddings). The Prophet of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم asked him about it. He told him that he had just married. Nabi صلى الله عليه وسلم asked, “How much (mahr) did you hand over?” He said, “The weight of a date stone in gold.” The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “Hold a Walimah, even if only with a sheep.”

Abdur Rahmaan رضي الله عنه being relatively wealthy, was advised to hold a Walimah with just a sheep.

In a similar incident, Hazrat Jabir Ibn Abdullah رضي الله عنه came to Nabi صلى الله عليه وسلم with a yellow perfume stain. He enquired, “Have you married?” He replied, “Yes.”

Both these incidents indicate that even though Nabi was in their midst the Sahabah married without
inviting or informing him. The Prophet showed no animosity towards them, thus condoning their
actions and promoting simplicity and performing Nikaah as soon as the bride and groom have agreed.

Nabi صلى الله عليه وسلم ‘s own marriages were extremely simple. His Walimah after his marriage to Safiyyah رضي الله عنها was ‘hais’ (dates mixed with clarified butter and a preparation of dried curd).

Hazrat Anas رضي الله عنه said,

“Nabi صلى الله عليه وسلم never gave a Walimah for any of his wives as he did for Zaynab رضي الله عنها. He gave Walimah with a sheep.” (Bukhari)

The above Ahadeeth illustrate the extravagance shown at modern weddings as being far from the spirit of the first community and emphasizes how remote we are from the Sunnah of Nabi صلى الله عليه وسلم.

May Allah grant us all the ability to adhere to the beautiful and pure teachings of Islaam.
Aameen.

Prepared by: Darul Uloom Zakariyya

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