A Muslim wedding is divided into two events, the Nikah and the Walima. Most people know very little about a Muslim wedding, let alone the two main events. An Islamic wedding is a soulful and beautiful event that mark’s the beginning of a new life for the couple to be wed. If you want to learn about Muslim wedding traditions and more, then read on to learn more.
What is Nikah?
The Nikah is a celebrated occasion because it is a tradition set forth by Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him). While Muslim weddings can differ in traditions based on cultures, sects, etc., the basics are the same.
Traditionally, a Muslim wedding takes place in a mosque, where the Imam officiates the marriage ceremony. Most families will choose a time for the Nikah and invite their friends and family to attend the ceremony. According to Islamic tradition, the Nikah has to be as simple as possible, without any extravagance, which ensures neither party has to bear a massive financial burden.
According to Islam, the Nikah is the only acceptable way for a Muslim couple to get married, and without it, a man and a woman cannot be intimate for any reason whatsoever. The Nikah legitimizes the relationship via the marriage contract with God and the attendees as witness.
Requirements for Nikah
Proposal and Acceptance
Like any marriage, the Nikah starts with a marriage proposal. A man or woman can propose as long as they intend to marry. It is worth noting in Islam; it is not frowned upon for a woman to initiate a proposal, as this was the case with Khadijah (Peace be Upon Her), the first wife of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him).
Once a proposal is made, the man or woman can accept. However, the man or woman doesn’t need to accept right away. During the time between proposal and acceptance, the couple can meet to get to know each other in a public place or with a guardian.
For a Muslim wedding, two male witnesses are required to stand witness to the bride and groom accepting each other as husband and wife. The witnesses also ensure that the couple is willing to get wed without anyone forcing them.
The Mahr is a mandatory gift that must be presented to the wife by the husband. The Mahr could be anything reasonable that the wife could request, like a lump sum of money, a Muslim wedding dress, and so on. However, the wife must keep her husband’s income in mind before making any demands.
The Wali could be the bride’s father or a male guardian in his absence. The Wali gives away the bride after getting her consent. Please note a Wali cannot give consent on behalf of the bride without asking her first.
During the Nikah ceremony, the bride and groom repeat the words “I do” thrice when asked if they accept each other as man and wife. The couple is then required to sign a contract which serves as a legal document for the Nikah ceremony.
What is Walima?
Once the Nikah ceremony is complete, the next part is the Walima.
The Walima is derived from Awlama, which in Arabic means amass or accumulate. The idea behind the Walima is to organize a feast to publicize the wedding that took place. Now, there is debate regarding when the feast is to take place. Islamic scholars have differing views on when a Walima should be held, like:
- The Walima is to be held immediately after the Nikah.
- The Walima is to be held once the marriage has been consummated.
- The Walima is to be held when the married woman leaves her place of residence to that of her husband.
Regardless of the differing views, one thing is for certain; a Walima is mandatory once a nikah has taken place.
During the Walima, the following practices are forbidden:
- Displaying the bride to everyone in attendance.
- Inviting guests from faraway places.
- Spending extravagantly on the Walima.
- Requesting presents from guests like Muslim wedding dresses, gold, money, etc.
All in all, you should now have a better understanding of how a wedding takes place in a Muslim household. Remember, be it rich or poor, it is recommended to have a simple wedding without complicating things than they should be. If you have questions or concerns about the topic, leave a comment below!