In Islam, marriage(Nikah) is considered a religious obligation or a legal contract between the bride and groom. It is an integral part of the culture of Islam, and in the Quran, it is outlined as one of the primary duties of a Muslim. The followers and practices of Islam weddings vary from one country to that of another. Muslim wedding(Nikah) traditions vary based on Islamic sect, gender-segregation rules, and culture.
Most Muslim weddings are held in wedding venues and not in mosques. Any Muslim who can understand Muslim wedding traditions can officiate the wedding ceremony. But more often, the Imam will preside over the Islam wedding ceremony. For weddings held at a mosque, then a Qazi, the marriage officiant will preside over the Muslim wedding. Both the bride and groom remain separate during the Muslim wedding ceremony.
Signing the marriage contract is the only requirement of a Muslim wedding. The marriage contract consists of Meher or Mahr. It is considered as the bride’s security and is similar to that of Dowry, but it is a gift that the groom gives to the bride. It is the monetary amount or possession that the bride is entitled to receive from the groom, at the time of the Islam wedding. Meher is subcategorized into
- Prompt– It is payable either soon after the wedding or at a time when the wife demands it. Most Muslim couples consider the ring as a prompt.
- Deferred amount– It is not payable soon after the wedding, and it can be a small sum, jewellery, education, or land. The deferred amount solely belongs to the bride, and she can use it as she pleases.
If the wife seeks divorce, then she is supposed to return the mahr, and if the divorce is because of normal reasons, then she can keep the mahr with her.
After finalising the date of the Nikah ceremony, the groom’s father visits the bride’s family and presents a cash gift.
Mangini is similar to the engagement function. During this ceremony, the groom’s family visits the bride’s place and exchange gifts, fruits, sweets, etc. as a mutual agreement towards marriage.
The Manja ceremony is very similar to the Haldi ceremony. It takes place two days before the Nikah ceremony. The yellow colour theme is adopted in decorations and dress code to complement the name and rituals of the ceremony.
A paste made of turmeric and sandalwood mix is applied on the face, hands and feet of the bride by the guests wishing her prosperity and happiness in her married life. The Manja Ceremony is held separately for both bride and groom.
Mehendi and Sanchak ceremony
Mehandi is a women-centric event that takes place on the eve before the Nikah day. Henna is applied on the hands and feet of the bride in beautiful designs and also in the hands of other women in the family. Groom’s name is included in the henna design of the bride’s hand along with floral and other designs.
During the Mehandi night, the groom’s relatives visit the bride’s house and present gifts and sweets to her. The clothes and the jewellery to be worn by the bride during the Nikah ceremony are presented during the Sanchak ceremony.
The groom set off to the Nikah venue as a procession in a decorated car presented by the bride’s family. Bride’s relatives accompany the groom, with music and dance along the way. The loud procession acts as a notice of the wedding function to begin soon.
A warm welcome is arranged for the groom at the Nikah venue entrance by the bride’s family. The brother-in-law offers the groom a sweet drink called Sherbet, and scented rose water is sprayed on him. The groom and his family members are accompanied to the stage by the bride’s family.
It is common to find a separate seating area and reception area for genders during the Nikah and Walima ceremony. Many families still believe it as a part of their belief and follow it during the wedding functions. Usually, the venue is divided into two with a division in the middle creating separate areas for male and female guests.