Allah (swt) sent Prophet Muhammad (sa) as a role model for showing us the practical implementation of the Quranic Ayahs. The importance of this role model is stressed in Surah An-Nisa (4:80): “He who obeys the Messenger (Muhammad (sa)), has indeed obeyed Allah.”
Knowing the emphasis Allah (swt) places on the Sunnah, it is highly unfortunate how far people are from following the Prophet’s (sa) path. We have compartmentalized Islam in our lives and restricted its implementation to the praying mat and the Masjid. Our Deen is an amalgamation of the spiritual, mental, emotional as well as social aspects of a person – it is a complete way of life.
Marriage is one of the most important events in a person’s life. Surah Ar-Rum (30:21) states that it is Allah (swt), Who puts affection and mercy between a man and his wife. Hence, it is one of Allah’s (swt) innumerable Barakahs that He has made Nikah a source of peace and comfort for us. However, we fail to recognize the direct relation existing between His promise of Barakah and His command to follow the Sunnah in all walks of life. Prophet’s (sa) Seerah shows that he got married several times during his lifetime; hence, Nikah is his Sunnah. If we want Allah (swt) to put His Barakah in this relationship, is it not binding upon us to celebrate this event by following the Prophet’s (sa) footsteps entirely? Unfortunately, many of us do not even know how a Nikah is performed as per Sunnah. In this article, Insha’Allah, we will compare the wedding ceremonies that take place in our society today with our Prophet’s (sa) prescribed way of Nikah.
Always remember – keep it simple. “The marriage, which produces the most blessings, is that which involves least burden.” (Tirmidhi) Unfortunately, by adopting numerous non-Muslims customs, we have made Nikah the most complicated of affairs! Planning for the wedding starts months before the due date.
Regarding extravagance, Allah (swt) says: “Verily, the spendthrifts are brothers of the Shayatin (devils).” (Al-Isra 17:27) Israaf (extravagance) creates envy – the working staff of the house sees such wastefulness around them, while their own children do not get even two proper meals in a day!
Indian films promote the idea of lavish weddings, and Muslims, being followers of culture instead of the Sunnah, trace their footsteps blindly! Multinationals cash in on this trend by endorsing popular songs and TV serials with wedding backgrounds. Gangs of designers and wedding planners further orchestrate this event and make it the ‘business of a wedding’ rather than the ‘solemnization of a Nikah’! The wedding extravaganza held in Karachi (November, 2005) was a proof of this. Apparently, looking like a non-Muslim is a far more appealing concept than upholding the dignity and honour that comes with the Muslim dress!
What’s the harm in adopting a few of non-Muslim rituals? The danger of emulating non-Muslims can be understood from Surah Al-Imran (3:149): “If you obey those who disbelieve, they will send you back on your heels, and you will turn back (from Faith) as losers.”
It is important to understand that every ritual has an underlying Aqeeda (dogma). We celebrate the Peela Joura in the Mayoon with great fervor, not realizing what it means. In the Mushrik Mudahib (idol worshippers), yellow is considered to be a good omen – one that wards off evil spirits and keeps the bride safe from harm. The custom of seven Sohaganain (married women) performing a ritual with sweet and turmeric stems from the belief that this ritual will ensure that the bride would remain a Sohagan (married) for the next seven times she is reincarnated! Can a Muslims believe in reincarnation? Do the beliefs that a particular colour or someone’s marital status bring luck and ward off evil match our Aqeeda of Tauheed? Are we not associating partners with Allah (swt) in terms of putting our trust in places other than Him?
Joota Chuppaee, or finger holding of the groom, is an equally disturbing ritual that goes against the teachings of Islam! A Mehndi is no short of a dance party. Taking a look at such functions, one immediately understands the Hikmah behind Allah’s (swt) commandments regarding segregated functions and limited interaction of the two genders! If the harmful effects of such occasions are pointed out, people immediately take refuge in the famous Hadeeth: “Deeds depend upon intention.” (Bukhari) Interestingly enough, the Hadeeth that “singing produces hypocrisy in the hearts” (Abu Dawood) is neither remembered nor quoted!
There is nothing wrong with celebrating happiness. Various Ahadeeth can be found, where Prophet (sa) allowed young girls to play tambourines and sing songs to celebrate. (Bukhari) However, no Hadeeth mentions girls and boys of all ages expressing their happiness by beating drums, blowing trumpets and dancing all night together!
Another nuisance is that of Jehaiz (dowry). Also here we fail to take a look at the concept behind this custom. It is a well known fact that in all Mushrik Mudhahib (idol worshippers) the value of a female is very low. In pre-Islamic days, daughters were buried alive and were considered a sign of misfortune. Jehaiz stems from the same concept. The value of the girl is so low that her parents have to bribe the groom to marry her! In Islam, however, it is the responsibility of the groom to provide to his wife all the things that we expect the girl’s parents to supply her with.
The more the Jehaiz, the more the Izzat (respect)? Wrong again! We are actually devaluing the girl even further. Our Deen does not permit to put any burden on the bride’s family. We quote the Seerah of our Prophet (sa) and say that he also gave Fatima (rta) Jehaiz (dowry). What most of us don’t know is that the Prophet (sa) bought the things for Fatima (rta) from Ali’s (rta) Mahr money, as Ali (rta) didn’t have a father, and Prophet (sa) was also his guardian. Agreed – parents can give to their daughter gifts for her personal use, for example, clothes, jewellery, make-up, etc. But personal belongings in no way include bedroom furniture, kitchen appliances, car or a sofa set for the drawing room! We see parents going bankrupt. Even today baby girls are buried alive, because their parents fear the time of their marriage!
What’s the harm in giving to our daughters what we want, if we can afford it? The harms are plenty. We must realize that the affording class is the trendsetter for the ones below. By giving Jehaiz we are fortifying an un-Islamic custom, the disadvantages and repercussions of which are far reaching. Besides we also demean our own daughter’s value and lure her husband to be and his family into greedy enticements.
Prophet’s (sa) Seerah tells us that getting married is the easiest of affairs. The steps involved are only three!
Step 1: Solemnize the Nikah in a Masjid
“Make this marriage publicly known, solemnize it in the mosques, and play tambourines in honour of it.” (At-Tirmidhi)
There are no such occasions as Barat or Rukhsati in Islam. Nikah should be held in the Masjid, after which the groom should seek the permission of the bride’s father to take the bride home. The bride’s family does not have to host a wedding banquet in honour of the Nikah at all! The wedding party is the groom’s responsibility and is done in the form of a Valima.
Also Baraath stems from the Mushrik Aqeeda (idol worshipper’s belief). In the old days, it was common for the bride to be from one village and the groom from another. The groom and his family knew that on the way back from the Rukhsati, they would also have a lot of Jehaiz to carry. Since, there was no concept of cars or armed guards for protection, the family collected their relatives to make sure that they could protect the Jehaiz from robbers on the way back. Hence, the concept of Baraath emerged that Muslims choose to follow blindly! People argue: “What’s the harm?” Is it not enough harm that it’s not a Sunnah of our Prophet (sa) but a part of the Mushrik Aqeeda?
Step 2: Give the Bride her Mahr (Jointure Money)
Mahr is given by the groom to his bride as a gift. Several Ahadeeth stress the importance of Mahr. The Prophet (sa) once said to a man: “The Mahr that you paid was for having sexual relations with her lawfully.” (Bukhari) Hence, Mahr differentiates Zina from Nikah!
Unfortunately, we have attached several fallacies to the concept. Men generally confuse Mahr with alimony, i.e., the money given by the husband to his wife after divorce! Mahr has nothing to do with divorce. It needs to be paid at the time of the Nikah to make the relations between a man and his wife Halaal.
The bride’s parents think that Mahr is the value the groom puts on their daughter. Hence, the higher the better! They fail to understand that Mahr is not open to negotiation. It’s not a transaction but a gift the amount of which should be decided by the husband on the basis of what he can afford, not what his father can afford.
Step 3: Announce the Nikah with a Valima Banquet
At the time of some Companion’s marriage, the Prophet (sa) said: “Give a wedding banquet, even if with one sheep.” (Bukhari)
The Valima, hence, holds great significance in Islam. Several Ahadeeth show that the only wedding banquet held in a marriage is the one hosted by the groom himself. (Bukhari)
Alhumdulillah, Nikah, if carried out as per Sunnah, is very simple and easy. It only takes Nikah, Mahr and Valima banquet to complete the entire procedure! It is our culture that makes the whole marriage affair so much more complicated!