Dhulan, Jora, Jewellery and… Niqab

mehendiShireen Husain takes us to a wedding hall for a heart-warming experience.

The occasion was  the Valima. The function was held in a grand banquet hall of a local five-stars hotel. The “stage” for the Dhulah and Dhulan was decorated with seasonal flowers and the lighting was especially arranged to enhance the photography session soon to take place. The hall itself was beautifully decorated with huge chandeliers and gracefully draped curtains in soothing colours. A soft scent of fresh flowers floated in the air, due to the abundance of fresh floral arrangements on each table. Shining crockery and cutlery laid on crisp, clean tablecloths awaiting the guests.

As the guests began to arrive, the soft background music was overpowered by conversations, people greeting each other, the ladies commenting on each other’s clothes and the children running around. Soon, the bride and the groom arrived, becoming the focus of attention for quite some time. Naturally, the ladies wanted a closer look at the Dhulan, her Jora and jewellery.

My stomach was growling with hunger, as I had skipped lunch, due to a hectic schedule. However, when dinner was served, I found myself deeply engrossed in a conversation with a friend, whom I had not seen for ten years. When I finally did move towards the food, there was the usual “get some before it finishes” rush, which made me wait for my turn. While I was waiting, I happened to see a slender woman, clad in a black Abaya with full Niqab. In the small space between the tables and the wall, she was standing and eating with her face to the wall. She was facing the wall, because she had removed her Niqab, so that she could eat.

The fact that she was obeying her Creator instilled her with a level of faith and dignity that only the believers and close slaves of Allah (swt) recognize and delight in. 

Suddenly, all the  guests faded into oblivion, and all I could see was the lady in the abaya. Even my hunger seemed to subside. Although I could not see her face, but I was not able to take my eyes off her. Among the 800 guests, she was the only woman in an Abaya. With a slight moistening of my eyes, I felt I could almost see Allah’s (swt) Noor surrounding her, blotting out all other light in the hall. Because for His sake, she had chosen to be a stranger among the people – she had chosen to go against the tide. She had chosen not to conform or yield to the pressure of society.

To me, she represented someone, who truly had the courage to stand up for her convictions. She had made a choice – and that choice was to please her Creator, even though it meant being different from everyone else. It did not seem to bother her in the least that people might hold her in contempt for being different, call her ‘backward’ and Jahil or shun her because of her ‘extremist’ stance. She knew whom and why she wanted to please, and this firmness of faith allowed her to be completely at peace with herself. The fact that she was obeying her Creator instilled her with a level of faith and dignity that only the believers and close slaves of Allah (swt) recognize and delight in. To her, her Hijab was much more than a covering, a piece of cloth – to her, it represented her total obedience to the Creator. Subhan’Allah! Subhan’Allah!

Muslim Weddings

Vol 4-Issue 3 Muslim WeddingsAllah (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!

Glaring Expenses

Vol 4-Issue 3 Glaring ExpensesMarriage is an intrinsic part of life, especially in our socio-religious and family-oriented culture. Each class of the society spends an exorbitant sum of money, which is beyond their particular economic reach, to make the occasion memorable. Since numbers speak a vivid language, a comparison has been chalked out for our readers to understand how much a Pakistani wedding cost today.

It costs a middle class Pakistani no less than Rs. 200,000 to marry off each of their daughters, which by any standard is not a small amount. A person earning Rs.10,000 – 15,000 salary strives hard to meet marriage expenses within Rs. 200,000. He may also have to use some 20 % of his savings and rely on the gifts from close relatives in order to include them in the cost of the dowry.

The elite class takes the whole affair very seriously, and the wedding expenses may estimate over Rs.10 million. In some cases, expenses cross the hefty sum of Rs. 40 million, as decorated bungalows in posh areas are a part of the expensive dowry package.

Their wedding functions, called Dholkis, start 10 to 15 days before the actual wedding day. Sometimes reputed local singers are paid half a million rupees or more to perform for just one night, while some extremely rich people hire singers from India. In some instances, professional dancers are hired a month earlier to train the women of the family to perform at the Rasm-e-Hina ceremony.

Instead of procuring flowers from the local florist, many upper-class families import bouquets from Thailand, Holland, etc. The tradition of distributing only dry dates among the guests after the Nikah ceremony is outdated. Now, costlier packets made of shinning and silky fabric are purchased to encase assorted dry fruits.

For such families, wedding guests mostly comprise of bureaucrats, foreign diplomats, army personnel and dignitaries. The wedding turns into an important event for networking with high profile local and foreign personalities.

Digital photography and movie making has replaced the old VHS technology. The rate of wedding movies and still-photograph packages range from Rs. 13,000 to Rs. 80,000. Bridal make-up rates vary from Rs. 3,000 in lower and middle income class areas to Rs. 8,000 in upper middle class areas. In DHA and Clifton (Karachi), the rate ranges between Rs. 10,000 – 15,000.

New trends in decorating the venue have arrived with the introduction of net tents with chandlers and beaming search lights and even full velvet tents. The rent of tent decorations ranges between Rs. 40 to Rs. 500 per head depending on the demand.

A non-compromising attitude of self-projection is the driving force of many wedding expenses today. One may only wonder, what more is to come?

According to a random survey, families bear the following expenses at their daughter’s wedding:

Income of Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 50,000 per month

  • Jewellery – Rs. 125,000-150,000
  • Furniture – Rs. 40,000-50,000
  • Electrical appliances – Rs. 60,000-70,000
  • Crockery – Rs. 10,000-15,000
  • Wedding hall and catering – Rs. 50,000-200,000
  • Wedding dress and accessories – Rs. 40,000-50,000
  • Rasm-e-Hina party – Rs. 25,000-30,000

Income of Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 30,000 per month

  • Jewellery – Rs. 60,000-80,000
  • Furniture – Rs. 30,000-40,000,
  • Bridal dress – Rs. 10,000-15,000
  • Crockery – Rs. 5,000-8,000
  • Electrical appliances – Rs. 40,000-50,000
  • Wedding hall and catering – Rs. 80,000-100,000

A Muslim Woman’s Surname after Marriage

Contributed by Naba Basar

Sheikh Saud Al-Funaysan, former professor at Imam University:

A woman has to keep the name of her father and not her husband after marriage. Ahadeeth give a severe warning for the person, who attributes himself to other than his or her father.

Allah (swt) says in the Quran: “Call them (adopted sons) by (the names of) their fathers; that is more just with Allah (swt). But if you know not their father’s (names, call them) your brothers in faith, Mawalikum (your freed slaves). And there is no sin on you concerning that in which you made a mistake, except in regard to what your hearts deliberately intend. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Al-Azhab 33:5)

Due to the seriousness of the matter, if a woman has her legal documentation, such as her passport, in her husband’s family name, then she has to change her official documents back to her father’s family name if she can, even if she in her daily practice abides by the legal ruling and people call her by her father’s name and not her husband’s.

Fatwah Department Research Committee of “IslamToday”, chaired by Sheikh Abd Al-Wahhab Al-Turayri:

To understand this matter, consider the fact that a woman does not rightfully belong to her husband’s family by way of lineage. Her lineage stays as it always was. Consider this: if her husband were to divorce her, who would be her guardians? Also, from whom does she inherit?

The above mentioned verse in the Quran (Al-Ahzab 33:5) commands us to attribute children to their true biological fathers even after adoption. The most it allows is that the child casually refers to his guardian as ‘father’, or the man to the child as ‘son’ or ‘daughter’ out of affection or absentmindedly; however, it forbids the change of the child’s name or a formal claim of attribution.

This is a general rule. All Muslims must carry their fathers’ names. There is no evidence from the Quran or the Sunnah that a woman, upon marriage, is exempted from the general rule of attribution to her own father and her own family. All women from the time of the Prophet (sa) onwards continued to be attributed to their own fathers after marriage, regardless of whether their fathers were Muslims or non-Muslims.

The Prophet (sa) said: “Whoever attributes his lineage to other than his father or claims other than his master as his master, then he has upon him the curse of Allah (swt), His angels and all humanity.” (Abu Dawood) Also: “Whoever claims as his father other than his father knowingly, then Paradise is forbidden him.” (Abu Dawood) These Ahadeeth are authentic. The matter is serious.

Those, who claim that there is contrary evidence allowing women upon marriage to attribute themselves to another person’s lineage, must produce their evidence for such a serious matter.

Allah (swt) knows best.

Last in Line

Vol 4-Issue 3  Last in line

The four-wheel drive halted suddenly. Sara flung the door open and raced up the steps just in time for her appointment with the country’s most sought after fashion designer.

He took the necessary head to toe details of the bridal wear, not missing an inch of Sara. Sara was thrilled at the thought of how awed everyone would be with her selection of attire.

Next stop was the tailor. Master Sahab did a good job, but it had to be scrupulous. So once again Sara paraded in and out of different dresses in the dressing room. Master Sahab after a tirade from Sara measured and re-measured her for precision.

Now Sara headed for her jeweler, who had promised to show her his exquisite collection. She tried each piece, while the jeweler complimented her and gave her his expert advice. Finally, they found the right settings to go along with her bridal dress.

Sara wondered what she was still missing. Sandals! Oh, by golly, she couldn’t have gone barefoot to her wedding. She made a quick stop over at the shoe shop. There she tried a dozen different heels and cat walked all over the shop. She fancied nothing. Finally, the shop owner personally chose a pair for her. This time Sara was convinced.

The big day finally arrived and Sara couldn’t help admiring her reflection in the beauty salon’s wall to wall mirrors. Her male beautician just couldn’t sing praises enough.

All dolled up, she made a dash for her awaiting car that would whisk her to the wedding reception. Even the driver checked Sara out in his rear view mirror and voiced his admiration.

At the reception amid numerous ‘wows’ the audience talked about Sara. They flocked in line to congratulate her. There were handshakes, kisses and hugs from uncles, cousins, family friends, office colleagues and many other well wishers, some of whom Sara had probably not seen for years.

Suddenly, the camera man caused a stir and catapulted everyone off the stage. He needed to do his job! His photographer ally also stepped into the scene. Finally, the moment for her dream pictures that would capture this magical moment. She posed and they snapped, delighted to have such a beauty before their lens.

Finally, it was time to bid everyone farewell. Hand in hand with the prince of her dreams she headed for her new and exciting life. In her ecstasy, she overlooked her step and fell face flat on the ground. Her head started to reel and everything blacked out.

She felt herself being carried to a strange place. She heard a voice echoing in the background asking: “How many more times will you do it?” Frightened, she asked: “Do what?” “Commit adultery?” Flabbergasted she stammered: “What, what are you saying? I just got married! I have done no such sin – I am a pure virgin!” The voice replied: “After being touched, admired and fantasized about by countless men, you claim to be a pure virgin? Your husband should have been the first man to do so. However, it’s a pity that he turned up last in line. You are nothing but an adulteress. Throw her into Hell!”

Sara screamed for her life, as she was dragged by the forelock and plunged into what seemed like an ocean of fire. Just as the hissing snakes started to entwine her, she begged for mercy and suddenly found herself in her bed with the alarm clock shrilling in her ears. She had to meet up with her designer for her measurements today. By God! Was it all a nightmare? Drenched in sweat and horrified at what could have been her fate, she cried hysterically.

Suddenly, she remembered Allah (swt). Surely, she hadn’t in a long time. But for some reason she just wanted to talk to Him – explain to Him, how ashamed she was for her past, and how thankful she was to Him for literally saving her from eternal doom.

With broken sniffs and a trembling body, Sara knew exactly what to do. She carefully picked up the phone and politely cancelled her appointment with the designer. She wanted to marry as a pure virgin, not as an adulteress. No man will ever touch her now or devour her beauty. There wasn’t going to be any queue now. Her husband will have to be the first in line!