A Fairytale Wedding: Boon or Bane?

lavish-weddingThe tweet of a foreigner, who was invited to a Pakistani wedding, read as follows: “I can’t believe it was a Muslim wedding. Everything about it was so non-Muslim!”

I was ashamed to have been shaken to reality by a non-Muslim. His words were harsh; but they were undoubtedly a big question to re-check our Iman. And the more I thought about it, the more it made sense to me. A few days ago, when I heard that my cousin was going to get married, I immediately fussed about how I had no decent dresses to wear, and did a quick mental calculation on how many dresses I needed for her pre and post wedding events. The disappointing part is that I am not the only odd one out here, or representing just a small pack of Muslims who have lost their identity. The majority of the population tends to go to any extreme and leaves no stone unturned in hosting a ‘fairytale wedding’- just like in the Prince Charming and Cinderella story. They do this not out of sheer self-happiness, but because they want to live up to the social standards and plan a better wedding than the ones they were a part of, because people will judge them on how well they could host an event.

Checklist for a successful wedding event

The wedding is assumed to be a successful one if it has a buffet dinner, music, dance floor, photography, large halls, mix gatherings and much more. Moreover, it’s not just a one day event either. Countless pre-event sessions take place that make you lose your sanity. Mehndi, Mayun, Dholki, bridal showers, hen party, stag party, Barat and Chauthi are just a few event sessions that gear up towards the main day. And it doesn’t end over here. The series of get-together that follows is endless, too.

If we study Islam and look into the teachings of Quran and Sunnah then we’ll find numerous Ahadeeth and verses that condemn the idea of making a wedding into an extravagant affair. The Prophet (sa) said: “The most blessed Nikah is the one in which least expenses are occurred.”

Simplicity is the best policy

Our Prophet (sa) implemented this during the wedding of her daughter Fatimah (ra). When the time came for Fatimah (ra) to go to Ali’s (ra) house after the Nikah, she was sent without any clamour, hue and cry, accompanied by Umm Ayman (ra). After the Isha Salah, the Prophet (sa) went to their house, took permission and entered. He asked for a basin of water, put his blessed hands into it and sprinkled it on both Ali (ra) and Fatimah (ra), and made Dua for them. The sovereign of both worlds gave his beloved daughter a silver bracelet, two Yemeni sheets, four mattresses, one blanket, one pillow, one cup, one hand-grinding mill, one bedstead, a small water skin and a leather pitcher. In this simple fashion, the wedding of the daughter of the leader of the worlds was solemnized. In following this Sunnah, a wedding becomes very simple and easy to fulfill. And it will surely ease our burden.

Allah (swt) states in the Holy Quran,

﴾وَيَأْكُلُونَ كَمَا تَأْكُلُ الْأَنْعَامُ﴿ “They eat like animals.”

This verse was for the Kuffar. It is a pity that the Muslims are now imitating the Kuffar in their eating habits and buffet style dinner in the weddings. Whereas the true benefactor of the Ummah announced it fourteen hundred years ago that we should not eat or drink, while standing.

Behind the scene of ‘the fairytale’

Following the Islamic junctions while marrying your daughters and sons won’t only satisfy your heart, but it’ll also purify your soul from all sorts of evils; to do better than others, to show-off your social standards and to attain praises from your friends and family about how grand your function was. We should realize that turning weddings into a festival is just a waste of money that pressurizes you to take loans and heavy debts. How will Allah (swt) put Barakah in the marriage, if you’ll start your new life with enormous debts on your shoulders to be paid in the near future? Will you be able to enjoy your new life to the full with the guilt and the constant reminder of a loan that needs to be returned? And most importantly, holding a grand and crowded affair becomes more of a hassle. How? The main reason being it’s hard to satisfy people because they’ll look for faults, even when you try your best to arrange a perfect event; and hence, it leads to unwanted fights and quarrels.

Pause and ponder

The rational approach that people don’t give any significance to is: what will you gain with all the compliments that people shower on you? Is it a key to ensure happiness of the bride and the groom in the long run? Or will it in any way be a source of salvation for your married daughter and son?

We all should realize that whatever we do should benefit us the most. And in the case of weddings, simplicity tops the most wanted list. It won’t just benefit us but will certainly be a wonderful approach for both the families that get united through the Nikah.

Avoid the ‘sip and gossip’ session

Invite a few needy people and feed them, the Sunnah of Prophet (sa) will be achieved. Feed the Walima guests in your house, which will save the money of the hall booking and that money can be given to your daughter or son, who is marrying. Remember, if thousands of people will attend the wedding, they will have unending complaints. People tend to make mountains out of mole hills because they’re born to do that. They’ll gossip, no matter if the wedding is simple or grand. So stop worrying about your social position and focus on what Allah (swt) and Prophet (sa) taught us. What if, God forbid, the bride and the groom decide to part ways after their marriage? Won’t you regret your decision of emptying your savings for something that didn’t work out?

Last but not the least, the point we should ponder over is: how can people actually feel satisfied with a typical Desi wedding, which does not make Allah (swt) happy and robs all the involved of His blessings?

Etiquettes of Celebrations – The Sunnah Way

ConfettiThe faces of the old and young – and indeed even the trees and birds around us – rejoice when they come to know about the happiness of the beloved Prophet (sa). His happiness is the happiness for those, who love him, and it is guidance for his followers. The Prophetic guidance teaches us the manners of how to be happy in the times of success and joy.

Allah (swt) did not create us to be robots. He created us with feelings, will, intellect and has granted us the liberty to choose and to act according to the situations. Now it is obligatory on a believer to adopt the Sunnah of Prophet (sa) in every sphere of his life, as acting upon Sunnah is also a worship of our Lord.

Let’s learn the etiquettes of celebrating joy and success as per Sunnah of the Prophet(sa) in different occasions of our lives.

Marriage – A Sacred Occasion

Out of all the occasions of celebration of joy and success, the marriage comes first on the list, as this is the occasion of our life in which we break the rules and commandments of Allah (swt) the most. Marriage (Nikah) is a solemn and sacred social contract between bride and groom. It is a major step in one’s life. Marriage is a matter of great responsibility which should not be taken lightly by any means. In Islam, a marriage ceremony is comprised of a Nikah (marriage contract) followed by a Walima (marriage feast) once the marriage is done.

The Prophet (sa) said: “The marriage, which is most greatly blessed, is the one which is the lightest in burden (expense). However, if people are well catered for, without extravagance and show, there is no problem with that either.” (Baihaqi)

Nowadays, our marriages follow such rituals and customs on which we tend to waste enormous amount of money and time that simply isn’t required. Nikah and Walima are both the Sunnahs of the Prophet Muhammad (sa), so we should try to commemorate these joyous occasions in the same way as he did to make them more valuable and blessful.

According to Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (sa), the Nikah can be held at the local asjid or at home whereas the Walima can be held anywhere.

Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “The worst of the feasts are those marriage feasts to which the rich are invited and the poor are left out.” (Mishkat)

Anas  describes one of the Walimas hosted by the Prophet (sa): “The Prophet(sa) stayed for three days at a place between Khaibar and Madinah and there he consummated his marriage with Safiyya bint Huyay (rta). He invited the Muslims to a banquet which included neither meat nor bread. The Prophet (sa) ordered leather dining sheets to be spread. Dates, dried yogurt and butter were provided over it and that was the Walima (banquet) of the Prophet (sa).” (Bukhari)

There is nothing wrong with  an elaborate ceremony being  held in an elegant banquet hall and a full-course meal if you can afford. But its neither a criteria nor a requirement of a successful marriage. Moreover by doing so many people become the victim of debt due to spending extravagantly on this occasion which is of no use.

Although it’s not that easy to row your boat in the opposite direction to which the society is moving, but it’s worth going against the tides that are against the command of  Allah (swt) and the teachings of the Prophet (sa). We should try our utmost to follow the footsteps of Prophet (sa) rather than blindly following the pathetic, shameless acts of Jahiliyyah in our wedding ceremonies which lead to nothing but Fitnah and do not even guarantee  a successful marriage.

Eid – The Blessful Occasion

Islam is a very practical yet reasonable religion. After spending the whole month of Ramadan in worshipping Allah (swt), Muslims are blessed with the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr to celebrate this success with happiness and excitement. Similarly, Allah (swt) has blessed us with Eid- ul-Adha in the memory of the great sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim (as).Therefore on these two occasions, the observance of the Sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad (sa) doubles our celebration and joy.

The Sunnahs of Eids include:waking up early in the morning than usual, brushing of teeth with Miswak, taking a bath, dressing up in neat and clean clothes, using perfume and the performance of Eid Salah at the Eidgah. However it is a Sunnah to avoid eating dates or something sweet before Eid Salah of Eid-ul-Fitr , reciting aloud Takbeerat on the way to the place of prayer for Eid-ul-Adha and silently for Eid-ul-Fitr:

 “Allaahu Akbar Allaahu Akbar Laa ilaaha illallaahu Wallaahu Akbar walillaahil Hamd.”

Using of different routes to and from the place of Eid Salah and the offering of two Rakahs of Salat-ul-Eidain (which is Wajib) are the Sunnah of celebrating these joyous occasions.

Sport Success Celebration

Then there comes a celebration of success and joy during sports activities where we are especially required to follow the Sunnah of our Prophet (sa). Playing sports is permissible in Islam. There are some sports which are considered to be Sunnah sports such as archery, wrestling, swimming, running, horse riding, camel racing and competition. Prophet Muhammad (sa) used to watch these sports and also award those who won.

Regardless of age, everybody is engaged or interested in some kind of sport. Sport is defined as ‘physical activities in the form of games, races and competitions that aim to improve fitness.’

While playing sports and celebrating the success, one must keep the following things in mind; the foremost is not to indulge in sports to such an extent that you miss your Fard prayers or to take part in sports where you have to play sports with the opposite gender.

According to Sunnah, the sportsman is not even allowed to wear such clothes which do not cover the body parts that are obligatory to cover. During the celebration of victory and joy, it is not permissible to use foul language, slandering and bad behaviour against the opponents. Furthermore, it is against the Sunnah of Prophet (sa) to play sports in areas where you become the cause of suffering for others such as roads and crowded streets.

Gratitude is Sunnah

In short, it is the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (sa) to be humble and thankful to Allah (swt) when one gets His Blessings in the form of success or joy rather being rude, boastful and arrogant. Whenever the Prophet Muhammad (sa) was happy, for example, after coming back from a battle or on the occasions of Eids, marriage or any other occasion of happiness; he always used to offer Nafil to thank Almighty Allah (swt) and also included the poor and needy in his happiness by giving charity or Sadaqah.