Muslim Wedding Customs

Muslim Wedding Customs

Muslim wedding ceremony is called ‘Nikah’ which is an Urdu word for wedding. It has deep meaning and is held in highest esteem. Its rituals are vastly different from the Hindu or Christian ceremonies. But just like these two, Nikah also has its pre and post wedding rituals. Hence the Muslim weddings too are carried out for days before and after the wedding.

Muslim Wedding Customs

Things to know about Muslim Weddings

In Muslim weddings, unlike Hindu weddings, there are no ‘muhurat’ or auspicious timings. They can take place at the bride’s place or at the groom’s place whenever the parties are ready. However that was the earlier traditions, nowadays we have the option to explore. Hence the Muslim weddings are taking place at the auditoriums, banquet halls and community centers.

There is no restriction in Islam that weddings cannot take place at banquet halls or such. Therefore people can take advantage of the resources they have right now. But no matter where the wedding takes place the rituals are divided into three parts – pre wedding, wedding day and post wedding. In that aspect it has similarities with rituals of the rest of the world.

Just like weddings in other parts of the world, the pre-wedding rituals are mainly focused upon exchanging gifts and sweets. They involve a lot of visits to the groom’s and the bride’s house by either party. The pre-wedding rituals make the bride and the groom the star of the event and they increase the excitement among either party who then look forward to the wedding.

The wedding is organized in a very elegant and sophisticated manner where the etiquette is given prime importance. Here are the 10 events that mark the Muslim wedding –

Marriage rituals

  1. Marriage proposal
    The groom’s parents, relatives and elders come to the bride’s home to ask her hand for marriage. There is a recitation of the first chapter of Quran, Surah Fatiha, followed by the exchange of refreshments. In the more orthodox Muslim families, this ritual does not involve the groom. In the modern families, the groom is given permission and then he asks the bride for her hand, himself. Jewelry or some tokens are given to the bride to indicate the commitment. To know more about this you can also visit our page Proposal
  2. Engagement
    In the west this would be where the “engagement” is taking place. In orthodox cultures, the engagement is a whole other ritual in itself. It can take place at the bride’s home or in a venue with the friends and relatives of both the bride and groom. In more conservative families the groom’s mother places the ring on the bride’s hand. There can be a short prayer after the ritual whereby blessings are bestowed upon the would-be couple by Allah. You can also visit our page Engagement to read more articles.
  3. Dholki
    The Dholki is a ritual whereby drums are played at the weddings and ladies gather around the function to celebrate the union of the bride and groom. It is more common practice in the Indian subcontinent. It is one of the more conservative practices which is a must-follow through. Also it is a fun event – the ‘dholki’ actually refers to the drums that are played during the event.
  4. Mehndi
    The Mehndi ceremony is common in these types of weddings. The customary celebrations happen two nights before the wedding usually. This is an all-women night where women dance and sing and apply mehndi on each others’ hands. The drums are played and women sing songs to appreciate the wedding. However nowadays the groom’s side is also present during this ceremony as they bring sweets and henna to the ceremony. To know about so many mehndi design you can visit our page Mehndi for Wedding (Shaadi)
    In Indian and Pakistani culture the bride normally wears yellow or orange during this ceremony. But this is cultural and the event is organized at the bride’s house usually.
  5. Barat
    The groom comes to the bride’s home or the marriage venue in a car or any other vehicle of choice, traditionally a ghodi. But he must bring with himself his friends and family who mainly are the “baratis”. The entire procession with the groom and his groomsmen is known as barat. It comes at the bride’s venue with a lot of pomp and show. There are bands and orchestra arranged for this event.
  6. Nikah
    Nikah is the main wedding event. After the groom has entered the venue he is being received by the bride’s friends and family and he is brought to the main area where women and men sit on either side. A Muslim cleric or Imam officiates the wedding. It usually happens in the mosque but it can also be carried out in the bride’s home. The Imam conducts the wedding by asking for two witnesses from the bride’s side. Then he will go on to give a short sermon, also called a Khutbah and ask the father’s permission to give off his daughter. After that he will ask the groom whether he is willing to pay the Mahar and then conclude the event by giving a short blessing to the couple.
  7. Walimah
    The Walimah is basically the reception ceremony. Mostly the bride’s side of the family comes to the Walimah. In certain cultures like that of Pakistan, the bride’s side pays for the reception ceremony. The next day it is held at the groom’s place where most of the groom’s people are invited. This is one of the rituals that differ from place to place – the opposite happens in Arab countries.
  8. Rukhasti
    Rukhasti, also known as “bidaai” in Hindi, is the ceremony where the bride and the groom take off from the venue. It is the official ceremony where the bride finally leaves her paternal house and thus it is a ceremony that is mixed with a lot of tears and sadness. From here the couple can either go to a hotel or their own apartment (which the groom has bought) or the groom’s family home. The bride begins to contemplate her new life while the couple gets to spend their first night together as a married pair in the house.

Other Links:

  1. Wedding Rituals in West Bengal
  2. South Indian Wedding Rituals
  3. Maharashtrian Wedding Ritual

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