Indian Muslim community has a separate marriage law known as “Muslim marriage personal law”. According to this law Registration of the marriage is not mandatory but it’s advised to have registration of marriage for legal reasons. One may require this legal document to make passport, for a work visa or for many other legal works.
According to Muslim marriage law A Nikah is a civil contract between a Muslim bride and groom which a Qazi performs in presence of two witnesses. The Qazi who has performs the marriage rituals may issue a “Nikahnama” which can be considered as certificate of marriage. Muslim Marriage law’s important features are:
- It Binds only Muslims. No other religion is bound with this act. All the Muslims must follow the set of rules stated in the law in order to validate their marriage.
- In a Muslim marriage Bride makes a proposal (including mehar) and groom accepts it by saying “Qubool hai” (I accept). The offer made by bride is ijab (proposal).
- Only a Qazi (Muslim priest) can perform the marriage rituals. He starts marriage with istikhara (Starting prayer to almighty). He, in presence of two witnesses, completes the process of marriage.
- These laws restrict the marriage between Blood relatives, marriage with two sisters, marrying more than four wives marrying foster mother etc.
- It also restricts the marriage between divorced couple. If couple wants to marry, women must marry another person. Then after divorcing him she can marry her previous husband.
- Indian Muslim can have up to four wives.
The wedding Ritual of Indian Muslim marriages are very interesting. Muslim marriages are commonly known as “Nikah”. A Nikah Starts with
Ishtikhara is pre wedding ritual where a qazi starts marriage proceeding after taking the blessings of almighty. He offers a prayer to almighty on behalf of the family to get blessings of the omnipresent for auspicious occasion.
After Ishtikhara groom’s mother visits bride place with Imamzamin– a gold coin wrapped in silk cloth. Here that coin is tied to women’s hand. Groom’s mother offers gifts and sweets to the bride as her blessings.
This ceremony is followed by Mangni- Engagement. In this ceremony both the groom and bride gets engaged to each other. Both the families exchanges gifts and sweets.
Engagement does not allow the couple to start relationship with each other. It’s only after the nikah when a couple can get to the relationship. It is to prevent emotional losses in case engagement brakes.
When marriage date is fixed the weddings ceremonies starts. The first important ceremony is “Manja“. The Manja literally means “to wash”. In this ceremony bride to be wears yellow cloths and women of family coats her with turmeric paste offered by groom’s mother. Each woman in the ceremony offers her a turmeric coat. Turmeric is natural healer and glow provider.
After Manja ceremony MEHNDI ceremony takes place. Any professional or family women design Mehndi (HENNA) on hands and feet of bride. This henna is usually provided by the groom’s family.
On the wedding day Groom with his friend and family arrives at bride’s place. Bride’s family Welcomes baraat and offers all the invitees snacks or lunch. The Qazi or imam then starts the proceedings of Nikah. He ask bride and groom for their assent to start the wedding rituals. On acceptance, Qazi chants Koran aayats for marriage ordination.
The groom or qazi on the behalf of groom proposes the bride. Qazi explains the details of groom and details of the meher to Bride and asks the bride if she accepts the proposal. If bride and groom agree to tie their knot they show their interest by saying word QUbul hai (I accept) three times. Then the qazi officiate the recitation of Fatiah to deal the marriage contract. Couple and two witnesses (Must be male) sign the contract to legalize the marriage contract as per religion’s law.
According to very interesting tradition Groom and bride offers sweet to each other. In some parts on India bride and groom are placed under a cover where they see each other in a mirror.
Vida or rukhsati:
After the marriage brides family gives a farewell to her bride. Parents of bride bless the pair. Brides take Koran on her head to be away of Bad vibrations and evil. In some parts Mother in law of the brides keeps Koran over head of the bride to take the blessings of almighty for the new couple
Vows of Muslim wedding:
At the time of the wedding Qazi recites the first chapter of Quran known as Fatiah. Couples only listen to the verves. Qazi explains the responsibilities related to marriage. Couple takes the responsibility of each other. In some parts of India, Groom takes responsibility of bride by saying I swear in name of Allah that I’ll be honest and faithful to you always. I will take care of your all requirements.
Bride also takes a vow by saying that I’ll be your with my body and soul. I’ll be faithful to you and I’ll follow the instructions of Holy Koran and Prophet. I offer myself to you for starting a new family and I promise to be an obedient and caring wife.
Meher is a monetary amount, can be in form of cash or gifts or a share in business that the groom gives to the bride for their personal use. Groom pays meher in two parts; first immediate after the marriage is fixed and a second amount given to the bride for throughout her life for her personal use. Some understand and translate it as dowry but it’s totally different. Now a day’s many grooms are offering jewelry as prompt mehar. For second amount, some women are choosing education. Mehar can be in any form that pleases the bride. It can be land, cash, Jewels, or anything that bride finds precious to her. Mehar is an amount that she can use at her will.
Indian Muslim marriages are almost same in the most part of India. Their theme is almost the same as Indian Hindu weddings with only little differences as per their cultures. The all we can conclude that marriages in India are very important, wonderfully celebrated and extremely well executed; be it Hindu, Muslim or a Christian wedding.