Muslim weddings have always been an occasion of elegance, affection and a humble way of knitting together two souls, families and destinies. Countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh comprise of Muslim population in a large content. The Muslim wedding also known as Nikaah is an auspicious ceremony that follows various cultures and traditions. Some adopt more of the Islamic rituals where-as, few choose to go for norms and beliefs which are values of different cultures. Most weddings that are held in Islamic or Arab tradition end up being highly expensive and colorful as there are often hundreds of guests who show up randomly and there comes the necessity of booking hotels and other residential spaces for accommodating them. There are cultures which have also pioneered more ceremonies in the marriage process. Most weddings are grand and they have a very suave way of welcoming their guests and taking care of them. The Nikaah can take place in both bride as well as groom’s house. There is no such rule to abide regarding the venue.

There are generally three phases of a Muslim marriage- Pre-wedding phase, Wedding and Post-wedding phase.

Pre-wedding Rituals:

The first and fore-most step of pre-wedding ritual is the Mangni. On this day the rings are exchanged amongst the bride and groom. This marks as the first sign of marriage and acknowledges the commitment for each other as a life partner.

Then it’s the colorful and women-centric ritual known as Mehendi. It is celebrated two days before the marriage. On this day the bride’s face is being applied with turmeric paste by her relatives to make her skin look beautiful and adds a perfect glow to her and after that mehendi is applied on her hands by either professionals or the family members. For the next two days till wedding day, the bride is not allowed to go out of the house. There are few occasions where the bride’s cousin put a dot of mehendi on the groom’s palm too. The women sing and enjoy the traditional songs on this day.

The next ritual is to welcome the baraat with grace and affection. It is known as Mahr. The bridegroom arrives with a band of musicians and they are offered sherbets by the host. Various pranks and mischiefs are played by the sisters and relatives upon the groom and flower bouquets are also presented as a friendly gesture.

Wedding Rituals:

The Nikaah takes place in any of the houses either bride or the groom’s. The Maulvi or the priest conducts this ceremony and the bride and groom’s father or the Walis has a vital role in this occasion. In the orthodox Muslim families, the rule states that the bride and groom cannot sit in the same place. They are seated separately during the course of this marriage. The maulvi reads out relevant verses from the holy Quran and the Nikaah is completed by the Ijab-e-Qubul or the acceptance from both the sides.

The groom proposes and the bride agrees to it with the pronunciation of ‘Qubool hai’. This is also the way of legalization of Nikaah. If the bride does not agree to the proposal, the Nikaah isn’t considered as legal. After this, the elder members of the family sit together and decide the obligatory amount of money that is provided by the bridegroom’s family to the bride. This is also known as Mahr. The legal document regarding the marriage registration is called Nikaahnama and is signed by the groom, bride, Walis and the Maulvi. After this the senior women offer their blessings to the groom which he humbly accepts by gesturing a salaam to them.

The Aarsimashaf and prayers are carried out on the wedding day followed by a delicious and extravagant dinner. Usually women and men have separate dining places. Post dinner, the newly-wed couple sits together for the first time and have a prayer session with a dupatta on their head with the direction of the Maulvi sahib. The Holy Quran is kept between them and the couple looks each other through mirrors.

Post Wedding Rituals:

Rukhsat is the ceremony where the bride bids goodbye with tears in her eyes while she leaves her father’s home and goes to the groom’s house. Like all the other marriages, the Walis puts her daughter’s hand on the groom’s and asks him to keep her safe and take good care of her. The groom accepts and promises to keep the bride happy forever and bids a humble salaam. Also there are moments when the Walis and the groom hug each other. The wedding concludes at the groom’s residence. Here the Holy Quran is placed over the bride’s head by her new mother-in-law while she puts her first step in her new house. On the fourth day, the bride goes to meet her parents as per a ritual called Chauthi. The bride is being welcomed with lots of blessings and affection. The day progresses to an explicit reception from the groom’s family. This is a grand occasion where the two families happily spend time with each other enjoying every moment with the excitement of their upcoming life. The relatives and friends enjoy the dinner and wish the newly-wed couple good luck.

Muslim wedding is something the guests cherish for a long time. The arrangements are truly commendable and most importantly the food is ecstatic. There are a number of varieties in it as per the fact that they mostly consist of delicious non-veg items that is loved by most people. The decoration stands out to be majestic and deserves to be cherished. The bride and the groom are unable to restrict themselves from being a part of this merry-making and joy. They are offered a whole lot of gifts and blessings. The traditional songs are quite melodious and are enjoyed by everyone. The bride is made to wear mostly 22 carat gold jewelries which add to the beauty of this occasion. The costume and ornaments are quite heavy and has an astounding look.

Raja Kumar

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