The Dream Wedding
[Student: Madrassatus Sawlehaat]
It is perfectly natural for a young girl to dream about her wedding day, what it will be like, what she will wear, how she will bid farewell to her family, etc. Nikah is a vital part of our deen, and most girls do one day, want to settle down with that person whom Allah Ta'aala has destined them to be with.
But ask any girl the actual content of her dreams, or what she pictures her wedding day to be like, and one can expect to hear: "I'd like to arrive at the hall in a yellow BMW convertible" , or "I'd want to have my wedding photographs taken alongside a pond." Most girls might even be able to tell you the size and the style of the wedding ring they are anticipating, how much they are willing to spend on a whitewedding gown, etc.
The sad part is most of these dreams are realised. What the young Muslim bride-to-be wants, her parents give her, and even if she doesn't want it, her parents still force it upon her.
So what we end up with is a young girl, about to embark on a most beautiful form of ibaadat, sitting on a stage, looking no different from a Christian bride, for a whole audience of males and females to stare at - at a time when it is vital that she be sitting on the Musallah, making dua, asking Allah Ta'aala to make her marriage a successful one. A young couple posing for photographs - hugging and kissing for hundreds of people to see.
Hours of music, followed by a five minute qiraat and dua, and then back to the music. And of course a camera-man moving about frantically capturing everything: the cutting of a four-tier wedding cake, the grand entrance of the bride to a confetti-welcome, the presentation of a bouquet, the groom's sister putting on jewellery for the bride .... the list is endless. Latest trends include the serving of grape juice in wine glasses what one wonders, is the intention behind this), the bride and groom and a (unisex) bridal party sitting and eating on the stage in full view of everyone, a special night set aside before the wedding for qawali music accompanied by dancing. Where - do we ever ask ourselves - do all these practices emerge from? Certainly not the Quraan, certainly not Sunnah.
If we really let ourselves think about the answer to this question we will have to admit that everything about the circus wedding we host - from the often crude and tasteless bridal showers hosted for the bride by her friends to the practice commonly known as "janha" wherein the groom's family has to present the bride with an expensive item of jewellery before the wedding, to the mehendi ceremony, to the engagement parties, to the wedding ring, to the white gown, the walking down the aisle, the brides-maids, to the bouquet, the cake, the videos and the photographs, basically everything besides the performing of the Nikaah itself has absolutely no validity in our beautiful and simple deen.
In fact the majority of these practices originate from other religions, and we have taken them, and practised them and advertised them, to such an enormous extent that they are now wrongfully been recognised as being part of the Muslim way of life. Our weddings have become virtually indistinguishable from the wedding of the kuffaar. And they shouldn't be. As Muslims, everything about us from our character to our dressing to our practices, should serve as an example to people. We should be trying to preserve our deen - with all its simplicity and beauty.
Nothing about the weddings we host makes any sense. Islamically it is not at all incumbent upon the bride's family to host any form of feeding before or after the Nikaah. (Yes, it is Sunnat for the groom's family to have a Walimah, after the marriage has been consummated but his too, should be a simple affair). Yet, thousands of rands go into the hosting of a bridal reception, with all its food, frills and fancies. At the end of the day, we are left with a series of complaints about the food, unnecessary family quarrels of the "why was I not invited?" Variety, a wasted ball gown that will probably never be worn again and huge debts.
Instead of throwing all this money away on a few moments of senseless sin, the bride's family could have unutilised it in a way which would be of some real benefit to her and to her prospective husband, e.g. by making some contribution to the setting up of a home for the couple. We should always remind ourselves of the marriage of Hadhrat Fatimah (Radiallahu 'Anha), the daughter of our beloved Nabi (Sallallahu 'Alaihi Wasallam).
The Wedding of Faatimah (ra)
By Moulana M. Saleem Dhorat
[with additional notes]
Faatimah (Radhiallaahu Anha) was the youngest daughter of our beloved Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). Out of all the children, she was the most beloved to him. He said, 'The Queen of the ladies in Jannat is Faatimah.' He also said, 'Faatimah is part of my body. Whoever grieves her, grieves me.'
When Faatimah (Radhiallaahu Anha) reached the age of fifteen, proposals for her marriage began to come from high and responsible families. But the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) remained irresponsive.
Ali (Radhiallaahu Anhu), who was 21 at the time, says: It occurred to me that I should go and make a formal proposal, but then I thought, 'How could this be accomplished, for I possess nothing.' At last, encouraged by the Prophet's kindness, I went to him and expressed my intention to marry Faatima (Radhiyallaahu Anha). The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) was extremely pleased and asked, 'Ali! Do you possess anything to give her in Mahr?' I replied, 'Apart from a horse and an armour I possess nothing.'
The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, 'A soldier must, of course, have his horse. Go and sell away your armour.'
So, Ali (Radhiallaahu Anhu) went and sold his armour to Uthmaan (Radhiallaahu Anhu) for 480 Dirham and presented it to Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). Bilaal (Radhiallaahu Anhu) was ordered by the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) to bring some perfume and a few other things and Anas (Radhiallaahu Anhu) was sent to call Abu Bakr, Uthmaan, Talhah, Zubayr with some companions from the Ansaar (Radhiallaahu Anhum).
When these men arrived and had taken their seats, the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) recited the Khutbah (sermon) of Nikaah and gave Faatimah (Radhiallaahu Anha) in marriage to Ali (Radhiallaahu Anhu). He announced, 'Bear you all witness that I have given my daughter Faatimah in marriage to Ali for 400 Mithqaal of silver and Ali has accepted.' He then raised his head and made Dua saying, 'O Allah, create love and harmony between these two. Bless them and bestow upon them good children.' after the Nikaah, dates were distributed.
When the time came for Faatimah (Radhiallaahu Anha) to go to Ali's (Radhiallaahu Anhu) house, she was sent without any clamour, hue and cry, accompanied by Umm Ayman (Radhiallaahu Anhu). After the Eesha Salaat, the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) 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 (Radhiallaahu Anhu) and Faatimah (Radhiallaahu Anha) and made Dua for them.
The Prophet 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 solemnised. In following this Sunnah method, a wedding becomes very simple and easy to fulfill.
This is the "dream wedding" which we should all be striving towards. It would be to the benefit of many if we start instilling this in the minds of our children, especially our daughters. We should encourage them towards totally following the Sunnah, and not just doing so selectively ie. by following whatever is easy to follow, and then emulating other people in others aspects of life.
By becoming the slaves of our nafs and Shaitaan, ie. by hosting unnecessary and elaborate functions, we are only hampering the Imaan and futures of our children: how can we expect them to embark on the ibaadat which nikaah is, when this ibaadat begins with a series of sins? It should be the pleasure of Allah Ta'aala which we hope to attain, not the pleasure of misguided family members and friends. Rather endure their displeasure, than face the displeasure of Allah Ta'ala.
SOME METHODS DERIVED FROM THE ABOVE MENTIONED MARRIAGE of Fatimah(R.A)
� "Engagements" are contrary to the Sunnah. A verbal proposal and answer is sufficient.
� To unnecessarily delay Nikah of both the boy and the girl after having reached the age of marriage is incorrect. (Note: But on the other hand, some parents pray day and night endlessly for a quick marriage to a good-looking, highly educated, well-off person who comes from a grand family of great repute...in the case of a groom, a groom with a high-flying job, etc. The minute we find such a groom or bride, we jump
to grab him/her. But how many of us spend sleepless nights praying not for a speedy grand marriage but a marriage which is filled with love, happiness, blessings and piety?)
� There is nothing wrong in inviting one's close associates for the occasion of Nikah. However, no special pains should be taken in gathering the people from far off places. (Note: The money could instead be spent in charity, to gain the blessings of the poor.)
� It is appropriate that the bridegroom be a few years older than the bride. (Note: The Prophet's first marriage was to Khadija (ra), who was 15 years older than him. She was a widower and he was a virgin. They were so happy together that he did not remarry until she passed away, even though polygamy was widely practised during that time - before the advent of Islam)
If the father of the girl is an Aalim or pious and capable of performing Nikah, then he should himself solemnise the marriage.
� It is totally un-Islamic for those, who do not possess the means, to incur debts in order to have grandiose weddings. (Note: On the contrary, weddings are arranged on such a grand basis that often parents cannot perform obligatory acts like Hajj for the next few years because they lack funds, which were spent on the weddings of their children)
� It is fallacy to think that one's respect will be lost if one does not hold an extravagant wedding and invite many people. What is our respect compared to that of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam)? (Note: We spend thousands of dollars to impress people. We are sentimental - "I want my daughter/son to have the best." However, think about it this way...the people you impress will forget the wedding after a few weeks, your daughter/son' s marital happiness may
float on the extravagance of her/his wedding for a short while but ultimately, it will depend on just one thing: God. What is the use angering and disappointing God when it is His blessings, and nothing else - not even the grandest, most impressive wedding, that will ensure your children are happy? Ask yourself, are you getting your children married so you can show off and enjoy a grand wedding or because you want your children to experience happy, guided and blessed married lives?)
� The present day practice of the intermingling of sexes is an act of sin and totally against Shariah. (Note: Teenagers and young adults, if prompted, will admit the level of flirting, 'checking out' and showing off that goes on during weddings, where everyone is dressed to put on a show, not to watch a wedding take place.)
� There is nothing such as engagement parties and Mehndi parties in Islam. (Note: Another source attests that a simple gathering of women and girls to apply mehndi or henna on the bride is allowed)
� Great care must be taken as regards to Salaat on occasions of marriage by all - the bride, the bridegroom and all the participants. (Note: On the contrary, the bride misses her prayer because her make-up will be washed away if she performs ablution...guests who are also dressed up delay their prayers for similar reasons. The couple and guests should perform ablution before going to the wedding and should perform
their prayers there. The organisers of the wedding should also make arrangements for guests to perform their prayers. How can we expect our marriages to be successful and blessed if we abandon the first pillar of Islam, in pursuit of the perfect wedding?)
� It is un-Islamic to display the bride on stage. (Note: If she adorns herself and dresses up, it should be for her own satisfaction, her family's happiness and for her husband - not for hundreds of male wedding guests that will come to have a look at her. The bride should not be treated like a trophy - all dolled up, sitting quietly on a stage for all to see, pretending to be reserved and shy (as is the custom and
culture) - this is demeaning for she is a thinking individual - not something to decorate and show off.)
� The unnecessary expenses incurred by the bride's family in holding a feast has no basis in Shariah. (Note: The Islamic tradition is for the bride's family to hold a simple nikah ceremony where the marriage contract is signed. The big feast should only take place as the walima, which is the obligation of the groom's family. Sadly, often low-income parents of young girls delay getting their daughters married
because they feel pressed by society to throw a big feast.)
� For the engaged couple to meet at a public gathering where the boy holds the girl's hand and slips a ring on her finger is a violation of the Qur�nic law of Hijaab. (Note: It is rather funny - in most cultures, a man and woman get engaged and they spend time together like they are already married. But as soon as the nikah takes place, they are told to stay separate and maintain 'modesty'. In many cultures, the
nikah takes place in the morning and the wedding reception at night or several weeks or even months, later. Strangely, the same couple who was engaged and mixing freely, is not allowed to mix freely between the nikah and the wedding reception thrown by the bride's family. It is as ridiculous as the Western concept of mixing freely before and after the engagement but as soon as the bride puts on her wedding dress, it's bad luck for the groom to see her! In Islam, the engagement is not a licence to mix freely - the nikah is. It is as good as getting married and the couple can do everything together and have the wedding reception and the walima later.)
� It is un-Islamic for the engaged couple to meet each other and also go out together. (Note: In this day and age, every other person around us could be a weirdo. We rarely become engaged to the children of families that we know very well so it is difficult to find out what kind of a person we are getting married to. Certain scholars attests that meeting, in the presence of Mahram men, and getting to know each
other, within the rules set by the Quran is allowed.)
� Three things should be borne in mind when giving one's daughter gifts and presents at the time of Nikah:
o Presents should be given within one's means (it is not permissible to take loans, on interest for such presents);
o To give necessary items;
o A show should not be made of whatever is given.
� It is Sunnat for the bridegroom's family to make Walimah. In Walimah, whatever is easily available should be fed to the people and care should be taken that the is no extravagance, show and that no debts are incurred in the process.
� To delay Nikah after the engagement is un-Islamic.
In applying Western and Hindu methods sheepishly, Muslims have adopted many customs which are un-Islamic and frowned upon.
Some examples are:
� Displaying the bride on stage;
� Inviting guests for the wedding from far off places;
� Receiving guests in the hall; (Note: The Mosque is the center of life for true Muslims and weddings should be held there. According to the Tradition of the Prophet(S.A. W.) marriages performed in the House of Allah, immediately preceded and followed by prayers, will attract the maximum of Allah's Blessings. Obviously, people know very well that the mosque is no place for the unIslamic cultural practices they
promote at their weddings and so make alternative arrangements. )
� The bride's people incurring unnecessary expenses by holding a feast which has no basis in Shariah. We should remember that Walimah is the feast arranged by the bridegroom after the marriage is consummated.
It is contrary to Sunnah (and the practice of some non-Muslim tribes in India) to wish, hope for or demand presents and gifts for the bridegroom, from the bride's people. We should always remember that our Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) did not give Ali (Radhiallaahu Anhu) anything except Dua. (Note: Unfortunately, the fathers of millions of daughters across the world, especially South Asia, incur debts and become poor and miserable because 'culture' pressurises them to give dowry to their future son-in-laws. Some girls are forced to remain single for years because they cannot afford the dowry - some commit suicide, as do their desperate fathers. In parts of South Asia, dowry-murders, among Hindu families, are commonplace whereby a new bride is tortured or murdered by her in laws because her family did not give a large
enough dowry. This is completely UnIslamic - the dowry or Mahr is to come from the groom to the bride, not the other way around.)