Muslim culture has always held a character of uniqueness and traditionalism. Weddings in Muslim culture are held under a special Muslim Personal Law. The marriage in Muslims is contract based and the law strictly demands that none of the two people should be forced into a marriage. The wedding or Nikah, as it is called in the culture, thus takes place in presence of a Maulvi who reads verses from the Quran and asks for the proposal (from the side of groom) and acceptance (from the bride’s side). This ceremony called Ijab-e-Qubul also involves the acceptance from the bride regarding the amount of dowry, which has been pre-decided. All this is done in front of two witnesses.
A typical Muslim wedding is celebrated with great grandeur over a period of five days and can be held at either the bride’s or the groom’s place or at some other place. There are a number of ceremonies held, which gives the families extensive time to entertain their guests.
Given below are Muslim wedding rituals for reference:
Legan Chir: This ceremony takes place as soon as the wedding is fixed. In this ceremony, the groom’s father sends some cash present to the bride’s father.
Mangni or Engagement: This ceremony involves exchange of rings. According to muslim customs, the couple is not supposed to go out together after this ceremony until the time of marriage.
Day 1 and day 2 ceremonies: On these days first the bride’s relatives go the groom’s place and then the groom’s relatives go to the bride’s place. Both the parties carry mehendi or henna paste in a plate. The children light candles before entering the houses. Then, the dinner is served to the guest and songs are sung teasing the couple.
Manjha Ceremony: This ceremony takes place on the third day and during this, haldi or turmeric paste is applied on the bride’s body which is given by the groom’s family. The bride here, wears yellow clothes. After this ceremony, a married friend of the bride spreads the haldi all over her body before she takes a bath and accompanies her everywhere. This ceremony involves a lot of celebration and singing
Mehndi Ceremony: This ritual takes place at the bride’s home on the eve of the wedding day or some days before it. Here, mehndi is applied on the hands and the feet of the bride. It also involves a lot of singing and dancing. After this ceremony the girl is not supposed to step out of the house before marriage.
Arrival Of The Groom: The groom arrives on the venue with a procession of friends and relatives either on a horseback or in a car. Playing of music and beating of drums accompany the arrival. On his arrival, the groom exchanges a sharbet (a sweet drink) and money with the bride’s brother. The bride’s sisters welcome the barat by humorously hitting them with sticks wrapped with flowers.
Nikah: The traditional Muslim wedding takes place with the bride and the groom sitting in separate rooms or in the same room separated by a curtain though it is not in case of all the weddings. The elders decide the meher, which is a compulsory amount of money given by the groom’s family to the bride’s.
Then the Qazi reads verses from Quran and asks the bride for her agreement to accept the meher and the groom as her husband. Once she gives her consent, the Qazi reads this Nikah-nama or the marriage contract to the groom. After consent is received from the groom, the Nikah-nama has to be signed by the couple, the Walis or the witnesses and the Qazi.
After this, the groom goes to the women’s section and offers gifts to the bride’s sisters and receives blessings from the elder women. Then, the feast is served.
When the meal is over, the bride and the groom are made to sit together with a long scarf covering their heads and the priest makes them read prayers. They are then asked to see each other’s reflections in a mirror and Holy Quran is kept between them. Dried dates, which are religiously significant, and sweet dish are then served to the guests.
Then, the groom is supposed to spend the night separate from the bride, in the bride’s younger brother’s room. On the next morning, the bride’s parents give him money, gifts and clothes.
Post Wedding Ceremony
Rukshat: This ceremony marks the departure of the bride from her house. The parents give her hand to the groom asking him to take care of their daughter.
Valimah: This is the reception ceremony, which takes place at the groom’s place, which involves a grand feast and meeting of all the relatives and guests of both the families.
Chauthi: On the fourth day after the wedding, the bride is supposed to visit her parents’ home.