Islam is one of the most prominent religions that has numerous unique rituals and traditions to follow in their ceremonies. Weddings are an integral part of the Islamic culture and are considered to be one of the primary duties of a Muslim.
We have varied customs and prolific cultures throughout the wedding realm all over the world. Muslim Wedding traditions greatly differ according to different countries and regions, however, the ‘Nikah’ ceremony remains the same all over.
Traditional Islamic wedding rituals are a unique reflection of the rituals of the multi-cultural Indian sub-continent. Here are the rituals that are widely followed in most Muslim weddings.
Pre- Wedding Rituals:-
The Istikhara Ritual
The religious heads of the Muslim community come together to perform the most important ritual in a Nikah. They pray to Allah and seek his consent and blessings to commence the wedding.
The Imam-Zamin Ritual
To perform this ritual, the groom’s mother visits the bride’s house with sweets and a gold or silver coin wrapped in a silk cloth and ties it around the bride’s hand. This ritual signifies the bride’s formal acceptance into her future family.
The Mangni or Engagement
As happens in most engagement ceremonies, the boy and the girl exchange rings. Both the families exchange gifts, fruits, sweets, and dry fruits. This ceremony officially seals the intention of marriage between the two families and the bride and the groom are considered betrothed to each other in the eyes of the society.
The Manhja Ritual
This is the haldi ceremony and the bride-to-be wears yellow clothes and a paste of haldi is applied on her face and body. Once the manjha ceremony is done, the bride is not supposed to step out of her house.
In some places, the wedding ceremonies include a ritual of applying henna paste or mehndi on the hands and feet of the bride. Professional artists are appointed and all the ladies of the family get mehndi done on their hands.
The Sanchaq Ritual
The groom’s family sends clothes and ornaments for the bride which she wears during the Nikah ceremony.
The groom starts his journey towards the wedding venue accompanied by his close friends and relatives. Usually, the bride’s brother comes in a beautifully decorated car to escort the groom to the venue. The relatives of the groom follow his car till the venue and are known as Baraat.
Welcoming the Baraat
At the entrance to the wedding venue, the groom is welcomed by the bride’s family members. He is then served with a glass of sherbet by his brother-in-law who also accompanies him with the drink. The relatives of the groom are sprayed with ittar or rose water as they enter the venue. The groom’s family then hands over the daala which consists of clothes and jewelries for the bride. The Shahana Joda which the bride will wear after the nikah comes with the daala.
The Nikah is the actual wedding ceremony and is conducted in the presence of a Maulvi or the religious priest along with close members of both the families. According to customs men and women sit separately. The bride is given a certain pre-decided amount of money or Mehr by the groom’s family and is asked if she agrees to marry the groom with the Mehr. this question is asked thrice and if she agrees, the Maulvi then passes onto the groom and asks the same. This is known as Ijab-e-Qubul or proposal and acceptance.
Once the marriage is accepted by both the bride and the groom, they proceed to the signing of the Nikah-nama or the marriage contract. All the elders of the families now bless the couple.
Once the marriage is solemnized, the couple now gets a chance to see each other for the first time through the Arshi Mushraf Ceremony. A mirror is kept in between the bride and the groom and the Holy Quran is placed on top of it. The couple keeps eyes on the mirror where they can see the reflection of their spouses.
Soon after the wedding ceremonies are concluded, the bride leaves for her husband’s house. At her husband’s house, she is welcomed by her mother-in-law and as a gesture of welcome, the Holy Quran is placed on her head.
This ceremony marks the public declaration of the marriage where the groom’s family holds a lavish reception party known as Dawaat-e-Walimah. The bride and groom are seated on a throne where they are greeted by the members of both the families.
The Chauthi Ceremony
The Chauthi ceremony symbolizes the end of all the rituals of a traditional Muslim Wedding. In this ritual, the bride and her husband visit her parent’s home on the fourth day of the wedding. They are treated with a lavish lunch and presented various gifts and blessings.
These were the rituals of a typical Muslim Wedding. The scintillating essence of each ritual would be a treat to every photographer as well as anyone who is visualizing them.