A Muslim wedding is known as a beautiful and soulful event which marks and celebrates a couple’s dedication to the faith. Muslim weddings are one of the most colourful and scintillating weddings that happens in our country. The wedding ceremony is divided into pre-wedding rituals, wedding rituals, and post-wedding rituals. They have been elaborated below :
- Salatul Istikhara – This is the first ritual which is performed before the wedding. In Muslim communities, arrange marriages are more prevalent and the matches are within the same communities and religious sect. After the family members have finalized their match, the religious head (Imam) of the nearby mosque performs a special prayer where he asks God to bless the would-be couple.
- Imam Zamin – Here the groom’s mother visits the bride’s home on an auspicious day. She carries gifts and sweets along with her. She also carries a gold or silver coin wrapped inside a silk scarf which is tied around the bride’s wrists. This ritual signifies the formal acceptance of the bride into her future family.
- Mangni – Mangni is the official engagement ceremony between the bride and groom and their families. Families, relatives and close friends from both the families to witness the engagement where the couple exchange rings. Gifts like sweets, fruits, dry fruits, dresses are exchanged.
- Manjha – One to two days before the Nikah ceremony, the bride is dressed up in yellow attire. A paste is made of Turmeric, sandalwood and rose-water and is applied to the bride’s face, hands and feet. All the women of the family gather for this occasion and participate in this fun loving event. Turn by turn the women apply the paste to the bride and to each other. After this, the bride goes on to take the bath. After this ritual, the bride is not allowed to leave the house till her wedding day. The same ritual also takes place in the groom’s house.
- Mehendi – In this ritual, a henna paste is applied in the hands of the bride along with the other women present in the ceremony. This is a completely women-centric event, and the women of the family gather around the bride, the evening before the wedding. Ladies within the family sometimes apply the henna on the bride’s hands and feet or professional people are called for the mehendi application. It is customary to include the groom’s initials within the bride’s henna designs which he has to discern on their first night together. Other female members of the family also get their hands painted with henna.
- Sanchaq – During this pre-wedding ritual, the groom’s family visit the bride’s place with gifts for her from her future in-laws. The gifts include sweets and the wedding attire and matching jewelleries to be worn by the bride during Nikah.
Wedding day Rituals:
- Baraat – The groom accompanied his close friends and relatives, set for the wedding venue. A car is sent by the bride’s family to pick up the groom. A member of the bride’s family goes to the groom’s place and escorts him on the way to the wedding venue. The relatives of the groom follow this car and the whole wedding party heading towards the wedding venue is known as the Baraat.
- Welcome Ceremony – On the groom’s arrival, the groom and his family are warmly welcomed in a grand way by the bride’s family. They are then offered sweets and sherbet. The relatives of the groom also receive a grand welcome and are sprayed with attar-scented or rose-water as they enter the wedding venue.
- Nikah – The Wedding in Muslim community is known as Nikah ceremony and is officiated by a religious priest called Maulvi. The men and the women are seated separately. The women generally take their place around the bride and the men with the groom. The bride’s father is appointed as the guardian to look after the bride’s interest in the Nikah by the Maulvi. The groom’s family gives Mehr to the bride which is generally a pre-decided amount of cash to seek her consent for marrying the groom. The Maulvi starts the Nikah proceeding by first saying a prayer from the Quran. Next, he asks the bride if she has consent in marrying the groom by accepting the Mehr. This is where he asks the bride the phrase ‘Qubool Hai?’ three times in a row. The bride has to reply by saying “Qubool Hain” three times. The Maulvi then moves on to the groom and repeats the procedure. This ritual is known as Ijab-e-Qubool. The bride and groom remain separated from each other so that they are not able to see each other. The Ijab-e-Qubool is followed by signing of the Nikahnama or marriage contract. The Nikahnama outlines all possible duties and rites of both the bride and the groom as decreed by the Quran. This is followed by the recital of Khutba, a religious discourse. The Maulvi then recites paragraphs from the Holy Quran which are equivalent to marriage vows. The bride and groom need not repeat these vows but listen to them. The elders of the family then shower their blessings on the newlywed couple.
- Arsi Mushraf – In this ritual, the couple looks at each other for the first time after the marriage has been solemnized. A mirror is kept between the bride and the groom and the Holy Quran is placed on top of it. The couple looks in the mirror where they see the reflection of each other.
- Rukhsat – Once the wedding ceremony is over, the bride bids goodbye to her family and sets off for her new home. Once she arrives at her husband’s house, she is welcomed by her mother-in-law. The Holy Quran is placed on her head.
- Walimah – Walimah marks the public declaration of the marriage. A reception party is held where the bride and groom are generally seated on a throne atop a stage. They meet and greet all members from both families . The event includes a grand feast of traditional Muslim delicacies like Biryani, Meat Korma etc.
- Chauthi – Thi is the last ceremony where the bride visits her parent’s home on the fourth day of the wedding and is accompanied by her husband. Her parents treat the newlywed couple with a grand lunch and give them various gifts.
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