The wedding of Bride's name and Groom's name
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The groom arrives at the wedding venue with his baraat (procession of his family and friends). A band plays traditional music to announce their arrival. The groom shares a drink of "sherbet" (a juice drink prepared from fruits and/or flower petals) with the bride's brother. The bride's sisters play pranks and welcome the guests with flowers and sometimes sprinkle rosewater on them, symbolizing the purity and fragrance of the divine.
The marriage gift (mahr) is a divine injunction. The giving of mahr to the bride by the groom is an essential part of the contract. "And give the women (upon marriage) their mahr as a (nikah) free gift." (Quran 4:4). Mahr is a token commitment of the husband's responsibility and may be paid in cash, property, or movable objects to the bride herself. The amount of the mahr is not legally specified; however, moderation according to the existing norm is recommended. On the day of the Nikah, the elder members of the two families decide the amount of mahr. The mahr may be paid immediately to the bride at the time of marriage, deferred to an alternate date, or a combination of both. The deferred mahr, however, becomes due in the event of death or divorce.
One matrimonial party expresses willing consent to enter into the marriage and the other party expresses acceptance of the responsibility in the assembly of the marriage ceremony. For the contract to be legal, it must be signed by the groom, the bride, and their two respective witnesses. The written marriage contract (Agd-Nikah) is then publicly announced.
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The assembly of nikah is addressed with a marriage sermon by the Muslim officiant. Customarily, in marriage societies, a state-appointed Qadi (Muslim judge) officiates over the nikah ceremony and keeps the record of the marriage contract. However, any trustworthy practicing Muslim can conduct the nikah ceremony, as Islam does not advocate priesthood. The documents of the marriage contact/certificate are filed with the masjid (mosque) and local government for the record.
Prophet Muhammad made it tradition to have the marriage sermon delivered in the assembly to solemnize the marriage. The sermon invited the bride and the groom as well as participating guests in the assembly to a life of piety, love, kindness, and social responsibility.
The Khutbah-tun-Nikah begins with the praise of Allah. His help and guidance are sought. The Muslim confession of faith that "there is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is His servant and messenger" is declared. The three Quranic verses (Quran 4:1, 3:102, 33:70-71) and one hadith (prophetic saying) form the essential text of the marriage. This hadith says: "By Allah! Among all of you I am the most God-fearing, and among you all, I am the supermost to save myself from the wrath of Allah, yet my state is that I observe prayer to sleep too. I observe fast and suspend observing them, I marry woman also. And he who turns away from my Sunnah has no relation with me." (Bukhari)
The Muslim Officiant concludes the ceremony with Dua (prayer) for the bride, groom, their respective families, the local Muslim community, and the Muslim community at large.
Nikah (marriage) is considered as an act of worship. It is considered virtuous to conduct it in a mosque, keeping the ceremony simple. The marriage ceremony is a social as well as religious activity. Islam advocates simplicity in ceremonies and celebrations.
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Blessing the Groom
The groom receives blessings from the older women and offers them his salaam (Islamic greeting). The guests pray for the newlyweds.
Dinner is a lavish spread. The women and the men usually dine separately. After dinner, the newlyweds sit together for the first time. Their heads are covered by a dupatta while they read prayers under the direction of the maulvi (preist). The Quran is placed between the couple and they are allowed to see each other only through mirrors.
The bride's family bids her a tearful farewell before she departs for her husband's house. The bride's father gives her hands to her husband and tells him to protect and take good care of her.
Welcoming the Bride
The groom's mother holds the Quran above the head of her new daughter-in-law as she enters her new home for the first time after the wedding.
The Chauthi is the fourth day after the wedding, when the bride visits the home of her parents. She receives a joyous welcome on this day.
Walima (The Marriage Banquet)
After the consummation of the marriage, the groom's family hosts a banquet. It is a joyous occasion that brings together the two families, their relatives, and other well-wishers.
Special thanks to Sonal J. Shah Event Consultants, LLC
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