The Muslim wedding-A A +A
Thursday, October 17, 2013
MUSLIM brothers and sisters hold their marriage rituals simple, yet colorful.
In the Islamic Law, marriage is an "aqd," a contract. The components of this contract are proposal, mahr, among others.
Proposal: In Islam the process of proposal by a man to a woman for her hand in marriage, or for that matter, to her family, is encouraged. Islam considers this natural, and recommends it as an act of respectability and dignity for women.
Mahr: The intending husband is asked to offer a Mahr to the bride and give it as a free gift.
It may be cash, kind or non-material (like training or teaching something). It can be paid up front or can be in form of promise to pay upon demands decided prior to the solemnization of marriage.
However, it is much recommended to pay it before or at the time of nikah (wedding rites) itself.
Many Muslims stage a multiday celebration to mark a wedding. However, the traditional marriage ritual itself, called a nikah in Arabic, is simple and brief.
At the wedding, which can take place pretty much anywhere, the bride and groom are separated in different rooms. They may or may not be able to see each other, depending on how conservative the families are.
An officiant, who can be any man familiar with Islamic law, heads to each room separately.
He asks the spouses-to-be if they consent to the marriage and if they are marrying of their own free will (a representative called a wali answers the officiant's questions on the bride's behalf).
The Nikah Ceremony
According to Shariah, the wife-to-be says, 'An Kah'tu nafsaka a'lal mah'ril ma'loom'. ("I have given away myself in Nikah to you, on the agreed Mahr.)
Immediately, the man (bridegroom) says, 'Qabiltun Nikaha'.(I have accepted the Nikah.)
With these pronouncements, they become husband and wife.
If the marrying partners are not able to recite the formula in Arabic, one or two persons or priests are appointed and authorized to officiate. One who represents the bride would first seek her explicit consent to officiate on her behalf, and so would the other who acts on behalf of the groom.
Naturally, there would be a slight variation in the pronouncements, because the persons reciting them are appointees. A person who represents the bride would initiate by saying, "Ankah'tu muwakkilati muwakkilaka a'lal mah'ril ma'loom. (I give away in Nikah the woman who has thus appointed and authorized me, to the man who has authorized you, on an agreed Mahr.)"
The groom's representative would respond, “abiltunnikaaha limuwakkili a'lal mah'ril ma'loom. (I accept the Nikah on behalf of the one who has appointed me, on the agreed Mahr.)"
It is mustahab to recite a brief discourse or Khutba before the Nikah formula is enunciated. In this Khutba, Allah is praised for His Wisdom in regulating the lawful process of procreation, and then the traditions from the Prophet are also recited.
The couple, then, signs the marriage contract or license, with witnesses observing.
The officiant brings the pair together and pronounces them husband and wife.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 18, 2013.