But ask any girl the actual content of her dreams, or what she pictures her wedding day to be like, and one can expect to hear: “I’d like to arrive at the hall in a yellow BMW convertible”, or “I’d want to have my wedding photographs taken alongside a pond.” Most girls might even be able to tell you the size and the style of the wedding ring they are anticipating, how much they are willing to spend on a white wedding gown, etc.
The sad part is most of these dreams are realised. What the young Muslim bride-to-be wants, her parents give her, and even if she doesn’t want it, her parents still force it upon her.
So what we end up with is a young girl, about to embark on a most beautiful form of ibaadat, sitting on a stage, looking no different from a Christian bride, for a whole audience of males and females to stare at – at a time when it is vital that she be sitting on the Musallah, making dua, asking Allah Ta’aala to make her marriage a successful one. A young couple posing for photographs – hugging and kissing for hundreds of people to see.
Hours of music, followed by a five minute qiraat and dua, and then back to the music. And of course a camera-man moving about frantically capturing everything: the cutting of a four-tier wedding cake, the grand entrance of the bride to a confetti-welcome, the presentation of a bouquet, the groom’s sister putting on jewellery for the bride …. the list is endless. Latest trends include the serving of grape juice in wine glasses what one wonders, is the intention behind this), the bride and groom and a (unisex) bridal party sitting and eating on the stage in full view of everyone, a special night set aside before the wedding for qawali music accompanied by dancing. Where – do we ever ask ourselves – do all these practices emerge from? Certainly not the Quraan, certainly not Sunnah.
If we really let ourselves think about the answer to this question we will have to admit that everything about the circus wedding we host – from the often crude and tasteless bridal showers hosted for the bride by her friends to the practice commonly known as “janha” wherein the groom’s family has to present the bride with an expensive item of jewellery before the wedding, to the mehendi ceremony, to the engagement parties, to the wedding ring, to the white gown, the walking down the aisle, the brides-maids, to the bouquet, the cake, the videos and the photographs, basically everything besides the performing of the nikah itself has absolutely no validity in our beautiful and simple deen.
In fact the majority of these practices originate from other religions, and we have taken them, and practised them and advertised them, to such an enormous extent that they are now wrongfully been recognised as being part of the Muslim way of life. Our weddings have become virtually indistinguishable from the wedding ofthe kuffaar. And they shouldn’t be. As Muslims, everything about us from our character to our dressing to our practices, should serve as an example to people. We should be trying to preserve our deen – with all its simplicity and beauty.
Nothing about the weddings we host makes any sense. Islamically it is not at all incumbent upon the bride’s family to host any form of feeding before or after the nikah. (Yes, it is Sunnat for the groom’s family to have a Walimah, after the marriage has been consummated but this too, should be a simple affair).Yet, thousands of rands go into the hosting of a bridal reception, with all its food, frills and fancies. At the end of the day, we are left with a series of complaints about the food, unnecessary family quarrels of the “why was I not invited?” Variety, a wasted ball gown that will probably never be worn again and huge debts.
Instead of throwing all this money away on a few moments of senseless sin, the bride’s family could have unutilised it in a way which would be of some real benefit to her and to her prospective husband, eg, by making some contribution to the setting up of a home for the couple. We should always remind ourselves of the marriage of Hadhrat Fatimah (Radiallahu ‘Anha), the daughter of our beloved Nabi (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam).
When Hadhrat Ali (Radiallahu ‘Anhu) expressed his intention to propose for Hadhrat Fatimah (Radiallahu ‘Anha), Rasulullah (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam) was pleased and asked him if he possessed any riches. When Hadhrat Ali (Radiallahu ‘Anhu) replied that apart from a horse and a shield he possessed nothing, Rasulullah said: “A soldier must of course, have his horse. Go and sell your shield.”
Hadhrat Ali (radiallahu ‘anhu) sold his shield for 400 dirhams, after which Rasulullah (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam) called Hadhrat Bilal (Radiallahu ‘anhu) and asked him to bring some itar perfume and a few other things and sent Hadhrat Anas (Radiallahu ‘Anhu) to call Hadhrat Abu Bakr, Uthman, Zubair (Radiallahu ‘Anhum) and some other men of the Ansar. When they had arrived, Rasufullah (Sallallahu ‘alaihi Wasallam)recited the Nikah Khutbah, giving Hadhrat Fathimah (Radiallahu ‘Anha) in nikah to Hadhrat Ali (Radiallahu ‘anhu), he said: “Bear you all witness, I have given Fathimah to Ali for 400 misqals of silver and Ali has accepted.” He then raised his head and made dua. After the nikah, dates were distributed and when night came, Hadhrat Fathimah (Radiallahu ‘Anha) was sent without any hue or cry in the company of Hadhrat Umme Aiman (Radiallahu ‘anha).
Rasulullah (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam) visited them, made dua for them, and asked for a basin of water in which he blew after reciting the three Quls. He then sprinkled this water on both, Hadhrat Ali (Radiallahu ‘Anhu) and Hadhrat Fatimah (Radiallahu ‘anha). Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihi Wasallam) gave his daughter a silver bracelet, 2 yemeni sheets, 4 mattresses, one blanket, one pillow, one cup, one hand grinding mill, one bedstead, a small water skin and an earthen pitcher, and advised them that the indoor work should be done by Hadhrat Fatimah (Radiallahu ‘Anha) and the outdoor work by Hadhrat Ali (Radiallahu ‘Anhu). [Sunnah Kitaab – Mufti EMH Salejee.]
This is the “dream wedding“ which we should all be striving towards. It would be to the benefit of many if we start instilling this in the minds of our children, especially our daughters. We should encourage them towards totally following the Sunnah, and not just doing so selectively ie. by following whatever is easy to follow, and then emulating other people in others aspects of life.
By becoming the slaves of our nafs and Shaitaan, ie. by hosting unnecessary and elaborate functions, we are only hampering the Imaan and futures of our children: how can we expect them to embark on the ibaadat which nikah is, when this ibaadat begins with a series of sins? It should be the pleasure of Allah Ta’aala which we hope to attain, not the pleasure of misguided family members and friends. Rather endure their displeasure, than face the displeasure of Allah Ta’ala.