Muslim Wedding or Nikah is celebrated on a grand scale for a period of five-days. Muslim wedding can be conducted at any convenient time, as there is no concept of auspicious time. The Nikah ceremony can take place either at the bride or bridegroom’s residence or at a place that is convenient for both parties.
Here is a short description of the pre-wedding rituals followed in a typical Muslim Nikah.
o Legan Chir: After finalizing the wedding date cash present is sent to the bride’s father by the groom’s father.
o Manjha Ceremony: On the third day, manjha ceremony takes place. The prospective bride is seated on a small square table and anointed with haldi (turmeric) provided by the boy’s family.
o Mehndi Ceremony: The Mehndi ceremony is held at the home of the bride on the eve of the wedding ceremony or a couple of days before it. Following the tradition, the female relatives of the bride anoint her with turmeric paste to bring out the glow in her complexion.
Muslims observe a unique set of rituals at the time of their wedding. Please read on to find out how Muslim Nikah is conducted.
o Welcoming the Baraat: The groom arrives at the wedding venue with a wedding procession or baraat consisting of relatives and friends.
o Nikaah: It is on day four the actual Muslim Nikaah or wedding ceremony takes place. Nikah can be conducted at the home of the bride or the groom, or at any other convenient venue. In orthodox Muslim communities, the men and women are seated separately in Zenana (for woman) and Mardaana (for men). The Maulvi reads selected verses from the Quran and the Nikaah is complete after the Ijab-e-Qubul (proposal and acceptance).
After the Nikaah-Nama is signed, the Qazi delivers a sermon called Khutba, consisting of verses from the Quran which were recited by the prophet and which lay particular emphasis on obligations toward women. The Qazi explains the meaning of these verses to the audience with an explanation of the mutual rights and duties of the spouses.
o Blessing the Groom: After the wedding ceremonies are over the groom receives blessings from the older women and offers them his salaam.
o Dinner, Prayers and Aarsimashaf: Dinner is a lavish spread. Usually, the women and the men dine separately. After dinner, the newly-weds sits together for the first time. Their heads are covered by a dupatta while they read prayers under the direction of the maulvi (priest). The Quran is placed between the couple and they are allowed to see each only through mirrors.
Post-Wedding rituals followed in Muslim Nikah are similar to what we see in other Indian weddings. However, here the customs are followed under different names and some cultural variations can be observed.
o Ruksat: The bride’s family bids her a tearful farewell before she departs for her husband’s house.
o Welcoming the Bride: At the groom’s house, the groom’s mother holds the Islamic Holy book Quran above the head of her newly wed daughter-in-law as she enters her new home for the first time.
o Chauthi: The Chauthi is the fourth day after the wedding. It is customary for the bride to visit the home of her parents on this day. The bride receives a joyous welcome on this day.
o Valimah: The Valimah is the lavish reception that the groom’s family hosts after the Nikaah. It is a joyous occasion that brings together the two families, their relatives and friends.