Marriage is the cornerstone of our lives – we all belong to a family and in the majority of cases, we were born out of a married couple. Islam places huge emphasis upon family, family ties, marriage and the upbringing of children.
Unfortunately, in today’s society, marriage tends to follow trends and cultures and there is a lot of perceived pressure from the community for a marriage to be better than or equal to the last wedding that was held – in a sense, weddings have become competitive. Marriage has become a case of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ and this puts unnecessary pressure on families, a huge amount of extravagance and a burden financially. The simplicity of the marriage ceremony has been shadowed by culture and improper expectations and demands upon potential spouses and their families. This is not the correct way to go about a marriage.
It’s important to start married life in the correct way and to be married according to Qur’an and Sunnah. In this post, we simply outline an Islamic ceremony. More detail can be found in the book: “Fiqh of Marriage” by Dr. Al-Saldaan.
A dowry should be paid to the woman however this doesn’t necessarily have to be something financial. The dowry belongs to the wife and to no one else (not her guardians or relatives) and it is the wife’s decision what to do with it. The dowry should not be so excessive that it places a burden upon the man. If the dowry isn’t paid, it does not invalidate the marriage contract and if the man and woman agree to get married without a dowry, this is valid. There is no maximum amount for a dowry but there are some minimum amounts (which vary from the schools of thought).
And give to the women (whom you marry) their Mahr (obligatory bridal money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart, but if they, of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, take it, and enjoy it without fear of any harm (as Allah has made it lawful).
Surat An-Nisa, v4
Also (forbidden are) women already married, except those (captives and slaves) whom your right hands possess. Thus has Allah ordained for you. All others are lawful, provided you seek (them in marriage) with Mahr (bridal money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) from your property, desiring chastity, not committing illegal sexual intercourse, so with those of whom you have enjoyed sexual relations, give them their Mahr as prescribed; but if after a Mahr is prescribed, you agree mutually (to give more), there is no sin on you. Surely, Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise.
Surat An-Nisa, v24
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said to the one who was to marry the woman who had offered herself to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ): “Seek something [to give her as a dowry] even if it be a ring made of iron” – Sahih Bukhari
Al-Waleemah (Wedding dinner)
The wedding feast is a strongly recommended sunnah.
Safiyyah bint Shaib said, “The Prophet (ﷺ) gave a wedding feast for one of his wives with just two mudds of barley” – Sahih Bukhari
Abu Hurayrah stated, “The worst food is the food of the wedding feast in which only the rich are invited and the poor are avoided. And whoever does not respond to the invitation, has disobeyed Allah and His Messenger (ﷺ) – Sahih Bukhari
There is no lower or upper limit to what may be given as a wedding feast but as a general rule, Muslims should not be extravagant.
O Children of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing your clean clothes), while praying and going round (the Tawaf of) the Ka’bah, and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not Al-Musrifun (those who waste by extravagance).
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Eat and drink and give in charity but without lavishness or arrogance. Verily, Allah Loves the effects of His Bounty upon His servant to be seen.” – al-Nasaai
The Rights of the Husband and the Rights of the Wife
Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and to their husbands), and guard in the husband’s absence what Allah orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity, their husband’s property, etc.). As to those women on whose part you see ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful), but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance). Surely, Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great.
Surat An-Nisa, v34
And divorced women shall wait (as regards their marriage) for three menstrual periods, and it is not lawful for them to conceal what Allah has created in their wombs, if they believe in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands have the better right to take them back in that period, if they wish for reconciliation. And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses, etc.) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect, etc.) to what is reasonable, but men have a degree (of responsibility) over them. And Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.
Surat Al-Baqarah, v228
The Prophet was asked by one of the Sahaba, “What is the right of our wives upon us?” He replied, “It is that when you eat, you feed her; when you get clothing for yourself, you get clothing for her; do not strike the face; do not swear at her; and do not boycott her except in the house.” – Abu Dawood
The rights of a Husband over his wife are (in summary):
- obedience (hadeeths in An-Nasaai and Al-Musnad)
- Remaining in the house and going out of the house with the permission of the husband (Surat Al-Ahzaab v33)
- Responding to his call, when he calls her to his bed (hadeeth in Sahih Muslim)
- Not allowing anyone to enter his house except with his permission (hadeeth in Sahih Muslim)
- Serving the husband (hadeeths from Sahih Bukhari)
- Protecting his honour, children and wealth (hadeeths from Sahih Bukhari and Abu Dawood)
- Being thankful to the husband, not denying his virtues and treating him in a good manner (hadeeths from Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)
The rights of a Wife over her husband are (in summary):
- Treating the wife in a good and kind manner (Surat An-Nisaa v19) – this includes the husband not hurting his wife with his actions or his speech.
- Teaching her the matters of the deen and supporting her in her acts of obedience to Allah (Surat Al-Tahreem, v6)
- Maintaining her chastity (hadeeths from Sahih Muslim)
- Financically maintaining the wife (Surat Al-Baqarah, v233, and Sahih Muslim and Sahih Bukhari)
- Having the right to enjoy one another (Surat Al-Baqarah, v187)
- Establishing the rights of inheritance between the spouses (Surat An-Nisaa, v12)
- Treating each other in a good and kind manner (as above references)
- Establshing the forbiddance of marriage to relatives
MISCONCEPTIONS AND WRONG ACTIONS ABOUT MARRIAGE:
- It is not Islamic to expect the woman or her family to pay the dowry.
- The dowry is not a price for merchandise or to ‘buy’ the woman. The dowry is not a price for the value of the woman but the dowry is a token of the man’s interest in the woman.
- Engagement rings and engagement parties – this is a newly adopted custom and is not from Islam. This practice is that of a Pharoanic practise or christian tradition.
- Mehndi celebrations are not from Qur’an and Sunnah – this is a tradition from Indian culture.
- Dancing at a wedding (or any other time) is haraam
- Free-mixing at weddings is not permitted
- Following the dress of weddings from other cultures is not from Islam (eg. white wedding dresses with long trains as in christian/western culture, red dresses without proper hijaab as in indian tradition etc). The dress code for Muslims at weddings and in public should always conform to Islamic rulings.
- The groom entering a room full of women (who aren’t wearing proper Islamic attire, eg. hijaab) is wrong and from Indian culture.
- Extravagance is not from Qur’an and Sunnah – Allah and His Rasool (ﷺ) have warned us against this.
- There is no such thing as a honeymoon in Islam – this is from culture.
- ‘Ruqsati’ – the act of the woman leaving her parents’ house, is not from Islam but from Indian culture.
- The throwing of rice and other such customs is not from Islam.
- Engagement – it is not allowed in the period before a man and woman become married, for them to be left alone together, to get to know each other – this is not from Islam.
- Marriage is by consent. Forced marriages are haraam in Islam.
- In many cases, a maried couple will be living with their in-laws. It is not permissible for relatives to interfere between a husband and his wife. For example, it is not permissible, even if a married couple is living with their in-laws, for any of your in-laws to enter your room without your permission, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “O you who believe! Enter not houses other than your own, until you have asked permission and greeted those in them; that is better for you, in order that you may remember” [al-Noor 24:27]
Some specific examples and advice is given on the following posts:
Stand Up 4 Islam!
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