Islam is one of the fastest growing religions around the world, and its growth is spreading to other countries. Although the religion of Islam itself is steadfast, the practices of the wedding rituals are varied, depending on the country and community the Muslim couple is from. Let us take a look at the rituals for an Islamic wedding.
An Islamic marriage is considered a religious contract, a bond which is entered between the married couple and allah.
Interestingly, there is only one requirement of a Muslim wedding, and that is a contract must be signed. Marriage rituals vary depending on the familial sect, community and how closely the of gender separation regulations are followed. The majority of marriages are not performed in a mosque, although it is expected that men and women remain separated throughout the ceremony and reception. There is no sanctioned clergy in the religion. Therefore any Muslim who has a grasp of the faith is permitted to officiate a wedding. Should marriage be in a mosque, marriage officials, otherwise known as qazi can oversee aspects of the marriage.
A meher is a marriage contract. This is a formal contract in which the amount of money the groom is to give his bride is orally stated. The Meher has two aspects. The first is required before a marriage is consummated, and this usually takes the form of a ring, as it was given during the ceremony. The second part is the amount of money allotted to the wife during their marriage. The amount does not always have to be of monetary value. It is common that the gift can also be regarding jewels, land, or providing education. This gift is used at the discretion of the bride, to be used however she sees fit unless the marriage ends before consummation. Meher's are viewed not only as providing the bride security, but also a way of assuring liberation within the marriage as well.
Nikah ceremony takes place when a contract is signed. The groom must ask for the bride's hand in marriage before at least two witnesses. In this ceremony, the rules of the mehar are stated. Both bride and groom must repeat the word qabul, meaning I accept in Arabic, three times. The reason for this is to show they are entering the marriage in free will. The bride and groom and the witnesses then sign the contract, followed by sharing a piece of fruit sweet in nature.
Following the Nikah, many choose to have a religious ceremony, although it is not required. Usually, the first chapter of the quran is stated, along with blessings. Reciting vows is not a ritual that the majority of doing. It is more common to listen to the words of whomever is presiding over the ceremony.