Traditional muslim wedding

Traditional muslim wedding are always events of life time, with every friend and distance relative attending, lavish costumes often adorned with gold or silver jewelry, and precise religious rituals to be followed.

Muslim wedding in Egypt is different than a muslim wedding in Africa or India! Completely different customs and ways. Sure there will be certain core religion traditions that are constant, but beyond that each may have very different muslim wedding tradition.

Muslim wedding throughout the subcontinent have developed specifically Asian traditions while maintaining Islamic marriage requirements.

Pre-wedding rituals

Mehndi ceremony is held at the home of the bride on the eve of the wedding ceremony or a couple of days before it. The female relatives of the girl anoint her with turmeric paste to bring out the glow in her complexion. A relative or mehndiwali applies mehndi on the hands and feet of the bride. The event has a festive feel to it with the woman singing traditional songs. The bride wears sober clothes. According to custom she must not step out of the house for the next few days until her marriage. The bride’s cousins sometimes apply a dot of mehndi on the palm of the groom.

Welcoming the baraat is next! The groom arrives at the venue with his baraat. A band of musicians strike up some traditional notes to announce their arrival. The groom shares a drink of sherbet with the bride’s brother. The bride’s sisters play pranks and slap the guests playfully with batons made of flower.

Nikaah or wedding ceremony can be conducted at the home of the bride or the groom, or at any other venue. A maulvi (priest) in the presence of close family members and relatives conducts the ceremony. In orthodox muslim communities, the men and women are seated separately. the “walis” the father of bride and of groom play an important role in the ceremony. The maulvi reads selected verses from the Quran (the Muslim’s holly book) and the Nikaah is complete after the Ijab-e-Qubul (proposal and acceptance). The groom’s side proposes the bride’s side conveys her asset. The mutual consent of the bride and the groom is of great importance for the marriage to be legal. On the day of the Nikaah that the elder members of the two families decide the amount of “Mehr” (nuptial gift). The Mehr is a compulsory amount of money given by the groom’s family to the bride.

Nikaahnama is a document in which the marriage contract is registered. It contains a set of terms and conditions that must be respected by both the parties, also gives the bride the right to divorce her husband. For the contract to be legal, it must be signed by the bride, the groom, the walis and maulvi.

Blessing the groom, which groom receives blessing from the older women, and the guests pray for the new couple.

Next is dinner, prayer and aarsimashaf. Dinner is a lavish spread. Usually, the women and the men dine separately. After dinner, the newly-weds sit together for the first time. Their hands are covered by a dupatta while they read prayers under the direction of the maulvi. The Quran is placed between the couple and they are allowed to see each other through mirrors.

Post-wedding rituals

Rukshat is when the bride’s family bids her a tearful farewell before she departs for her husband’s house. The bride’s father gives her hand to her husband and tells him to take good care her.

Welcoming the bride is next. The groom’s mother holds the Quran above the head of her new daughter-in-law as she enters her new home for the first time after the wedding.

Chauthi is the fourth day after the wedding, when the bride visits the home of her parents. She receives a joyous welcome on this day.

Valimeh 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 other well-wishes.