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Nikah & Walima Dilemma: Planning Trips & Tricks!

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 wedding-balloons

Allah's Messenger (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said, "When a man marries he has fulfilled half of the 'deen'; so let him fear Allah regarding the remaining half." [Tirmidhi].


Mubarak (congratulations), so you have found someone to be your comfort in this world and the next and may Allah (SWT) make all your dreams come true, fill your life with bliss and happiness (Ameen).

 

We have an exclusive section on the Fiqh issues relating to relationships, marriage, sexuality, children so this article will briefly look at the actual planning and execution of one of the biggest days of your life.

We often find people engaged in Culture vs. Islam discussions and the couple (to be wed) often at odds with their family and parents over the planning and execution of events. Aspects of culture which are not exclusively forbidden in Islam are permissible so before arguing with the "elders" of your family know what is permitted and what isn't!

Get your intention right!

The blessings and assistance of Allah (SWT) are only with following the noble Sunnah of Sayyidina Rasul-ullah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam), understand it and continue to remind yourself and the family members that every action has repercussions. Good actions will bring good repercussions and bad actions will bring calamity.

[3:31] Say (O Prophet): If you really love Allah, then follow me, and Allah shall love you and forgive you your sins. Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.

Don't do the action if you are not prepared to live with the consequences as we say in America!

Don't do the crime, if you can't do the time!

Family Meeting (Mushwara):

[42:38] and those who have responded to their Lord (in submission to Him), and have established Salah, and whose affairs are (settled) with mutual consultation between them, and who spend out of what We have given to them.

Not only its polite and courteous to ask your elders and family members for advice, Shura is a command of Allah (SWT) so consult friends and family members with the intention of fulfilling a command of Allah (SWT) and it will pay dividends in your later life as they will remember that you asked for their advice.

Budget & Expenses:

In our experience this is the single most misunderstood aspect of wedding plans. On one extreme Muslims are under the impression that they are supposed to be as cheap as possible while on the other hand there are those who want to outdo others in spending. The command of Allah (SWT) is to be moderate (according to your means).

[17:29] And do not keep your hand tied to your neck, nor extend it to the full extent, lest you should be sitting reproached, empty-handed.

It is true that you are supposed to have a simple wedding but the term "simple" is subjective and varies according to personal circumstances, "simple" for a billionaire has different connotations compared to someone who is hand to mouth and noting the extravagance of today the billionaire will be rewarded for conducting his (or her) wedding according to the budget of someone who is hand to mouth but if he (or she) conducts a "simple" ceremony (according to their standard) and doesn't compromise any commands or tenants of Qur'aan & Sunnah then it will be permissible.

Avoiding Extravagance & Debt!

You should marry within your means and avoid the current trend of showing off and extravagance because extravagance is Haram. Renew your intention and know that if you want to follow the path of Shaytaan then be prepared for the consequences.

[17:26] Give the relative his right, and the needy and the wayfarer. And do not squander recklessly. [17:27] Surely, squanderers are brothers of satans, and the Satan is very ungrateful to his Lord.

It goes without saying that Debt should be avoided as much as possible. However, many families sometimes have no choice and if you need to borrow money for legitimate and Shariah compliant needs then keep two principles in mind:

 

1 Avoid Interest:  You cannot start your new life by declaring a war upon Allah (SWT) and Sayyidina Rasul-ullah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam)! The consequences will be disastrous as nothing good will come out of an interest bearing loan, at all!

[2:278] O you who believe, fear Allah and give up what still remains of riba, if you are believers. [2:279] But if you do not (give it up), then listen to the declaration of war from Allah and His Messenger. However, If you repent, yours is your principal. Neither wrong, nor be wronged.

2 Loan Contract: There are countless families who took loans for weddings and then get embroiled into lifelong feuds simply because they didn't follow the Qur'aanic commandments of loan agreement. Have your transactions written down and witnessed and avoid hassles for later!

[2:282] O you who believe, when you transact a debt payable at a specified time, put it in writing, and let a scribe write it between you with fairness. A scribe should not refuse to write as Allah has educated him. He, therefore, should write. The one who owes something should get it written, but he must fear Allah, his Lord, and he should not omit anything from it. If the one who owes is feeble-minded or weak or cannot dictate himself, then his guardian should dictate with fairness. Have two witnesses from among your men, and if two men are not there, then one man and two women from those witnesses whom you like, so that if one of the two women errs, the other woman may remind her. The witnesses should not refuse when summoned. And do not be weary of writing it down, along with its due date, no matter whether the debt is small or large. That is more equitable in Allah‘s sight, and more supportive as evidence, and more likely to make you free of doubt. However, if it is a spot transaction you are effecting between yourselves, there is no sin on you, should you not write it. Have witnesses when you transact a sale. Neither a scribe should be made to suffer, nor a witness. If you do (something harmful to them), it is certainly a sin on your part, and fear Allah. Allah educates you, and Allah is All-Knowing in respect of everything.

You cannot start your new life by declaring a war upon Allah (SWT) and Sayyidina Rasul-ullah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam)! The consequences will be disastrous as nothing good will come out of an interest bearing loan, at all!

The issue of Jahaiz (Dowry) amongst Asians:

The primary responsibility of taking care and looking after a woman belongs to the man. In fact, Allah (SWT) has made men superior because they financially spend on women.

[4:34] Men are caretakers of women, since Allah has made some of them excel the others, and because of the wealth they have spent.

It is shameful for a man or his family to go begging to the family of a Muslim woman or to insinuate (or hint) indirectly or covertly demand an amount of money or mode of transportation (car, motorbike) etc. In fact, the man and his family should make it clear in explicit terms that they don't need anything because in the Asian culture it is often assumed that certain things are needed and provided without request. Scholars of Islam explicitly advise Muslim men to buck the trend and break the shackles of the curse of Jahaiz (dowry).

One of the most abused Ahadeeth of Sayyidina Rasul-ullah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) amonst the Asians is as follows:

On the occasion of the Nikah of Sayyidah Fatima (RA) the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam)  gave her as gifts: a blanket filled with date palm leaves, a leather pillow and a clay water pot. [Nisai]

The Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam)  was the guardian of both Sayyidina Ali (RA) and Sayyidah Fatima (RA) . Therefore The Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) on behalf of Sayyidina Ali made this arrangement so that the obligation of Sayyidina Ali (RA) would be fulfilled. There is no proof from the Ahadith that the Prophet did this for any of his other daughters Nikah. There was no tradition of Jahaiz during the time of Prophet Muhammad , nor during the time of the Sahaaba.(Mariful Hadith vol 7, p30)

The issue of Meh'r (Dowry) amongst Arabs:

The Arabs have the exact opposite problem where they have taken a command of Allah (SWT) and exaggerated it to such proportions that it's become next to impossible in many Arab countries to find a wife. Meh'r (dowry) is a command of Allah (SWT) and right of the women:

[4:4] Give women their dower in good cheer. Then, if they forego some of it, of their own will, you may have it as pleasant and joyful.

There are no examples from the noble Sunnah of Sayyidina Rasul-ullah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) or companions where women set such exorbitant amounts which created marriage epidemics (as evident in Middle-East today). The noble example of our Nabi (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) for us to follow is as follow:

Abu Salama Ibn 'Abd al-Rahman (RA) reported: I asked 'A'isha (RA) the wife of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him): What is the amount of dower of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him)? She said: It was twelve 'uqiyas and one nash. She said: Do you know what is al-nash? I said: No. She said: It is half of uqiya, and it amounts to five hundred dirhams, and that was the dower given by Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) to his wives. [Muslim]

Not only the prophet didn't pay exorbitant amounts of money to be married but he also discouraged this practise and advised that the best of the women are the ones who are light (in their Meh'r):

Sayyidina ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Aamir (RA) narrates the Prophet(Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said: "The best dowry is that which is easy." [Hakim]

The issue of Haq Meh'r (Dowry) amongst Asians:

In the prevalent Asian culture two misconceptions exist with regards to Meh’r:

 

1 It is thought that Me'h is only due upon divorce.

 

2 Since it is only thought to be due upon divorce exorbitant amounts are set (and competed within families) and publicised as a status symbol.

 

Both of these absurdities have nothing to do with Islam! The agreed amount becomes an obligation upon the husband and needs to be paid as per the agreed terms and conditions discussed in detail here.

Actual Financial Planning:

Don't start planning without an actual cap or estimation of your spending because things will quickly get out of hand and note that you will go through several iterations of a budget planner depending on your circumstances. The actual expenses, arrangements and the breakdown will vary from place to place and some of these given below may be paid for by the Bride (or the Groom's) family, nevertheless here is a starting point for planning. Don't go into a wedding without having an idea of the expenses!

Wedding Invitation Printing

$250.00

Walima Inviation Printing

$250.00

Wedding Clothes (couple and family)

$1,000.00

Wedding Hall

$300.00

Walima Hall

$300.00

Wedding (Food + Catering) @ $25/head

$5,000.00

Walima (Food + Catering) @ $25/head

$5,000.00

Wedding Decorations

$500.00

Walima Decorations

$500.00

Guest (Housing) Expenses

$500.00

Total

$13,600.00

 

Guest Invitation List:

Your budget will actually dictate the guests whom you can invite and cater for within your means. Don’t take creating a guest list lightly as soon you will discover that things will go out of hand and you will either forget someone or invite someone with a family while ignore someone (equally importantly) without their family. A sample is presented below 

Groom’s Father’s older brother (Family)

7

Bride’s Father’s older brother (Family)

9

Groom’s Father’s second older brother (Family)

5

Bride’s Father’s second older brother (Family)

3

Groom’s Father’s older Sister (Family)

6

Bride’s Father’s older Sister (Family)

4

Groom’s Father’s second older Sister (Family)

5

Bride’s Father’s second older Sister (Family)

4

Groom’s Father’s best friend (Family)

5

Bride’s Father’s best friend (Family)

4

Total

52

Non-Muslim Customs:

Following the customs of Non-Muslims is Haram and it will not only destroy the blessings in your wedding but will also drown you in debt! It is harmful for your worldly life and detrimental for your hereafter. Two of the most common customs amonst Asians which have nothing to do with Islam are:

 

1 Mayon: This is an Asian custom conducted a few days before the actual wedding which has absolutely nothing to with Islam and directly imported from Hindu’ism.The uncontrolled intermingling of genders, singing, dancing and merrymaking make it explicitly Haram.

 

2 Mehndi: This is an Asian custom conducted a few days before the actual wedding which has absolutely nothing to with Islam and directly imported from Hindu’ism. To apply Mehndi (Henna) is Sunnah for the women but to turn a Sunnah into an event has no basis in Islam. The uncontrolled intermingling of genders, singing, dancing and merrymaking make it explicitly Haram.

Muslims of other parts of the world may have their own customs which need to be discussed with Scholars.

Conducting Nikah at the Masjid:

Shaykh (Mufti) Ibraheem Desai  writes, “It is Sunnah for the marriage to be pronounced and performed in the Masjid”. The decision to conduct the Nikah at the Masjid will not only bring Barakah in your marriage but will also cut down (and Insha’Allah) prohibit violations of Islamic Shariah.

Aisha (RA) narrated that Rasul-ullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said, “Publicise these marriages, conduct them in mosques, and beat the duff (tambourines) to announce them”. [Tirmidhi]

Wedding/Walima Dress, Photography & Video:

It is praiseworthy for the potential spouses to dress nicely and to appear pleasing for each other. However some things must be kept in mind:

 

1 It is Haram to beautify the girl and then place her on a stage for everyone to feast their eyes on her beauty.

 

2 Most people will dress for the occasion so it’s Haram to have a mixed gathering where unhindered and unfettered access and intermingling to opposite sex is available. This is a gateway to Fitnah so ensure that your wedding is segregated.

 

3 Photographer or the one making the move is not exempt from the laws of Islamic Shariah and cannot wander in and out of both sections unhindered and unchecked. A Sister recently sent a question to our site stating that she is soon to be married and then her husband needs to apply for US immigration and they have been legally advised that the wedding photographs and movie may need to be submitted (or asked later) during the immigration process. This is true and in such cases extreme care needs to be taken that photographs are not taken with Na-Mehrams and not shared with them (afterwards). During our discussions with families, we often come across this question and it can be handled with delicacy and tact and the photographs and the movie needs to handled with due care.

 

4Many amongst the Asians require the Groom to wear a suit (and tie) on their Nikah and although this cannot be regarded as impermissible but care should be taken that it isn't a pure silk suit or a pure silk tie (extremely common). It is permissible for men to wear artificial silk but not desirable.

 

5It is impermissible to play Music in Islamic Shariah on wedding day or otherwise, however this can be easily substituted with Nasheeds without Music. Many artists like Junaid Jamshaid and others have Nasheeds for multiples occasions without Music.

 

6 It is a custom amongst Asians to form a Bar’aat which is a collective of family and friends who travel together for Nikah, there is anything inherently wrong with it provided that intermingling and free mixing of sexes doesn’t occur.

Wedding/Walima on the same day:

We have come across examples of families conducting the Nikah and Walima on the same day. Although it is superior to perform Walima after the couple have consummated the marriage or had had some privacy, the Sunnah of Walima will be rendered discharged if conducted on the same day without the couple having had the chance of privacy.

Wedding/Walima Food (Serving & Arrangemenst):

The rules of prohibition with regards to Intermingling and free mixing still apply during the serving and partaking of food. We have witnessed many weddings where the organizers have gone through the trouble of organizing a segregated wedding but at the reception the rules of segregation either don't exist or are relaxed (i.e.) people wandering in and out of both sections on the pretense of serving or filling dishes.

However, in our experience we have encountered (unfortunately) strong resistance from families on this issue so the next best compromise is to create a seating plan and create really nice and pleasing tables and chairs. Ensure that some of the guests (close family and friends) and given priority seating! Ensure that all guests are seen to and welcomed in and out of the Hall (Masjid).

food

 

table-seated

 

Honeymoon planning?

There is no such concept in Honeymoon in Islamic Fiqh but for the newlywed couple to go out and spend time together in isolation in order to come to know each other is permissible.

Recommended Reading:

We strongly encourage and recommend everyone to read this beneficial pamphlet on the subject by Shaykh (Maulana) Saleem Dhorat (HA).