The traditional Muslim wedding rituals are very blessed and colorful. If you have a chance to attend any Muslim wedding, you will understand that the rituals are quite simple yet graceful. An Islamic wedding is called Nikah – an Urdu word. The wedding rituals of Muslim matrimony may vary from region to region. In today’s post, we give you some of the sacred ceremonies of Muslim wedding rituals in Kerala.
Nikah is the wedding ceremony that unites the bride and groom seeking Allah’s blessings. A very simple yet powerful custom, the pre and post-wedding festivities are an extravagant affair with friends and family blessing the couple. Let’s take a look at the ceremonies in depth.
The first pre-wedding ritual is the ceremony of Ishtikara. It is a prayer offered to Allah seeking his permission for the marriage. It takes place in a mosque with the bride and the groom’s father along with the presence of other family members. Verses from the Quran are read out by the Maulvi and a wedding date is finalized upon mutual consent by both the families.
Similar to the Shagun ritual of the Hindus, this ceremony involves protecting the to-be-couple from evil eyes and negative forces. The day starts with the groom’s mother visiting the bride along with other family members with various gifts for the bride and her family. The key part involves gifting a silver or gold coin wrapped inside a beautiful silk cloth to the bride to signify the groom’s mother accepting and welcoming the bride as her daughter-in-law. This is followed by big celebrations for both families in the Kerala Muslim wedding
. It also represents how culture and society play an eminent role in religious matters as they mark the emergence of these lovely rituals.
Known as the Mailanchi Raavu, this is just like any other Mehndi ceremony. For a Kerala Nikah, this function takes place 2-3 days before the wedding ceremony at the bride’s home. Women gather and play dholak, sing songs and dance to the wedding songs. The bride is adorned with gorgeous Mehndi designs on her hand and feet. Even women family members join in to apply Mehendi once the bride is done applying hers. Turmeric paste is also applied on the bride’s face and body by her family and friends. This is not a separate ceremony unless, of course, one prefers to do it the millennial way. Once the bride has applied Mehendi, she is prohibited to leave the house until the wedding day.
The Wedding day - Nikah
As per the Kerala Muslim wedding
, the bride and the groom are seated separately. The marriage ceremony is presided by the Qazi – the head priest. The Qazi recites various verses from the Quran which ends in the bride’s father offering his daughter in marriage to the groom. The head passes the proposal of the groom to the bride. This is called Lijaab. The bride accepts the proposal and says ‘Qubool’. Lijaab Qubool binds the bride and the groom in holy matrimony.
On the day of the Nikah, the elder members of both the families decide upon the amount of the Mahr. A mandatory ritual, a pre-fixed amount is given by the groom’s family to the bride as a wedding ritual. Nikahnama The Nikahnama is a document in which the marriage contract is registered. It comes with a set of terms and conditions which must be respected by both the husband and the wife. It also gives the bride right to divorce her husband. To make the Nikahnama legal, it must be signed by the Muslim bride and groom, the Walis and the Maulvi.
Similar to the Hindu Bidaai, Muslim wedding rituals include Ruksat where the bride’s family bids her goodbye as she leaves to her husband’s home. This is an emotional ceremony between the parents and their daughter as her father gives her hand to the husband with a promise that he will, at all times, protect her from all evil things. As the bride enters the new home, the Holy Quran is held above her head as she takes steps in the home. The bride seeks the blessings of all the elderly members in the groom’s family.
Translated to the “Marriage Banquet”, following the Ruksat, the groom’s family (or both the families nowadays) host a post-wedding celebration called Daawat-e-Walima. Both the families celebrate the union of the newly-wed couple by providing a scrumptious feast to friends and family with everyone singing and dancing their hearts out to enjoy this joyous occasion. Just like any other religion rejoices the union of the newlyweds, the Muslim wedding rituals in Kerala too are the same. It is all about enjoying the moment as two souls come together to embark on a new journey together. The near and dear ones wishes the couple a lifetime of health and happiness.
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