When I got invited to my first Muslim wedding, I got so excited because 1. I have never been to one yet; 2. I know it will be an eye-opener for me as regards to Muslim rites, and 3. I am open to learning different cultures and traditions.
According to my short research on this matter, Muslim marriages are carried out in different ways as to the culture they are accustomed to. In the Philippines, Muslim marriages are arranged by the parents and relatives with the bride and groom.
To Muslims, their women cannot marry outside of their faith. Muslim men however, can do so as long as their children are raised as Muslims. After acceptance of the offer of marriage, the groom must give the bride a "mhar" (gift or dowry). From what I learned in the Muslim wedding I attended, the groom gave cash and gold and the things the bride wishes.
Studying Shariah law before, i have learned that in Islam, it is considered a religious duty and social necessity to marry. The ceremony must be witnessed by people but only 2 to make it official. There is no marriage license in the Muslim wedding. A “Nikah” has to be signed which gives proof to the marriage and filled up by the Imam, the Muslim priest.
The Muslim wedding I attended to was set in a restaurant, a venue where according to the Muslims is allowable. A mosque can be the preferred venue but not always, like some Christians do.
The Muslim bride wore sparkling, bright white gown with diamond studs sewn on her long sleeved gown. A very intricate and grand presentation of their culture, the bride is beautiful on her special day. The groom, I was surprised to see, was not into a Muslim attire but wore a western-style suit.
Mina, Beautiful Bride
From time to time, I look at the guests and noticed that the women wore their traditional Muslim attires, while the men do not. I was searching my eyes and imagined myself being in India or in Malaysia. My first time to a Muslim wedding made me realize I am a true-blood Mindanaoan, even if I am a Christian.
The Muslim Wedding Rite
- The marriage ceremony is called the Nikah. The bride and groom are separated. The bride was locked in one corner covered with a small cubicle-like tent, where she is kept from her groom.
- The audience listens to a marriage sermon given by the imam to solemnize the wedding. A recitation of the Qur’an was made. No misalettes for them, not even a service sheet but they all seem to know their part as the wedding was well coordinated as it went through different phases.
- The husband was first wed to the father of the bride, a sign of assurance that he will take care of the daughter and her bride. After a few closing words, they are united together with a white handkerchief to close the nikah. After the nikah, they parade towards the area where the bride is carefully locked and the groom must look after signs of where the bride is located inside the tent where she is kept.
- A handkerchief is swayed under the tent to which the groom must get with agility. This signals that the groom is already successful in getting her bride and that they are officially married. A “walima”, or a reception party follows the ceremony.
- According to my office mate who invited me to the wedding, the bride and groom spend the first three nights of their married life separately. After the three nights, the bride’s father will escort them to their new home and fully give the brides’ hand to her husband.
I was really glad I was able to attend this Muslim wedding, my first time proved a worthy one as I was able to learn many things in the Muslim culture. Have you attended a different wedding rite? Care to share?