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The Meaning of the Nikah Ceremony
Muslim Marriage in Islam is part of half our deen. The Nikah is a religious ceremony for a Muslim couple to be legally wed under Islamic law and is when the couple officially says “I accept. Muslim Marriage is a Prophetic tradition and the only permissible way that a man and woman can be married. What’s more, it’s not permitted for a couple to be intimate without a Nikah, so the ceremony legitimizes the relationship in front of God. Muslim Marriage is a blessing, and it is considered a very important part of faith.
Nikah Ceremony Requirements
A Nikah generally takes place in a mosque, the Wali (the father of the bride) can (should the bride consents) accept the Nikah and marriage contract on behalf of the bride.
As with any marriage, someone has to propose for the Nikah process to start. The woman or the man can make the proposal as long as the intention is for marriage. While it’s often more common for a man to propose in many cultures, in Islam, the woman (or her family) can initiate the proposal, as was the case with Khadijah, the first wife of the Prophet, peace, and blessings upon him.
The Qubool is the acceptance of the proposal, and it’s important to know that you don’t have to say yes right away. During the time between the proposal and the acceptance, the couple can meet as many times as they like to get to know each other, as long as the meeting takes place in public or within close proximity of a chaperone (family member of the bride to be).
For the Nikah, there has to be a minimum of two male witnesses that can attest to the fact that both the bride and groom say “I do” or “Qubool” of their own free will. That’s because for the ceremony to take place, it must be the bride and the groom who agree, without any force from family members or anyone else.
The Mahr is an obligatory gift from the groom to the bride, that the bride or her family can request. It’s typically a lump sum of money that the bride chooses, but the bride can ask for a trip, gold, or anything else she wishes. (Of course, she is encouraged to be fair and keep her future husband’s income in mind.) The Mahr is also symbolic of the responsibility the man has for providing for and taking care of his wife.
The Wali is the father of the bride who “passes on” his daughter. The Wali gets consent from the bride and does not give her away without her permission. If the father is deceased or there is some reason that he cannot “walk her down the aisle,” so to say, then another male guardian or relative can take on that role.
Once all the requirements are met, anyone can officiate the Nikah ceremony which involves the bride and groom saying the word “Qubool” or “I accept”. Following that, the couple and the two male witnesses are required to sign the contract, which can be provided by the imam or the couple. The signing of the contract is what makes the marriage legal according to civil and religious law.
How to Plan a Nikah Ceremony
Once you and your partner have agreed to get married, planning a Nikah is similar to other events (after you have all the religious requirements in place, of course). Couples will often pick a date, decide on the venue, and figure out where they will serve food.