It is perfectly natural for a young girl to dream about her wedding day, what it will be like, what she will wear, how she will bid farewell to her family, etc. Nikah is a vital part of our deen, and most girls do one day, want to settle down with that person whom Allah Ta’aala has destined them to be with.
But ask any girl the actual content of her dreams, or what she pictures her wedding day to be like, and one can expect to hear: “I’d like to arrive at the hall in a yellow BMW convertible”, or “I’d want to have my wedding photographs taken alongside a pond.” Most girls might even be able to tell you the size and the style of the wedding ring they are anticipating, how much they are willing to spend on a white wedding gown, etc.
The sad part is most of these dreams are realised. What the young Muslim bride-to-be wants, her parents give her, and even if she doesn’t want it, her parents still force it upon her.
So what we end up with is a young girl, about to embark on a most beautiful form of ibaadat, sitting on a stage for a whole audience of males and females to stare at – at a time when it is vital that she be sitting on the Musallah, making dua, asking Allah Ta’aala to make her marriage a successful one. A young couple posing for photographs – hugging and kissing for hundreds of people to see.
Hours of music, followed by a five minute qiraat and dua, and then back to the music. And of course a camera-man moving about frantically capturing everything: the cutting of a four-tier wedding cake, the grand entrance of the bride to a confetti-welcome, the presentation of a bouquet, the groom’s sister putting on jewellery for the bride …. the list is endless. Latest trends include the serving of grape juice in wine glasses what one wonders, is the intention behind this), the bride and groom and a (unisex) bridal party sitting and eating on the stage in full view of everyone, a special night set aside before the wedding for qawali music accompanied by dancing. Where – do we ever ask ourselves – do all these practices emerge from? Certainly not the Quraan, certainly not Sunnah.
If we really let ourselves think about the answer to this question we will have to admit that everything about the circus wedding we host – from the often crude and tasteless bridal showers hosted for the bride by her friends to the practice commonly known as “janha” wherein the groom’s family has to present the bride with an expensive item of jewellery before the wedding, to the mehendi ceremony, to the engagement parties, to the wedding ring, to the white gown, the walking down the aisle, the brides-maids, to the bouquet, the cake, the videos and the photographs, basically everything besides the performing of the nikah itself has absolutely no validity in our beautiful and simple deen.
In fact the majority of these practices originate from other religions, and we have taken them, and practised them and advertised them, to such an enormous extent that they are now wrongfully been recognised as being part of the Muslim way of life. Our weddings have become virtually indistinguishable from the wedding of the kuffaar. And they shouldn’t be. As Muslims, everything about us from our character to our dressing to our practices, should serve as an example to people. We should be trying to preserve our deen – with all its simplicity and beauty. (Reminder to myself first)