The Importance of Nikahnama in Muslim Matrimony

Muslim Matrimony in India follows the Islamic rules and traditions. The Indian Muslims, ‘Shia’ and ‘Sunni’ groups have some common marriage ceremonies.

Most of the Muslim weddings in India have ceremonies lasting for three days. The wedding involves dancing and singing, besides serious rituals. A traditional Muslim Wedding in India involves many pre and post wedding rituals.

The Muslim wedding customs in India before the wedding day include Mehendi ceremony or the Henna ceremony.

This ceremony is organized at the bride’s house on the eve of the wedding. In some cases, the bride’s family organizes this ceremony two-three days prior to the wedding day. In this ceremony mostly the female family members attend. Relatives and friends apply a paste of turmeric on the bride’s skin for a glowing complexion.

A professional mehendi artist or a relative of the bride draws beautiful henna pattern on the hands and feet. This ceremony is a fun-filled one with women singing traditional songs and young girls dancing. After this ceremony, the bride is expected to not leave the house until the wedding day.

The Indian Muslim Matrimony includes a marriage procession by the groom’s side, known as ‘Baraat’. The Baraat that includes the groom and family members of the groom leaves for the bride’s house on the evening of the wedding day. On the arrival of the groom at the wedding venue, the brother of the bride welcomes him with a glass of sherbet. The bride’s sisters play pranks on the guests and hit them with flower-filled cudgels.

The Muslim wedding ceremony known as Nikah is officiated by Muslim priest called Maulvi or Qazi. The father of the bride and groom are important participants in the Nikaah and are known as ‘Walis’. In traditional Muslim matrimony, the women and men sit separately divided by a curtain.

The priest or the maulvi recites verses from the Islamic holy book ‘Quran’. This is followed by the customary ceremony Ijab-e-Qubul, which is the proposal by the groom and acceptance by the bride. This mutual consent by the groom and bride is a very important part of the Muslim wedding.

Another important aspect of the Nikaah is the marriage contract signing or the ‘Nikahnama’. To make the marriage legal, signing the contract is must for the groom and the bride. It also requires the signature of the ‘walis’ in presence of the maulvi. The contract also mentions the amount of ‘mehr’ or dowry, which is from the groom’s family to the bride. In the end of the ‘Nikaah’, the bride receives gifts like garments, money and gold jewelries. The newlywed gets blessings from guests and family members.

Post wedding ceremonies of the Muslim matrimony also have significant rituals. The Rukshat is the farewell ceremony of the bride. The bride’s father gives the bride’s hands to the groom and asks him to take care and protect her at all times. A tearful farewell by the bride’s mother and relatives marks this ceremony. The bride is welcomed in her new family by the mother-in-law. The Holy book ‘quran’ is held above the head of the bride as she steps in the new house. On the fourth day after the wedding, the bride visits her parent’s house. This ritual is called the Chauthi.

Food is an important part of any Muslim Matrimony. After the wedding, the bride’s side organizes a grand feast for the groom’s side and guests. Lavish spreads of traditional recipes are served. Vegetarian and non-vegetarian food is cooked and men and women dine separately. The groom’s side also organizes a reception, known as Valimah. This is a joyous occasion where relatives, friends and bride’s side attend the function.

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