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Marriage:

An-Nikah
The Marriage

__________________________

by Mohammad Mazhar Hussaini

Mutual Agreement of Bride and Groom

Marriage (nikah) is a solemn and sacred social contract between bride and groom. This contract is a strong covenant (mithaqun Ghalithun) as expressed in Quran 4:21). The marriage contract in Islam is not a sacrament. It is revocable.

Both parties mutually agree and enter into this contract. Both bride and groom have the liberty to define various terms and conditions of their liking and make them a part of this contract.

Mahr

The marriage-gift (Mahr) is a divine injunction. The giving of mahr to the bride by the groom is an essential part of the contract.

'And give the women (on marriage) their mahr as a (nikah) free gift" (Quran 4:4)

Mahr is a token commitment of the husband's responsibility and may be paid in cash, property or movable objects to the bride herself. The amount of mahr is not legally specified, however, moderation according to the existing social norm is recommended. The mahr may be paid immediately to the bride at the time of marriage, or deferred to a later date, or a combination of both. The deferred mahr however, falls due in case of death or divorce.

One matrimonial party expresses 'ijab" willing consent to enter into marriage and the other party expresses 'qubul" acceptance of the responsibility in the assembly of marriage ceremony. The contract is written and signed by the bride and the groom and their two respective witnesses. This written marriage contract ("Aqd-Nikah) is then announced publicly.

Sermon

The assembly of nikah is addressed with a marriage sermon (khutba-tun-nikah) by the Muslim officiating the marriage. In marriage societies, customarily, a state appointed Muslim judge (Qadi) officiates the nikah ceremony and keeps the record of the marriage contract. However any trust worthy practicing Muslim can conduct the nikah ceremony, as Islam does not advocate priesthood. The documents of marriage contract/certificate are filed with the mosque (masjid) and local government for record.

Prophet Muhammad (S) made it his tradition (sunnah) to have marriage sermon delivered in the assembly to solemnize the marriage. The sermon invites the bride and the groom, as well as the participating guests in the assembly to a life of piety, mutual love, kindness, and social responsibility.

The Khutbah-tun-Nikah begins with the praise of Allah. His help and guidance is sought. The Muslim confession of faith that 'There is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is His servant and messenger" is declared. The three Quranic verses (Quran 4:1, 3:102, 33:70-71) and one Prophetic saying (hadith) form the main text of the marriage. This hadith is:

'By Allah! Among all of you I am the most God-fearing, and among you all, I am the supermost to save myself from the wrath of Allah, yet my state is that I observe prayer and sleep too. I observe fast and suspend observing them; I marry woman also. And he who turns away from my Sunnah has no relation with me". (Bukhari)

The Muslim officiating the marriage ceremony concludes the ceremony with prayer (Dua) for bride, groom, their respective families, the local Muslim community, and the Muslim community at large (Ummah)

Marriage (nikah) is considered as an act of worship (ibadah). It is virtuous to conduct it in a Mosque keeping the ceremony simple. The marriage ceremony is a social as well as a religious activity. Islam advocates simplicity in ceremonies and celebrations.

Prophet Muhammad (S) considered simple weddings the best weddings:

'The best wedding is that upon which the least trouble and expense is bestowed". (Mishkat)

Primary Requirements
1) Mutual agreement (Ijab-O-Qubul) by the bride and the groom
2) Two adult and sane witnesses
3) Mahr (marriage-gift) to be paid by the groom to the bride either immediately (muajjal) or deferred (muakhkhar), or a combination of both

Secondary Requirements
1) Legal guardian (wakeel) representing the bride
2) Written marriage contract ("Aqd-Nikah) signed by the bride and the groom and witnesses by two adult and sane witnesses
3) Qadi (State appointed Muslim judge) or Ma'zoon (a responsible person officiating the marriage ceremony)
4) Khutba-tun-Nikah to solemnize the marriage

The Marriage Banquet (Walima)

After the consummation of the marriage, the groom holds a banquet called a walima. The relatives, neighbors, and friends are invited in order to make them aware of the marriage. Both rich and poor of the family and community are invited to the marriage feasts.

Prophet Muhammad (S) said:

'The worst of the feasts are those marriage feasts to which the rich are invited and the poor are left out". (Mishkat)

It is recommended that Muslims attend marriage ceremonies and marriage feasts upon invitation.

Prophet Muhammad (S) said:

"...and he who refuses to accept an invitation to a marriage feast, verily disobeys Allah and His Prophet". (Ahmad & Abu Dawood)


Printed with permission: Marriage and Family in Islam by Mohammad Mazhar Hussaini

LIFE BEFORE:
Purpose and Obligation
6 Etiquettes of Seeking a Spouse
How to help Muslims get married, Tips for parents and Imams
How ISNA Matrimonial Service works
Whom to Marry: Selecting a Partner
An-Nikah: The Marriage Ceremony

LIFE AFTER:
Ideal Muslim Husband: a review
Muslim Women Working Outside the Home
Tips for Better Husband and Wife Relationship


Your Comments

Angela Henson, Austin - wrote on 5/8/2012 11:22:41 AM
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Comment: I am engaged to a muslim man and I am studying Islam and I am just very grateful for all of the comments here.


Asma, ahmedabad - wrote on 4/26/2012 12:15:18 AM
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Comment: Agar ladka or ladki phone par nikah kubool karte he to kya wo nikah ho jata he ??? or agar us nikah ko register karwana ho to kya ho sakta he????


faizan, karachi - wrote on 4/15/2012 5:06:34 AM
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Comment: i have a question Kya phone pe nikah hujata hai ? Kya sharait hain ? Kya 2 alag waqat me 2 alag logon k samne larka larki ik dosre ko kabool karain tu nikah hujaye ga dono gawah sath na hun pehly ik gawah k samny conference call pe kabool kia phr 3 mahine k baad dosre gawaj k samny conference call pe bina wakeel aur bina meher ki rakam te kiye khuda ko hazir nazir janty huye ?


unknown, canada - wrote on 2/3/2012 11:46:21 AM
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Comment: Reading some of these comments makes me sad. We are all the same creation that were created from one and the same god, whether we are muslim, hindu, christian or any thing else. Marriage is about the love between two people; love does not choose by religion. Every religion teaches us to live our lives with values. Values are religion and it doesn't matter which religion you belong to, if you live by values, you will return to the same god as everyone else on this earth. If you think that because you are muslim and only you will return to god, then you are mistaken and I feel sorry for you. I am a muslim marrying a hindu man and he has stronger values than many muslim men. Religion does not matter when picking your partner, rather it is the person they are, the values they carry, and making sure you share those same values.


amir, new york - wrote on 12/7/2011 7:04:06 PM
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Comment: does secondary requirement mean that the marriage would be valid without them?


mazbut, karachi - wrote on 10/22/2011 7:28:21 PM
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Comment: URGENT My question is:: The groom did not bring any witness from his side at the time or Nikah conducted in a mosque saying his witnesses (friends mainly) have failed to come for reason not known to him. At this, the Qazi started the Nikah by filling out the Nikah nama and asked the nephew and one another relative (both adults) of the bride to sign as witnesses for the groom. Frankly I did not appreciate this act as being abnormal and below grace. However, as the brother of the bride did not object to it I kept quiet but I am not convinced about the nikah being ''regular' or even lawful because in case of dispute there would be no real witness from groom's side and he might assert that the bride's relatives had infact conducted a marriage at ''gun-point''?? Can nikah be conducted with above irregularity and indecency and what status does it have in the eyes of Sharia???


Saeed Ansari, Baltimore - wrote on 7/28/2011 11:01:17 AM
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Comment: For the girl who wants to marry a Hindu. A muslim female is not allowed to marry a non muslim, period. If he really loves her, he will steady Islam and will adopt the religion. Nikah is not valid unless there are at least 2 male, sane witnesses to it. These rules are for those who are aware of the day of judgement and who know that the world and the worldly life will end one day and then we all will be in the court of the creator. Keeping this in mind, make your own decisions. No one else will come to help you that day


Ansari, Baltimore MD - wrote on 7/28/2011 10:59:15 AM
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Comment: For the girl who wants to marry a Hindu. A muslim female is not allowed to marry a non muslim, period. If he really loves her, he will steady Islam and will adopt the religion. Nikah is not valid unless there are at least 2 male, sane witnesses to it. These rules are for those who are aware of the day of judgement and who know that the world and the worldly life will end one day and then we all will be in the court of the creator. Keeping this in mind, make your own decisions. No one else will come to help you that day


Ansari, Baltimore MD - wrote on 7/28/2011 10:58:53 AM
Rating: Rating

Comment: For the girl who wants to marry a Hindu. A muslim female is not allowed to marry a non muslim, period. If he really loves her, he will steady Islam and will adopt the religion. Nikah is not valid unless there are at least 2 male, sane witnesses to it. These rules are for those who are aware of the day of judgement and who know that the world and the worldly life will end one day and then we all will be in the court of the creator. Keeping this in mind, make your own decisions. No one else will come to help you that day


Ansari, Baltimore MD - wrote on 7/28/2011 10:58:30 AM
Rating: Rating

Comment: For the girl who wants to marry a Hindu. A muslim female is not allowed to marry a non muslim, period. If he really loves her, he will steady Islam and will adopt the religion. Nikah is not valid unless there are at least 2 male, sane witnesses to it. These rules are for those who are aware of the day of judgement and who know that the world and the worldly life will end one day and then we all will be in the court of the creator. Keeping this in mind, make your own decisions. No one else will come to help you that day


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