We are indeed lucky to be in a country like India. Our nation is very rich in the terms of its cultural diversity. The thing which separates India from the rest of the world is its acceptance and respect towards every religion. And thus we get to know about a lot of different stuff related to all the castes and communities. One such major religion of India is Islam. Like all the other religions Islam too has many layers in the form of customs and rituals. Marriages in India are the main occasion where we can clearly see the actual cultural differences.
Marriage ceremony in Islam is known as ‘Nikah’. Nikah is the legal contract between the girl and the boy who decide to spend their entire lives together. This ceremony needs two witnesses and a maulvi. Let’s dig deep into the Islamic wedding rituals to know more about it:
This ceremony is known as Salatul Istikhara in Islam. The Imam i.e the head priest is called from a nearby mosque, which performs a prayer and asks the blessings of Allah for the new alliance, the muslim God. This is done so that the wedding festivities remain free from any sort of hindrances. The couple seeks the blessings of elders of the house and the wedding date is announced.
Next to the Ishtikhara ceremony, Imam Zamin takes place. In this the groom’s mom goes to the bride’s house with plenty of gifts along with a silver coin tied in a stole. She ties this scarf to the wrist of the bride and this signifies that she has accepted her as the daughter in law of the house.
This ceremony is called Mangani in Islam. The rituals of this function are the same as the other religions. The bride and groom exchange rings to show their commitment towards each other. Then the family and other relatives offer huge presents to the couple
The hindu ritual haldi is known as Manjha in Islam. A paste of haldi, sandalwood and rose water is made and applied to her on this day. She will be wearing yellow color attire. The manjha takes place in both the houses of the bride and groom. They are supposed to stay at home after this rasam. They aren’t allowed to see eachother until the wedding day.
This ritual is exactly same as the hindu ritual Mehendi and it is even called the same. The henna paste is applied to the hands of the bride in the form of various unique designs. The name of her spouse is also secretly written on them and he is supposed to find it on their first night.
After the Mehendi, the Sanchaq is held. In this, the Groom’s family gifts the Bride, the complete bridal attire along with the accessories. There are some special Islamic norms that are to be taken care of when a bride gets ready for her special day. Only the facial area and the hands of the bride are to be seen, rest everything should be fully covered. Green is considered as an auspicious color in Islam, so usually the bride wears a green color lehenga on the day. She needs to wear a nath on the right side of the nose and a chhapka on her head. This distinct a Muslim bride from the rest of the brides.
The groom along with his family and friends goes to the bride’s house or the wedding venue. The whole crowd dances on the way and have their gala time. A car is sent to the groom’s place and the bride’s brother brings him to the wedding place. The groom’s side is welcomed by the bride’s side by flowers, and rosewater or ittar is sprayed on all the guests coming in. They are later offered sharbat.
This is known as the Nikah ceremony in Islam and is held in the presence of a Maulvi, a muslim priest. The bride and groom sit separately and there is a curtain drawn between them so that they can’t see each other. There is a concept of ‘Meher’ in Islam. ‘Meher’ is a pre-decided amount which the Groom’s family gives to the bride in order to seek her consent for marriage. The bride can ask for anything cash, jewellery, or even a vacation trip with spouse. After giving ‘Meher’ to the girl finally the Maulvi recites a prayer and asks the bride whether she is accepting the presents and agreeing to marry the groom or not. He asks three times by repeating the phrase ‘Qubool hai?’ to which the bride replies in a positive tone ‘Qubool hai’. In the same way consent of the groom is also taken. This whole process is called Ijab-e-Qubool.
Next to this consent taking procedure, the duo signs the marriage contract i.e the ‘Nikahnama’. The document enlists all the responsibilities and duties of the couple towards each other. The signing of the contract requires two witnesses from both sides. A religious prayer ‘Khutba’ is recited by all after this. And the Maulvi then reads some lines from the Holy book Quran which are equal to the wedding vows.
Once the wedlock is completed, the couple is given a mirror through which they see each other for the first time after marriage. This ceremony is known as arsi mushraf.
The hindu ritual vidai is known as Rukhsat in Islam. Everyone with tears in their eyes bids adieu to the bride and she leaves for her husband’s place. She is very warmly welcomed by his family. The Quran Sharif is kept on her head to remind her, her duties towards her husband and family.
A reception party i.e Walimah is thrown by the couple to announce their wedding. All the extended family members and friends are invited to it. Everyone gifts something to the couple and wish them luck for their future.
The bride visits her maternal home for the first time after marriage on the fourth day and that’s why the ritual is known as Chauthi. Her husband also goes along with her. They both are pampered by the family with lots of presents and a big feast. The Indian Muslim wedding rituals come to an end after this.
The rituals might differ from religion to religion but the sole purpose remains the same. The main purpose is to seek God’s blessings for the new bond between two individuals and their families, so that it could last till eternity. However it is very interesting to know about these unique rituals which also connect us to our roots.