Manners of Deen and Benevolent Traditions in Celebrating a Marriage

Shadi Ni Masarraat

Introduction

It our good fortune and destiny that Allah Subhanahu has acknowledged our identity with Islam. We are ordained to follow the noble directives of Aimmat Tahereen (A.S.) and to adopt to the mannerisms of their virtuous Doat Kiram. In our times our beloved Aqa Moula Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin (TUS) demonstrates and epitomises the path of virtue, and his heritage is cherished by us. It is Nikah which completes the Deen. Rasulallah (S.A.) said: “The one who wishes to belong to me, should follow the directives of my sunnat – one of which is Nikah”. At times it is felt that marriage is a worldly affair. Therefore, it is not an appropriate thought to have one’s Nikah solemnized and thereafter to adopt one’s own ways and traditions for organizing marriage functions. Marriage is an act of Deen. There in are to be found the fruits of good deeds and bliss. In adapting to the guidelines of Hudat Kiram (R.A.) in marriage functions, it is observed that:

  • the undertaken task becomes easy
  • complete jubilation is achieved
  • no inadmissible or unscripted acts can happen, out of which a sin is deemed to have been committed.
  • feelings of hurt and displeasure are avoided
  • a certain rationale – Hikmat goes into deciding all the ceremonies and traditions, because of which one gains peace and bliss.

As a result of this Mumineen, residing in any corner of the world, all are deemed to be citizens of Dawat. This leads us to conclude that traditions and customs, should also be uniform, although these are not considered a must or imperative or even intransigent.

  • if there is a good and noble custom of the ancestors or elders which is adhered to locally in a town or city, it can be followed if permitted by Raza Saheb of that particular place, who should be first approached and consulted.
  • if one is unable to afford and finds it difficult to cope with performing all the customs and traditions, he/she is free to undertake any or some of these traditions and customs, which are within one’s means.
  • if any prescribed material with regard to these customs is not available or affordable, one should consult the local Amil Saheb/Raza Saheb for other permissible alternate act.
  • all ceremonies and acts must precede with Nazrul Maqaam and Tawassul of Awliya Kiraam (as) and Daiz Zaman in particular.

Generally Mumineen are in a habit to precede the marriage with Majlis of Imam Husain (S.A.) or Darees or invite others for Mithi Shitabi’s jaman. The seasons of Ibadat and traditions of Deen are alive and reverberating today because of Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin (TUS) who is the representative and vicegerent of Imamuz Zaman (S.A.) Mumineen are blessed with happiness because of Buka of Imam Husain (S.A.) and Dua Mubarak of Daiz Zaman.

Customs of Marriage

It is obligatory for a Mumin to lead a happy and comfortable life within the environs of Eman. His acts and deeds should comply with the directives of Eman and Islam. This fact is highlighted in the following Ayat of Quran Majid.

wa min ayatehi an khalaqakum min anfosekum azwajan letaskonu elaiha wa ja’ala bainakum mavadatan wa rehmatan

He has created your wives from amongst your kinds, so that you can derive satisfaction and He has generated love and affection between the two of you. Without marriage one will not be able to attain refine feelings and derive satisfaction of life. Many Ayaats in Quran-e-Majid and discourses of Hudat Kiram do cause one to be guided and be predisposed to marriage. Marriage enables one to attain piety, protectionism and sustenance. The exalted shariah of Islam contains certain commands regarding marriage. ‘la nikah illa be wali’in va shaheday adalin’ No nikah is justified without wali and at least two witnesses. In a rightful nikah a wali and two unprejudiced witnesses are needed. There are certain conditions, without which nikah cannot be soleminized. This includes the willingness of the bridegroom and bride, addressing of Nikah (khutba) to be pronounced by the Qazi/Raza Saheb, two persons as witnesses for the person duly authorized by the bride for her representation (Wali), and the naming of ‘Meher’ to the bride to be compulsorily executed. Al Dai’l Ajal al-Muqaddas Syedna Taher Saifuddin (R.A.) established ‘Rasme Saify’ and Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin (TUS) does continue the same, according to which if a Mumin enters into nikah, his existence is blessed with peace and prosperity. A Mumin must ensure that he does not indulge in extravagance and overspending. He is to act according to his means. It is desirable to invite people for ‘Valimah’ and demonstrate his jubilation. This is one of the reasons of ‘Rasme Saifee’ and the happiness and joy multiplies.

Proposal

Aqa Moula (TUS) always directs Mumineen, that it is most appropriate for a Mumin to give his daughter’s hand in marriage, as soon as she attains matrimonial age. He must not delay and his craving should not be for a groom having a car or a bungalow, but he should look for the essence of Eman in him. As per tradition of our elders, if a proposal is received one should ask the Raza Saheb of the intended proposal and accept it.

  • a group of about seven persons should visit the girl’s place of residence.
  • If the proposal evokes ‘yes’ as an answer, sweets should be served to all present with a small gift
  • If possible the engagement may be formalized on the Mubarak Hands of Huzure- A’la (TUS)
  • At the time of engagement a ring, silver medallion, two handkerchiefs and misri, placed in a dish, should be presented to the proposed bride.

Custom of promoting the reciprocal visits

For the first time when the proposed bride is called, she should be invited with her friends. The bride’s mother accompanied by her few other female members, should be made a party to the occasion as ‘Vevan’. When the “would be mother in law” of the groom enters, she should be welcomed with ‘Nisar’ (nisar – may consist of dish containing rose petals, dry fruits, chocolates and coins) If feasible, she and her party may be attended to at the ‘jaman’. The mother-in-law should present her “would be son-in-law” with sweets and few other gifts as ‘Akhiana’ (salutation). The bride should be made to sit on a flower bedecked pillow or small pedestal (machi). After ‘jaman’ the mother of the groom should present her counterpart with a small gift. A pair of apparels along with ornaments and other things, can be given to the proposed bride.

Customs for the initiation of the groom into the door steps of bride’s house

The “groom to be” should be invited along with friends. The groom’s mother should take some sweets with her as ‘akhiana’. If possible they may be invited for ‘jaman’. The son-in-law may be presented with sweets along with kurta buttons or saya-kurta material or any other appropriate gifts if possible.

On festivals and other occasions

On the New Year’s eve (first night of Moharram al-Haram), Milad Mubarak of Daiz Zaman (TUS), Me’raj, the 15th night of Shaban al-Karim, Eid al- Fitr, Eid-ul-Adha, as well as other festivals, and on the birthday of the groom, the bride’s family should present sweets and other gifts to the groom. The bride should also do salaam to her “would be mother-in-law”. The groom’s family should send ‘iftaar’ in Sherullah al-Moazzam, Quran-e-Majid, other Doa Kitaabs (Hafti) a pair of namazi jodi, Tasbih, Khak-e-Shifa, photograph of Moulan al- Minaam (TUS) and few other appropriate gifts arranged in a ‘thal’ to the bride’s family. In a similar fashion the bride’s family may reciprocate. However, all this is subject to affordability.

Solemnization of Nikah

It is imperative for the relatives of the bride, that they have the knowledge and are well aware of the guardians of the bride, so that they may be availed of as and when required. The guardians for Nikah are from her paternal side or her father’s offspring. Their line of order is as follows:

  1. Paternal grandfather of the bride.
  2. Father of the bride.
  3. Bride’s son having attained ‘misaq’ ( in case of second marriage ).
  4. Bride’s grandson having attained ‘misaq’ (in case of second marriage).
  5. Bride’s own brother.
  6. Son of the Bride’s own brother.
  7. Brother of the bride, born to bride’s father’s earlier wedlock.
  8. Son of the brother of bride, born to bride’s father’s earlier wedlock.
  9. Bride’s own paternal uncle (kaka)
  10. Son of own paternal uncle (own cousin)
  11. Paternal uncle of the bride from the bride’s grandfather’s earlier wedlock.
  12. Sons of paternal uncle born to bride’s grandfather’s earlier wedlock.

Four male members from the groom’s family should proceed to invite the relatives of the bride and who may present them ‘Itar’ or any other gift.

Attire of the bride and bridegroom

The groom should wear a ‘Paghri’ (if raza) or ‘Pheta’ which is usually worn. It should be topped with a decorative feather stick (Sar Pech). The Groom should wear a Kurta and Saya, and he should adorn himself with a ‘Takhti’ and pearl necklace/flower garland, a ‘Dushala’ (a cotton unstitched piece of embroidered zari cloth interwoven with velvet) to cover his left hand. The right arm to be tied with a ‘Bazzo bandh’ (a round strip of velvet cloth of maroon colour inscribed with names of Panjatan Pak) The bride may wear a rich apparel preferably of red colour, apply mehendi and embellish herself with gold ornaments. At the time of nikah, she should be offered ‘Misri’ and she should recite Quran Majid, in particular, Surah al-Fateh. If she has constraints, she should recite Doa al-Saify, or do Tasbih of Salawaat. If possible, she should be made to sit, facing the Qibla. After Nikah the groom should be adorned with ‘Sehra’ and a few stanzas of ‘Man za lahu nasabun’ should be recited.

‘Toran’ of Nikah

After Nikah, the ‘Meher’ amount should be given to the guardian (wali) of the bride. Two persons should go with the ‘Toran’ to the the place where the bride is sitting and present it to her, and the bride’s family should reciprocate with gifts to the two persons. ‘Toran’ consists of ‘Misri’ coconut, beetle leaves, seven full pieces of supari, flower garland, rich garments and gold ornaments.

Salaam after Nikah

When the groom ceremonially does salaam to his mother-in-law, she should reciprocate by offering rich gifts. When the bride ceremonially does salaam to her mother-in -law, she should carry a red kerchief with its one corner wrapped and tied with a silver coin, one coconut, two full pieces of ‘Betel-Nut’ and a certain amount of “Salaam”. The grooms family may organize a Nikah jaman.

Wedding

After seeking raza of the auspicious time from Amil Saheb/ Raza Saheb, the ceremony of ‘Mandvo’ should be performed.

Manak Thamb

On the right side of the house entrance, ‘manak thamb’ is to be installed, the ceremony is as follows: A small thick wooden stick to be placed on a red handkerchief, along with a flower garland, and “Nazr al-Maqam, and tied with yellow strings, and this to be installed by a young girl below the age of ‘Misaq’.

Mandvo

Nazr al-Maqam, coconut, ‘Falool’ (chopped pieces of dry fruits) should be placed in a red cloth, and the ends should be wrapped in a Betel Nut, and all the four corners should be tied with red and yellow strings by a girl who has not attained ‘Misaq’. The ‘Mandva’ should be lifted up and drawn and tied above the entrance of the house, and will stay there till the wedding is over.

Invitation

Both parties to the marriage (vevan) should reciprocally invite each other with respect and exchange appropriate gifts. The relatives also should be given gifts, if possible, or ‘Misri’ with the invitation. Invitation cards should be printed with an appropriate manner.

Ceremony of “Katha”

One should seek raza of Amil Saheb/Raza Saheb for the auspicious time for bringing in ‘katha’, which has to be bought in red handkerchief, and it comprises of two coconuts, katho, Betel Nut, cardamon, turmeric, kapoor kachli, chital chini, red and yellow strings and Jasmine oil. The ‘katha’ ceremony to be performed separately for the bride as well as the groom. Maternal aunts (Masi and Mami) and paternal aunts (Faiji and Kaki) should sit facing each other. The ‘katha’ ingredients (are divided into four equal parts) and placed in the ‘Musli’ and crushed. The four relatives should be given appropriate gifts with ‘pan-gulab’ The ‘katha’ should finally be disposed off in mud or water body.

Mosalu

The maternal uncle (mama) accompanied preferably by a music band and merriment attends the venue, and if possible with apparels and jewellery. The’ mama’ dresses the groom, and presents him with buttons and flower garland, and ties ‘safa’ on Groom’s head, and helps him with the shoes, and leads groom down the stage holding his hands. Likewise the ‘mami’ dresses up the ‘Bride’ with ‘lengha’ ‘odhni’ and helps her with the sandals, and then her ‘mama’ or her brother, leads her down the stage. Then, four relatives, either ‘faiji’ or sisters, symbolically place ‘mehndi’ sticks on the right palms of both groom and bride. Similarly, during the event of ‘Sehra’ of small children in the family, the ‘Mama’ performs the ‘Mosalu’ ceremony. The groom side invites guests for ‘Jaman’ termed as ‘Dubala’. The bride’s family should present the groom’s family with a utensil containing milk and whole sugar in the morning (i.e.: sending of ‘sherbet’).

Procession

One can organize a procession on the day of ‘Valima’. The groom wears a ‘Sehra’ and likewise, the children whose ‘khatanat’ (circumcision) ceremony is performed also wear a ‘Sehra’. The relatives of the bride make a formal call on the groom. In the procession the groom is made to mount a horse, likewise children whose ‘khatnat’ ceremony is performed also mount a horse. Young girls of the family travel in a ‘Baggi’ (drawn carriage). Accompanied by a musical band, the procession traverses the area, and to give added lustre and honour the leaders and men of importance & position of the community along with family elders are also walk along in the procession. When the groom reaches his in-laws house, the father-in-law welcomes him with ‘Nisar’ and offers pan and sherbet and “Wadhavanu”. Finally, the father-in-law will offer his hand and make the groom dismount the horse, leading him to the stage where the groom is seated on a decorated chair, and offered affectionate congratulations. The guests should be served with pan and sherbet. The bride should be called to untie the ‘sehra’.

Rukhsati

The bride’s family will marry their daughter on the day of their ‘Jaman’ (wedding reception) and send her to her husband’s home. The groom’s family should be invited as ‘vevan’ (honoured guests) and respectfully attended to and presented with gifts.

Presentation

The mother-in-law should offer the bride ‘pannu’; that is to welcome the bride with a decorative basket in which there are – two coconuts, two flower garlands, a small quantity of rice as a good omen, pan-betel nut, one set of rich clothing, a necklace, sweets and a gift for the bride’s best maid. A pair of sandals for the bride should also be placed besides the basket.

Manner of welcoming the bride

The mother-in-law should have the bride sitting facing the Qibla on a raised stool (machi) covered with a red cloth along with her faiji (father’s sister) or elder sister. Khajla-barfi or chocolates should be placed on the four corners of the red cloth. From the basket, coconut, pan-supari, garland and garments are then taken and placed in the hands of the bride. The best maid (Anwar) should also be given a coconut and a gift. The bride should be made to wear the garland and necklace and the best maid is also garlanded. The mother-in-law should pluck some petals from the bride’s garland, and shower over the bride as ‘nisar’ three times. Thereafter, the womenfolk of the bride and the groom’s family should likewise do ‘nisar’ over the bride once. The mother-in-law would then perform the custom of ‘taking balaa’ with affection (the act signifying that may all your sorrows disappear, it is done by bringing the two hands on the side of the bride, and then bringing them back on each side of the forehead and ‘breaking’ of the knuckles). Thereafter, the bride is made to stand on the ‘machi’ by the mother in law and dressed with an ‘orni’ or ‘rida’ and offered three ‘luqmas’ (mouthfuls) of sweets by the mother-in-law with her own hands. The maternal uncle (mama) or brother, then helps her down from the ‘machi’. Note: The bride should step onto and down from the machi with her right foot. The bride bids farewell to her parents by doing ‘salaam’ to them and her other relatives and is escorted by her best maid (anwar) to the bridal room along with those who may have been invited.

Bridal Room

The groom should present his bride with a ring or any other gift, at the time of having the formal first look of the bride’s face. Sherbet should be served to those who are present.

Methodology of Amal on the night of Copulation

Moulana Imam Jafar-us-Sadiq (S.A.) states, that at the time of copulation, it is obligatory on both the husband and wife that they should be in a state of ‘Wudhu’. On entering the room, both should first offer two ‘Raka’at’ namaz. The Niyat for Namaz is mentioned in the “Sahifatus Salat wal-Ibadat”. Thereafter offering Hamd to Allah and recitation of ‘Salawaat’ on Mohammad and Aa’le Mohammad (S.A.) the following Du’a should be recited – Allahum ar-zuqni, mentioned in the Sahifah. Thereafter, the husband recites the following Du’a, placing his palm on the forehead of his bride. Allahumma barik, mentioned in the Sahifah. Thereafter, the bride should recite – Alhamdo lillahil lazi, refer the Sahifah. The husband should say “Ameen” on the Doa of his bride. Likewise, the bride also follows with “Ameen” after her husband recites the Doa. They should initiate their act of copulation by saying “Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim”

Directives for copulation

The Shari’at has guided man in every aspect of life. The relationship between a man and woman must also be maintained within the boundaries of Deen, so as to derive complete satisfaction and bliss in this life and the hereafter. A few guidelines have been noted here so as to understand that the Prophet (S.A) has laid down a code of conduct to the very detail of a man’s life.

  • At the time of ejaculation, one should say “Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim”, so that to a mumin a Mumin child is born.
  • Mating facing the qibla is not preferable
  • They should not talk during copulation
  • They should never copulate, if they are being watched by anyone, to an extent, that even a child in cradle may likely be watching them.
  • One should not eat or drink immediately after mating, but only after performing “Ghusl”.
  • The ‘Ghusl of Janabat’ is compulsory for both husband and wife.

The Next Morning after the wedding ,the bride’s mother should send ‘Lachka’ along with some rich silver gift. Before the bride goes to her mother’s house, the mother-in-law should see her off, by presenting the bride a pair of garments, ornaments and sweets. If possible, the groom’s family should invite guests for ‘Valima jaman’ on this day if possible.

Customs to be avoided

  • ‘Pithi’ (turmeric liquid) should not be applied on the body
  • The husband should not lift his bride and make her untie the ‘Toran’
  • Respect and reverence should be shown to ‘Jaman’ and ‘Thal’. Especially friends of both bride and groom should not indulge in things that are not appropriate and contrary to manners of Deen, and by which sentiments and happiness are affected.
  • The ‘Jaman’ should be savoury and scrumptious, but extravagance and wastage should be avoided, as Allah commands ‘kulu washrabu wala tusrefu’

Copulation should be avoided during these times

  • From the wee hours of morning till sunrise [Fajr]
  • From sunset to the disappearance of twilight [Maghrib]
  • During the night of lunar eclipse
  • During the day of solar eclipse
  • During the night and day when earthquake has stricken
  • During the night and day when storm and cyclones strike.

During the following nights a Mumin should engross himself in Namaz and Zikr of Allah

  • 1st night of Rajab-ul- asab (pehli raat)
  • 15th night of Shaban-ul-karim
  • Night of Eid-ul-Fitr
  • Night of Eid-ul-Adha

These are the customs and traditions of a wedding that are thought to be auspicious and are signs of good omen. Awliyallah (A.S) and Doat Kiram (A.S) have adopted these customs and approved of them for the reason that they do not contradict to the codes and laws of shariat and fall within its boundaries. They multiply ones joy and happiness, while announcing a marriage, which was preferred by Rasulallah (S.A). However, no practice must be thought or considered as compulsory and must be followed according to the availability of resources and ones conveniences. There are certain codes pertaining the shariat that must be followed by any means to ensure a rightful matrimony that which are inevitable, such as the laws of Nikah. Therefore, it is necessary to seek the Raza and benevolence of Amil Saheb/Raza Saheb for every aspect and occasion of the wedding.

A Bliss for both the world, the material and the spiritual

Allah subhanahu has created angels and humans for His worship. Every act of Mumin is to be deemed as worship to Allah; even if it is a worldly affair, provided he does it in accordance with shariah. Rasulallah (S.A) edicts that when a Mumin holds the hand of his bride, Allah rewards this act by adding ten times more Hasanat; at the same time eliminating ten bad deed results (Sayye’at). When he faces his wife in a copulative position, Allah rewards him a hundred times, and eliminates a hundred bad deed results. When he copulates with his wife, Allah rewards him a thousand times and eliminates a thousand bad deed results, and he is surrounded by the presence of angels. Now, when both of them undertake the Ghushl, for each droplet of water that falls off from their body hair, Allah rewards both of them with a hasanat, and eliminates a Sayye’at, for each drop of water. During the cold winter nights, when they undertake to purify themselves with ‘Ghushl’, Allah states to His angles that, “Observe how these two are undertaking ‘ghushl’ during this cold night, knowing that I am their ‘Rab’, be witness that ‘ani qad ghafarat lahoma’ I have granted both of them remission”. If a child is conceived in that night, he will prove beneficent to his parents in heaven ie: the child will render benefits to his parents by his knowledge and acts. Likewise, Rasulullah depicts that as soon as a husband faces his wife in a position of copulation, two angles take him under their shelter. He is like a warrior with a sword in hand to fight in the path of Allah. When he accomplishes his act, he is forgiven of all sins. In fact sins fall off him, like the falling off of leaves from trees in autumn. When he undertakes ‘ghushl’ he is disposed of all sins. A woman very humbly asked: ‘O Rasulullah – may I be your sacrifice along with my mother and father! It seems that your sayings are for men alone, is there any thing reserved for women? Rasulallah (S.A) responded, that when a woman conceives, Allah writes for her the rewards of those who fast and offer prayers. When she undergoes the pain of labour, it is Allah who knows verily what rewards He has reserved for her. When she delivers and the child suckles the milk, then Allah, for each droplet of milk writes a reward and eliminates effect of one bad deed. A mother during the period of confinement (Nifas – before she returns to normal after the delivery) happens to die, she will rise on the day of Judgment without being asked of her account, as she had passed away in a state of shock and worry.

AL-HAMDO LILLAH

Translated by: Muhammad Rangoonwala from “Shadi Ni Masarraat”.

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