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Muslim Wedding Traditions
Muslim couples plan weddings which reflect their unique cultural backgrounds. Muslim marriages throughout North America often reflect the diversity of the Muslim population. In the United States, only about 19 percent of Muslims are African American or Anglo American. The rest are immigrants or people with family ties to the Arabworld, South Asia, Iran, sub-Saharan Africa, Turkey, and other regions in the world.
If you are celebrating a traditional Muslim wedding, chances are you will want to incorporate the following into your big day. This includes the marriage contract, a divine injunction, and the marriage banquet to seal the deal.
Al-Nikah: the Islamic Marriage Ceremony
Marriage is a solemn and sacred social contract between the bride and groom. Both parties mutually agree and enter into this contract. In this contract, any terms and conditions seen fit by both the bride and groom are made apart. The contract is written and signed by the bride and the groom and their two respective witnesses. This written marriage contract is then announced publicly.
Following the contract signing, the marriage-gift (Mahr) is presented as a divine injunction. The giving of mahr to the bride by the groom is an essential part of the contract. 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 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. It is not unheard of to have hundreds of people at a Muslim wedding.
Muslim weddings are viewed as social events that are not to be missed! Family, friends, and acquaintances are invited to celebrate the newlywed’s new life together as man and wife.