Muslim Indian Wedding: The Show & The Sha Of Nikah

If you’ve ever attended a nikah, you’ve been lucky enough to have been a part of a ceremony rooted in love and warmth, and drawing heavily from the conventions of the religion’s past. A nikah, or marriage ceremony among Muslims, symbolises a contract, a strong mutual bond between a man and a woman who enter into matrimony with the aim of devoting themselves to each other and to sustaining a household. To know more about the rituals involved in a nikah, read on!

1. Istikhara

The Istikhara is deeply rooted in Islam’s mystical past. Istikhara is, to put it simply, a prayer that seeks for Allah’s guidance on matters involving marriage, education, career and other such material decisions. The Istikhara derives from the belief that Allah knows what is best for a person, and by praying to Him, one can attain guidance and answer the dilemma they are facing. This guidance is often obtained in the form of dreams and feelings.

The Istikhara is offered before finalising a wedding by the religious head who will commence the wedding.

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2. Manjha

The manjha ceremony is tailored to make the bride-to-be feel special. On the third day of the wedding ceremonies, the manjha ritual commences, as the bride to be is anointed with a paste of haldi. Haldi signifies purity and protection from evil. The bride to be wears yellow on this occasion, which is marked with lots of singing and dancing. She must be accompanied with a friend at all times after this ceremony.

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3. Nikah

On the fourth day, the qazi commences the wedding ceremony by appointing two men as witnesses from the groom’s side, and two Walis (the bride and groom’s fathers) as overseers of the wedding.

The Nikah involves the qazi reading out the detailed contract, including the quantum of mehar, a nuptial gift given to the bride’s family by the groom’s family. Upon consent by both the bride and groom, the qazi recites the Khutba, verses from the Quran that emphasise on obligations towards women.

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4. Arsi Mushaf

This ceremony is when the couple sit next to each other and are covered by a veil. They exchange sweets, and look at each other through a mirror for the first time post the wedding ceremony. The ritual signifies a warm bond of matrimony the couple entered into.

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5. Rukhsat

This ritual symbolises the bond between the bride and her father, as he gives her hand away to the groom, asking that he take care of her. As final goodbyes are said, the nikah is concluded.

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Read about the rituals involved in a nikah.

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