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In Islam, marriages are a very important event most Muslim weddings are arranged, in order for an arranged marriage to take place both the boys/girls side must give consent, with arranged marriages both families make sure that the boy’s/girl’s (and their family’s) reputation and history is accepted in society and that they have no flaws which would bring a bad name on their family all this is checked before the husband/wife enters into their family.
A Muslim boy/girl have to choose their partners very carefully as it is an arranged marriage and they are expected to spend their whole life with a stranger they have to get to know them and know all their ways of living and habits etc… before they agree to marry them although sometimes the parents of the girl/boy are very strict and may not allow this to happen they may just decide for their son/daughter to get married to someone without asking their opinion this may be a problem sometimes as the married couple may not get along or there may be other problems, another problem with arranged marriages is that if the parents of the Muslim girl/ boy agree to the marriage without the daughters or/ sons consent then it is like they are deciding the fate if their child without the child having a say in it, but mostly this is not the case and the girl/boy is asked their opinion about the person they are going to marry because Muslims believe that a marriage which is forced is doomed to failure. In Islam getting married to a member of your family whether its intermediate or distant family is very common.
The majority of Muslim marriages are arranged although there are a few love marriages but in the Muslim community love marriages are not really an option and it seen as a very dangerous thing to do sometimes muslims regard being under the influence of love’ as a intoxicating state of mind that could easily cloud judgement. Parents are thought to find good compatible partners for their children and sometimes they do no agree to give consent to love marriages.
Muslims are encouraged to have an arranged marriage although sometimes people have a mixed marriage this is allowed as long as it is a Sikh, Indian, or a Christian person. If an Muslim gets married then the wife has to follow the husbands religion and convert the children have to follow their fathers religion but it is preferred to get married to another Muslim because this way their community expands and Islam as a whole expands.
When the marriage is decided upon (arranged) before the wedding many other celebrations and ceremony’s have to take place. Such as the engagement where both the girls and boys family gets together and have an engagement ceremony where the bride and groom get together and exchange rings the other event is the Mahr (dowry) The Mahr is the dowry paid by the husband to the wife. It is a sum negotiated by the husband and wife, which she can keep when or if they later get divorced, if the wife wants to get divorced without the consent of her husband she can but only if the mahr is returned. It is against, the sunnah of the prophet to demand high dowries or not give to give a dowry at all or pay the brides father in compensation for his daughters services at home.
After this follows the actual Nikah (wedding) the Nikah is a simple affair the ceremony is plain and simple consisting of readings from the Qur’an and vows are exchanged in front of witnesses. There are also a few prayers recited for this happy occasion the imam is present and no religious official is necessary. The bride does not have to be present as long as she sends her ‘wali’ or marriage representative and also two witnesses of agreement to the wedding and she can be at home. The signing of the Nikah (wedding) contract’s can be changed the original date by weeks or even months or years just like with the prophet and his wife Aishah.
If the girl is at home they declare three times that she accepts the wedding. Nikah is not considered to be a sacred contract or ‘made in heaven’ but is a binding contract giving the husband and wife both equal rights and responsibilities. Due to the fact that ‘ love’ is not necessarily present at the time a bride can include into the contract certain conditions that would help her if she later wished to have a divorce she could also make it clear that she does not give permission to allow her husband to have a second wife.
After the Nikah follows the Walimah this is the actual wedding party the bride may not dress up for the Nikah but she will certainly dress up for the Walimah. The walimah usually consists of the actual wedding feast it can take place within three days of the couple living together. Presents are usually given presents given are usually money. It is a tradition to have huge expensive parties in some societies but this is not religious or part of Islam, the prophet disapproves of lavish especially if it causes problems between the husband and wife.