Monday, 27 May 2013

Islamic Weddings

Islamic Weddings History

Source(google.com.pk)

In Islam, marriage is a contract (Standard Arabic: عقد القران; Egyptian Arabic: كتب الكتاب Katb el-Ketāb; Urdu: ‎ Nikahnama) between a man and woman to live as husband and wife. A formal, binding contract is considered integral to a religiously valid Islamic marriage, and outlines the rights and responsibilities of the groom and bride. The marriage must be declared publicly. Divorce is permitted and can be initiated by either party.
In addition to the usual marriage until death or divorce, there is a different fixed-term marriage known as Nikāḥ al-Mutʿah ("temporary marriage") permitted only by Twelvers (a branch of Shia Islam) for a pre-fixed period.
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History [edit]

Marriage was a Sunnah (custom) of earlier prophets which the Islamic Prophet Muhammad re-instituted and passed on to his ummah or community. An Arabic word for marriage is nikah (in Arabic: نكاح‎ nikāḥ), which is generally used to refer to Islamic marriages. Nikah as to the Arabic etymological origins of the phrase in Arabic: عقد القران‎, "Aqd Nikah", with Aqd in Arabic: عقد‎ translating to contract.
Background [edit]

Islamic marriages require acceptance, in Arabic: قبول‎, qabuul, of the bride and groom of each other. The tribal and cultural practices of some Muslims of marrying their spouse, sight unseen, is permitted as is marriage by proxy but not a practice encouraged in Islam.
If the conditions are met and a mahr and contract are agreed upon, an Islamic marriage ceremony Nikah, or wedding, can take place. Nowadays the marital contract is signed by both parties, whereas technically it only requires verbal agreement by both parties, the consent of the bride if she happens to be a virgin is given by silence, as per Hadith[1] the Islamic marriage is then declared publicly, in Arabic: إعلان‎, aa'laan, by a responsible person after delivering a sermon to counsel and guide the couple. It is not required, though customary, that the person marrying the couple should be religiously qualified. It is typically followed by a celebratory reception in line with the couple's or local customs, which could either last a couple of hours or proceed the wedding and conclude several days after the ceremony.
The Qur'an tells believers that even if they are poor they should marry to protect themselves from immorality[2][Quran 24:33]. The Quran asserts that marriage is the only legitimate way to satisfy one's sexual desire.[3] Islam recognizes the value of sex and companionship and advocates marriage as the foundation for families and channeling the fulfillment of a base need. Marriage is highly valued and regarded as being half of one's faith, according to a saying of Muhammad. Whether marriage is obligatory or merely allowed has been explored by several scholars, and agreed that "if a person has the means to marry and has no fear of mistreating their spouse or of committing the unlawful if he/she doesn't marry, then marriage in this case is preferred."[4]
Conditions [edit]

See also: Mahr
The Qur'an outlines some conditions for a marriage to take place [Quran 4:24]:
The marriage contract is concluded between the guardian (wali) of the bride and the bridegroom.
A nikah should be conducted through a contract and a mandatory sum of wealth provided to the bride, which here refers to the mahr. Once a mahr has been ascertained with the realization that it is an obligation of a Muslim husband, the groom is required to pay it to the bride at the time of marriage unless he and his bride can mutually agree to delay the time of some of its payment. In 2003, Rubya Mehdi published an article in which the culture of mahr among Muslims was thoroughly reviewed. There is no concept of dowry[5] as such in Islam, although mahr is often translated into English as dowry in the want of a more accurate word. A dowry as such is a payment to the groom from the bride's family, and is not an Islamic practice but borrowed from other religions into some Muslim cultures, notably in the Indian Subcontinent. Bride prices are also expressly prohibited.
Another requisite of marriage is chastity. No fornicator has the right to marry a chaste partner except if the two purify themselves of this sin by sincere repentance.[6][7]
Marriage is permitted for a man with a chaste woman either Muslim or from the People of the Book (ArabicL Ahl al Kitab, Jews, Sabians and Christians) but not to polytheists. For women, marriage to non-Muslim men is prohibited.[8][9]
The consent of the woman is only required, if she is not a virgin and her wali is neither her father nor her paternal grandfather. But a virgin may not be married off without her permission and if she is too shy to express her opinion her silence will be considered as implicit agreement [Al Bukhari:6455]. The wali who can force a bride against her outspoken will into marriage is called wali mujbir. If the woman was forced into a marriage, without the above mentioned conditions, the decision can be revoked.[10][11] Binti Khudham says that when she became a widow, her father solemnized her marriage. She did not like the decision so she went to Muhammad, who gave her permission to revoke her marriage.[12] Hence, forced marriages are against Islamic teachings.[13]
Despite this Islamic requirement of express consent, some Muslims force or pressure, especially amongst the uneducated, their children marry a partner approved of, and usually chosen by, the parents. See also: forced marriages
Rights and obligations of spouses [edit]

According to Islam, both men and woman have rights over each other when they enter into a marriage contract[14] with the husband serving as protector and supporter of the family most of the time, from his means [Quran 4:34]. This guardianship has two aspects for both partners:
The husband is financially responsible for the welfare and maintenance of his wife and any children they produce, to include at a minimum, providing a home, food and clothing. In return, it is the duty of the wife to safeguard the husband's possessions and protect how wealth is spent. If the wife has wealth in her own capacity she is not obliged to spend it upon the husband or children, as she can own property and assets in her own right, so the husband has no right for her property and assets except by her will. A pre-marital agreement of the financial expectation from the husband is in the mahr, given by him to the wife for her exclusive use, which is included as part of his financial responsibility.
The husband provides physical and emotional strength, loyalty, sexual fidelity, and honour. In return, the wife is to guard the secrets of her husband, be honourable, loyal, and conjugally faithful.
Several commentators have stated that the superiority of a husband over his wife is relative, and the obedience of the wife is also restrictive.[15] The Quran advises men that if they are certain of a rebellious attitude by the woman, they should first admonish her, then refuse to share beds, and finally hit her (without leaving a mark and not on the face, as established by the Hadith). This refers to serious breaches of behaviour such as being promiscuous according to renowned 20th Century scholar Muhammad Hamidullah which is not expected from a dutiful wife, and not for simple disobedience to the husband. In explaining this, Ibn Abbas gives an example of striking with a toothstick (a very tiny piece of wood, incapable of creating any pain).
Women are also reminded that in case the husband is not fulfilling his responsibilities, there is no stigma on them in seeking divorce [Quran 4:128]. The Quran re-emphasizes that justice for the woman includes emotional support, and reminds men that there can be no taking back of the mahr or bridal gifts given to women. In unfortunate cases where the agreement was to postpone payment of the mahr, some husbands will bully their wives and insist on the return of what he gave her in order to agree to the dissolution of the marriage, this is un-Islamic and cruel. "Where the husband has been abusive or neglectful of his responsibilities, he does not have the right to take his wife’s property in exchange for her freedom from him. Unfortunately most couples refuse to go to the judge and binding arbitration for these issues even though the Quran says: “And if you fear a breach between them, then appoint an arbiter from his folk and an orbiter from her folk. If they (the arbiters) desire reconciliation, Allah will affect it between them. Surely, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.” [4:36][16]

Contrary to Islam, some Muslims restrict women's rights despite their Quranic rights. Women are often coerced, mistreated and suffer penalties supported by the community when they do not comply with their families' expectations or local cultural norms.

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