Muslim Weddings

The civil preliminaries must be completed, and the only notice period required is that dictated by British civil law; there is no additional notice required, and the marriage can take place at any time of day.

The Islamic religion recommends that a couple should be well acquainted before marriage is considered, but they aren't permitted to be alone in a closed room or go out together unchaperoned. Muslim marriages may be arranged by the parents, but the couple must agree to be united in matrimony.

A Mahr (the bride's matrimonial gift) is offered by the husband. Regarded as a token of commitment, this may be cash, property, other material goods or a non-material offering such as a promise to teach the bride to read the holy texts.

It can be paid immediately or at a later date; a deferred Mahr remains due after death or following the couple's divorce.

There are certain rules that must be obeyed for Muslim weddings. For example, it is forbidden for Muslims to marry on Eid, the Day of the Pilgrimage, the Day of Ashura or Muharran. Any other date, at any time of day, is permitted.

Muslim weddings are usually well attended, although the basic requirement is only that two male witnesses are present.

The Al Nikah (ceremony) typically lasts about an hour and a half and begins with an address given by the officiator, who can be any worthy Muslim.

The sermon invites the bride and groom and their guests to lead a life of piety, kindness, love and social responsibility.

Beginning with the praise of Allah, His help and guidance is sought, followed by the Muslim confession of faith.

Three Qur'anic verses (Qur'an 4:1, 3:102, 33:70-71) and the Hadith (a prophetic saying) form the main text of the marriage.

The ceremony is concluded by the officiator, with prayers for the newly-weds, their families and the community in general.

The Walima - celebration banquet - is hosted by the groom.

See Civil Ceremonies: Civil Preliminaries

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