Marriage ceremonies

The marriage ceremony is a means to share the happiness of a marriage with friends and relatives. It also serves as a way to carry out the requirement of publicizing a marriage. In addition, it is also a fine thing to turn such an important institution into an opportunity for joy and entertainment, which are part of our nature.

However, we should remember that ceremonies that are too extravagant, which reach the point of financially devastating the families involved, are never approved by Islam. Islam is a religion that urges moderation even in taking water from a river when performing ablution. It encourages its followers to be frugal. Therefore even if the parties are rich, they should act in consideration of the poor and needy of their community. Turning marriage ceremonies into theatres of ostentation, like many of today’s rich families do, is a manifestation of madness and a proof that Islam is not properly internalized.

Marriage ceremonies should properly be performed with Islamic grace and refinement. They should stay away from every kind of lavishness. People should have modest ceremonies appropriate to their financial situations. But using the event as an opportunity to show off one’s financial status contradicts the object and the spirit of a marriage ceremony.

In particular, to launch such a blessed institution with unlawful acts and customs, such as drinking alcohol, leads people to error and ignorance. Only those marriage gatherings which observe the laws of Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) are blessed places where prayers are accepted. Some types of entertainment are harmless, so long as the men and the women are not mixed. Women can entertain each other and men can do the same among themselves without committing any forbidden act.

Another significant issue is the importance of inviting poor, needy and homeless people to the walima, the marriage feast. This is expressed in the following hadith:

“The worst food is that of a wedding banquet to which only the rich are invited while the poor are not invited. And he who refuses an invitation (to a banquet) disobeys Allah and His Apostle.” (Bukhari, Nikah, 72; Muslim, Nikah, 107. See also Ibn Maja, Nikah, 25)

It should be remembered that the Muslim community receives divine assistance because of the prayers of the weak. Therefore destitute and needy people particularly need to be invited to the walima. On one occasion Moses (peace and blessings be upon him) prayed to Allah the Almighty and asked, “Dear Lord! Where should I look for You?”

Allah the Almighty responded, “Look for Me by the broken hearts.” (Abu Nu`aym, Hilya, II, 364)

The prayers of those who are destitute and have broken hearts are acceptable in the presence of Allah. This is why all Muslims should take care to merit their prayers, especially during those times when we begin an important undertaking like marriage.

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Mercy and Compassion

Usually our good deeds, sacrifice and donations appear to be substantial to us. This mistaken impression deceives us and engages our mind. It fills us with contentment. A mere urn of water appears to be an ocean to us.

Our mundane desires never cease. We presume that what we own is our natural birthright. When we are asked to make a sacrifice our behavior changes as if we have been asked for something from our own personal possessions. Consequently, the bright, crystal clear and delicate mirror of trustworthiness and generosity becomes stained.

However, as Almighty Allah has revealed in the Qur’an: “As to the orphan do not oppress him. Nor refuse the one who asks for help” (Duha, 9-10).

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Mawlana Rumi, quddisa sirruh, said:

Just as physically beautiful people search for bright and clear mirrors, for generosity to be seen poor and powerless people are required. As a beautiful person’s face may be reflected in a mirror, so too the beauty of those who help the needy through their generosity is reflected in the poor and the miserable.

Mawlana Rumi, quddisa sirruh, said: “Thus, the poor are the mirror of divine mercy and generosity. Those who are with Allah or lost in the existence of Allah are in a state of continuous generosity.”

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Tafsir-i Hazin, a commentary on the Qur’an, reports the following from the great companion Jabir (RadiAllahu Anhu):

A small child came to the Prophet Muhammadﷺ . He told him that his mother had asked for a shirt. At that time the Prophet Muhammadﷺ owned only the shirt that he was wearing. He told the child to come back another time. The child returned to his home. But, soon he came back and told the Prophetﷺ  that his mother wanted the shirt he was wearing. The Messenger of Allahﷺ went to his room, took off his shirt and gave it to the child.

At that moment, Bilal (RadiAllahu Anhu), the muadhdhin of the Prophetﷺ  began reciting the Adhan, or the call to prayer. The Messenger of Allahﷺ  could not come out of his room to lead the communal prayer because he did not have a shirt. Some of the companions came to his room since they were worried about him and they discovered that the Prophet  no longer had a shirt to wear.

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Wealth is a trust of Allah given to our care. The only way to enjoy it and feel happy about it is by sympathizing with the suffering of the needy by opening a window of mercy and compassion from our heart to them.

 

The great Rumi, quddisa sirruh, said:

Act like the sun in mercy and compassion!

Act like the night in covering the mistakes of others!

Act like a river in generosity and sacrifice!

Act like a dead one in anger and fury!

Act like the soil in humility and selflessness!

Act in accordance with the way you look!

Look in accordance with the way you act!

We should keep in mind that regardless how one presents oneself, what will come out of him is what he has in the urn of his heart. It is true that many urns that have claimed to be full of love have only produced eventually the water of indiscretion and heedlessness. Likewise, many people who have spoken about the elixir, or the water of life, could not drink a drop of it nor could they offer any to others. On the other hand, many people who hide themselves in humility and externally look like empty urns are special servants of Allah and carry endless oceans in their hearts. And they unhesitatingly offer water to burning lovers like the water of al-Kawthar, a river in Paradise.

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May Allah raise all of us to be of His sincere and pure- hearted servants, so that we may too offer to all of humanity drops from the water of al-Kawthar and Tasnim(*) while still in this world.

Amen!

(*) al-Kawthar (literally, ‘The Abundant’) is a river of Jannah and Tasnim (literally, ‘Nectar’) is a spring of Jannah.

-An excerpt from the book, “Tears of the Heart’