Agreement of Bride and Groom
Marriage (nikah) is a solemn and sacred social contract between bride
and groom. This contract is a strong covenant (mithaqun Ghalithun) as
expressed in Quran 4:21). The marriage contract in Islam is not a sacrament.
It is revocable.
Both parties mutually agree and enter into this contract. Both bride and
groom have the liberty to define various terms and conditions of their
liking and make them a part of this contract.
The marriage-gift (Mahr) is a divine injunction. The giving of mahr to
the bride by the groom is an essential part of the contract.
“And give the women (on marriage) their mahr as a (nikah) free gift…"
Mahr is a token commitment of the husband’s responsibility and may be
paid in cash, property or movable objects to the bride herself. The amount
of mahr is not legally specified, however, moderation according to the
existing social norm is recommended
The mahr may be paid immediately to the
bride at the time of marriage, or deferred to a later date, or a combination
of both. The deferred mahr however, falls due in case of death or divorce.
One matrimonial party expresses “ijab" willing consent to enter into
marriage and the other party expresses “qubul" acceptance of the
responsibility in the assembly of marriage ceremony. The contract is written
and signed by the bride and the groom and their two respective witnesses.
This written marriage contract ("Aqd-Nikah) is then announced publicly.
The assembly of nikah is addressed with a marriage sermon
(khutba-tun-nikah) by the Muslim officiating the marriage. In marriage
societies, customarily, a state appointed Muslim judge (Qadi) officiates the
nikah ceremony and keeps the record of the marriage contract. However any
trust worthy practicing Muslim can conduct the nikah ceremony, as Islam does
not advocate priesthood. The documents of marriage contract/certificate are
filed with the mosque (masjid) and local government for record.
Prophet Muhammad (S) made it his tradition (sunnah) to have marriage
sermon delivered in the assembly to solemnize the marriage. The sermon
invites the bride and the groom, as well as the participating guests in the
assembly to a life of piety, mutual love, kindness, and social
The Khutbah-tun-Nikah begins with the praise of Allah. His help and
guidance is sought. The Muslim confession of faith that “There is none
worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is His servant and messenger" is
declared. The three Quranic verses (Quran 4:1, 3:102, 33:70-71) and one
Prophetic saying (hadith) form the main text of the marriage. This hadith
“By Allah! Among all of you I am the most God-fearing, and among you
all, I am the
super most to save myself from the wrath of Allah, yet my state is that
I observe prayer and sleep too. I observe fast and suspend observing them; I
marry woman also. And he who turns away from my Sunnah has no relation with
The Muslim officiating the marriage ceremony concludes the ceremony with
prayer (du’a) for bride, groom, their respective families, the local Muslim
community, and the Muslim community at large (Ummah)
Marriage (nikah)is considered as an act of worship (ibadah). It is
virtuous to conduct it in a Mosque keeping the ceremony simple. The marriage
ceremony is a social as well as a religious activity. Islam advocates
simplicity in ceremonies and celebrations.
Prophet Muhammad (S) considered simple weddings the best weddings:
“The best wedding is that upon which the least trouble and expense is
1) Mutual agreement (Ijab-O-Qubul) by the bride and the groom
2) Two adult and sane witnesses
3) Mahr (marriage-gift) to be paid by the groom to the bride either
immediately (muajjal) or deferred (muakhkhar), or a combination of both.
1) Legal guardian (wakeel) representing the bride
2) Written marriage contract ("Aqd-Nikah) signed by the bride and the
witnesses by two adult and sane witnesses
3) Qadi (State appointed Muslim judge) or Ma’zoon (a responsible person
officiating the marriage ceremony)
4) Khutba-tun-Nikah to solemnize the marriage
The Marriage Banquet (Walima)
After the consummation of the marriage, the groom holds a banquet
called a walima. The relatives, neighbors, and friends are invited in order
to make them aware of the marriage. Both rich and poor of the family and
community are invited to the marriage feasts.
Prophet Muhammad(S) said:
“The worst of the feasts are those marriage feasts to which the rich are
invited and the poor are left out". (Mishkat)
It is recommended that Muslims attend marriage ceremonies and marriage
feasts upon invitation.
Prophet Muhammad (S) said:
"...and he who refuses to accept an invitation to a marriage feast,
verily disobeys Allah and His Prophet". (Ahmad & Abu Dawood)