Four Phases of Pre-Wedding Rituals in Muslim Culture
Muslim wedding is called “Nikah”. It is an Urdu word that means the union of two individual souls. Since there is no auspicious time defined for the people of this community, marriage rituals can take place at any time. Traditionally, this ceremony is organized at either the bride’s house or groom’s house, but nowadays, it takes place at a banquet hall, or community centers as per convenience. There are various rituals performed which can be classified into three categories, pre-wedding, on-the-day, and post-wedding. There are four phases of pre-wedding rituals, which are mentioned below.
Every Muslim wedding ceremony starts with “Istikhara”. In this, the religious head asks almighty to approve the marriage. Generally, this is done to seek the blessing of the almighty. When someone decides to do an important task, this person performs “Istikhara”. Some people also include it in Muslim wedding cards. After this, the mother of the groom visits the house of the bride with sweets and “Imam-Zamin”. This is the second phase. “Imam-Zamin” is a silver or gold coin that is wrapped in silk cloth. This coin is tied on the upper side of the bride’s hand and this ritual is called the “Imam-Zamin” ceremony. Generally, it is tied to the safety of the bride.
The third phase of the pre-wedding rituals is “Manjha”. During this ritual, the bride puts on a yellow dress and turmeric paste is applied to her body. After performing this ceremony, she is not allowed to step out of the house. This paste is supposed to contain some elements, making her skin glow naturally. After this ceremony, a much-awaited Mehandi ceremony takes place. This is the fourth phase. During this, the female relatives of the bride apply henna to the bride’s feet and hands. The color left by henna remains for a long time and it is considered to be fortunate for her.
Well, these are some pre-wedding rituals performed in the Muslim culture.
Most probably, a Muslim wedding is celebrated for the whole week with great pomp and solemnity. A Muslim wedding has loads of pre-wedding and post-wedding rituals. First and foremost, the wedding date is finalized. An event is planned where elder people of the family sit and confirm a wedding date. As a part of this ceremony, the bride’s father is given a cash token by the groom‘s father. Both the bride and groom’s home have a pleasant environment. Women and girls of the house sing traditional songs called geet. There are different types of geet for every event. According to the regions, the geet varies.
Certain colors are associated with Muslims and Islamic faith. Green is the most remarkable color in Islam as this color has represented the religion for centuries. This color is also Prophet Mohammad’s favorite color. The other colors which are strongly associated with Islamic tradition are black, white and red.
Just like Hindu culture or any other culture, Islamic culture has also many rituals and customs. Muslims rejoice in their every festival, events, religious occasions with frolic and felicity. Muslims have four chief phases before the Nikaah/ wedding. Check out the whole aspect of the four rituals in the below paragraphs.
During times of uncertainty, a prayer of guidance named “Salat-al-Istikhara” is recited in the name of Allah. First of all, you must take a bath and brush your teeth properly. You must be neat and clean to start the prayer of Istikhara. You must create a space for your prayer. Then, you must deliver the hymn i.e. two rak’ah. Then you must recite the Istikhara supplication. Instead of begging or pleading, you must be ready for the answers you receive.
On this auspicious day, the groom’s mother and senior people of the family visit the bride’s house. Both the families of the groom and bride greet each other. The groom‘s family brings fruits, perfumes, and many types of gifts for the bride and her family. The bride’s arm is then tied with a silver coin or gold coin wrapped in silken cloth by the groom’s mother. This coin implies that the bride is the future daughter in law of the groom’s mother. This whole event is said to be Imam-E-Zamin. Just like this ritual, even Hindu weddings have shagun ceremony.
Before one day or two days of the Nikaah ceremony, the bride is dressed in yellow outfits. Ladies of the house prepare a paste of turmeric, sandalwood and rose water. This paste is applied to the bride’s face, hands, and feet. Women and girls of the house and neighborhood sit and sing songs of the bride and groom. There are fun, mischief activities and loads of enjoyment on this occasion. After the turmeric paste gets dried, the bride goes to take a bath. This whole event is said as Manjha and after the completion of this event; brides are not allowed to go outside the house. The same event takes place at the groom’s house also.
The Mehandi ceremony is celebrated in both Hindu as well as Muslim weddings. Mehandi is a symbol of endless love, sacrifice, and bonding of togetherness of bride and groom for each other. With the paste of henna, both the hands and legs of the bride and groom are decorated. Mehandi artists are already appointed a few days before for this occasion. There are plenty of Mehandi designs available nowadays. Professional Mehandi designer decorates the hands and legs of the bride and groom at their homes. Even the other ladies and girls of the house apply Mehandi on their hands. It is said that if the color of the Mehandi of the bride is darker than her husband is more loving and caring.
With great excitement, glee and gaiety, these rituals are performed. A Muslim wedding is not this much. It is a beautiful tale from wedding outfits, wedding cards to a dinner party, and a drinking party.
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