Tuesday, 26 December 2006

The Simple Muslim Wedding

On any auspicious occasion of Nikah, all Muslim attending the nikah should pray to Almighty Allah that He may instil Mahabbat (love and affection) between the married couple, that through this bond of marriage, pious and righteous children are born, and also that Mahabbat and Ulfat (loving bond) is created between the families of the married couple.

Nikah is a noble Sunnat of the Holy Prophet SAW. Simplicity would be the hallmark of every Nikah performed by Nabi SAW. We are instructed in Ahadith that when a suitable partner is found for a girl, then haste should be made in performing the Nikah. A major reason for the marked increase in the number of unmarried boys and girls in present-day society stems mainly from neglecting the sound advice given in this Hadith. Nowadays the Nikah is delayed in spite of having found a suitable partner for one's son or daughter. For the sake of personal convenience, like going on a holiday or waiting for the organisation of some family function, or some other programme, we unnecessarily delay the marriage.

As we know, the Holy Prophet SAW and his Companions did not avail of luxuries despite having the opportunity to do so. Instead, they made rigorous Mujahadah (endeavour). By the Barakah (blessings) of their Mujahadah each Companion became a great warrior, who strove and persevered.

When we look inward into our own lives it reveals quite the opposite. We have become so attached to worldly comforts and luxuries that it has, indeed, become difficult for us to discharge our own necessities without relying on others. Over indulgence in ease and comforts is also a significant reason for our misfortune and downfall. If only we realized the true concept of Islamic brotherhood then to continue in extravagant celebrations would really hit the raw inner of our consciousness.

Presently, throughout the world, hundreds and thousands of fellow Muslims are suffering at the hands of non-Muslims. So many of them are held captives by the enemies of Allah, and the respect and dignity of so many others is being looted, and above all, our brothers and sisters are helpless with no one to confront the perpetrators of their misery. In this dire situation, our brothers and sisters are really in need of every sip of water, every piece of grain and every single penny.

So thus, is this really a time to indulge in extravagant celebrations, merry-making and rejoicing?

This is surely against the trend of Islamic brotherhood, it is also against humanity!

When we see the abundant favours of Allah so freely granted - especially when we sit to eat - then our eyes should also be filled with tears. At the same time, reflect on the plight and suffering borne by Muslims all around the world. Muslims whose situation is most distressing. Despite what prevails before our eyes, are we going to be like the ostrich with its head in the sand?

In this present era, the warning bells of danger to our Faith can be heard ringing aloud. The tide of moral and religious degeneration is reigning down on us from all sides. We regularly hear incidents of how our progeny is being exposed to the ills prevalent in this society. We must, therefore, be aware of the dangers and maintain a vigilant eye. We should reflect on what is happening and take a firm grasp of the declining moral and religious situation in this society.
In spite of hearing the plight and misery of Muslims, our feelings seem to remain static, and we are largely unresponsive to their plight. We should try to alter this kind of outlook. Most importantly, we should try and generate a genuine feeling for our Muslim brothers and sisters. We should consider their suffering as our own. Let us conduct ourselves honourably, sharing their woes and grief wherever they may be in the world. Their suffering, displacement and slaughter should be felt by all of us.

This subject has been deliberately mentioned because, nowadays, our wedding functions have become such that vast sums of money are spent and this suggests a kind of indifference to the suffering of Muslim at large. A true Muslim does not condone this kind of attitude. On occasions like this, A Muslim would think of taking greater accountability.

We will only truly realise the extent of our self-deception once we have left this transitory world. How we deceived our ownselves. Only then will we truly appreciate the significance of assisting the needy and helpless Muslims. If we are not able to do anything else, then, at least we should develop a sincere concern for our fellow Muslims and pray for them. Even this will not be overlooked by Almighty Allah, who will, Inshallah, accord us with much blessing and reward.

Nikah is a noble Sunnat of the Prophet SAW. This sublime act is such that it cannot accommodate any other custom; simplicity, as I explained at the outset, is its hallmark. As such, there is no need for a large assembly or congregation for its commemoration.

Let us briefly comtemplate on the nature of simplicity observed in weddings conducted at the time of the Holy Prophet SAW. Once the Holy Prophet SAW noticed a stain of Itr (perfume) on the garment of one of his Companion, Hazrat Jabir ibn Abdullah RA. Although use of Itr was Sunnat, it would generally be applied only for special occasions like a wedding, or on significant days like Friday and Eid. Seeing the blot, the Holy Prophet SAW enquired of Hazrat Jabir ibn Abdullah RA: “Have you married?” He replied, “Yes.” The Holy Prophet further asked, “Whom did you marry, a virgin or a widow?” He replied, “A widow.” The Holy Prophet said, “Why did you not choose a virgin, that you might play with her and she might play with you? I see you as a young man.” Hazrat Jabir ibn Abdullah replied most gracefully, saying: “O Prophet , my father was martyred in the battle of Uhud. He left behind nine small sisters. Had I married a virgin then she would have become the tenth. That is why I have married a widow, so that with her age and experience she could provide upbringing and training for my sisters.”

From this incident we can deduce that despite the presence of the Holy Prophet SAW in Madinah Munawwarah, there was no question of delaying the Nikah to the extent of even informing let alone inviting him (SAW).

Thus, in the time of the Prophet SAW, whenever a suitable partner was found for a boy or girl, the Nikah would be conducted without delay. It would not be treated as something so significant as to require the attention or approval of the Holy Prophet SAW.

On the contrary, we have created so many unnecessary formalities that if perchance the wedding feast is not held on the day of the wedding, we make full amends by holding a large Walimah (a meal after consummating the marriage) the following day.

The practise of Walimah was also celebrated by the Holy Prophet SAW but not in the same manner in which we are accustomed to. When Khaibar was conquered, among the prisoners of war included Safiyyah RA, the daughter of a Jewish chief. Dihya Qalbi RA requested the Holy Prophet for a maid. The Prophet said, “Go and take any slave girl.” He took Safiyyah RA . At this, the other Sahabah approached the Prophet SAW and said: “O, Prophet of Allah! Banu Nazir and Banu Quraizah (the Jewish tribes of Madinah) will feel offended to see the daughter of a Jewish chief working as a maid. We therefore suggest that she is only suitable for you.” The Prophet SAW called Dihya and said, “Take any seven slave girls but leave her (i.e. Safiyyah).” The Prophet SAW then freed her from slavery and married her. In the tradition reported in Sahih Al-Bukhari, we are further told that they had left Khaibar and on the way, Ummi Sulaim RA dressed her for marriage and at night she sent her as a bride. The following day Walimah feast was arranged with whatever was available.

The point to elicit from this story is the manner in which the Walimah was organised. It was such a simple affair. The Holy Prophet SAW asked his companions to bring their own food. He spread out an eating mat and some brought dates and others cooking butter. This was the manner in which the Walimah of Allah's Messenger SAW was celebrated.

The teachings of our religion, as exemplified by the Holy Prophet SAW, impress upon us simplicity. We need to change our approach and attitude to life and adopt these simple and noble practises. There is need for us to change our present outlook. We should replace our indifference and apathy to the suffering borne by fellow Muslims and replace it with a genuine feeling of love and consideration. Only then will we merit the pity of Allah. If we are sincere Muslims then let us mirror the loss sustained by our brothers and sisters. Such should be our grief that it shows on our faces, cause feelings of pain and revulsion in our hearts and makes sour the food and drink we consume. This should be a natural reaction to hearing any kind of tragedy befalling Muslims. Alas, there is a great need to re-establish true Islamic brotherhood in this day and age.

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