Muslim Wedding Rituals & Ceremonies in Kerala

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A Muslim Marriage in Kerala is similar to that elsewhere and is the assimilation of two souls and the merging of two families, as per Islam. The Wedding Ceremony known as ‘’Nikkah’’, meaning ‘’the …

A Muslim Marriage in Kerala is similar to that elsewhere and is the assimilation of two souls and the merging of two families, as per Islam. The Wedding Ceremony known as ‘’Nikkah’’, meaning ‘’the ritual of contract’’, needs the presence of two male witnesses. The weddings are conducted as per Islamic traditions with the guidance of Mullah or Musaliar. Muslim Nikaah Rituals are broadly classified into three: Pre-Marriage Rituals, Wedding Ceremony and Post Marriage Rituals.

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  • 1. Muslim Wedding Rituals & Ceremonies in Kerala
  • 2. A Muslim Marriage in Kerala is similar to that elsewhere and is the assimilation of two souls and the merging of two families, as per Islam. It’s a mere contract between the groom and the bride’s father. The Wedding Ceremony known as ‘’Nikkah’’, meaning ‘’the ritual of contract’’, needs the presence of two male witnesses. The weddings are conducted as per Islamic traditions with the guidance of Mullah or Musaliar. Muslim Nikaah Rituals are broadly classified into three: Pre-Wedding Ceremony, Wedding Ceremony and Post-Wedding Ceremony.
  • 3. Pre-Wedding Ceremony
  • 4. Pre-Wedding Customs comprises of ceremonies like Ishtikara, Imam- Zamin, Mehndi ki Raat and Baraat. The Wedding Pre-Marriage Rituals are held separately at the bride’s and at the groom’s. During these customs the bride and groom have limited interaction. The Pre-Wedding rituals commence with the bride and groom’s compliance for the wedding.
  • 5. 1) Ishtikara
  • 6. Ishtikara, the guidance prayer is conducted by the religious head or Maulvi to seek permission from the Almighty God to perform the Nikkah. This ritual is held in the presence of the bride’s and groom’s father and the elder members of the family and is carried out at the Mosque. The Maulvi recites the verses from the holy Quran and Ishtikara is performed, thereby following the accordance of the brides’ father and the groom’s father on the wedding date. Ishtikara
  • 7. 2) Imam-Zamin
  • 8. Imam-Zamin Imam-Zamin is similar to the shagun ceremony in Indian weddings and is full of fun and excitement. The religious belief behind conducting this ceremony is for the safety of the new-to- be couple from every Aafat or unforeseen disaster. On a particular day, the Groom’s mother and other senior members from the Groom’s family visits the bride’s family with gifts for the bride and her family. The Groom’s mother brings a gold or silver coin with her, wrapped in a piece of silk cloth. She then ties the coin to the bride’s arm which symbolizes the marking of the bride as her ‘’to be’’ daughter-in-law. This ceremony is known as Imam-e-Zamin.
  • 9. Imam-Zamin A few days later Imam-e-Zamin, the engagement date also known as Mangni is fixed. During Mangni, the exchange of gifts between the bride & the groom’s family is performed. Now a days, the bride & groom exchange rings to mark the engagement. The days after Magni are really busy with the Wedding preparations and full of enjoyment for the bride and her friends. The bride is pampered in all the possible ways and with her favourite dishes before her wedding. She is subjected to several beauty treatments like bath in aromatic oils to make their skin soft and plump. Besides Jasmine extracts are applied to the bride’s hair to add luster and fragrance.
  • 10. Imam-Zamin The bride’s Wedding Outfit, usually a beautiful lehenga woven with heavy embroidery or stone work is picked by her mother in law and is presented to the bride along with jewellery and gift baskets of perfumes, dates, and fruits. Now a day, Muslim brides prefer Gowns also as their Wedding costume.
  • 11. 3) Mehndi ceremony
  • 12. Mehndi Ceremony Mehndi Ceremony usually takes place two to three days prior to the Wedding night. This is primarily a Women’s function organized by the bride’s family, reveled with musical beats of Dholak, with women singing traditional songs for the prosperous marital life of the bride. According to the custom, the bride is not supposed to step out of the house after this ceremony till the day of her wedding. A paste of fresh turmeric is applied on the bride’s face and body by her family, relatives and friends to bring natural glow to her skin. The brides’ mother put the first dot of henna on the bride’s palm followed by her friends’ and relatives.
  • 13. Mehndi Ceremony Beautiful mehendi patterns are made on both the hands and legs of the bride. The family members and friends also get mehendi designs drawn on their hand. As per the tradition the bride is not allowed to do the household works in her marital house until her Mehndi fades away. Besides the tradition, applying Mehendi is to prevent the wedding stress faced by the bride and groom due to their excitement mixed with nervous anticipation as the wedding day approaches.
  • 14. Mehndi Ceremony Mehendi helps in cooling down the body and keeps the nerves from becoming tense. Mehendi applied during Indian Weddings are not merely the paste of mehndi powder and water, but also added with Eucalyptus oil, a bit of clove oil and a few drops of lemon. These oils, apart from helping in darkening the colour of mehndi on the body, also make the mehendi paste highly medicinal. Several traditional Muslim families believe that the darker the shade of the henna on the bride’s hand, happier is her married life.
  • 15. 4) Baraat
  • 16. Baraat On the Wedding day, the groom arrives at the wedding venue with his baraat, the procession of his family and friends. The procession will be accompanied by a band that plays traditional music to announce the baraat arrival. On reaching the venue the groom shares a drink of sherbet (a drink prepared from fruits and/or flower petals similar to juice) with the bride’s brother or her relatives. The bride's sisters play pranks on the groom and welcome the guests with flowers. Sometimes rosewater is sprinkled on them, symbolizing the purity and fragrance of the divine.
  • 17. Wedding Ceremony
  • 18. 1) Nikaah
  • 19. Nikaah During the Wedding Ceremony or the Nikaah, the bride and the groom are seated separately. Muslim Wedding is presided by the Maulvi or the Qazi, the head priest of the Muslim community. Maulvi chants the great verses of the holy Quran and the bride’s father offer his daughter in marriage to the groom. The groom proposes to the bride and the head priest conveys the proposal to the bride. This ritual is called Ijaab. The bride then conveys her acceptance to the groom’s proposal by saying ‘Qubool’. Ijab Qubul is thus the Sacral Agreement between Bride and the Groom.
  • 20. Nikaah Next starts the ceremony of Mahr. The groom gifts the bride her wedding gift called Mahr, which is a vital part as per the wedding ritual. Mahr symbolizes the husband's responsibility and commitment towards his wife and is paid in cash, gold, property or movable objects to the bride. Mahr is given to the bride at the time of marriage. Now the bride and the groom sign the Nikahnaama or the Muslim marriage certificate. Fathers of both the bride and groom also sign the Nikahnaama along with the head priest.
  • 21. Nikaah Once the wedding is solemnized, the bride and groom are seated on the stage together. Throughout the wedding function, the head of the bride and the groom are covered with a dupatta. The groom gives gifts to bride’s sisters and relatives and the bride also receives gifts in form of gold and silver coins, jewellery, clothes etc. In Muslim weddings the male and female guests are seated separately, so the couple visits the women guests first and then the men guests. After visiting the elders in both the families, the couple returns to the stage. The Qazi or the head priest now gives guidance to the couples and the couple recites the prayer. When the couple is seated among their common guests, the holy Quran is placed between the couples. The bride and groom can’t see each other directly.
  • 22. Post-Wedding Ceremony
  • 23. 1) Ruksat
  • 24. Ruksat After the Nikaah, the bride’s family bids her a tearful farewell before she departs to her husband’s house. This custom is called Ruksat where the bride’s father gives her hand to her husband and tells him to take good care of her and protect her. The bride is welcomed to her marital house by the Groom’s mother. The Holy Quran is held above the head of the new daughter-in-law as she enters her new home for the first time after the wedding. The bride now seeks blessings from the senior members in the groom’s family. The Chauthi is the fourth day after the wedding when the bride visits her home. She receives a merry welcome from her family and relatives.
  • 25. 2) Walima
  • 26. Walima (The Marriage Banquet) Groom’s family hosts a wedding reception on the fifth day of the Wedding. This banquet is formally known as Daawat-e-Walima. It’s a joyous function that brings together the families, their relatives and friends. They celebrate the unison of the couples and the well- wishers wish them a happy married life.
  • 27. Stay in Touch We’d love to share more wedding stories Kerala Matrimony Site for World Malayalee