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The blessed process of marriage in Islam

“And one of His signs is that He created for you spouses from among yourselves so that you may find comfort in them. And He has placed between you compassion and mercy.” [Surat Ar-Rūm 30;21]

The conditions of marriage are based on the Prophetic guidance that “There is no (valid) marriage without a guardian and two reliable witnesses.” (At-Tabaraanee, Al-Kabeer, 19/299).

An Islamic marriage consists of:

  1. The consent of the guardian of the woman – this can only be a male on the paternal side of her family. If they refuse to participate for a reason which is not Islamic, such as ethnic difference, the Hanafi school of thought does still permit the marriage.
  2. Presence of at least 2 male witnesses or 1 male with 2 females. They need to be adults and will be required to sign the marriage contract.
  3. A formal offer of marriage and acceptance. The Imam will pose the proposal and they should respond by stating “I accept her in my marriage”, not just the statement “I do/I accept”.
  4. The mahr (dowry) should be stated and recorded on the contract.

The process of the marriage ceremony

Make it known

Aisha reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Announce this marriage publicly, conduct it in the mosque, and strike the drums for it.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhī 1089]

It’s important to invite family and friends to the wedding so that it is known that the husband and wife are married.

The nikah ceremony

The nikah refers to the the marriage ceremony where the proposal takes place and the contract is witnessed and signed.

The Imam facilitating the ceremony will deliver the wedding khutbah (sermon), following the Prophetic tradition (as recorded by Imams Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Nasai, Ahmad)

إِنَّ الحَمدَ لِلَّهِ ، نَسْتَعِينُهُ وَنَسْتَغفِرُهُ ، وَنَعُوذُ بِهِ مِن شُرُورِ أَنفُسِنَا ، مَن يَهدِهِ اللَّهُ فَلا مُضِلَّ لَهُ ، وَمَن يُضلِل فَلا هَادِيَ لَه ، وَأَشهَدُ أَن لا إِلَهَ إِلا اللَّهُ وَأَشهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا عَبدُهُ وَرَسُولُه .

Innal Hamda lillahi, nastaeenuhu wa nastaghfirhu, wa naoozu billahi min shorrori anfusina. Man yahdihi Allahu fala mudhilla lahu wa mayn yudhlil fa la hadia lah. Wa ash hadu al la ilaha il lal lah wa ash hadu an na Muhammadan abduhu wa rasooluhu.

All praises are for Allah. We seek Guidance and forgiveness from Him. We also seek refuge in Him from the evils of our own selves. Whoever Allah guides, none can misguide him. Whoever He lets go astray none can put him back on track. We testify that there is no god but Allah and we testify that Muhammad is Allah’s servant and His messenger.

After glorifying God and the testimony of faith the Prophet would recite the following verses of the Quran.

o يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلاَ تَمُوتُنَّ إِلاَّ وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ

O you who believe! be mindful of God, as is His due, and make sure you devote yourselves to Him, until your last moment. (Quran 3:102)

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُواْ رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالاً o كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاء وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءلُونَ بِهِ وَالأَرْحَامَ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا

O humanity! Be mindful of your Lord Who created you from a single soul, and from it, He created its mate, and through both, He spread countless men and women. And be mindful of Allah—in Whose Name you appeal to one another—and honor family ties. Surely Allah is ever Watchful over you. (Quran 4:1)

o يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا

o يُصْلِحْ لَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَمَن يُطِعْ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا

Believers, be mindful of Allah, speak words that are straightforward and serve a good purpose – He will bless your deeds for you, and forgive your misdeeds. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, has truly achieved a great triumph. (Quran 33:70-71)

The proposal

After the khutba the imam will ask the representative

  1. If he gives consent to the bride’s (taking her complete name) marriage
  2. To the groom (again taking the complete name)
  3. For the stipulated amount of marriage dowry (mahr)
  4. In the presence of the two witnesses.

If the representative consents then the Imam asks the groom and ask him if he accepts the bride (taking her name) in his marriage for the stipulated amount of marriage dowry. The groom has to reply in complete terms such as, “I accept her in my marriage” or ” I have accepted her in my marriage” or “I do marry her.” It is preferable that he say this and not just “I do” or “I accept.”

Prayers for the couple

o رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا

Our Lord, give us joy in our spouses and offspring. Make us good examples to those who are aware of You. (Quran 25:74)

Abu Huraira reported: When the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, congratulated a couple for getting married, he would say, “May Allah grant you blessings, send blessings upon you, and bring you together in goodness.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhī 1091]

The walimah

It is recommended the next day or the day after once the couple have consummated their marriage or entered into privacy together to provide a walimah (uniting reception and meal).

Sayyidina Anas ibn Malik (Allah Be Pleased with Him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) saw a yellow mark on Abdur Rahman ibn Awf (Allah Be Pleased With) and asked: “What’s this?”

He replied:  “I have married a woman with the dowry being gold to the weight of a date stone.”

The Messenger of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him) said: “May Allah bless you (in your marriage); perform a Walima, even if it is only with a goat.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no. 4872)

The walima should not be extravagant as the Prophet of Allah (SAW) said: “The most blessed marriage (Nikah) is the one with the least expenditure.” (al-Bayhaqi in his Shu’ab al-Iman). It’s also important that Islamic etiquette are maintained so there is no free-mixing of the genders and avoidance of music.

Registering the marriage legally

To legally register your marriage so it is recognised by the state, you need to book a civil ceremony at your local council/government Registry office. Here, you must sign a legal statement at to say you intend to get married or form a civil partnership. This is known as ‘giving notice’ and in the UK, you must hold your ceremony within 12 months of ‘giving notice’.

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