What is Nikah in Wedding?

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In Islam, marriage is a formal binding contract between a man and a woman to live together as a couple which is termed as Nikaah.

How is it performed?
A total of up to seven days of grand celebration full of fun, exotic food and a long guest-list for sure. On the fourth day, the actual wedding takes place. As the first three days are meant for other rituals like manjha, mehendi etc.

The marriage can be held either at the bride or groom’s house or at any other place decided by their families. The Nikaah is conducted by the Qazi or the judge ruling in accordance with Islamic religious law.

Two witnesses on the groom’s behalf are appointed by the Qazi, to receive instructions for the Nikaah from the bride’s family.

The presence of the couple’s fathers or Walises is also a must, along with the witnesses.

The bride’s father takes care to protect her rights. The groom’s father approves his son’s rights. On the Nikaah day, the elders in the family decide on the Mehr. This nuptial gift is an amount given to the bride’s family by the groom. This ritual is considered compulsory and is unlike dowry. The Qazi asks the bride whether she is ready to marry the groom and accept the mehr gifted to her family.

Once the bride’s consent is received, the Qazi reads the marriage contract to the groom. On receiving the groom’s consent, the nikaah-nama (wedding contract) is signed by the couple, their fathers, the two witnesses and the Qazi. The nikah-nama contains the terms and conditions, with respect to the religion which are mutually agreed by both the families. The Qazi then delivers a sermon called Khutba. These are verses from the Quran which emphasize on obligations towards women. The meaning of the verses are also explained to the audience. The mutual rights and duties of the spouses are also a part of the recitation.

The Nikaah is considered valid on groom’s (Ijab) proposal and the bride’s (Qubul) acceptance for the same. The mutual consent of the couple is important for the marriage to be legally declared. Besides, the Islam marriage law demands that neither of the families must be legally incapacitated from entering into the marriage.

On completion of the Nikaah ceremonies, the groom receives blessings from the elders and offers them his Salaam. The guests pray for the happy and prosperous life of the couple.

The Nikaah is followed by a grand and lavish dinner. The men and women dine separately.
After dinner, the couple is seated together for the first time. They read the prayers as directed by the maulvi (priest). While doing so, their heads are covered by a dupatta. The couple is allowed to see each only through mirrors as the Quran is placed between them.

Post wedding, the bride comes to her new house where she is welcomed by her mother-in-law, holding a copy of the Quran over the bride’s head.

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