How Should an Islamic Wedding Party be?

I am a new muslim and my parents are christian, they agree to take part in a islamic wedding but what are the steps we need to go about it? they are having it at their house and agreed to the food and becerage requirments fr the party following the ceremony. We are trying to have  it so that everyone is comfortable. but I have no idea what to do before during or after and want to make sure everything is in place so that later I don’t have to find out that it is void because of a step not taken. I thought we were already married but I found out that we did not do it right.I need to know .

Praise be to Allaah.For information on the steps involved in a correct marriage contract, please see Question no. 2127.

With regard to having a wedding party in the Islamic manner, you have to keep away from the things which are forbidden in sharee’ah but which many people do not pay attention to during celebrations, such as the following:

With regard to the woman: going to a male, non-mahram hairdresser to have her hair done; or adorning herself in ways that are haraam, such as thinning the eyebrows by plucking them, or wearing tattoos, or wearing hair extensions, or other kinds of haraam things, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) cursed the one who plucks eyebrows and the one who has that done, the one who adds hair extensions and the one who asks to have that done; imitating the kuffaar in their dress, because usually the wedding dress shows many of the woman’s charms and her body, in such a way that the dress is very revealing – we seek refuge with Allaah – and also a great deal of money is wasted on the dress.

Among the haraam actions that have to do with the man are: shaving his beard for the wedding night, which is done on the grounds that this makes him look more handsome, but this is something which is haraam according to sharee’ah; letting one’s clothes hang below the ankle (isbaal).

There follows a list of haraam things which both men and women should avoid in the wedding party:

1- Mixing of men with women, and things that are involved in that, such as greeting and shaking hands with one another, and men and women dancing together, because all of that is haraam and is a very serious matter.

2- Taking pictures, whether men do that amongst themselves or women do that amongst themselves.

3- Drinking alcohol or eating pork.

4- Letting the husband come in to where the women are in order to take his wife.

5- Women wearing revealing, tight or short clothes amongst themselves, because this is haraam – so how about wearing such things in front of men?

6- People should avoid spending extravagantly or going to extremes in showing off in wedding parties, because that may wipe out the blessing.

7- The husband and wife exchanging rings and thus imitating the kuffaar, thinking that this will increase the husband’s love for his wife and vice versa.

Finally, both partners should know that the more the teachings of Islam are followed in the wedding party, the more blessed their marriage will be, the more love and harmony there will be between them, and the less problems they will encounter in their married life. For if the married life is based from the outset on haraam things which go against the commands of Allaah, how can they expect the marriage to be successful after that? There have been many marriages in which there were things that went against the commands of Allaah, and they did not last. Fear Allaah with regard to this party and keep it free of things that are forbidden in Islam. May Allaah bless you both. We ask Allaah to give you and your husband strength. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.

And Allaah knows best.

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Seeking worldly characteristics in the fiancé and fiancée

I’m Inshallah planning to get married soon, and the person of interest to me has come back to me stating the below two hadiths apply to both men & women when choosing their spouses. However i see it differently with men given more options in attributes to look for in a wife. According to one hadith, “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said that a woman may be married for her wealth, her beauty, her lineage or her religious commitment, and he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) encouraged marrying the one who is religiously-committed.” but are women allowed to marry for the same reasons? If so why would the prophet ( PBUH) mention this hadith in a context that’s being addressed to men. now concerning how a women can choose her partner i have read a hadith where the prophet ( peace & blessings of Allah be upon him) mentioned “If there comes to you one whose religious commitment and attitude pleases you, then marry [your female relative who is under your care] to him, for if you do not do that, there will be tribulation on earth and much corruption.” Looking at the hadiths above howcome the prophet( peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not mention other attributes to look for in a man from a women’s point of view? or is it safe to assume that the first hadith i mentioned above applies to men and women? But then again I’m confused as to why its addressed to men?.

Praise be to Allaah.Firstly we should clarify that Islamic sharee’ah only encourages seeking a righteous wife who is religiously committed, and a righteous husband who is religious and good. Religious commitment is the first and foremost aim, and other characteristics such as beauty, wealth, high position and good lineage and so on are secondary matters. They are not blameworthy in and of themselves, but they are not the basic aims, rather they are complementary qualities. If they are present, then that is ideal, otherwise religious commitment is the basis of all goodness.

This is indicated by what is mentioned in the Sunnah of praise for some of these qualities in the wife. For example, it was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: It was said: O Messenger of Allaah, which of women is best? He said: “The one who when he looks at her he is happy and she obeys him when he commands her, and does not go against his wishes with regard to herself or his wealth by doing what he dislikes.”

Narrated by Ahmad (2/251); classed as hasan by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah (1838).

The same applies to the husband: the basic principle is to seek marriage to a righteous, pious man, as described in the hadeeth in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “with whose religious commitment and good character you are pleased.” If that is accompanied by good looks, wealth and high position, that is a blessing from Allaah. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) regarded a man’s wasting his money and not being able to spend on his wife as a reason for not getting married to him. That appears in the hadeeth of Faatimah bint Qays (may Allaah be pleased with her) who said: When my ‘iddah ended, I told him – meaning the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) – that Mu’aawiyah ibn Abi Sufyaan and Abu Jahm had proposed marriage to me. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “As for Abu Jahm, his stick never leaves his shoulder. As for Mu’aawiyah, he is very poor and has no wealth. Marry Usaamah ibn Zayd.” Narrated by Muslim (1480).

Al-‘Allaamah al-Sa’di (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

If there are other (good qualities) as well as religious commitment, that is good, otherwise religious commitment is the greatest of qualities to be sought. End quote.

Bahjat Quloob al-Abraar wa Qurrat ‘Uyoon al-Akhyaar fi Sharh Jawaami’ al-Akhbaar (p. 120)

Once the above is clear, we will know the answer to the question that was asked. We know that wealth, good lineage and good looks are things that are desirable in both spouses in most people’s view, both believers and kaafirs. Wanting these things is something that is natural in human beings. Islam does not object to that, rather they are not pointed out because people – by their nature – pay attention to these matters and seek them; they even exaggerate about that and neglect other important things. So Islam came to confirm what people neglect or ignore, even though this is the most desirable quality according to the standards of sharee’ah. This, also, is what distinguishes the attitude of the righteous believer from the attitude of anyone else.

Hence the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, in the famous hadeeth:

“Women may be married for four things: their wealth, their lineage, their beauty and their religious commitment. Choose the one who is religiously-committed, may your hands be rubbed with dust (i.e., may you prosper).”

Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5090), Muslim (1466)

Imam al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

The correct meaning of this hadeeth is that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was speaking of what people usually do; they seek these four qualities, and the last of them is their view is the one who is religiously committed, so seek, O you who are guided, the one who is religiously committed.  End quote.

Sharh Muslim (10/51-52)

And he (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

What that means is that people usually seek these four qualities in a woman, but you should seek the one who is religiously committed. End quote.

Riyadh al-Saaliheen (p. 454)

Al-Qurtubi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

These four qualities are those that are sought when marrying a woman. They are the qualities that men seek in women. So this is speaking of what happens; it is not a command to that effect. The apparent meaning is that it is permissible to seek all of these qualities when marrying, or one of them, but seeking religious commitment is best and most important. End quote.

Al-Mufhim lima ashkala min Talkhees Saheeh Muslim (4/215).

Shaykh Sulaymaan ibn Mansoor al-‘Ujayli al-Jamal – who is one of the Shaafa’i fuqaha’ – says:

Some of them quoted this hadeeth as evidence that it is mustahabb for the woman to be beautiful, and al-Zarkashi disagreed with this understanding by saying that quoting it as evidence that she should be beautiful is strange, because this is a statement of what is usual among people, and it is not a command to marry beautiful women. This is a valid objection. Similarly it is not a command to marry the one who is wealthy, beautiful and of good lineage. End quote.

Futoohaat al-Wahhaab bi Tawdeeh Sharh Manhaj al-Tullaab al-Ma’roof bi Haashiyat al-Jamal (4/118).

See also the answer to question no. 34170

Some scholars are of the view that these qualities are desirable according to sharee’ah, and that it is mustahabb for the suitor to seek them in the woman to whom he proposes, but it is stipulated that religious commitment should be the basis – also – and that none of the other qualities mentioned should supersede it. If there is any conflict, then religious commitment should always take precedence.

Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

It may also be understood from it – i.e., from this hadeeth – that it is mustahabb for a man of noble descent to marry a woman who is his equal, but if there is a conflict: a woman of noble descent who is not religiously committed, or a religiously committed woman who is not of noble descent, then religious commitment should be given precedence, and so on with all the other characteristics.

From the word “her beauty” it may be understood that it is mustahabb to marry a beautiful woman, but if there is a conflict: a beautiful woman who is not religiously committed, or a woman who is not beautiful but is religiously committed, yes, if they [the two women] are equal in terms of religious commitment then the beautiful one is better. It We may add to this the one who is beautiful in terms of physical appearance and attitude   and the one who asks for a low dowry.

The words “Choose the one who is religiously committed” – what this means is that what is fitting for the man who is religiously-committed and decent is that religion should be his focus in all things, especially in matters that will be long-term. So the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) enjoined him to find a woman who is religiously committed, which is the ultimate goal. In the hadeeth of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr, which is narrated by Ibn Majaah in a marfoo’ report [in which there is some weakness] it says: “Do not marry women for their beauty, for perhaps their beauty may lead to their doom. And do not marry them for their wealth, for perhaps their wealth may make them fall into sin; rather marry them for their religious commitment, and a black slave woman who is religiously committed is better.” End quote.

Fath al-Baari (9/135-136).

Many Shaafa’i books quote this hadeeth as evidence that it is mustahabb to marry a beautiful woman.

It says in Sharh Muntaha al-Iraadaat (2/623), which is a Hanbali book: It is also Sunnah to choose a beautiful woman because of this hadeeth [meaning the hadeeth quoted above]. End quote.

The matter is broad in scope, in sha Allaah, so long as the primary goal of both spouses is agreed upon, which is religious commitment, and so long as the other, worldly characteristics are not blameworthy, rather they are praiseworthy.

With regard to the desirable qualities in men for marriage not being mentioned as they are in the case of women, that is not due to any differentiation between them, rather it is because usually it is the man who looks for a wife and seeks in her the qualities he chooses, and the woman usually thinks of the qualities of the man who proposes to her. So it is more appropriate that the words in the hadeeth “Women may be married for four things…” should be addressed in terms of what usually happens and is customary, not in terms of the rare exception.

Moreover, shar’i matters are usually addressed to men, and the scholars of usool have stated that whatever is addressed to men is also addressed to women, unless there is evidence to the contrary, but it is not essential for there to be one text for men and another for women with regard to every shar’i ruling. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Women are the twin halves of men.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (113) and others, classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’.

And Allaah knows best.

Ruling on Eating and Drinking in the Bathroom

Is was told that it was haram to eat or to bring food into the bathroom but when I told someone about this they laughed and said I was wrong. What is the ruling?.

Praise be to Allaah.Bathrooms are for relieving oneself, not for eating and drinking, so it is not appropriate for the Muslim to enter them except for the purpose of relieving himself, and when he enters the bathroom he should refrain from eating and drinking until he comes out.

If a person eats and drinks inside the bathroom when there is no need to do so, then he has done something which is contrary to sound human nature (fitrah).

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked about the ruling on eating and drinking in the bathroom.

He replied:

The bathroom is a place for relieving oneself only and one should not stay there longer than is necessary. Eating or doing other things there requires staying there for a length of time that is not appropriate.

End quote from Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa, 11/110

And Allah knows best.

Adulthood is a Condition of being a Witness to Marriage

Can children been considered witnesses in verbal marriage agreement?.

Praise be to Allaah.In order for a marriage to be valid, it is stipulated that it be witnessed by two Muslim witnesses of good character, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There is no marriage except with a wali (guardian) and two witnesses of good character. Narrated by al-Bayhaqi from the hadeeth of ‘Imraan and ‘Aa’ishah; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’ no. 7557.

With regard to the witness, it is stipulated that he be male, an adult and of sound mind. The testimony of a child, woman or insane person is not valid.

It says in Sharh Muntaha’l-Iraadaat (2/648): The marriage contract cannot be done except with the witness of two males who are adults, of sound mind, able to speak and hear, Muslims – even if the wife is a dhimmi (Jew or Christian living under Muslim rule) – and of good character, even if it is only outwardly. End quote.

It says in al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah (41/296): The Hanafis, Maalikis, Shaafa’is and Hanbalis are of the view that the two witnesses to marriage must be mukallaf i.e., adults of sound mind. The testimony of an insane person is not acceptable, according to scholarly consensus. And a child cannot be a witness, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Bring two witnesses from among your men,” because children are not among those who can give testimony. End quote.

The presence of witnesses is one of the conditions of marriage being valid, whether the marriage contract is done verbally or in writing, in the event that the husband or wali is unable to speak.

Based on that, it is not valid for children to be witnesses to the marriage contract.

And Allaah knows best.

Annulling Engagement Because of a Dream

is it permissible to annul an engagement after two years because of the fiancé seeing a bad dream after praying istikhaarah?

Praise be to Allah.

With regard to rulings and his understanding of life and circumstances, and his evaluation of the experiences he goes through, the Muslim bases all of that on the reasoning, wisdom and measures that Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, has enjoined us to pay attention to and follow. This is what Islam teaches us; it instructs us to examine, contemplate and weigh up reason and experience, then to make our decisions after that regarding people and actions.

Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Thus Allah makes clear His Ayat (Laws) to you, in order that you may understand”

[al-Baqarah 2:242].

There is nothing in our religion to suggest that we should rely on dreams and visions, either with regard to worldly matters or religious rulings. Knowledge that is obtained via dreams is subjective, is not reliable and there is no certainty about it. rather it is subject to doubt, and it is not possible that Islam would instruct people to refer for knowledge to sources that are imaginary and cannot meet the least academic standards.

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: Dreams are of three types: a good dream which is glad tidings from Allah, a dream from the Shaytaan which causes distress, and a dream that comes from what a man is thinking of to himself…”

Narrated by Muslim (2263).

the Shaytaan plays a role in what people see in their dreams, just as a person’s own self does, and it is difficult for one to be certain of the source of his dream at all times. So how can a Muslim feel comfortable with a dream that he has seen and base his decisions on it, when he knows that the Shaytaan may have played the greatest role in producing it?

That also applies to the case of marriage. The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) has set out for us the characteristics on which we should base our decision of accepting or rejecting a suitor, as he said:

“If there comes to you one with whose character and religious commitment you are pleased, then marry (your female relative under your guardianship) to him, for if you do not do so, there will be tribulation and great mischief on earth.” They said: O Messenger of Allah, even if there are some reservations concerning him?? He said: “If there comes to you one with whose character and religious commitment you are pleased, then marry (your female relative under your guardianship) to him,” three times  Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (1085); he said: It is hasan ghareeb. Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.

So he defined character and religious commitment as the standards on which people should base their decisions when rejecting or accepting a suitor. Hence the questioner should not pay attention to anything else or respond to whatever she sees in her dreams of things in which the Shaytaan may have played a part, seeking to divide spouses and cause division and conflict.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked the following question in Liqa’ al-Baab al-Maftooh (no. 5/question no. 17):

A man proposed marriage to a woman, and in a dream she saw him clean-shaven. Should she agree to marry him or not? In real life he appears to be good, and he does not shave his beard; he is religiously-committed, but Allah knows best about him.

He (may Allah have mercy on him) replied:

If a woman sees a man who has proposed to her as clean-shaven in a dream, when in reality he does not shave his beard, what she sees in her dream does not matter, and that should not prevent her from marrying him, so long as he is upright in his religious commitment and character. End quote.

Moreover, we should point out that istikhaarah has nothing to do with seeing dreams – as many people think – because the purpose of istikhaarah is to ask Allah, may He be exalted, to make easier the better of two options, and turning to Him, may He be glorified, for guidance to the best of affairs. Istikhaarah is a du’aa’ (supplication) and when Allah answers it, He makes easy the thing that the person has chosen, after thinking and reflecting. The du’aa’ has nothing whatsoever to do with dreams.

Our advice to the sister is to think again, and not try to ruin her marital ties just because of a dream. Rather she should let religion and reason govern the issue of her engagement, then take an appropriate stance after that.