A Nikah is a Muslim word for marriage. But it is not a sacrament as in other religions. Instead, it is a sacred social contract between the bride and the groom. The nikah should not be a secret affair and should preferably be performed in front of the guests as a formal announcement. In Islam marriage is a mutual, legal contract in which both parties agree about every article of the agreement, which has been called a “strong bond”. Allah says:
ادْعُوهُمْ لِآبَائِهِمْ هُوَ أَقْسَطُ عِندَ اللَّهِ فَإِن لَّمْ تَعْلَمُوا آبَاءَهُمْ فَإِخْوَانُكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَمَوَالِيكُمْ وَلَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ فِيمَا أَخْطَأْتُم بِهِ وَلَٰكِن مَّا تَعَمَّدَتْ قُلُوبُكُمْ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا
“Call them by their fathers; it (is) more just near Allah. But if not you know their fathers – then (they are) your brothers in [the] religion and your friends. But not is upon you any blame in what you made a mistake in it, but what intended your hearts. And Allah (is) Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Surah Al-Ahzab 33:5)
Nikah is an excellent bounty from Allah Ta’ala. The extramarital affairs on this world, as well as, the hereafter tend to be put in order using marriage. Nikah is not only an agreement between two people. It has social and familial results. The traditions and rules of society play a role in marriage. Therefore, no nikah can be performed secretly. Allah says:
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِّتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
“And among His signs is this that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your hearts. Undoubtedly in these are signs for those who reflect.” (Surah Ar-Rum 30:21)
Islamic and civil marriages are not two distinct concepts. Civil marriage is performed under the supervision of civil authorities. Islamic marriage similarly requires supervision, and the primary supervisor is sought to be the bride’s father. If the father and other male relatives renounce the duty of supervision or object to the marriage without an Islamic basis, the supervisor becomes the civil or other lawful authority.
Importance of Nikah (Marriage) according to Islam:
- Nikah Is The Muslim Word For A Wedding
- First Nikah Step: Wali: The first step in the Nikah is performed by the “Wali”, the nearest relative of the bride, such as her father. If an Imam performs it, he is known as the “Wakil”, or the guardian appointed to act on behalf of the best interests of the lady. It is their job to investigate the background of the lady’s potential suitor.
- Second Nikah Step: Chaperoned Meeting: After selecting the bridegroom, there is an appointment scheduled for the two of them to meet, under chaperoned supervision, to discuss their possible future together.
- Third Nikah Step: Salat: After the initial meeting, both of them pray to Allah in the form of Salat – known as “Salatul Istakharah” – for guidance. If this is not done, it does not invalidate the marriage, but it is something that helps both of them in their future.
- Fourth Nikah Step: Getting Ready For Nikah: If both parties receive positive signs from “Salatul Istakharah”, then they would proceed to make the “Nikah” or marriage contract. This is done under the supervision of two witnesses. It is usually attended by an Imam or any other knowledgeable person in Islam, just so that there will be no mistakes in taking care of the details.
- Fifth Nikah Step: Presenting The Mehr: The Mehr is the dowry that is presented to the bride when she is asked if she is ready to marry the selected boy. The query, “Qabool Hai?”, or “Are you willing?” is usually repeated three times in front of witnesses, but at least one acknowledgement from the lady is considered necessary to proceed.
- Sixth Nikah Step: Making Her Decision Legal: The bride then signs the Nikah document in front of at least two witnesses.
- Seventh Nikah Step: Witnesses Attest: The witnesses then sign and attest that they had been present at the Nikah and witnessed the acceptance by the lady of the offer of marriage by the man. The Imam might also sign, but this does not affect the validity of the marriage. Any two adult Muslims may witness the document. In the case of women witnesses, it is correct to have two in place of one. If there are to be two witnesses, one being a woman, then it would be correct to have a man and two women sign the document.
- Eighth Nikah Step: Man And Wife: After the lady’s acceptance, the signing of the Nikah (document), the witnessing of the two witnesses and the exchange of Mehr, the man, and the woman can, under Muslim law, live together as man and wife. After the signing of the marriage document, the acceptance by the bride of the Mehr, or dowry, and the signing by the two witnesses, the groom is free to take away his bride anytime he chooses.
- Ninth Nikah Step: Setting A Date For The Walima: Though the Nikah or legal document and Mehr adds up to a legal marriage, a date for the celebrations are still left to be set. The families of the couple need to discuss their expectations of the marriage ceremony, need to decide the budget, and do all the organizing.
- Tenth Nikah Step: The Walima: Walima is the wedding banquet, traditionally held by the groom after the Nikah has taken place. The purpose of the Walima is to allow family and friends to share in the groom’s happiness on the occasion of his marriage and to give thanks to Allah. Islam emphasizes that the Walima should be held in moderation and not be wildly expensive. Gifts are also exchanged.
- Acknowledging Allah’s Role: The marriage sermon (Khutbah-tun-Nikah) begins by praising Allah. The main body of the sermon comprises three verses from the Holy Qur’an and one Hadith: “O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, who created you from a single person, and fear Allah through whom you demand your mutual rights. Do not cut relations of the womb. Surely, Allah is ever watching over you.”
- Accepting Community’s Role: The ceremony draws to a close, with “dua” for the bride and groom, their families, the local Muslim community and the Muslim community as a whole (Ummah).
- Definition Of The Best Nikah: According to the Prophet, “The best wedding is that upon which the least trouble and expense is bestowed.” – Mishkat
- Gifts Strengthen Love: The Prophet also had this to say about gifts: “Exchange gifts, strengthen your love of one another.” – At-Tirmizi
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالًا كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاءً وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءَلُونَ بِهِ وَالْأَرْحَامَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا
“O Humans revere your Guardian-Lord, Who created you from a single person created of like nature its mate, and from this scattered (like seeds) countless men and women. Reverence Allah through Whom you claim your mutual rights.” (Surah an-Nisa 4:1)
There are some reasons due to which Islam so much emphasized Marriage which we have listed below:
- Marriage makes an incomplete human being a complete one, our Prophet Muhammad (SAW)says, “No house has been built in Islam more beloved in the sight of Allah than through marriage”
- It is necessary for making a family (for children)
- Marriage is one of the most liked Sunnah in Islam as our beloved Prophet (SAW) married and also encouraged others
- Marriage provides tranquillity, peace, and security
- Marriage is a bond of love not just only between two persons but between two families
- Marriage is a source to experience love and happiness
- Marriage increases sustenance, love, respect, caring, selflessness and forgiving factors between husband and wife
- By marrying and fulfilling the rights of the husband, the believing woman will enter into Paradise
- Marriage guarantees physical and spiritual chastity and peace of a person and keeps the couple away from the downfall and trap of Satan.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا يَحِلُّ لَكُمْ أَن تَرِثُوا النِّسَاءَ كَرْهًا وَلَا تَعْضُلُوهُنَّ لِتَذْهَبُوا بِبَعْضِ مَا آتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ إِلَّا أَن يَأْتِينَ بِفَاحِشَةٍ مُّبَيِّنَةٍ وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ فَإِن كَرِهْتُمُوهُنَّ فَعَسَىٰ أَن تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَيَجْعَلَ اللَّهُ فِيهِ خَيْرًا كَثِيرًا
“O you who believe[d]! Not (is) lawful for you that you inherit the women (by) force. And not you constraint them so that you may take a part (of) what you have given them except that they commit immorality open. And live with them in kindness. But if you dislike them, then perhaps that you dislike a thing and Allah placed in it much good.” (Surah an-Nisa 4:19)
The main purpose of Nikah is protection against a sinful life and living a life according to the teachings of Islam. A nikah is an act pleasing Allah Almighty because it is by his commandments that husband and wife love each other and help each other to make efforts to continue the human race and raise their children to become true servants of Allah.