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15 May '16

Muslim Weddings in Oman

Posted by Priyanka S in Islamic culture

Oman is unique amongst Muslim countries as the practicing followers of Islam in the nation subscribe to the Al-Ibadiyyah denomination rather than the Sunni or Shi’a denominations. In marriage, this means that Omani Muslims are not permitted to marry partners who subscribe to other religions, even Judaism or Christianity, which other denomination permit. There are several other areas wherein the Omani Muslim marriage and ceremony differs from traditional Muslim practices:

• Males and females are allowed to choose their own marriage partners.
• A matchmaker or family member is not the person who determines the arrangement.

Before the wedding

As Muslims in Oman live in a society where the sexes are totally segregated, the process of choosing a bride for a young man can be tricky. In order to determine the suitability of a young woman, the young man will consult with a close female relative. Alternatively, or if he wishes to wed a girl from another location, he may ask for the help and opinions of a merchant or neighbor.

Before the prospective groom meets the bride formally, he must ask her family’s permission to see her. If they consent, a meeting is arranged wherein the girl serves a meal to members of the man’s family. If the girl is deemed appropriate, negotiations will take place between the groom or the groom’s father, in order to decided upon the bride price (mahr) that the man will pay. This price is based on the beauty of the girl, her ancestry, and whether or not she is a virgin. Men who select a bride whose family is of higher status than their own must pay a higher price; while marrying a relative may cost the groom nothing at all.

After the price has been agreed upon, the groom and the bride’s father will sign the contract at the office of an Omanian judge. The bride is not present for this procedure.


The separation of the sexes

As mentioned earlier, total separation of the sexes is a way of life in Oman, and this continues throughout the wedding proceedings.

• The groom’s family will remain together in a celebration that may last up to three days.
• The bride’s family will celebrate for one or two days, and during this time the bride will stay in a room with any children.

On the last day of celebrations, the men of the groom’s family will travel to the house of the bride’s family in cars or on camels, while the women follow behind. The men wait while the bride is dressed in her most beautiful clothes, usually including a green headdress and lots of traditional jewelry bought by her father. The bride is then accompanied by the women of her family to the groom and his party. Many people from the bride’s house follow the party back to the groom’s house, where they join in the festivities.

The ceremony

At the groom’s house, the parties are once again separated, the bridal party is served food and entertained, while the groom is stripped and shaved, then re-dressed in his finest clothes, including a green sash. The green on both the bride and the groom is expected to bring good fortune.

After the traditional ceremony, the bride and groom will go to the nuptial hut, which has been constructed by the friends of the groom. This honeymoon may last for up to one week, and the couple remains unpressed by duties at this time. They are also given an egg to crack with their feet, in order to promote fertility.


15 May '16

Moroccan Wedding Customs

Posted by Priyanka S in Islamic culture

Morocco, one of the gems of the North Africa, is the country with very rich and active traditions. Like other cultures of the world, a Moroccan wedding is a great gala event. It’s celebrated with great fun and festivity.

A typically traditional Moroccan wedding process can take up to seven days. It begins with several pre-wedding ceremonies that take place before the actual wedding. According to the old Moroccan wedding traditions, parents would choose the bride for their son. The pre-wedding ceremonies include sending gifts and presents to bride. If the parents of groom are pretty affluent, they send opulent golden jewelry, clothing, and perfumes for the bride.

It is important to note that some of the customs followed in Moroccan weddings have no foundation in Islam. However, the Moroccan culture has adopted those ceremonies and traditions from various cultures including the French.

Furnishing Party is an important pre-wedding ceremony that takes place five days before the fixed wedding date. The “Furnishing Party” focuses on preparation of the bride’s new home. The party that is primarily a women's party delivers household belongings such as handmade blanket, mattress, bedding, carpet, frash, Moroccan couch etc., to the couple's new apartment.

In another traditional pre-wedding ceremony, women and female friends of bride have a party where the bride performs a sort of a “milk bath” to "purify" her. Bride’s negaffa or negassa (female attendants) usually supervise the event. The female attendants, who are usually older married woman, female friends and relatives, help to beautify the bride. They help her dress in a richly decorated wedding kaftan (usually white), adorn her with heavy jewelry, and beautify and darken her eyes with kohl.

According to the traditional islamic practices of Moroccan wedding, Henna Party or Beberiska ceremony takes place a night before the wedding. Henna Party is typically for the women of the family, relatives and female friends. Henna artists paint the hands and feet of the bride and her party with Henna. Bride’s hands are painted with intricate designs, which are usually floral and geometrical designs that are meant to ward off evil spirits, bring good luck and increase fertility. The grooms name is often hidden in the henna designs. The party enjoys tea & cookies, dances on Moroccan music and make merry. Later in the party, the older, married women discuss the 'secrets' of marriage with the young virgin bride-to-be. In some ceremonies, the bride is placed behind a curtain to symbolize her change of lifestyle.

On the wedding day, sumptuous delicious food is prepared for the guests. The food is prepared in plenty to cater the unexpected guests. Wedding ceremony takes place in great gaieties and celebrations. In old times, at some point in the evening, the groom accompanied by his family members, relatives, and friends, would move towards the bridal party. They would go singing, beating drums, and dancing. The groom and the bride are then lead to the bridal chamber. According to another Moroccan wedding custom, the bride would circle her new home three times before becoming the keeper of her new hearth.

In the modern times things have changed a lot. In old Moroccan culture parents would choose a bride for a groom, but the things aren’t the same in the recent times. Young people choose their own marriage partners now. Some of these old Moroccan wedding cultures and traditions have either vanished away or exist only in the rural areas.

Modern Moroccan weddings usually take place at night at big villas that are solely rented out for weddings. The men usually wear suits, and the women don their best caftans made out of delicate laces, and often intricately beaded. The ceremony is full of singing, drumming, dancing, and merrymaking.

15 May '16

Muslim Weddings in Malaysia

Posted by Priyanka S in Islamic culture


Like other Muslim countries, young men and women in Malaysia seldom interact together in public, much less in private. However, Malaysian men have more say about who their future partner is going to be than in some other Muslim countries.

The selection of a woman is initiated by the young man, who suggests his choice to his mother. The mother will discuss the choice with her husband, and they will determine if the girl is free or not. If so, a gathering of information takes place, with the parents of the hopeful groom asking their close relatives and friends to find background on the girl and her family. If she is of good repute and if her parents are agreeable, preparations begin for the engagement ceremony. The formal proposal and the acceptance are conducted by go-betweens (syaraks) from both families.

Engagement ceremony

The engagement is formally announced by the village headman at a mosque during Friday prayers. After prayers, the families meet to discuss the date of the wedding, wedding arrangements, and the time when the token of commitment (hantaran) will be sent.

Along with hantaran, the groom will often send the wedding ring to his bride. He may also include a portion of the bride price, but this is usually sent at another time which is arranged by the syarak. The syarak will also deliver the bride price, and both families at this time will convey good wishes.

Wedding celebration

Guests are informed of the wedding through either through invitations or, more commonly, through word of mouth passed on by close relatives of the couple. It is not an exclusive affair, however, as most people in the village will attend. In fact, many people in the village will assist with preparations, which begin a few days before the ceremony.

The bride will take her place on a dais, where she will sit in state (besangin) before the ceremony begins.

The ceremony is called berinai besar. The groom wears his formal wedding attire and makes his way to the house of the bride’s family, accompanied by other men who play musical instruments. He begins the berinai ceremony, which is the staining of the bride’s hands with elaborate henna decorations. After he has done a bit, he takes his place beside his bride, while others finish the procedure. The couple are then sprinkled with yellow rice and scented water as a blessing. Guests typically receive gifts that symbolize fertility, such as eggs and flowers, or artificial representations. Guests may also “feed” the couple by placing a portion of rice into their hands).

The imam then performs the marriage readings and blessings, and formalizes the matters of payment and gifts. The bride price is made, and the couple is announced as husband and wife.

As in many Muslim countries, the gifts of the guests are given to the bride, and are considered hers alone. These are brought forward to where the couple is sitting by the bride’s syarak.

15 May '16

Muslim Weddings in Indonesia

Posted by Priyanka S in Islamic culture

Practitioners of Islam are in the overwhelming majority in Indonesia, but the group of islands in fact includes many different ethnic groups, each of which brings their unique style of ceremony and celebration to the joining of a couple in matrimony. One of the most important parts of the Indonesian wedding is declaring one's religion; the government of the country does not recognize unions that are not made under the auspices of some religion. Islamic marriages are not required to be registered in the Civil Registry, although those between other religions are.

Islamic marriages in Indonesia must be presided over by both a government official and a religious officiator.


One of the most intricate marriage unions in Indonesia, or anywhere else in the world, takes place within the Bugis tribe who live east of Borneo. The nuptials of a Bugis couple is a highly traditional and regimented procedure, within the guiding principles of Islam.

The family of a young man will usually decide on a young woman they would prefer their son to marry. Their decision is made known to their son, who will tell his parents how he feels about the choice. Upon his acceptance, the young woman is asked if she has any strong feelings against the union as it has been proposed. If she does not, an intermediate is used to determine if a bride's parents will be receptive to the proposal; if an acceptance is likely, the interceder will propose a marriage to the family of the bride.

The Ceremony 

The intercedent may be accompanied by other representatives of the groom to make the formal marriage proposal. This proposal will take place at a ceremony where refreshments will be served. Giving of gifts is an important aspect of this ceremony, with the bride's family receiving gifts from that of the groom. A bride with a higher social status means that the groom's family has to ask what gifts are preferred, while equal rank means that the groom's family may give whatever gifts they choose.


The formal announcement of the marriage takes place at the Engagement Meeting, with the readings from the Quran and the cleansing ceremony taking place.

Similarities between cultures

While each tribe of Indonesia has its own wedding customs, there are several aspects of Indonesian wedding ceremonies that are similar to each ethnicity.
• Indonesian weddings are large. Everyone remotely associated with the couple are invited. Attendance is mandatory, if the guest wishes not to offend the hosts.
• Receptions are raucous affairs, with dancing, many dishes of food, and elaborate dresses.

Some differences

• Among the Bugis, the marriage ceremony is known as the nikah. The groom’s mother and father do not attend this ceremony, which is conducted by an imam.
• In Northern Sumatra, the bride’s party recites poetry to welcome the groom to the bride’s home, where the ceremony is performed.
• On Bali, groom wears a sword during the wedding.
• On Java, the bride and groom both sit on the lap of the father of the bride, one on each leg. The father states that both of the individuals weigh the same; this symbolizes that the couple are equal as individuals in the eyes of their family.

15 May '16

Muslim Weddings in Egypt

Posted by Priyanka S in Islamic culture

The population of Egypt is 94% Sunni Muslim, thus the culture of the country is highly influenced by traditional Muslim practices. This includes areas pertaining to marriage, although Egypt is less traditional in this area - particularly in the relationship of the couple before a marriage - than many other traditional Muslim countries.

Meeting a partner

Traditional Islamic practices in Egypt dictate that there is to be no dating or other types of interactions prior to a couple's getting married. However, there are still social occasions where Egyptian men and women have a chance to meet each other. Usually, this will take place at a school or in a place of work.

In such circumstances, it is possible that a young man and a young woman may fall in love and desire a marital union. These marriages are traditionally opposed, although the family will usually relent if the couple remains committed to the idea, as long as both the man and woman are of the same social and educational status. Outside of a love match, Egyptian weddings are arranged, with the families of both bride and groom making inquiries of friends, relatives, and neighbors as to the other's standing and conduct.

If a union is deemed suitable by both families, the man and woman are permitted to meet and begin socializing. If they like each other, several more meetings with families are arranged, and an engagement party organized. At this party, the groom will give the bride a wedding ring.

The Ceremony

The marriage contract is signed by the groom at the ceremony along with the family of the bride. There are also members of both families present as witnesses, although the bride herself is not in the room. Instead, she waits in a separate room and the contract is brought to her for her approval.

The ceremony itself follows traditional Muslim practices, including reading passages of the Quran and the Kitbah (formal betrothal). It may take place in a mosque, a secular establishment such as a hotel, or at the home of one of the couple's family.


The reception

The wedding ceremony at an Egyptian wedding is followed by the wedding feast, or walimah. In urban areas, this feast is celebrated with both sexes present, and includes a formal presentation of the couple, who often walk holding hands down a path formed with two lines of guests on either side. The rings which were received at the engagement party are switched from the right to the left hand, and there is cake, meats, pastry, sweets, nuts, salad and rice in large quantities. The bride will often throw a bouquet to the unwed ladies at the wedding, with whoever catches it forecast as being the next to get married. There is also music and dancing.

Weddings in the Egyptian countryside are more formal. Men and women are often segregated, with the bride covering her face with a veil during the ceremony.