The Muslim marriage process is essentially comprised of some of the following steps - Rules related to Islamic marriage in Quran are also included.
This is the process by which a man and a woman become husband and wife. The short ceremony is usually conducted by an Imam. A minimum of two witnesses are required to be present in the nikah. The bride must always be accompanied by a Wali or guradian. During this ceremony the mahr (or marriage gift) that the groom gives to his bride is also decided. The Imam delivers the "Khutbah" of the nikah, which is a sermon with Quranic verses and Islamic speech. The Nikah process makes both the man and woman legal for each other as husband and wife. There is no requirement for special fanfare regarding elaborate parties, functions, wearing special clothing, etc. (See Islamic Clothing for Women here)
The Dukhlah (or Rukhsati as it is referred to in the Indo-Pakistan regions), is the process of "publicly" sending the bride and groom to live as husband and wife. In many cultures this is a very elaborate ceremony. Visit the Muslim Wedding section to review details of some of the traditions in various Islamic countries and cultures.
Walimah is an official lunch or dinner invitation by the groom and his family to their family and friends to declare the marriage. In most countries, Walima is followed within a day or two after the dukhlah.
Before marriage, an engagement process is bride's and groom's intention to marry each other. Some Islamic opinions on this matter are included in the Muslim Engagement section
Marriage in Quran
Quran makes many references to marriage that can be found in the Quran on Muslim Marriage link.
The prophet Muhammad (SAWS) said: "When the servant of Allah marries, he has fulfilled half the (responsibilities laid on him by the) faith; so let him be God conscious with respect to the other half". (Mishkat) -
Get Muslim Marriage Islamic Books here.
See Islamic teachings for Muslim women
Maintaining a Healthy Muslim Marriage
Recent latest marriage research confirms that a quality marriage is one of the single most important investment that a person can make to live a healthy life. Those who have studied and practiced Islam know that the religion and the teachings and practices of Prophet Muhammad (SAWS), are the best guide to enable Muslim couples to sustain a healthy relationship with each other.
As couples or as couples-to-be, every person knows that disputes and disagreements are bound to be present in every relationship. However, disagreement, disputes and conflicts are natural and healthy only if they are managed properly.
Experience and research also suggests that without investing your time and effort, relationship offer suffers – and unfortunately can become extremely draining on both partners. Muslim Marriage Excerpts from the Quran
And give to the women (whom you marry) their Mahr (obligatory bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart; but if they, of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, take it, and enjoy it without fear of any harm (as Allah has made it lawful). (Quran, Surah An-Nisa, Chapter #4, Verse #4)
And divorced women shall wait (as regards their marriage) for three menstrual periods, and it is not lawful for them to conceal what Allah has created in their wombs, if they believe in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands have the better right to take them back in that period, if they wish for reconciliation. And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect) to what is reasonable, but men have a degree (of responsibility) over them. And Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.
(Quran, Surah Al-Baqara, Chapter #2, Verse #228)
And those of you who die and leave wives behind them, they (the wives) shall wait (as regards their marriage) for four months and ten days, then when they have fulfilled their term, there is no sin on you if they (the wives) dispose of themselves in a just and honourable manner (i.e. they can marry). And Allah is Well-Acquainted with what you do.
( Quran, Surah Al-Baqara, Chapter #2, Verse #234)
There is no sin on you, if you divorce women while yet you have not touched (had sexual relation with) them, nor appointed unto them their Mahr (bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage). But bestow on them (a suitable gift), the rich according to his means, and the poor according to his means, a gift of reasonable amount is a duty on the doers of good. (Quran, Surah Al-Baqara, Chapter #2, Verse #236)
And if you divorce them before you have touched (had a sexual relation with) them, and you have appointed unto them the Mahr (bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage), then pay half of that (Mahr), unless they (the women) agree to forego it, or he (the husband), in whose hands is the marriage tie, agrees to forego and give her full appointed Mahr. And to forego and give (her the full Mahr) is nearer to At-Taqwa (piety, righteousness). And do not forget liberality between yourselves. Truly, Allah is All-Seer of what you do. (Quran, Surah Al-Baqara, Chapter #2, Verse #237)
Conditions for valid Muslim Marriage Contract
Question: What is the correct Islamic procedure for a marriage ceremony, I mean if two Muslims are married (legally) without the presence of a religious "person" (like imam etc.), does that mean the marriage is non-existent in terms of Islam?
All praise is due to Allah.
A Muslim marriage contract is valid in Islam if the following conditions are met, even if the marriage does not take place in a court, or in the presence of a Judge or the Imam of the masjid. In addition, it does not need to be written.
The wali (guardian) of the girl has accepted the proposal by saying, for example, "I marry you my daughter", and the one who proposed has replied, for example, by " I accept," or "I am satisfied" (i.e. with his acceptance). This takes place in the presence of two witnesses The woman is legally eligible to marry the man according to Islamic shari'ah (that is she is not a Mahram of the proposer [those to whom the proposer is forbidden to marry. etc.])
Allah knows best.