Whether it’s the music, the attire, or the atmosphere, the answer can be found by referring to the books of jurisprudence and applying the appropriate ruling to each individual situation.
“What do you mean no music?! A wedding without dancing?! Come on…why do you have to complicate things?!” Sound familiar? Maybe it’s the voice of a friend or family member? Maybe it reminds you of yourself at some point in your life? Even if the words about don’t ring a bell, the implication behind the mentioned words should be taken seriously.
Sometimes, many of us who don’t know any better seem to get caught up in the culturally idealized form of celebration, inadvertently trampling over Islamic principles in the process of having “fun”.
Then again, there are other times when some Muslims are totally aware of the fact that they are committingHaram acts, and yet are willing to disobey their Lord in exchange for a few hours of limited pleasure.
But hold on a second, is there no other way to have “fun”? Is there no other way to enjoy a celebration than to stomp over the guidelines of our beloved Master and Creator?
Better yet, before talking about alternative options, why should a Muslim even try to look for an alternative way to celebrate marriage, for example? After all, some family and friends are anxious to show off their “fashionable” attire in front of the other guests or, in some cases, on the dance floor. A wedding without music that “makes you move” would be a real bummer. Most importantly, if you’re a bride, this is your chance to look good for everyone in attendance. They will all be focused on you…paying close attention to your every move, many will be looking for anything to criticize. If you’re the groom, here’s your opportunity to be the topic of gossip circles…
Here are some reasons why Muslims should strive to take another route:
Celebrating marriage is great, but the focus, naturally, should be on the marriage, before it is on the celebration! In other words, this sanctified relationship between husband and wife, under the umbrella of the Merciful Allah’s law, should be the core of any marriage celebration.
The whole point of having a legal marriage is that it is blessed by Allah. It would be foolish to commit acts which displease Allah in celebration of such a marriage. Let’s put it this way: if a husband and wife were truly sincere about having a sacred bond in the eyes of Allah, they would not start off their marriage on the wrong foot – by intentionally violating Allah’s commands.
The acts which Allah has forbidden are definitely harmful, either physically, metaphysically, or both – for the individual, others, or both. Usually, when there are Haram acts associated with weddings, Muslims, even the “not-so-religious” ones, can notice the negative effects.
In most cases when the celebration does not require Islamic attire, the atmosphere of the gathering is rather provocative and plants the seeds for gossip. “Oh look at his hair, he’s going bald… Oh look what she’s wearing… Hasn’t she gained weight?”
As for the forbidden music and/or dancing, one obvious negative effect is that, for the most part, people who actively participate in such acts neglect the remembrance of Allah, which in turn leads to vile consequences on the self and others. Many a time, the person committing the forbidden act is too neglectful of Allah’s remembrance to even notice the ill in his/her action. There are numerous other Haram practices which can be criticized, but the bottom line is that a celebration of marriage should revolve around pleasing Allah, not Shaitan.
So, how about alternatives? A sincere believer must first realize that Allah has said, “…and whoever is careful (of his/her duty to Allah), He will make for him/her an outlet” (65:2). The guidelines which Allah has relayed to us through His Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him and his progeny) have been clearly stated in the books of our Religious Authorities.
Whether it’s the music, the attire, or the atmosphere, the answer can be found by referring to the books of jurisprudence and applying the appropriate ruling to each individual situation. Any celebration scenario that falls within the guidelines is perfectly fine.
But, why not ask this question: How did the Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them) celebrate marriages?
To answer this important question, here is an excerpt from A Restatement of the History of Islam and Muslims by Sayed Ali Asgher Razwy:
“On the last day of Zilqa’ad (the 11th month), Muhammad Mustafa, the Apostle of God, invited the Muhajireen and the Ansar, to attend a banquet, on the occasion of the marriage of his daughter. He was going to be their host. When all the guests arrived, and were seated, he obtained, once again, the formal consent of his daughter for her marriage with Ali ibn Abi Talib (peace be upon him).
“Muhammad Mustafa praised Allah and thanked Him for all His mercies. He then read the sermon of marriage; declared Ali and Fatima husband and wife, and invoked the blessings of Allah upon both of them. All the guests congratulated the Apostle on this most auspicious occasion. After this ceremony, the guests feasted upon lamb meat, bread, date fruit and milk.
“A few days later, i.e., in Zilhajj (the 12th month), Fatima Zahra had to bid farewell to her parental home, so she could go to the house of her husband. Her father assisted her in riding his she-camel. Medina rang with the shouts of Allah-o-Akbar. Salman the Persian held the reins of the she-camel and walked in front of it, as he recited Qur’an. The Apostle of God walked on one side of the she-camel, and Hamza, the Lion of God, on the other. All the young cavaliers of Bani Hashim rode as escorts of the bride, with gleaming swords held high. Behind them were the Muhajir and Ansar women, and behind them came the Muhajireen and the Ansar themselves. They were reciting hymns from Al-Qur’an al-Majid to the glory of God. The recitation of hymns was punctuated from time to time by thunderous shouts of Allah-o-Akbar.
“This heavenly cavalcade made a circuit of the Great Mosque of Medina, and then halted at its destination – the house of the bridegroom – Ali ibn Abi Talib. Muhammad Mustafa aided his daughter in alighting from the she-camel. He held her hand, and symbolically placed it in the hand of her husband, and then, standing at the threshold of the house, said the following prayer:
“‘O Allah! I commend Fatima and Ali, Thy humble slaves, to Thy protection. Be Thou their Protector. Bless them. Be pleased with them, and bestow Thy boundless grace, mercy, and Thy best rewards upon them. Make their marriage fruitful, and make both of them steadfast in Thy love, and Thy service.'”