Tuesday 29 October 2019

Shameless Weddings

I got an interesting e-mail a few weeks ago, rebuking me for being a bad Muslim because my family have big weddings and for wasting money when people are suffering across the world. Basically, saying I have no shame and should set a better example.
I haven't got around to replying yet...but where do I even start.

I could get angry and be nasty about it, but there are two good things worth pointing out:
1.     This person at least had the guts and made the effort to say what they think.
2.     I am quite shameless and proud of it – shameless in asking for help, offering help, sticking my nose in when I see something wrong, in asking questions.  It has taken a lifetime to get this way and I am grateful and relieved. Oh, and shameless when it comes to having fun, I love halal fun and can't apologise for this.

Other than this...ouch, you accept when you share your stories that you will be criticised, challenged and maybe even trolled. But perhaps readers forget that what they are seeing is not the whole story. This is not from my attempts to sanitise my life, but usually to maintain someone's privacy or to avoid backbiting or upsetting someone.

To set out my personal belief: I don’t agree with lavish, overly extravagant weddings that land people in debt, encourage one-upmanship or mean that people are doing things that are haram or disliked by Allah (SWT). I think these things strip away the blessings from your life and marriage and put unfair pressure on others to do the same.

Saying that, when I had my wedding, I wasn’t of the same mind and had over 1000 people, mostly family/clan (my families doing, not mine, I didn’t know who most of them were).  So I understand where young people are coming from, when they want a special day.

Most of the weddings you see on the blog are either family affairs or friends weddings we are attending as guests.  For family weddings, all of these have been at a fraction of the budget for a typical wedding, most of the events, d├ęcor and even some of the food for the pre-wedding events has been done by hand, at home or by all of us pitching in.  We sisters are good at that - collaborating to make the most of our resources and benefit the most people we can.

At pretty much every wedding in the family, my husband specially and I have tried to encourage the wedding to be segregated and to avoid music.  We can advise and encourage but not force others to live by our values.  At one family members wedding there was a mini war of attrition all day between my husband who kept trying to switch the music off and my brother who kept switching it on for the various family and bridal entrances.  As I say – you can advise, you cannot force.

Where we are guests at other people's weddings, we don’t have control over what goes on, but I love food and people and good company, so I usually enjoy a good wedding.  If I'm being invited, who I am I to turn my nose up?

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say: ‘The rights of a Muslim over his fellow Muslim are five: returning greetings, visiting the sick, attending funerals, accepting invitations, and saying Yarhamuk Allaah (may Allaah have mercy on you) when he sneezes.’” (Saheeh al-Bukhaari (1164) and Saheeh Muslim (4022))

I also love weddings because I love hanging out with (most of) my extended family, I can't invite them all over because they don’t seem to be able to sit in the same room together, but they seem to be able to behave at weddings (just about, and again not all). 

Certainly, at family weddings, the family often use it as an excuse to make up with people who are not talking to each other, to invite those who are not speaking to us.  An occasion and a way to heal wounds and maintain kinship ties

Other than that, I can only say that I pray that when it comes to my on children's weddings that I have been able to convince them over the years of the benefits of simplicity.  They might listen and take this route, but again they may not.  And the sunnah is simple but doesn't mean it cannot be generous, the nikah of the Prophet (sallallaho Alaihi wasallam) and his companions (radi allahu anhum) varied from the very simple, to feeding greater numbers of people with different types of food.

The person who e-mailed me did share something I thought was useful, which I wanted to share here to inspire us:

An account of the wedding of the most beloved daughter of our Prophet RasoolAllah (sallallaho Alaihi wasallam) Fatimah (radhiallah anha):
The venue: Masjid Nabawi
The occasion: The marraige of the most beloved daughter of the world Fatimah bint Muhammad (Sallallaho Alaihi wasallam).
The guests: A few of the Sahaba (companions of the Prophet Sallalaho Alaihi wasallam) Radhiallah anh.
The Groom: Ali bin Abi Talib (RadhiAllah unh) who came alone, no procession, no fanfare.
The Time: A short Khutba (sermon) of a few minutes by RasoolAllah ( Sallallaho Alaihi wassalam) and the exchange of vows (the nikah).
The Meal: A handful of dried dates.
The bride is then taken to the groom's house by her father RasoolAllah (Sallallaho Alaihi wasallam), who departs after supplicating to Allah for granting Barakah in this union.

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