SUNNI METHOD OF NIKAH
The actual marriage ceremony is quite simple. A day is chosen (preferably as soon as possible after the engagement) and announced. The prophet (upon him be peace) encouraged that marriages should be announced well, so that the community learns of this communion and do not look at the couple with suspicion when seen together. Therefore, a marriage should not be contracted in secret.
Thereafter, the following should be observed for the actual ceremony:
The best time is a Friday after the ‘Asr prayer in the masjid. The Messenger of Allah (upon him be peace) said, “Announce this marriage, and perform it in the masjid… (Tirmidhi).
Scholars and other pious people should be invited to gain the blessing of their presence and their du’as along with the blessing of Friday and the masjid.
The nikah should be performed by a pious person.
Two witnesses should be chosen and present at the gathering. The Messenger of Allah (upon him be peace) said, “There is no marriage without a wali and two upright witnesses… (Ibn Hibban). Although all those present could potentially be witnesses, it is better to have two formal witnesses who sign the marriage contract and can be called upon in the event of any problems.
The marriage payment [dowry or mahr] should be stipulated beforehand and the person performing the ceremony should be informed of the amount.
The bride should preferably send a wali (her father, uncle, brother or any such elder) to represent her. The wali should be present in the gathering. The Messenger of Allah (upon him be peace) said, “A women should not marry herself off [i.e. without a wali] (Ibn maja). In the Hanafi school, the consent of a mature bride is necessary and she cannot be married off without it. The Messenger of Allah (upon him be peace) said, “A virgin cannot be married off without her permission.” They asked as to how her permission is given. He replied, “Her silence” (Bukhari and Muslim).
When the bride grants her wali [representative] the permission to marry her to the groom, it is preferable to have two people (from among her mahrams) to witness this also. Although, the representation is valid without witnesses, however, in the event of problems their testimony would be needed to prove that she consented to her marriage to the groom.
The sunna khutba [sermon] will be recited first by the imam performing the marriage. This khutba includes the three verses of taqwa, and a hadith or two about marriage, exhorting the couple and those present to fear Allah and attain taqwa (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Nasai, Ahmad).
After the khutba the imam will ask the representative (1) if he gives consent to the bride’s (taking her complete name) marriage (2) to the groom (again taking the complete name) (3) for the stipulated amount of marriage payment (4) in the presence of the two witnesses. If the representative consents then the imam turns to the groom and ask him if he accepts the bride (taking her name) in his marriage for the stipulated amount of marriage payment. The groom has to reply in complete terms such as, “I accept her in my marriage” or ” I have accepted her in my marriage” or “I do marry her.” It is preferable that he say this and not just “I do” or “I accept.”
The imam should then recite the following du’a,
“Barak Allahu laka wa baraka alayka wa jama’a baynakuma bikhayr.”
May Allah bless you and have His blessing descend upon you and unite you in goodness.
Thereafter, he will make other du’as for the couple and those present.
It is then sunna the next day or the day after once the couple have consummated their marriage or entered into privacy together to provide a walima reception. This is provided by the groom and his family and is not a responsibility of the bride. The Messenger of Allah (upon him be peace) provided walima after many of his marriages by feeding the people a goat. Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) relates that the Messenger of Allah (upon him be peace) provided a walima on the occasion of the consummation of his marriage with Zaynab bint Jahsh. He provided meat and bread to the fill off his guests (Bukhari). On the occasion of his marriage to Safiyya bint Huyay ibn Akhtab he even had what may be considered a “pot luck” nowadays in North America where each person brought what he had and they sat down together and ate it (Bukhari and Muslim).
Some masjids and imams have the legal capacity to solemnize a marriage which is then recognized by the state, county or local council. This is extremely beneficial as it does not entail re-performing the marriage again in a civil ceremony.
SERMON OF NIKAH ALSO KNOWN AS KHUTBATUL-HAJJAH
إِنَّ الحَمدَ لِلَّهِ ، نَسْتَعِينُهُ وَنَسْتَغفِرُهُ ، وَنَعُوذُ بِهِ مِن شُرُورِ أَنفُسِنَا ، مَن يَهدِهِ اللَّهُ فَلا مُضِلَّ لَهُ ، وَمَن يُضلِل فَلا هَادِيَ لَه ، وَأَشهَدُ أَن لا إِلَهَ إِلا اللَّهُ وَأَشهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا عَبدُهُ وَرَسُولُه .
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُواْ رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالاً كَثِيراً وَنِسَاء وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءلُونَ بِهِ وَالأَرْحَامَ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيباً
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلاَ تَمُوتُنَّ إِلاَّ وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلاً سَدِيداً يُصْلِحْ لَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَمَن يُطِعْ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزاً عَظِيماً
Praise be to Allah, we seek His help and His forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allah from the evil of our own souls and from our bad deeds. Whomsoever Allah guides will never be led astray, and whomsoever Allah leaves astray, no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) is His slave and Messenger
[4:1] O men, fear your Lord who created you from a single soul, and from it created its match, and spread many men and women from the two. Fear Allah in whose name you ask each other (for your rights), and fear (the violation of the rights of) the womb-relations. Surely, Allah is watchful over you.
[3:102] O you who believe, fear Allah, as He should be feared, and let not yourself die save as Muslims.
[33:70] O you who believe, fear Allah, and speak in straightforward words.
[33:71] (If you do so,) Allah will correct your deeds for your benefit, and forgive your sins for you. Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger achieves a great success.
CONGRATULATING THE GROOM:
It is from the Sunnah of Rasul-ullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) to congratulate the groom with this dua:
بَارَكَ اللَّهُ لَكَ وَبَارَكَ عَلَيْكَ وَجمََعَ بَيْنَكُمَا فِي الخَْيْرِ
May Allah bless you and bless it for you and may He join you with goodness! [Tirmidhi]
SHIA METHOD OF NIKAH
Nikah is performed as follows;
The person (an Imam or a sensible person) who is going to solemnize nikah firstly writes the name of the girl going to marry, for instance he writes “Fatima bint-i Ahmed”.
Then he writes the name of the agent of the girl, for example “Ali bin Zayd”.
Then he writes the names of the two testifiers.
Then he writes the name of the boy going to marry, for example “Omar bin Hussein”.
Then he writes the name of the agent of the boy, if the boy is not present.
Then he writes the amount of mahr-i mueccel (mahr paid in advance) and mahr-i muaccel (mahr paid on account) by asking both parts. (mahr: the money which is supposed to be given by the man as a right to the woman)
Then he seeks refuge in Allah and recites A’udhu-Bismillah
(A’udhubillahiminasshaytanirrajimm- Bismillahirrahmanirrahim) and says;
“Alhamdu lillahillezi zavvacal arvaha bil ashbah ve ahallannikaha ve harramessifah. Vassalatu vassalamu ala rasulena Muhammadinillezi bayyana-l-harame va-l-mubah ve ala Alihi va Aashabi-hillezina hum ahlussalahi valfalah”.
Then he recites again A’udhu-Bismillah and reads 32nd verse of the Surah An- Nur (24th chapter of the Quran) and after he reads “Sadakallahuladhim”.
Then he says; “Kale rasulallah, “An-nikahu sunneti faman ragiba an sünneti falaysa minni” sadaka Resulullah. ‘Bismillahi va ala sunnet-i rasulillah’”
Then he asks the agent of the girl;
“By the order of Allah and the sunnah of Rasulallah and the rule (ijtiha) of the Imam of our sect (Abu Hanife) and the testimony of present Muslims, do you agree, since you are the agent of the girl, to give Fatima bint-i Ahmad in marriage to Omar bin Hussein, who promise to give such amount of mahr-i mueccel and mahr-i muaccel?”
Then he reads the same pray by starting from (Bismillahi va ala) and asks the agent of the boy going to marry; “And since you are the agent of the boy going to marry, do you agree to take Fatima bint-i Ahmad in marriage to Omar bin Hussein by agreeing to give such amount of mahr-i mueccel and mahr-i muaccel?”
Three times the questions are asked to the parts and the answers are received from them. Then the prayer given below is recited;
(Allahummac’al hadhal akta maymunan mubarakan vacal beyna-huma ulfetan va mahabbeten va karara va la tac’al beyna-huma nafratan va fitnetan va ferara. Allahumma allif baynahuma kema allafta beyna Adama va Havva. Va kama allafta beyna Muhammadin va Khatica-tal-Kubra va Ai?a -ta umm-il muminine . Va beyna Aliyyin va Fatima-taz-Zahra. Allahumma ati la-huma evladan salihan ve umran tavelan va rizkan vasian. Rabbena hab lana min azvacina va zurriyatina kurrata ayunin vac’alna lil muttekina imama. Rabbena atina fiddunya hasanatan va fil ahirati hasanatan va kina azabannar. Sabhana rabbika rabbilizzati amma yasifun va salamun alal mursaleen valhamdulillahi rabbilalameen al fatiha).
Therby performing nikah finishes.