What's wrong with our wedding celebrations?
At the time of marriage, our Islamic values are undermined and even obliterated. This leads to irresponsible choices, and have transformed weddings into displays of status and ostentation. The very institution of marriage itself is lacking observance of the sunnah.
Islamic marriage celebrations are supposed to be simple, understated and modest. On the day of the marriage ceremony, the father has to hand the daughter over to the husband. After the marriage has been consummated, then a wedding feast is hosted to feed the poor as a token of gratitude to Allah for the happy occasion.
Today, weddings are mostly to display the social standing of the respective families. Countless marriages are delayed to accommodate the schedules of family members, as otherwise they will get upset and this will cause friction for decades to come. The interest of the couple takes a backseat. Marriages can take years to plan, to become a glittering and showy affair, with immense pressure on the guests to attend from all over the world despite the prohibitive costs. There is little thought for Allah, because the focus is on the bride's dress, make up artist, flower arrangements and caterers. All these levels of showing off are contrary to the teachings of Islam.
The underlying issue is not the wedding ceremony itself rather than the lack of faith of the key persons involved. Gone are the days of the Companions where an iron ring (not even one made of semi precious metal!) would suffice as the dowry.
If every girl were raised to be the role model for Allah, and be willing to forego the wedding dress, celebrations, jewellery and other excessive expenses, and instead spends that equivalent amount for sabeelillah, imagine how blessed that marriage would be from the very outset.
The problem, which is not just specific to wedding celebrations, is not the knowledge, for that can be obtained easily, but the niyyah to carry out that knowledge.
Reported by 'Umar bin Al-Khattab (RA): Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, "The deeds are considered by the intentions, and a person will get the reward according to his intention. So whoever emigrated for Allah and His Messenger, his emigration will be for Allah and His Messenger; and whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration would be for what he emigrated for". [Bukhari & Muslim]
How many potential brides and grooms put their feet down and refuse an elaborate wedding? In the time of marriage, we disregard the rules of Allah, and often parents are to blame. There has been more than one incident of the parents forcing their children to incorporate cultural rituals into the ceremony, even if these rituals imitate pagan beliefs, and if the child refuses, the mother will invoke the "jannah is under my feet" card or some other ugly form of emotional blackmail.
Yet on the other side of the coin, if the couple is mature enough to get married and start a family, then what prevents them from speaking the truth? We can stand up against our parents to assert our rights in the matters of dunia but not in matters of akhirah. Despite any beard, hijab or niqab, the reality of the daughters and the parents expose the true lack of iman. The parents make the choice for the daughters while disregarding the guidelines set by Allah. How hawk eyed they are on the brand of cars and shoes, but willing to overlook the lack of any Islam.
Reported by Abu Hurairah (RA): The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "A woman is married for four things: for her wealth, for her lineage, for her beauty or for her piety. Select the pious, may you be blessed!" [Bukhari & Muslim].
Yet we reject this advice because we think that the hadith is out-dated and irrelevant. We apply what we think is better, which is inevitably a choice based on passion, emotions, materialism and superficiality. Sadly, this is also a choice motivated by the parents and the education inculcated from within the family. How many mothers start the day by asking for a blessed day for herself and her children, discuss ahadeeth or the Companions as part of their routine conversations or about akhirah? The focus is usually on exam results, the best schools and the best bakery for the next birthday cake.
Preserving the next generation
In life, we are supposed grab the opportunity to perform any good deed before the door is permanently closed, whether by illness, death or other circumstances. As husband or wife, what do you want from each other and from your children? What is the mother attentive about – the size of the children, the status, or their status in Islam? What defines the qualities in the children?
The responsibility is not only for the women to shoulder. Men are supposed to be the role models and leaders of their household, but many husbands do not demonstrate the shining leadership and qualities required of the head of the family. To make it harder for the husband, he is forced to work extra hard to meet the material demands of the family, comes home exhausted and then is given a hard time for not giving enough attention to the family.