Nikah Ceremony: Everything You Need to Know (2023)

The Muslim wedding, also known as the Nikah ceremony, is one of the most celebrated occasions in Islam because marriage is a Prophetic tradition. With more than 1.9 billion Muslims around the world, the traditions followed at a wedding can differ greatly depending on families, sects, and cultures but the fundamentals of the Nikah ceremony and getting married as a Muslim are always the same.

What Is the Nikah Ceremony?

The Nikah ceremony is the Muslim marriage ceremony. In the Islamic tradition, the marriage contract is signed during the Nikah and it’s during this event that the bride and groom say, “I do.”

Traditionally, the Nikah ceremony often takes place in a mosque and the leader or imam of the mosque officiates the Nikah. Most couples will set up a time for the Nikah and invite family and friends to attend the ceremony. In the Islamic tradition, the Nikah is supposed to be as simple as possible, so as not to place a financial burden on the couple.

Nowadays, it’s also common to have the Nikah ceremony either at a venue or at the bride’s house, and depending on the family, the event can become quite glamorous as people tend to mix Islamic and Western traditions.

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The Meaning of the Nikah Ceremony

The Nikah is a religious ceremony for a Muslim couple to be legally wed under Islamic law. It’s a Prophetic tradition and the only permissible way that a man and woman can be married. This ceremony makes the wedding official because in the Islamic tradition it’s not permissible for a couple to be intimate without a Nikah. The Nikah legitimizes the relationship in front of God and it’s when the couple says, “I accept.”

“Marriage in Islam is a blessing,” says Imam Steve Mustafa Elturk, “and it is considered a very important part of faith.”

Meet the Expert

Imam Steve Mustafa Elturk is the president of the Islamic Organization of North America (IONA) in Warren, Michigan. He has officiated hundreds of Nikahs for Muslim couples is very active in the Muslim community and is seen as a leader and advisor.

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Nikah Ceremony Requirements

The Proposal

As with any marriage, someone has to propose for the Nikah process to start. Imam Elturk explains that the woman or the man can make the proposal as long as the intention is for marriage. While in many cultures, it is often more common for a man to propose, in Islam the woman (or her family) can propose, “as was the case with Khadijah, the first wife of the Prophet, peace, and blessings upon him,” Elturk says.

The Acceptance

The Qubool is the acceptance of the proposal—but you don’t have to say yes right away. During the time between the proposal and the acceptance, the couple can meet as many times as they like to get to know each other as long as the meeting takes place in public or within close proximity of a chaperon.

Imam Elturk always advises couples to ask questions and see if they’re compatible during this time. Once both people decide they want to move forward and make it official, the Nikah ceremony can take place.

The Witnesses

For the Nikah, there has to be a minimum of two male witnesses that can attest to the fact that both the bride and groom say, “I do” or “Qubool” from their own free will and without any force from family members or anyone else. It must be the bride and the groom who agree.

The Mahr

The Mahr is an obligatory gift from the groom to the bride that the bride or her family can request. More often than not, it is a lump sum of money that the bride decides. Other times, the bride may ask for a trip, gold, or anything she wishes. Of course, she is encouraged to be fair and keep her future husband’s income in mind.The Mahr is also symbolic of the responsibility the man has for providing for and taking care of his wife.

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The Wali

The Wali is the father of the bride who “gives away” his daughter. Imam Elturk explains that the Wali gets the consent from the bride—he does not give it on her behalf without asking her. If the father is deceased or there is some reason that he cannot “walk her down the aisle,” so to say, then another male guardian or relative can take on that role.

The Nikah

Once all the requirements are met anyone can officiate the Nikah ceremony. The bride and groom repeat the word “qubool” or "I accept" three times. Then the couple and the two male witnesses sign the contract, which the imam can provide or the couple can get their own, making the marriage legal according to civil and religious law.

Nikah Ceremony FAQs

Do the bride and groom exchange vows?

Traditionally, the bride and groom do not exchange vows. Imam Elturk explains that the imam or officiant will often recite a chapter or a couple of verses from the Quran, the Muslim holy book, and give a short sermon, or khutba, sometimes about the meaning of marriage, the rights, and responsibilities of the husband and wife or a similar topic.

Will the event be segregated?

If the Nikah takes place in the mosque, it’s likely that men and women will be segregated during the ceremony. The wali can accept the Nikah and marriage contract on behalf of the bride in that case. However, if the Nikah takes place at a venue or at home, segregation often depends on the couple’s culture or level of religiosity of the family.

What should I wear?

Dressing appropriately for a Nikah is important, especially if the event is at a mosque. It’s better to dress formally but modestly. Men and women should cover their legs and arms and women may be asked to wear a headscarf in a mosque. You can wear any color you like but guests are encouraged to dress up and celebrate with the couple. Don’t be afraid to ask the bride or groom what they prefer.

Will there be music?

It’s unlikely to have music at a Nikah, especially if it is held at the mosque. Because it’s a religious event, music and dancing aren’t too common. However, some families might have music if the event isn’t at the mosque or have soft background music after the ceremony is complete.

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Will there be food?

Yes! It’s uncommon for Muslims not to have food at any event. The event is sometimes broken up into two parts if the ceremony is held at the mosque, so sweets may be passed out immediately afterward to celebrate the new union and dinner may be held at a different location. Depending on the family and their culture, the type of food may vary.

Will alcohol be served?

No. Alcohol is forbidden in Islam so alcoholic drinks are rarely (if ever) served at any Muslim event.

How to Plan a Nikah Ceremony

Once the couple has agreed to get married, planning a Nikah is similar to other events but the first thing to do is have all the religious requirements in place. Couples will often pick a date and decide on the venue. If the Nikah will be held at the mosque, get a time and date confirmed with the imam and invite your family and friends. The couple also needs to decide if they will serve food at a different location.

If the event is not at the mosque, make sure the imam or the officiant can be at the ceremony for the wedding and either he brings a marriage contract, or you provide him with one.

Ask two male relatives, often one from the bride’s side and one from the groom’s side, to be the witnesses and it’s best to decide on a Mahr before the ceremony as well so there isn’t any confusion or awkwardness at the actual event.

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Once all requirements are met, decide on décor and seating if the event is taking place at home. Nowadays, Nikahs are heavily influenced by the all-white wedding of the West, so couples will often use whites, creams, and golds for the décor, which looks simple and classy. Couples often prefer to have seating at the front of the main hall so guests can face them during the ceremony. It’s also wise to have a small table nearby to use for signing the marriage document and sweets to pass out immediately after the ceremony.

FAQs

What do I need to know before nikkah? ›

5 Important Things You Should Check Before Signing Your Nikkah...
  • Age. By law, the age of the bride is given huge preference. ...
  • Deciding Haq-e-Mehr/Dower. ...
  • The Independent Right of Husband and Wife. ...
  • Talaq-e-Tafweez. ...
  • Restricting a Man To Marry While Already Being Married.
29 Aug 2016

What can I expect at a Nikah ceremony? ›

The Nikah ceremony is designed to bring the new relationship before Allah. Couples will stand before the ceremony leader, traditionally an imam, and say “I accept” three times. After this portion of their vows has been completed, they will sign the marriage contract and officially be joined as husband and wife.

What are the rules of Nikah? ›

The general essentials of a Muslim Niqah are:
  • Parties must have capacity to marry.
  • Proposal (ijab) and acceptance (qubool).
  • Free consent of both the parties.
  • A consideration (mehr).
  • No legal Impediment.
  • Sufficient witnesses (different in shia and sunni).
11 Sept 2019

What questions are asked in Nikah? ›

Questions about Deen.
  • How often do you recite Qur'an?
  • Do you pray regularly and observe fasting?
  • Do you prefer going to Islamic classes or listen to Islamic lectures?
  • What are your plans regarding Hajj and Umrah for the future?
  • How much you try to follow the Sunnah of Prophet as stated in Qur'an in your lifestyle?
25 Sept 2019

Who decides Mahr? ›

According to a hadith, the Muslim Prophet Muhammad stated the mahr should be "one gold piece", but the mahr amount is often negotiated between the parents or guardians of the bride and groom (also called wali), and the parties often draft mahr agreements by filling in the blanks of form contracts that employ standard ...

How long is a nikah ceremony? ›

A Muslim wedding is called a Nikah Ceremony and it typically lasts for three days. This is because of the many symbolic rituals involved in the union of the families.

Can you play music at Nikkah? ›

Generally, people prefer to play slow sweet love songs at a Nikah ceremony. If a Nikah ceremony is held at a mosque, no one can play any music out of respect for the holy place. Music is usually played at the couple's house after the Nikah is done.

Do you bring gifts to a nikah ceremony? ›

Yes, gifts are acceptable and appreciated at Muslim weddings. Cash, to be presented to the couples during the wedding reception, is a traditional gift for guests to consider.

Who needs to be present at a nikah? ›

The nikah has 3 main components: a willing couple, witnesses, and a mahr, or gift that the groom gives to the bride. Once you have these things in order and find an imam to perform the ceremony, you will be well on your way to having a successful nikah.

Do Muslims kiss at their wedding? ›

Muslim nikkahs don't involve a kiss post I do's. There are usually awkward side hugs and the like in couple photos following the vows. 6.

Who is forbidden to marry in Islam? ›

Prohibited to you are your mothers, your daughters, your sisters, your paternal aunts, your maternal aunts, brother's daughters, sister's daughters, your mothers that are those who suckled you, your sisters from suckling, mothers of your women, your step-daughters in your guardianship from your women you have entered ...

What should a guest wear to a nikah? ›

Cover up and avoid revealing clothing.

Cleavage, mini dresses, and revealing clothing that clings to your body is not acceptable if you're wondering what to wear to an Indian wedding as a guest. For men, classic suits or long-sleeve dress shirts and trousers are the most appropriate options.

What is the role of a wife in Islam? ›

Considering this aspect, a wife's responsibilities are far wider than what is for the husband. She takes care of the children, raises them well with education and manners, protects the wealth, and also provides physical and mental support to her husband.

What should I ask my groom before marriage? ›

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Can you do nikah twice? ›

Yes, you can perform nikah with your wife/husband any number of times you want, as long as there is no declaration of divorce between the various nikah ceremonies.

How much is average mahr? ›

Among American Muslims it could be $7,000+ and among Moroccan Muslims, it would be $2,000. The reasoning behind this is the dowry needs to be a large sum and in some precious material (like gold or jewelry) as it serves as financial safety to the woman should she ever choose to divorce/flee her husband.

What if mahr is not paid? ›

Is taking away a woman's Mahr a sin? Many of us do not take it seriously but Mahr is also like the debt that is tied on the neck of the husband if it remain unpaid at the time of Nikah. So, if the husband tries to refrain his wife from her right of Mahr, then it is written as a grave sin on the pat of the husband.

What is considered a Zina? ›

Islamic legal tradition treats any sexual contact outside a legal marriage as a crime. The main category of such crimes is zina, defined as any act of illicit sexual intercourse between a man and woman.

Do Muslims wear wedding rings? ›

As everyone knows, Islam preaches marriage without dating. So, Islam marriage doesn't undergo the whole process of an engagement or even exchanging wedding rings. That's because Islam sees dating as an act of sin. The tradition of wearing wedding rings is derived from the West which goes against the Islamic teachings.

What happens after nikah in Islam? ›

On the completion of Nikah, it becomes Halal for husband and wife to come close to one another. However, it is not mandatory to perform marital relations on the first night itself. This decision depends on the mutual understanding and readiness of both the bride and the groom.

How many kalimas are recited in nikah? ›

The Six Kalimas are the basic beliefs of Muslims all around the world.

Is makeup haram in Islam? ›

Unmarried girls can only apply bright makeup for themselves, but if a girl has the goal of seducing someone, it is haraam.

What is nikah called in English? ›

Arabic word 'Nikah' means 'coitus' or 'sexual intercourse'.

Is Singing halal in Islam? ›

The Muslim scholar al-Qaradawi states that singing and music in itself is permissible and pleasurable. He places several restrictions on them though. The content of the song should not be against the morals and teachings of Islam or be accompanied by other forbidden things in Islam like alcohol.

Can I do nikah myself? ›

It can be the Imam himself or any other State Appointed Muslim Judge, Qazi, qualified Muslim scholar, or Moulvi. If you follow all the requirements above, you can do Nikah by yourself.

Can nikah be done without wali? ›

The Shafi'i, Maliki and Hanbali schools say that nikah entered into by a woman herself, without the permission of her wali, is invalid and void. However, the Hanafi ruling on the said matter is that a woman can enter into a marital contract by herself without the permission from her wali.

Can I kiss my fiance before marriage in Islam? ›

What is haram before marriage in Islam? Sexual, lustful, and affectionate acts such as kissing, touching, staring, etc. are haram in Islam before marriage because these are considered portions of zina, which lead to the actual zina itself.

Who pays for wedding in Islam? ›

Traditionally, the bride and her family pay for the wedding, whilst the valima (see below) is paid for by the groom and his family. However, recent years have shown a collaboration of both events into one day, resulting in the costs being divided between both sides.

Is kissing a major sin in Islam? ›

Later Banna appeared on Al-Arabiya and backpedaled, saying that Islam does not permit unmarried kissing but that it is not one of its grave sins.

What is haram in nikah? ›

Nikah means marriage and halala means to make something halal, or permissible. This form of marriage is haram (forbidden) according to the hadith of Islamic prophet Muhammad. Nikah halala is practiced by a small minority of Muslims, mainly in countries that recognise the triple talaq.

How much age difference is acceptable for marriage in Islam? ›

Islam does not edict an exact age for marriage, but rather leaves freedom for partners. All that Islam wishes is the strength of the marital life for both partners to be a good member of society.

How can I be a good wife in Islam? ›

To be a successful Muslim wife, show your husband love, respect, and affection, and ask that they treat you similarly. Share responsibility for your daily life and enjoy one another's company. Together you can strengthen each other's faith and live a pious and loving life in the service of Allah Subhana wa Ta'alaa.

Which color is good for Nikah? ›

Green is considered an auspicious color so why not wear it on your special day. We're swooning over these classic green Nikkah outfits that move from darker shades of green to the mint pastel green and neons too, you've so much to choose from.

What Colours should Muslims not wear to weddings? ›

Avoid Red, as this is the colour that the bride usually wears - and you never want to outdo the bride! Wearing white and black is also avoided.

Can a woman perform Nikah? ›

He told me that of the four schools of Islamic jurisprudence, Hanafi, Hanbali, Shafei, Maleki or the fifth Fiqah Jafariya, there is nothing that says a woman couldn't perform a 'nikah'.

Who comes first mother or husband in Islam? ›

Who comes first, the mother or the wife? Many others believe it's your mother because she gave birth to you, and heaven is at her disposal. However, the truth is that both have equal rights. Wife and Mother can never be compared, as the love you have for your mother are very different from that of your wife.

How long can a husband leave his wife in Islam? ›

Generally, a husband is allowed to live separately from his wife for 5-6 months. This can be for education, business, job, etc. purposes. However, if the wife permits the husband to live separately more than that, then the husband is not obliged to live together.

What are the 3 most important things in a marriage? ›

Establishing and maintaining a healthy relationship is hard, and a therapist can help you navigate difficult times and develop essential relational skills. At Dana Group, we offer individual therapy and couples therapy.
...
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  3. Communication.
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What is the most romantic question? ›

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  • Why did your last relationship end? ...
  • What's your dream vacation? ...
  • How would you spend one million dollars? ...
  • Do you like to cook? ...
  • Do you sing in the shower? ...
  • What's your favorite romcom? ...
  • Where do you want to live in the future?
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Can you remarry the same person after Khula? ›

It is agreed by all scholars that the man cannot reinstate the marriage in any way, because she regains her independent status. Even if he gives her back her dowry or whatever she pays him to release herself, still he cannot reinstate the marriage.

Is triple talaq mentioned in Quran? ›

Triple talaq is not mentioned in the Quran. It is also largely disapproved by Muslim legal scholars. Many Islamic nations have barred the practice, including Pakistan and Bangladesh, although it is technically legal in Sunni Islamic jurisprudence.

What should a guest wear to a Nikah? ›

Cover up and avoid revealing clothing.

Cleavage, mini dresses, and revealing clothing that clings to your body is not acceptable if you're wondering what to wear to an Indian wedding as a guest. For men, classic suits or long-sleeve dress shirts and trousers are the most appropriate options.

What is the procedure of Nikah in Islam? ›

The nikah is the traditional Islamic marriage ceremony. The nikah has 3 main components: a willing couple, witnesses, and a mahr, or gift that the groom gives to the bride. Once you have these things in order and find an imam to perform the ceremony, you will be well on your way to having a successful nikah.

What is Sunnah for Nikah? ›

THE Prophet (PBUH) is reported to have said, “The nikah is my Sunnah”, meaning that getting married and performing the nikah is not just a legal formality, but also an important example of the Prophet.

Can I do Nikah myself? ›

It can be the Imam himself or any other State Appointed Muslim Judge, Qazi, qualified Muslim scholar, or Moulvi. If you follow all the requirements above, you can do Nikah by yourself.

Which color is good for nikah? ›

Green is considered an auspicious color so why not wear it on your special day. We're swooning over these classic green Nikkah outfits that move from darker shades of green to the mint pastel green and neons too, you've so much to choose from.

What Colours should Muslims not wear to weddings? ›

Avoid Red, as this is the colour that the bride usually wears - and you never want to outdo the bride! Wearing white and black is also avoided.

Do Muslims wear wedding rings? ›

As everyone knows, Islam preaches marriage without dating. So, Islam marriage doesn't undergo the whole process of an engagement or even exchanging wedding rings. That's because Islam sees dating as an act of sin. The tradition of wearing wedding rings is derived from the West which goes against the Islamic teachings.

What is considered a Zina? ›

Islamic legal tradition treats any sexual contact outside a legal marriage as a crime. The main category of such crimes is zina, defined as any act of illicit sexual intercourse between a man and woman.

Do you bring gifts to a nikah ceremony? ›

Yes, gifts are acceptable and appreciated at Muslim weddings. Cash, to be presented to the couples during the wedding reception, is a traditional gift for guests to consider.

Can nikah be done without wali? ›

The Shafi'i, Maliki and Hanbali schools say that nikah entered into by a woman herself, without the permission of her wali, is invalid and void. However, the Hanafi ruling on the said matter is that a woman can enter into a marital contract by herself without the permission from her wali.

Who should pay for the nikah? ›

There was never any legal Islamic ruling on who pays for a wedding. However, in Islam, men are generally responsible for financial expense. This can be taken as either the groom being responsible for all the expenses OR splitting it equally with the bride's father. People usually just follow their cultural norms.

Why do Muslims do walima? ›

walima is used as a symbol to show domestic happiness in the household post-marriage. While walima is often used to describe a celebration of marriage, it is also held to celebrate the birth of a newborn and the purchase of a new home. As per shariah, Walima only takes place where the groom and bride resides.

Who pays for walima in Islam? ›

Traditionally, the bride and her family pay for the wedding, whilst the valima (see below) is paid for by the groom and his family. However, recent years have shown a collaboration of both events into one day, resulting in the costs being divided between both sides.

What is invalid marriage in Islam? ›

Generally, a void marriage is the one that is unlawful or invalid from its beginning. It is as though the marriage never existed and it requires no formality to terminate it. Those marriages that can be cancelled at the option of one of the parties, but otherwise remain valid are said to be voidable.

Can we do nikah twice with the same person? ›

Yes, you can perform nikah with your wife/husband any number of times you want, as long as there is no declaration of divorce between the various nikah ceremonies.

Is online nikah valid? ›

Is online Nikah valid? Yes, online nikah or nikah on skype is valid according to Hanafi School of thoughts and the relevant Pakistani Marriage laws.

Videos

1. The proper way of doing Nikah (Marriage) and deciding the Mahr - Sheikh Assim Al Hakeem
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2. Proper procedure of conducting the Nikah - Sheikh Assim Al Hakeem
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3. NEW | Advice upon Marriage Officiation - Mufti Menk | #Nikah
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4. Nikah Islamic Ceremony Today 12-06-2021
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5. How To Perform Nikkah in a Sunnah Way | Mufti Menk
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6. What is nikah I How to perform nikah ceremony in islam I Muslim Marriage I Can we delay marriage
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