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Is it permissible to exchange wedding rings?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by DarulUloomTT.net
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Question:

Salaams,

I’m writing to seek some knowledge concerning my wedding. I plan on getting married next year Inshaa Allah and I just want some clarifications on a few things. I want to do everything in the right manner since i want Allah to bless my marriage immensely.

1. Can you advise me on whether or not it is permissible to exchange wedding rings etc for the Nikah or walimah?

2. Also, what about having wedding cakes and what not. i know some scholars indicated that this was all Christian practices and as such we should stay away from these practices.

3. What about the music part of it? Is Islamic Nasheeds permissible?

4. Lastly, can you inform me of the Sunnah practices for the bride and groom after the Nikaah? In terms of the two rakaat Sunnah they can both perform together and any other Sunnah practices that are mentioned?

Please feel free to include any form of advice to me after marriage seeing that I’m taking the step to complete half my deen.

Looking forward to your responses.


Answer:

Wa Alaikum As Salaam,

1) It is permissible to exchange rings for the Nikah or walimah. This means that it is permissible for both parties to purchase rings (as gifts) and give to each other. However, it will not be permissible to have the ‘Customary exchange of rings’ in front of the public/audience. That is, it will not be allowed for each party to put the ring on the other party’s finger in front of the public or non blood relatives. This can do done in private or in front of one’s close family members (indoors).

It must however be understood, that the concept of ‘wedding rings’ is not an Islamic one. Hence, it will just be a gift that one party is giving to another on the occasion of marriage, and it is not an official wedding ring. The concept of ‘Wedding rings’ which has gained popularity among Muslims is a Christian practice and Muslims should refrain from this.

2) The customary wedding cakes that we see at weddings is a custom/practice of the non Muslims and one should refrain from following their styles and fashions. However, there is no harm in having a cake from which both parties, as well as others can eat. In this case, the customary ‘sticking of the cake’ and ‘one spouse putting a piece of cake in the mouth of the other’ will not be permissible in front of the public/audience. This must be done in a private manner.

3) Nasheeds without music are allowed. Those with musical instruments are prohibited.

Many great scholars have given the following guidelines to the bride and groom:-

1) They should have dinner together. Even if they are not hungry, they must have some eatables like fruit, milk etc, and must not have an empty stomach.

2) They must take a bath (freshen themselves) and apply perfume.

3) They should perform two rakaats of Salaah Al Hajaah.

4) They should be understanding to each other.

5) The husband must try to remove his wife’s feeling of strangeness.

6) He must be very civilized, loving and gentle.

7) He must understand that in the beginning of their relation the wife will display excessive shyness. The husband must therefore be patient and understanding and know that shyness and modesty are the greatest jewels in a woman.

8) He must praise her beauty.

9) The wife must understand that her husband is everything for her. She must demonstrate that she is his, and belongs to him. She must encourage him to talk openly. She must co-operate with him fully.

As for some words of advice, I quote the following to you which has been mentioned by many of our great scholars:-

A mother’s advice to her daughter before her wedding night

Before sending her off, a mother gave this advice to her daughter: ‘My dear daughter you are about to step into a new life where your mother and father will not be around, nor will your brothers be at your beck and call. You are going to be a co-traveller and life partner of a man, who will not tolerate any other man near you, even your blood-relative. My daughter, be to him as a wife and a mother. Treat him as though you alone are his asset in life and property in the world. Remember, a man is always like a grown up child. Do not let him feel that after marriage you have severed ties with your family. But he knows that, and he too has forsaken his parents and family for your sake. The only difference between you two is that of man and woman. A woman is always inclined to her family and to her home where she was born and raised. But she has to accustom herself to her new life with a man who is her husband, her guardian and her would-be children’s father. This is her new world.

My daughter, this is your present and future. Your parents are a story of the past. But I do not ask you to forget them or your brothers. No, my darling, they too will never forget you. How can a mother forget a piece of her heart? I do implore you to love your husband with all your heart. Live for him and regard life with him as happiness of your life”.

Advice of sahabiyah to her daughter on sending her off

Asma bint Kharijah, said to her daughter when she sent her off to her husband’s home: “You are now stepping out of the abode that was your hope and refuge. You are going to a bed which you never loved, you are going to a friend with whom you are not acquainted. Become his earth and he will be your heaven. Be his floor and he will be your edifice. Be his slave and he will be your servant. Do not avoid him else he will go far away from you. Do not go far away he seeks nearness to you, come near to him and if he wishes to distance himself, you too move away. Take care of his nose, ear and eye, for, he will smell in you nothing but a sweet smell, hear nothing but a good word. And may he always see you as beautiful!

Advice of a great scholar to his daughter before seeing her off (after Nikah).

My dear daughter you are leaving us. Go happily. May Allah bless for you your new home and may you spread light wherever you go. May He grant you a sound understanding so that you have a good future. May you be happy and fill the life of your life partner with happiness. May He give you the spirit of innocent love that is light for you and your life partner and perpetual peace and comfort for your in-laws. (Aameen)

May Allah enable you to do justice to (the name of) your parents when you are at your in-laws. Be careful lest you throw overboard the honour of your in-laws and parents. Our honour is now in your hands. Do not let your upbringing by your parents get a bad name lest your parents are defamed.

May Allah give you strength to face difficult situations with courage and to get over trying moments with fortitude. May He keep you away from ingratitude and quarrels. And may He give you the merits deserving a noble wife. (Aameen)

My dear daughter, the day you were born we know that you were not ours, but you belonged to someone else, that you were a guest with us and will depart from us one day. So, we brought you up that you may develop capabilities to maintain a home and we may then bid you farewell.

O life of your father! You are leaving us today, leaving behind your mother, brother, friends and everyone. Oh! How painful is this moment of farewell! There is a crowd of women in the house from the neighborhood and far off places. Little children! How happy they look in their new Islamic dresses as though a festival. All your father’s acquaintances are here and guests from outside. Relations and friends are here too.

Dear daughter! Just look at your mother. Her plight is beyond description. The poor woman bore you in her womb for nine months and suckled you with her blood as milk for you. She slept on a wet place but protected you from that, and kept you before her eyes for eighteen years. How will her tears dry? Is your separation an ordinary thing for her? She gave up everything for you-even her rest, her sleep, her youth. How will she pass her days and nights now? How many difficulties she bore to educate you! Her joys were affected if she saw a little grief on your face. And just a tear form your eyes plunged her in sorrow……… Today you are going away from this motherly lap ……. Your mother fed you the best, but never wished it for herself. She clothed you the choicest garments, but never thought about herself. To remove your worries, she put herself in many worries.

Do you remember how many a night your mother worried for you? She waited by you for hours when you were ill. A little headache you had, caused her tremendous pain. She cared for your health at the cost of her own. How much she will have to endure! May Allah grant her patience. Aameen!

Dear daughter, today you are taking leave from your dear sisters too. How much they love you! They were also your friends. You were together in every work and play. Your happiness was their happiness. If your face was drawn, their faces changed colour. If you laughed, their faces showed delight. If you fell ill, they all seemed to be ill …………What will happen to them? The household chores will go on, but their eyes will look out for you. They will never forget you.

Would that you saw your friends! Here is one weeping ………… there, another in that corner shedding tears. Another’s heart is full of sorrow. They were restless if they missed you for two days

These are signs of love, excuses to meet each other ………… Now, they will not be able to see you for weeks together. How will it be on their hearts!

My daughter! Today, you are going away from me too. It has been my wish that you grow into a cultured, civilised, veil- observing girl and present an example for others to emulate. While 1 saw that you got good things to eat and wear, I also taught you good manners. And I have wished always that noble women should cite your example.

You will remember that though I have never been strict with you concerning your upbringing, I never let your mistakes go uncorrected. I kept unhealthy books away from you and brought you instructive and profitable books. I did not let you go near such things as the cinema or television which can lead astray women of the noblest families. How many are ruined because of these things.

You know well that I did not take so much care of my rest as I did of your rest. No, I did not prefer my rest over yours and I appointed learned (lady) teachers for you, and kept you away from the co-education of schools. Often, did I take you and your mother with the women jama’at and to listen to the sermons of religious scholars.

I know always that you are like a trust with us, someone else’s trust that Allah placed with us that we may train you well. If we had not taught and trained you, then we would have been bracketed with derelicts and would have had to account for it on the day of resurrection. My beloved, you are leaving us today. How painful is the thought of separation …………But, 0 daughter, do you know how important is this day for you. Your world will change. Though it seems a change of homes, yet it will bring a revolution to your lives. You had no responsibilities with your parents, but now you will have to take careful steps. You were a queen who dictated, but now you will be a slave who obeys, for, without that, you cannot become the queen of queens. Daughter, your entire life will change. The way you had been working will change, your tone of speech will change. A terrible revolution awaits you. Every aspect of your life will have a new approach.

I do remember how you were stubborn on little things and cried and refused to eat or drink till we gave you what you wanted. True, this happened sometimes. But, beware! Now if you want anything, before making the demand, think how your life partner and his relatives will react. Unless you have your heart in your power, you cannot rule over other hearts. You will change all over by yourself and you will think of the past as a mere dream. Everything in you will change, and if you think of it, you will be surprised yourself.

My daughter, I know my duties even today. Listen to what you will need to know in your new life. You will be safe from what other girls suffered.

Dear, the first thing you ought to know is about marriage. It is not slavery of anyone, but co-operation between two people.

If a man and woman spend their life according to the way defined by Shariah, then it is their marriage. They must then be one another’s well-wishers, lovers and they need their sincerity. They make their life happy and make sacrifices for one another.

There is no doubt that Allah has elevated man’s rank over woman and given him superiority. But that is not for him to rule. Rather, he has to supervise and look after. If that was not so, then the innumerable rights of women over men would not have been mentioned. Similarly, to make the marital life peaceful, many responsibilities have been placed on women too. Since marriage is a practical co-operation, the bridegroom and the bride are liable to chalk out a working order for their life so that they get the utmost comfort. The responsibilities for the bride must be outlined in the working order. The different situations and demands of time will spell out all these things, but I think it proper to speak of some of them.

My dear daughter! You will go to your new home. While we see you off with tears in our eyes, they will receive you with smiles and open arms. That will be a different world, full of happiness. They will welcome you whole heartedly, and you will go there as the chief or the darling of the gathering.

All eyes will be on you and all women will watch every movement of yours. But all this attention and pampering will be for a week or two. You will have to be very careful during this period, for, a little lapse on your part will invite criticism from the women of the house. You have seen other girls get married, so I am sure that you will be careful on this account. My daughter, the first person that you will come across is your husband. Your future life-success or failure-depends entirely on this one man’s treatment. So, you must try your best to please him and mould your thoughts and wishes according to his pleasure. That will ensure your happy life. Most couples disagree only because of a conflict of thoughts and wishes and then their disagreement proves to be a terrible torment.

Here, I skip all those things that concern a husband’s responsibilities because they are outside the scope of my subject. What I have to say is only to you. I am sure his parents will have told your husband what his responsibilities are. Besides, they live with him, so they will be careful to put in a word where and when necessary.

“They are garment for you, and you are a garment for them”. (2:187)

The garment conceals any defect on the body and also dirt and unclean spots on it from the people who cannot thus get an opportunity to criticize. So, if man is the body then woman is his soul, or if she is the body then he is her garment.

So, it is the duty of a woman to protect man in the same way as a garment protects the body. Women must be so dedicated that they assume men to be their life and soul and become like their bodies, because our elders say, everyone who serves becomes the master. We can make someone lean towards us by serving him. Moreover, Allah’s Messenger (SAS) has also given a glad tiding of another bounty against service. I am certain that you will do your utmost to get that bounty. (Sayyidah) Umm Salamah narrated that the Prophet said, The woman whose husband was pleased with her while she dies will enter paradise. He also said, ‘O women, remember that your paradise and hell is your husband’. (Kanzul-Ummal V 16 P. 159)

The gates of Jannat-ul-Firdaws are open for every woman. The maidens and slaves await her, but she must have the certificate of her husband’s pleasure with her. Daughter, this is not a bad bargain. Yes, service to a husband is difficult, but then you cannot expect paradise for nothing. How easy is it for a man to earn forgiveness! On the one hand man is commanded that he should be pleased with his wife always, and on the other hand she is informed that if he is pleased with her, she will be admitted to paradise. Observe Allah’s mercy! Man cannot get a pass to enter paradise so easily even after he sheds his blood.

A husband is a stranger to a bride, yet she has to do more with him. Allah and His Messenger, have enjoined that he should be obeyed. But, if a woman falls in disgrace in her husband’s sight, then she loses both the world and the hereafter. A woman who fails to win her husband’s love is treated worse than a servant in the house. The husband is a human being after all, and he expects love and service. He looks forward to love and rest after his marriage, and if his wife gives him that, then he is not a fool not to respect such a wife. He will find it difficult to be separated from such wife even for a minute. The house is in disorder if she is away. As for the woman who proves useless for the husband and the house, then it is the same whether she is at home or away. She is not a servant that may be replaced nor an organisation set up that may be altered, she is tied to him with a firm knot that only death can loosen. So, is she not foolish that she does not endure a few days hardship to buy a never-ending peace, but buys perpetual hardship for a few days peace. There are tens of examples before me where brides have rejected the true love of their husbands only out of their unbending attitude, and so ruined their own lives.

Everyone marries to have some rest and peace. No, man intends to harass his bride. No one will ruin his wife’s life for little things and his children’s too. But, minor difference multiplies and become serious.

If any woman wishes to save her life from ruin after marriage, then she must not contradict her husband in any matter. She may present to him any dispute for a prompt decision because if she opposes him at that time then they will never see success.

If a woman feels that her husband drives her along a path that will ruin the whole family and will bring it a bad name, then she may try her best to make him realize the situation, and she may pray for him to Allah after the fard salaah and on getting up in the night. Insha Allah, her husband will listen to her. If he does not listen to her, then she need not dispute with him, for, though he does not understand anything at that moment, yet he will see the truth later.

And Allah knows best,
Mufti Waseem Khan

18/9/2012

This answer was collected from DarulUloomTT.net, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Waseem Khan from Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago.

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