Marriage is very important and relevant to our lives as it is something we are embarking
on or wish to do so in the near future. Yet often times we get confused about what Islam has to
say about marriage and which rituals and traditions are merely cultural. When we think about
marriage we often times focus too long and hard on the wedding day while we fail to understand
and grasp that there is more to marriage than just the one mere day of celebration which has
become the norm. Rather, if you didn’t know already, marriage is a long term commitment!
Consequently, as we focus greatly on this ‘special day’ we forget that we are starting a brand
new journey and we should do so following the teachings of Islam. But, don’t get me wrong we
all do get excited thinking about that ‘special day’ but something that should occupy our minds
even during our times of excitement is that we should not forsake the Islamic guidelines and
the teachings of the Prophet (peace be upon him). It is these specific guidelines that we should
hold as a priority.
As well, at times we are unable to differentiate which part of marriage is based on Islam
and which of the rituals are cultural. This is simply because unfortunately we have merged the
two together in the midst of traditions which have been taking place for generations we at
times come to believe that they are indeed part of Islam. Our cultures impact us greatly and it is
such that these cultural marriage rituals and symbols are empathized and appraised while Islam
is not placed on the pedestal it should be on. The Islamic guidelines are not heeded to perhaps
sometimes because we simply do not know what Islam has to fully say about it. However, we
must remember that knowledge is incumbent on us; we can no longer remain confused and
unlearned. We must do what is right according to the Islamic principles and not simply what is in
or simply has become the custom.
So it is at times these cultural rituals that have been passed down from generation to
generation that confuses us and honestly at times we don’t even know the reasoning behind
them. For those who are in the process of getting married or wish to do so we must really look
into what Islam has to say about marriage and model the Prophet’s ways. Following the Islamic
guidelines should be our priority and the cultural baggage should be secondary. It is only after
we have ensured that we are following the Islamic guidelines that we should look towards own
cultural rituals and symbols. We must critically examine the cultural rituals and ask ourselves a
few questions like:
Where do these customs come from? Are they borrowed from another religion or
What purpose do they fulfill?
Will this specific customs weaken Islam in any way? Does it offend the Islamic
What impact will this have on my marriage?
Does this custom harm anyone?
Our culture does teach us specific values and foster a sense of belonging. Therefore, it is
only natural that we may incline towards some cultural traditions but we must examine them
and if they align with the rules of Islam then there is no harm in practicing them. I do also want
to stress that the young people of today want to follow their faith, they want to practice it to the
best of their ability and they wish to act upon the phrase they hear endlessly, “marriage is half
of faith”. The young people of today want to be identified with Islam rather than culture. Most
believe that marriage is a beautiful concept and therefore they want to embark upon the journey
with the blessings of God and that is by following the guidelines He has prescribed. I believe
that if we strive in the way of God, help will be given to us. God tells us endlessly that help will
always be given to those who make duaa and ask.