Nikaah, referred as Khandar in the Kashmiri language is a sacred function held to tie a lawful nuptial knot between the bride and the groom in the presence of witnesses. The rituals in Nikaah are held to seek the pleasure and blessing of Allah (SWT) on the couple. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “The best wedding is that upon which the least trouble and expense is bestowed” (Mishkat). The present generation follows exactly opposite of what has been prescribed by the The Holy Prophet (PBUH). The kind of marriage ceremonies being held draws the parents of bride and groom into unwanted debts and makes it impossible for them to reach back to the surface of normalcy.
Kashmir, being a Muslim dominant state, stands tall when it comes to extravagant wedding rituals. The lavish wazwan contains a large variety of non-veg items to satisfy the societal taste buds, digs a deep hole in the pocket of the families. The fancy glittering boxes that contains everything from something as posh as dry fruits, soft drinks, chocolate bars to something as small as a tooth pick or wet wipes which mostly looks like an attempt to keep the surface shining while leaving cracks and pothole on the inside that cannot be refilled due to the expenses being made on the wedding.
Islam is religion of peace that is absolutely against extravaganza and show-off. Anything which makes others feel inferior should not be performed as per our beautiful religion but we Muslims are in a rat race to make others feel low, carelessly spending lakhs on the fake and worldly trends emerging with every passing day. Nikāḥ is a word having the literal meaning of ‘aqd’ or unity but these days marriages separate us more often than uniting us because the desires of dowry and fancy functions remains unsatisfied either on one strand or the other.
Even after the circulation of widespread social messages regarding the issues of marriage and dowry system, girls still are liability on the shoulders of the parents. Its looks like a vicious circle where mostly girl’s family suffers. First they spent millions on the marriage followed by the dowry to be given to the groom. There are reports of domestic violence on girls on the basis of dowry demanded by the in-laws in the capital city which is a matter of shame for the locals who claim to walk upon the path prescribed by Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). There are many sisters who have been sitting at home aging because they cannot match their pace with that of the modern tradition because of belonging to a weaker section of the society. Their fathers are either daily wage workers or laborers making it tough for them, to get their daughter married timely.
Modern Kashmiri wedding also involve luxurious wedding shoots on which lakhs of money is spent. The videos are uploaded on the social networking site for the world to see the pleasure and romance involve in the personal life of the couple and family. The status of wedding has become so deluxe that it has set up bars for others and those who cannot meet these bars are hanging low in the sight of society. As per Islam simplicity would be the hallmark of every Nikah performed by the Holy Prophet (PBUH). We are instructed in the Hadith that when a suitable partner is found for a girl, then haste should be made in performing the Nikah. A major reason for the marked increase in the number of unmarried boys and girls in present-day society stems mainly from neglecting the sound advice given in this Hadith.
Describing the insides of wedding rituals which as per the Sunnah is an affair including couple of hours only or more but his has now become a festival involving days or week. The functions include Mehendi or henna night which also includes a western style cake cutting ceremony. Nowadays the Nikah is delayed in spite of having found a suitable partner for ones son or daughter for the sake of personal convenience, like waiting for the arrival of some guest, or some other programme, we unnecessarily delay the marriage which marks the absence of religious sensitivity in us.
We have become so attached to worldly comforts and luxuries that we hardly realized the true concept of Islamic brotherhood then to continue in extravagant celebrations would really hit the raw inner of our consciousness. Muslims all over the world are suffering brutally including our own state. Thousands of young boys have lost their precious lives, so we should share the burden and pain of their family by keeping our wedding festivities low key. In the end, I pray to Almighty Allah (SWT) that He grants us all the Tawfiq (strength and ability) to appreciate the delicate age we live in and that He fully rectifies us in all respects.
Minal Saeed Khan