Before I continue with Part 2 of Wedding Customs & Non-Islamic traditions, let me just say that I have no intention on trying to appear holier than anyone else. My entries are merely a reminder to all of us. As you can see from the pictures below, my wedding was one of the 'let's follow suit' type of wedding. After reading the book I realised how ridiculous my thoughts were at that time. Just so you all know, my Mom wanted a real simple wedding but I added one too many things that forced me to resort to my credit card (since my parents didn't want to pay for unnecessary things). So, think before we follow our 'nafsu'! Right, so, that's been cleared up.
In Islam, we have the holy book Quran and Sunnah to guide us through this world and hereafter to make life so much easier and not a burden (like I always say and keep reminding myself). If in the Quran and Sunnah doesn't state any prohibition on certain things, then it's not our right to say that a thing is 'Haram' or 'Bida'ah' without any solid proof. Religion and tradition do come hand in hand. One cannot dismiss tradition without any valid reason. So, if something from the tradition might bring trouble to your life then of course you can choose to dismiss the tradition. Reason I say tradition is also important is because, we might want our wedding to be simple and Islamic but there are a few odd people wanting us to 'spice it up' by putting some tradition into it. Somehow, we are adamant that we don't want to and after all, it is our big day so our choice? By telling the person "No, I don't want to!", in a way it could offend them and in Islam we are supposed to care about other people's feeling hence by offending the person our 'Islamic' intention would end up being "Un-Islamic". It is important that we know how to answer these type of people without offending them. Let them know the reasons, for instance, "no I can't because it's really over my budget and I do not want to get into debt just for it. Furthermore, our religion HIGHLY encourages us to avoid debt". Here's an excerpt from Tirmidhi "Whoever dies free from 3 things- arrogance, cheating and debt- will enter paradise" also "The soul of a believer is held hostage by his debt in his grave until it is all paidoff." So, little things like this could help us stay away from such miserable debts. Insha'Allah. Hopefully by reasoning with these type of people might make them fully understand our intention. If they insist and want to pay for it, then that's ok since we are not putting ourself into debt even before the big day. Furthermore, in order to get married we have to be financially stable.
Again, I would like to remind my readers that it is not our right to say those things listed in the list below is either 'Haram' or 'Bida'ah'. For as long as you have the money to organise a big wedding and still can support your wife later on then go on, spoil yourself! Personally, I would rather be moderate in spending during the big day as it might end up being the "talk about" wedding. Also it's better to spend the hard earned money with the husband-to-be to start our new journey ahead :) Oh yeah, always remember though, whatever money we spend has to be fair and not waste them unnecessarily. An excerpt from Sahih Bukhari & Muslim: Abu Hurayrah reported that Prophet (peace be upon him) said "The worst food is the food of the wedding feast (Walimah) to which the rich are invited and the poor are left out. If anyone rejects an invitation, he has rebelled against Allah and His Messenger." Not only the food have to be Halal but also have to make sure of whom the attendees are. Also for those being invited, it is AGAINST the Sunnah to refuse an invitation to a Walimah, without a valid excuse.
Now, I list down the things that have been adopted from the Christian religion. It is up to you to evaluate how many items mentioned below have became important and even compulsory parts of a wedding in our community and to assess the consequences of such rite. Wallahualam.
Engagement rings (Cincin tanda/merisik in some cases)
This began in the Roman Era and later carried on by the Christians. They believe that engagement is a contract sworn before witnessed and solemnised by a ring. If either of them died, they are still being considered in the Will. They also believe that it is bad luck to lose or damage the ring as future happiness will be jeopardise.
In Islam however, it's suffice to say that there is no concept of engagement. The Sunnah is to marry the couple without unnecessary delay once they have agreed to marry. Money and people's time will not be wasted having to attend one too many ceremonies.
The Church of England suggest a reason for choosing the fourth finger on the left hand as the wedding ring finger (but I think our tradition is to wear it on the right hand) : The English 'Christian' custom dictates that after the Priest has blessed the ring, the bridegroom should place it, first, on the bride's thumb with the words; "In the name of the father" then on the index finger "and the son" then on the middle finger "and of the holy ghost" and finally on the fourth finger "Amen".
There are also a few superstitions come with the wedding ring:
1) A wedding ring must never be bought on a Friday as it is an ill reputation day in Christianity.
2) Should not be bought through mail order catalogue as bad luck from others could be absorbed.
3) The ring must never be put on before the ceremony or at any time by anyone but the owner. (I know this is something the Malays do. If other than the owner puts it on, they might end up marrying the person who put it on first!)
Fashion and the aristocracy introduced the white wedding dress. White epitomises purity and also is said to deter the evil eye. At Orthodox Jewish weddings the groom as well as the bride wear white.
Christians started this tradition. Crowning typifies purity and at early Christian weddings the couple were crowned by the Priest after he had blessed the marriage. The importance of wearing a crown is held in such a high esteem within the church that in some regions the crowns were bought by the parish and lent to all so that brides rich and poor might appear 'at their best' on their wedding day.
Wedding cakeThe main origin is the Christian Church. The ritual text has been reiterated many of times. Again, it is used as blessings from the Priests. The Christian culture also believes that its symbolic meaning is that the cake is considered to become the body of Christ. Which will then follow with a wine session.
**I don't want to overload all of you with loads of info in one entry so, I will continue on a different entry about cake cutting as it is in depth and will be an entry on its own. If you are still interested, I will also write up on traditions that have been adopted from the Indian traditions. Insha'Allah.