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Muslim wedding rituals

Muslim wedding rituals

Pre-wedding Rituals 


Salatul Ishtikara 

Arranged marriages are prevalent among Indian Muslims and the matches are 

generally sought within the same religious sect and communities. Once a match has been finalized 

by the families who deem each other compatible, the religious head or the Imam of the nearby 

mosque is intimated and he performs a special prayer where he seeks Allah’s consent for the 

intended union and asks Him to bless the future couple. This marks the official announcement of the 

marriage to the community. The would-be bride and groom also attend the prayers and ask for 

guidance from Allah through prayer. 

Imam Zamin – Following the Ishtikara, the groom’s mother, on an auspicious day, visits the bride’s 

home carrying gifts and sweets. She also carries a gold or silver coin wrapped inside a silk scarf 

which she ties around her future daughter-in-law’s wrists. This ritual signifies the formal acceptance 

of the bride into her future family. 


Mangni marks the official engagement ceremony between the bride and groom and their 

respective families. Close friends and relatives from both families gather on a pre-determined 

day to witness the bride and groom exchange rings. Each family showers the other with gifts of 

sweets, fruits, dry fruits, clothes, and sometimes cash. This ceremony officially seals the intention of 

marriage between the two families and the bride and the groom are considered betrothed to each 

other in the eyes of society.


This is certainly an adopted ritual within the Muslim wedding practices in India. A day or 

two before the actual Nikah ceremony, the bride is dressed up in yellow finery. A paste made of 

Turmeric, sandalwood, and rose water are applied to the bride’s face, hands, and feet. The women of 

the family gather for the occasion to participate in a fun and full of mischief event. They take their 

turn in applying the paste to the bride and to each other. After the application of turmeric paste is 

complete, the bride goes on to take the bath. After her Manjha, the bride is not supposed to leave 

the house till her wedding day. The same event is also observed at the groom’s house as well. 


Middle-eastern and Indo-Pakistani Muslim brides observe an elaborate ritual involving henna paste is known as Mehendi. It is again a women-centric event, where the women of the family 

gather around the bride the evening before the wedding. The most artistic lady in the family is 

entrusted with the task of applying henna paste in unique, elaborate designs on the bride’s hands 

and feet. Nowadays, professional Mehendi artists are also hired to do the job. It is customary to 

include the groom’s initials within the bride’s henna designs which he has to discern on their first 

night together. Other female members of the family also get their hands painted with henna. 

Sanchaq  During this pre-wedding ritual, members of the groom’s family visit the bride’s place 

bearing gifts for her from her future in-laws. Along with these gifts of sweets, fruits, etc., the bridal 

outfit to be worn at the time of the Nikah is also sent. Accompanying the outfit, matching jewelry 

and other accessories are also sent. Some families even send over perfumes, cosmetics, and 

toiletries for the bride. 

Wedding Attires 

Generally, Muslim grooms wear Kurta Pajama or Kurta with churidar. There is generally no color 

restriction except for black, which is considered the color of mourning among Muslims. Generally, 

some form of embroidery work is preferred on the kurtas to have that Wedding kind of feel. 

Nowadays, Muslim grooms are more and more drawn towards wearing a Sherwani or some other 

The wedding attire for a Muslim bride is pretty strictly outlined in the Holy Quran. At any point, only her 

face and hands are to be remaining visible to the public and she has to be decently covered up. 

Salwar Kameez is hence the top choice for Muslim brides when it comes to wedding attires. Apart 

from Salwar Kameez, saree or Sharara are also quite popular choices. Salwar Kameez has to have 

modest necklines and a dupatta to cover the bride’s head at all times. Green is considered to be the 

most auspicious color in Islam and bridal outfits in green color are most popular. The outfit also 

includes intricate zari embroidery, dead-work, and designs. She wears a host of ornaments made of 

gold and precious stones. Necklaces, earrings, and bangles are some of the most common 

ornaments. The Muslim bride has to wear a nose ring on the right side of her face that needs to be 

replaced by a nose pin after she is married. The nose pin on the right side of the nose is compulsory 

for married Muslim women. One key piece of jewelry that is identified with Muslim brides is a 

Jhoomar or Pasa. A Triangular or fan-shaped ornament which is sort of the modified version of the 

Mang Tika is attached to the hair but on one side of the hairstyle, preferably the left side. She may 

or may not wear an actual Mang Tika with the Pasa. 

Wedding day Rituals 


The groom sets out from his home with great pomp and show accompanied by a host of 

his close friends and relatives. A beautifully decorated car is generally sent by the bride’s family to 

bring the groom. A member of the bride’s family goes to the groom’s place and sort of escorts him 

on the way to the wedding venue. The relatives of the groom follow this car and the whole wedding 

party heading towards the wedding venue is known as the Baraat. 


As the groom arrives at the wedding venue he is met at the entrance by the bride’s 

family members. He is warmly welcomed into the venue and is offered a drink of sweet Sherbet by 

his brother-in-law who gives him company for the drink. The relatives of the groom also receive 

a grand welcome and are sprayed with ittar-scented or rose-water as they enter the wedding venue. 

Nikah – The Wedding or Nikah ceremony is officiated by a religious priest or Maulvi. The men and 

the women are seated in separate groups for the ceremony. The women generally take their place 

around the bride and the men with the groom. The father of the bride is appointed Wali or guardian 

to look after the bride’s interest in the Nikah by the Maulvi. The groom’s family presents the bride 

with Mehr which is a generally pre-decided amount of cash to seek her consent for marrying the 

groom. The Maulvi starts the Nikah proceeding by first saying a prayer from the Quraan. Next, he 

asks the bride if she is consenting to marry the groom by accepting the Mehr. This is where he asks 

the bride the phrase ‘Qubool Hain?’ (Do you give your consent) three times in a row. The bride has 

to reply by saying “Qubool Hain” in an assertive and affirmative tone all three times. Then the Maulvi 

moves on to the groom and repeats the procedure. This ritual is known as Ijab-e-Qubool. The bride 

and groom are to remain separated from each other so that they are not able to see each other. The 

Ijab-e-Qubool is followed by the signing of the Nikahnama or marriage contract. The Nikahnama outlines 

all possible duties and rites of both the bride and the groom as decreed by the Quran. At least two 

observers from each side need to bear witness to the signing by both the groom and the bride. This is 

followed by the recital of Khutba, a religious discourse. The Maulvi then recites paragraphs from the 

Holy Quran which are equivalent to marriage vows. The bride and groom need not repeat these 

vows but listen to them. The recital of vows is followed by duruds wherein the elders of the family 

shower their blessings on the newlywed couple. 

Arsi Mushraf 

During this ritual, the couple gets the chance to lay eyes on each other for the first 

time after the marriage has been solemnized. A mirror is kept between the bride and the groom and 

the Holy Quran is placed on top of it. The couple is to look in the mirror where they can see the 

reflection of their spouses. 

Post-wedding Rituals 


Soon after the wedding is concluded, the bride bids a tearful goodbye to her family and 

sets off for her husband’s house. When she arrives at her husband’s house, she is extended a warm 

welcome by her mother-in-law. As a gesture of welcome as well as a reminder of her duties, the Holy 

Quran is placed on her head. 

Walimah – The ceremony of Walimah marks the public declaration of the marriage. It is generally 

done by holding a grand reception party. For the reception, the bride and groom are generally 

seated on a throne atop a stage, where they meet and greet all members from both families. The 

event includes a grand feast of traditional Muslim delicacies like Biryani, Meat Korma, etc. 


This ceremony involves the bride visiting her parent’s home on the fourth day of the 

wedding accompanied by her new husband. Her parents treat the newlywed couple with a lavish 

lunch and give them various gifts. The Chauthi concludes all the events of a typical  

Muslim Wedding. 


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