Sunday, August 10, 2008

Entering Marriage Life: Congratulations to the groom and Best Wishes to the bride

Wedding quotes: A wedding is a start of togetherness... of walks in the rain, basking in the sunshine, shared meals, caring for one another and sensing the love that a marriage carries. Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years. Love is not sweet talks and flowers, but love is forgiving and compromising. - Simone Signore.

The dowry, Malaysian style, consists of money, jewellery, rice, sugar and other food stuffs for the bridal room. The amount of dowry varies from time to time as well as from place to place.

For the Malays, the dowry is presented during the "akad nikah" of which the wedding is officiated by the Kadi or Imam..The hantaran or the main dowry is magnificiently presented at this ceremony. This kind of dowry usually ranges from RM500 to RM5,000. The mas kahwin is the compulsory dowry which is given to the bride before the Kadi as a token of faith and love at the akad nikah.

The ceremony is full of fun and delights but of course it has to start with the akad nikah - the formal contract of marriage or also commonly known as the marriage solemnization or wedding vows.

The akad nikah or the marriage ceremony was performed in the mosque. The groom, Nizwan, stated his vows in front of families, relatives and friends.

Before the akad nikah proper, as preliminaries, the Kadi or Imam will try to make the groom comfortable and gives out advice and suggestions on the duties of a good husband and wife. Sometimes, he might test the groom on religious matters by asking him to recite verses of the Al-Quran, or knowledge of the basic pillars of Islam and faith.

But since nowadays all potential marriage partners must attend a wedding course before they can get married, it is usually assumed that the groom is well versed in basic Islamic knowledge. Well, the akad nikah will start with the groom sitting on a small square mattress to make him comfortable, facing the Imam. They will then hold hands in a handshake manner, and the imam will say the words of the akad nikah to the groom who will then reply.

This post however is not about my wedding, but my friend brother's wedding ceremony. The groom, Nizwan and his newly-wed Siti Zuraini (name of bride).

I have to admit, when it comes to weddings, I've always loved wedding stuff and therefore love to see all of ideas and plans coming fruition. So I thought that I'd contribute by posting reviews of the most recent wedding I attended. It was a hectic day; I went to a friend's akad nikah solemnization today and thought I'd share with you a few snippets from that event. I took pictures too, which captured the wedding parade and the people there.

The ceremony was held in the mosque (Penang State Mosque in Air Itam). Just a simple ceremony that focused on love and not the glitz and glamour of most I have been to lately. But this was a different type of wedding in that everyone involved genuinely cared for one another. The two families seemed to love each other and they seemed to genuinely love their children. Their friends seemed to genuinely love one another. It was genuinely touching. And the most importantly the bride and groom seemed to genuinely love each other.

Once we had arrived, we were greeted by many relatives clad in colorful Malay attires, as were we. Malays really love bright colors for their formal clothing. As a Muslim woman, during that day, we are encourage to wear a tudung (head-scarf). I brought a 40 inches square tudung bawal and learnt to put them on. Nobody actually taught me how to wear one. I had watched my Mother, Aunties and friends, putting them on. I thought to myself, ahhh a piece of cake, no problem la. Well, still I look cool in tudung. Hehehe!

I wasn't planning to wear the tudung immediately. I considered it too fast a move to do one. I needed time to adjust. Not all born Muslim women wear one; I even told my friends that I'd wear a tudung when the time is right for me. For me, I needed time to get used to the feeling of a piece of cloth on my head.. In the meantime, I would cover my head with a long shawl or selendang. Wearing the head cover is not something that I've always done.

When I was at the ceremony, some of my friends and relatives even my mother's friends, couldn't recognize me. They saw my face but yet without seeing my hair. But seriously, it is a never to be forgotten experience.

Now let's get back to the akad nikah ceremony.. Life after marriage - Couples who stay or living together. Marriage is a beautiful thing in life. It is unique experience. After marriage we can so easily find every flaw in someone who was so recently flawless. We also discover a more intimate knowledge of the others fears, anxieties and weaknesses of which we have so few. In a successful marriage we should calm our spouse's fears, give comfort when they are anxious and make them strong where there is weakness. What greater love could we give?...... Life after marriage is wonderful.

Marriage is being there for the other in bad times as well as the good. Married love stands through thick and thin, no matter how hot the trials or how hard the test. Married love never loses hope. It's always there, always dependable, always ready with outstretched hands and open arms to take the other into love, to comfort, to hold, and to cherish. Marriage is learning to let the little things pass.

Here are few pictures of an akad nikah proceeding taking place. Notice that everyone is seated on the floor, with witnesses surrounding the groom and the Kadi.

Lastly, the akad nikah was followed by returning the visit and greeting the bride's family at their residence. Upon arrival the bride was given gifts from the Groom's family. The giftsare normally jewelleries, food, clothing or heirlooms.

The ceremony ends with the bride kissing the groom's hands after the placing of the ring.
And they will later in the afternoon precede for the Bersanding ceremony – sitting in state on the pelamin - the highlight of a traditional Malay wedding.

To both newly-wed couple, we wish you all the happiness that you both deserve as you travel through life together. And, while you may experience those challenges of life, you will never again be alone in conquering these issues for each of you bound together in marriage form a tremendous power to exceed, to persevere, and to help each other be all that each can be. We are so pleased to see you married. May the happiness you experience on your wedding day remain with you both for many years to come.