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Reader Questions: What Happens When You Get Married at the Mosque?

06/30/2013

This morning, I received this question:

I’ve been with my partner now for 15 years, his family are quite strict, my partner obviously not so strict.

We are finally getting married this year and are doing a Mosque wedding and a civil ceremony in a hotel. How does it work at the mosque? – I haven’t asked his family and my partner isn’t all that knowledgeable on it either!

 

15 years ago, Khaled and I married in a small town Vegas Style establishment.  I say establishment, because it was a pretty room with white folding chairs and wedding-ish decor.  It was not the lavish destination wedding  we daydreamed about and it was not the wedding overseas that seemed out of reach.  It was not a church and not a mosque.  It was a place where people got married, and they had a photographer.  Some of my family was there, Khaled invited a friend to be there because his family could not.  The lady who officiated our ceremony was also the owner of the establishment.  Afterwards, we all went out to dinner.  It was perfect for us. This business did what we needed it to do, because in our hearts and minds we were already married.  This was just a formality.

 

Over the last two years, I’ve been invited to a bridal shower and a wedding reception.  But I’ve never witnessed a ceremony in the mosque.  So, I’m turning to you for help.  What happens when you marry at the mosque?

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. 07/01/2013 2:08 PM

    When I got married at the mosque, it is very simple: They gave a little sermon on the importance of marriage, there’s an exchange of “dowry” (this can be symbolic, especially if you are not Muslim), they recite Surah al-Fatiha, and that’s it. Can’t remember the exact order though, it’s been 9 years ago. Oh, and bring sweets (cookies) to pass around to all who’s there. And it’s not like you have control of who’s there; it’s whoever is at the mosque at that time. Make sure and call ahead so that you can be prepared. Depending on how conservative the said mosque is, they may require you to either (1) be Muslim and have a wali (a person who represents you) or (2) have your father there to represent you. That is what happened at my mosque, and weren’t told till that evening it did.

    I hope that helps somewhat.

  2. Anonymous permalink
    07/01/2013 2:59 PM

    I had my wedding at our masjid and then moved the party to another location for our reception. I invited my family (who are not muslims). Two witnesses were there also with some family as well. In my case, they brought chairs into the mens prayer hall where the ceremony was being held so that my family could be with us. I also sat with my family. There was no interaction between my husband and I but the imam asked my husband if he accepted and asked my wali if I accepted. There was talk about marriage and our deen. It was done. :) Alhamdlillah.

  3. 07/01/2013 4:48 PM

    Pam is right on with the call ahead. There are so many things to consider with the wedding ceremony at the mosque (all based on what that mosque does normally). Really the actual mosque part (writing in the book is what Egyptians call it) is more like signing a contract than getting married. It differs from a Christian wedding on that the religious authority part is just a formality for immediate family. The witnesses and the guardian of the woman (if share needs one) are all that have to be present. You literally sign a marriage contract, so some places will ask you to tell them if you have anything you want on it that would differ from the normal version. An example is granting the right to divorce to the woman, restricting marriage to other women, and so on. Of course the man pays the woman at the time of the contract and you should be ready with that. It’s called a mahr.

    Hmmm, I am giving a long answer here… Think of it like this, for Christian couples a wedding is all about the ceremony. But for Muslims it is about the reception. Does that help?

    In my case we did a signing with family (we did give out sweets as Pam mentioned), a civil ceremony (because our imam had no legal way to marry people), and a reception (because my MIL almost flipped when we said we weren’t going to do one). I should mention that the important part to my husband and I was simply being married in the eyes of God, so we could have stopped at the mosque part and been quite happy with that :)

  4. 07/01/2013 5:27 PM

    I was almost forty, Muslim, and a divorcee,so the imam dealt with me directly, asking me 3 times if I agreed to the marriage, (after a short talk about the meaning of marriage etc etc). I was asked what dowry I wanted (we had agreed a nominal sum beforehand) We had two witnesses from the mosque, and tea and biscuits afterwards.we are British ,after all..lol.. It was very low key , serious and personal. We had a civil ceremony a few weeks later.

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