• Aslam Abdullah

Walima: The celebrations at the weddings


Walima, the Moroccan style

The word walima comes from the Arabic word from awlama, meaning to gather or assemble. It refers to a feast to express domestic happiness in the household post-marriage. Although it is to celebrate a marriage celebration, it also relates to festivities at the birth of a newborn and purchasing a new home. However, one crucial function of walima is to announce publicly that the newlyweds are off-limits for any marriage proposal.

Scholars have different views on the time of walima. Some believe it should occur at the time of the wedding contract (nikah); others say it should happen after nikah and before consummation. Some say that walima is due at the wedding procession, while others recommend it after consummation.

Who should organize the walima? How many people should attend it? In several Muslim cultures, the bride and bridegroom's families arrange two separate functions to express their happiness in addition to several other festivities. They usually host big gatherings with lavish arrangements. None has religious significance. The two can host a unified function as walima with a minimum number of household members to celebrate. People need not spend vast sums of money on the celebration. Simplicity is the essence of our faith that promotes humility in all aspects.

The faith does not call for show-off and lavish arrangements. Nevertheless, weddings have become a significant expenditure, even in almost all religious communities. From the wedding dress to food items to decorations, they cost a substantial amount. Parents can give the same amount to the newlyweds to begin their family life on a solid financial footing.

It is better to host wedding ceremonies in masajid. The irony is that people spend millions on weddings while insisting on Mehr (gift from groom to bride) equivalent to what Prophet's son-in-law gave to his daughter. Such an amount is no more than 50 dollars in our times. The purpose of this gift was to assure the bride that she would have enough to support herself if such a situation arose.

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