Feeding the Bridegroom

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Feeding the Bridegroom



Question: A nikah is held at a musjid after which the bridegroom is invited to the house of the bride or her relative’s house. The groom, out of hospitality, is invited to participate in the meals as it is lunchtime. The family members of the groom are also invited since they are musaafirs (travellers) from out of town. Is it permissible for the groom and his family to accept this invitation?


Response: When a person gets married, it is sunnah to have a walimah. Walimah refers to the invitation given from the boy’s side. Invitation from the girl’s family is not considered as a walimah. During the time of Nabi e, there was no invitation from the girl’s side.


Some ulamā (scholars) opine that a wedding function is an extra expense from the girl’s side for which there is no need. Generally such invitations consist of many impermissible acts, for example extravagance, intermingling of sexes, music, photography, etc. People consider the wedding as an essential part of nikah and look down upon those who do not hold such an invitation. Thus, people who cannot afford to have a wedding are compelled to take loans and put themselves through much difficulty. These are some of the reasons based on which some ulamā discourage wedding functions.


On the contrary, other ulamā hold the view that the time of nikāh is a happy occasion and having a wedding is a form of expressing one’s happiness. A wedding in itself is permissible but the prohibition is due to external factors (some of which were explained above). Thus, they allow having a wedding on condition that all impermissible acts are avoided.


The fatāwa of our pious predecessors (akābir) indicate that they were inclined to the second view. Therefore, it is permissible for the bride to have an invitation on condition that there are no actions contrary to the Shari’ah. Neither should it be considered as a sunnah or mustahab nor should it be regarded as something necessary without which the nikāh is incomplete.


If the groom’s family is coming from a distant place, then it is the demand of honouring one’s guests that the bride’s family invite them for a meal.


Muftī Mahmood Gangohī (Rahimahullah) writes:


“The condition of weddings that prevails now is different from that which was prevalent in the era of Nabi e. When Sayyidinā Abdur Rahmān Ibn Auf twas married, he did not even invite Nabi e. In fact, he did not even inform Nabi e. (Mishkāt, p. 277, H.M. Saeed)


Similarly, the incident of Jābir tis mentioned in the ahādīth. Jābir twas hastening to go home on a return journey. Nabī easked him the reason for his haste. He replied that he was newly married. (Sahīh Bukhārī v. 2, p.760 Qadīmī)


This method of bārāt (of feeding the groom’s family when they go to the house of the bride), was initiated by the elders because the bride used to receive a large amount of gifts (jahez) and each item of her paraphernalia was displayed. The journey in those days was generally by ox-cart. There used to be incidents of robbery, hence a large number of people (bārāt) used to travel in order to protect the gifts (jahez). The large group itself was a means of pride. The bridegroom’s family would go out of their way to feed the guests in order to show off. This used to be spoken about everywhere. This method is incorrect according to the Sharīah. Neither is there a need for giving more gifts than what one can afford, nor is there any need to have a large group to safeguard the gifts. According to the hadith, the person who feeds for the sake of showing off, will be disgraced (on the day of Judgement). (Mishkāt p.279)


Nowadays there are sufficient arrangements for travelling, e.g. trains, buses, etc. which are very commonly found and which were not so prevalent before. Accordingly, those who want to stop this custom now are doing something praiseworthy.


It is the requirement of honouring the guests, to feed the group of people who come with the bridegroom. To invite a large contingent of people and to feed them by taking loans, which are probably interest-bearing, are acts which are abhorred in the Sharī’ah. In fact, it is not even permissible to take a loan on interest. Any act connected to interest invites the curse of Allah according to the ahādīth. (Sahīh Muslim 2:27)


Those people who endeavour to reform the incorrect ways of weddings and make them according to the sunnah, are most certainly entitled to great rewards. May Allah assist them. The details are mentioned in Islāhur Rusūm and Bahishti Zewar. Keep them in mind.” (Fatāwah Mahmūdiyyah 11/229)