Black History Month and Muslim Weddings

Why should Black History Month be of interest to not only American-Muslims but the world over? Anywhere from 20-40 percent of African slaves who came to the shores of the U.S. were Muslims. Today more than 50 percent of the people in Africa are Muslims. The author Alex Haley’s research for the book “Roots” took him to the land of his Muslim forefather, Kunta Kinte in West Africa. For the past several decades, African-Americans  are the fastest growing reverts to Islam. There are many common social aspects we could dwell upon about the struggle of  African-Americans and Muslims to fight racism and bigotry, but for this post we want to focus on just the beauty that this continent offers in its people, culture, and traditions with respect to weddings.

black history month
Source:
www.pinterest.com/muslimwedding/african-muslim-weddings/

The Quran says: “O people, we created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you into tribes and nations so that you may know each other. Verily, the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is the one who is most righteous of you.” (Quran 49:13)

In honor of Black History Month, we want to bring together the rich history of marriage from the African continent. We want to share with you photos that reflect the beauty and dignity of African weddings.

Check out out Pinterest board for African Muslim Weddings.

What is the Perfect Muslim Wedding?

I, by chance, came across this blog post, and in it the author rightly points out that a perfect wedding doesn’t have to be picture-perfect or meet the expectations of a fantasy wedding. The important thing to note here is that the wedding industry, in the end, is a business, and there’s nothing wrong with that. What we all need to do, however, is to be conscious in the way we spend our hard earned money. You don’t need to super-size anything, after all, there is beauty in simplicity.

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Some previous posts have covered how to hold a wedding on a budget and make them simple. The following are some further ideas about what you can do to make you or your children’s wedding a “perfect one.”

  1. Time over money. There is no substitute. The more thought and caring that goes into a wedding the more memorable it will be.
  2. Pick the MC early and determine the agenda and order of events at the reception. The MC should have a sense of humor, one who has good people and time management skills. If they can relate to the community, that will not only give the event personality, but an emotional connection.
  3. If you’re part of the bride’s side, the mahar should be not so low that it is not meaningful, but not so high that it becomes a burden. In many middle eastern countries, young men are putting off getting married, as the mahar is being set to tens of thousands of dollars. It is bad for not only the individual, but for society as a whole. Keep the mahar low, affordable, and realistic.
  4. Wedding gowns and tuxedos look elegant, but ask yourself, is it worth spending all that money for a few hours?  You can borrow, rent, purchase pre-owned, or set a budget and stick to it.
  5. When coming up with the guest list, besides family don’t make it a “who’s who.” Rather than the rich and powerful, invite the poor, or those are facing hard times. It will InshAllah be a blessed gathering.
  6. Make it fun. Some people associating being Muslim with boring. The bounds of Islam are wide, and there are many cultural activities that can be done. For example, in Arab, African, Afghan cultures, dancing and singing is common. As long as it is not mixed and modesty is observed, go for it.
  7. Make it poetic. Have young and old recite nasheed, poems, and of course, the Quran. Finish with duas and you can’t go wrong.

Of course there are many other factors that make the perfect Muslim wedding, these are just a few to get you started.

13 Mistakes to Avoid for Your Perfect Muslim Wedding

Even though this site is called “Perfect Muslim Wedding,” it does not mean that everything in your wedding will go exactly as you planned. Stuff happens, you can count on it. However, that does not mean there are some common pitfalls that you can’t avoid. Here are a few things to avoid. Remember, you know your own situation best. This list isn’t to discourage you, but rather prepare you for the common issues that may come up.

Photo Courtesy of Maha Designs
Photo Courtesy of Maha Designs
  1. It’s a wedding and everyone wants your attention. Make sure your guests and helpers feel included.
  2. It’s nice to let key family and friends share memories, but don’t make it an open mike. Even the best of friends and family can bring the energy down and make you want to shrivel back to the cocoon.
  3. Money matters should be discussed discretely both with your own family and your future spouse. Have the important discussions one-on one, and set the stage with the other side, so that when you do meet, it is not embarrassing or awkward.
  4. Don’t play the “Lone Ranger.” Even he needed Tonto. A wedding requires a lot of coordination and help. You can’t do it alone. Play to family and friends strengths and divvy up the work.
  5. Given that everything may not go to plan, that does not mean nothing should go to plan. Prioritize the most important things and work out the details. Rehearse, have alternate plans and of course, pray for the best.
  6. Whether it be the wedding dress or shoes, looking good is important, but feeling good is even more important. You will be in the dress, suit, shoes for a while, and if you are not comfortable it will show through. Better to go with flats than heels of pain.
  7. For low priority accessories and items it’s okay to buy online. For the critical items (ahem…wedding dress) it is best to deal with a physical entity person or shop. Allow enough time for snafus and delays so that you’re not pulling your hair out worrying if your dress will be ready in time.
  8. Avoid leaving for the honeymoon on the morning after the reception.  You will be spent and that is not a good state to be going on honeymoon. Give yourselves at least a couple of days to recover and regroup.
  9. Assign tasks to different people so that one person isn’t overwhelmed with making all the decisions. An example is a person each for the decor, catering, MC, music, guest greeting, usher etc.
  10. With Muslim weddings it is difficult even with RSVPs to know how many guests will show. Have a 10-15% margin for the catering and for the venue to have the flexibility to add tables.
  11. Whether you hire a professional photographer or ask Uncle Hakim to take the pictures, make sure you have gone over the must-have photos that you need. Have a backup too.
  12. Accidents happen. Some of the more obvious ones like coffee or other spills are a nightmare to deal with. Have basic rules e.g. no drinks in the brides quarters.
  13. Don’t leave helpers and guests guessing about the itinerary. Create a schedule, share it and try to stick to it.

 

 

 

 

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