Muslim Wedding Glossary

“Marriage (nikah) in Islam between husband and wife is a sacred, spiritual, and social contract that is mutually agreed upon by both parties.”

Photo by Jerome Taylor available under a Creative Commons Attribution License

Below are common terms used in Muslim weddings, we hope those of you who are new to Muslim weddings will find this helpful.

Allah: Arabic name for the one and only God.

Barat: Groom’s procession to the Brides home or city.

Dholki: A pre-wedding celebration for the bride, and women who are family and friends.

Fatiha: First chapter of the Quran. Also a ceremony where the wedding contract is signed and groom reads Fatiha.

Henna or Mehndi: Adornment dye with artistic designs used on palms and feet of bride.

Ibadah: Worship of God.

Istikhara: Prayer for guidance and decision making

Imam: Religious scholar and leader who can also perform marriage ceremony

Mahr: A gift or payment given by the groom to the bride which is mutually agreed upon and a part of the marriage contract.

Masjid or Mosque: House of worship, where the marriage ceremony may take place.

Nikah: Witnessing of the marriage contract.

Quran: Islamic revelation and holy book of Muslims revealed to Prophet Muhammad. Also spelled Koran.

Rukhsati: Farewell ritual in some south Asian cultures where the father of the bride hands over his daughter to his new son-in-law.

Shia: A denomination of Islam who accept Ali and his descendents as the inheritors and leaders after the Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

Sunni: The majority school of Islam that recognizes the four righteous caliphs as the inheritors and leaders after the Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

Sunnah: The example and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

Walima: Reception from groom for family and friends after the marriage ceremony.

Waqil or Wali: Representatives of the bride, usually father or uncle or brother.

Zawaj: Arabic for pair or mate, used in the Quran.

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