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Harmful Innovations and Customs relating to Marriages

Summary of Friday Sermon

delivered by the Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community

November 25th, 2005

NOTE: Alislam Team takes full responsibility for any errors or miscommunication in this Synopsis of the Friday Sermon

Citing verse 158 of Surah Al A'raf (7:158) Huzuraba delivered his Friday Sermon on the subject of the liberating teachings of Islam yet the regrettable adoption of negative innovations by some, especially in customs relating to marriages.

Huzuraba said that followers of all the religions of the world, people of different cultures and regions have their own customs for marriages. Islam, the perfect religion acknowledges that marriage is an occasion for happiness and has made allowances for this. According to a tradition Hadhrat Ayeshara once prepared a bride for an Ansari (native of Medina) when the Holy Prophetsaw asked her why had she not organised for songs to be sung as the Ansaris have a liking for that; at another time he said the Nikah should be announced in a good manner and the tambourine played. However, Islam has not left us totally free either and only allows for decent songs to be sung at the occasion. Once the Holy Prophetsaw recited a few lines himself by way of coaching and said this is how it should be sung.

Huzuraba said some people assume that marriage is an occasion for happiness so it’s a licence for singing any old indecent songs etc. Huzuraba said although with the grace of Allah the Ahmadi society is free from this impropriety, the tendency of this is on the increase especially among people of the Indian sub-continent on such a vast scale that it can have its effect on the Ahmadi families as well. Huzuraba said he does receive the occasional complaint as well.

Huzuraba explained that singing and dancing is a part of the religion of people of the Hindu faith, while some Muslims copy them blindly and end up looking absurd. He warned those who arrange dances at the pre-wedding gatherings and also perhaps once the bride is received at the groom’s house. Huzuraba said this is wholly inappropriate and can never be allowed. As regards disciplinary action for such activities Huzuraba said it is said that so and so was a rich man therefore no action was taken against his family while a poor person is definitely disciplined. Huzuraba said this is negative conjecture for what is an occasional inattentiveness. He said he would take definite action against any activities that put the Islamic values in such disrepute.

Huzuraba mentioned that sometimes at weddings, after certain guests have departed, raucous and coarse behaviour ensues. Huzuraba singled out people of the Indian sub-continent and asked them to reform themselves in these matters; he instructed the administrative system of the Community as well as the auxiliary organisations to keep a particular eye on this and to report any incidents.

Huzuraba said the coming days and weeks are ‘wedding season’ and needed special watch.

Huzuraba explained that the Ahmadi tradition of recitation of the Holy Qur’an followed by devotional poetic verses sung at the time of a send-off ceremony of a bride as wholly appropriate. Huzuraba said in addition to the devotional verses regular decent songs can also be sung in accordance with the tradition of the Holy Prophetsaw. However, Huzuraba said it is not a necessity and should be followed only where certain cultures and ethnicities have a tradition for the same.

Huzuraba said the marriage ceremony has absolute relevance to religion and that Islam teaches to give preference to a marriage proposal on basis of faith. In the sermon for Nikah the Holy Prophetsaw has drawn repeated attention to taqwa.

Huzuraba said neither did the Holy Prophetsaw like those who spent all time in worship and fasting and did not pay the dues of their nafs (self) or the dues of their family nor did he like those who made matches based on beauty and wealth or those who spent all their time and attention on their families. On hearing of someone not wishing to get married and spend his life in worship and fasting he remarked in astonishment that he worshipped, fasted, paid the dues of people and was also married; he said one who turns away from his Sunnah is not from him.

Huzuraba said therein is a warning for those who say marriage is only an occasion for cheerfulness.

Huzuraba observed that some people tend to follow bad marriage customs imitating others; some do it for pretensions and thus ruin their own piety. Huzuraba said if so and so followed these dire customs they will be held accountable for that while each individual should be aware that they will be responsible for their own act. If others were not disciplined by the system of the Community, it is not necessary that the next person will evade it too.

Huzuraba said if you have any information in this regard it should be reported to the system of the Community so that there may be reformation.

Huzuraba said some bad customs pertaining to marriage, although useless and absurd do not constitute shirk; rather they are a burden and a nuisance. For example the giving of dowry to the bride by her family, the elaborate wedding feast etc. Huzuraba said we should be grateful that we belong to a religion that has liberated us from the shackles of negative customs as the verse recited at the onset explains.

Huzuraba said people of the Indian subcontinent believed in the Promised Messiahas before anyone else, therefore theirs is the greatest of all responsibility not to let such customs find a foothold amongst our Community. Huzuraba stressed that if they persisted with the customs that are a burden then other nations/people have a right to continue to follow their unfavourable customs; customs that are a blemish on faith.

Huzuraba said we should all follow one culture and that is the culture of Ahmadiyyat.

Huzuraba related Ahadith, expounding the stark and simple way the Holy Prophetsaw arranged the wedding of his beloved daughter and thus set an excellent model of simplicity. Huzuraba said he did not expect people to follow the stark pattern to the letter. However, to needlessly burden oneself with loans in order to keep up appearances was out of order as well.

Huzuraba remarked that some people who are assisted via Maryum Shadi Fund make undue demands. They should not bring themselves under the futile burden of social constraints from which the Holy Prophetsaw liberated us. Huzuraba urged that in this respect the 6th condition of Bai’at should be of particular heed to every Ahmadi.

Huzuraba also stressed to the well-off among the Community to always remember the disadvantaged in particular at the time of the wedding of their off spring.

Next Huzuraba expounded the issue of Dower (Haq Mehr). He said in cases where a marriage is unsuccessful, at times the male side creates hindrances in payment of dower and the system of the Community always takes disciplinary action against this. Huzuraba said the dower should always be fixed realistically and not for pretensions, as it often is. Before marriage it is an effort of the girl’s side to bind the man by wanting a large dower while in situations where marriages fail the male side dismiss the issue and this creates a very unpleasant situation.

The Promise Messiahas said that dower should be fixed with mutual agreement and should be in line with the situation at the time. As regards payment of dower and having it excused etc Huzuraba said the Promised Messiahas said that it is only excused if one places it (the sum of money) on the palm of one’s wife and she then excuses it; otherwise it is payable by all means, that it is a ‘loan’ . Huzuraba said sometimes people living in the West maintain that in divorce cases because the laws of the land here cater for the woman adequately maybe payment of the dower is not that essential. On the contrary, Huzuraba said it has nothing to do with the law of the land, it is payable.

Huzuraba explained that these days the expenditure of the wedding feast has grown exorbitant; Huzuraba counselled against unnecessary excess and said that if one is prosperous who ought to aid the disadvantaged in their marriages instead of spending too lavishly on the wedding feast.

Huzuraba commented that families living in the West go back to Rabwah to hold weddings and sometimes they do not promote the local caterers etc from Rabwah and aim for outside arrangements. This was fine, Huzuraba said, it was one’s choice. However, he stressed this should never be done with an inferiority complex about the local services. He said the local businesses should be sponsored. He also addressed the businesses of Rabwah and asked them to establish excellent standards of services they offer.

Huzuraba prayed that may Allah enable all to be free from all harmful innovations and negative customs; that we follow the commandments of Allah, the Sunnah of the Holy Prophetsaw and be those who give precedence to faith over worldly matters; this principle, Huzuraba said encompasses all good.

Huzuraba said he was going away on his travels day after tomorrow and requested prayers that his trip is blessed in every way and that it is a source of auspicious results and may we soon see the triumph of Ahmadiyyat in the world.