OK. Here we go. The Nikah. The sacred marriage contract between a man and a woman which legitimizes living as husband and wife. The Nikah must be declared publicly, and hence we have the nikah, or wedding, ceremony.
Here’s where things get ugly.
I haven’t been to that many Pakistani Muslim weddings, but the one’s that I have been to, that I remember, I remember the Imam (Muslim priest) being terrible.
Here are a list of things that should not have any part of a wedding ceremony:
- The words “obey” and “obedient.” In fact, the only place where these words can be used is when you’re talking about dogs.
- Misogyny. Surprised that this followed the first point? :s The last person I want to be part of my special day is some misogynistic, backwards-thinking, mullah who thinks my beautifully decorated wedding is an appropriate venue to start lecturing my guests about “a woman’s place.” I would sooner kick him off my wedding stage but not before telling him that our Prophet, upon whom be peace, was employed by his first wife.
- Rambling Imams. You are here to marry two individuals. Effectively, that doesn’t take that long. Go ask girl, girl says yes. Come back to boy, boy says yes. Marriage complete. Beyond what you’re therefore, don’t talk.
- Imams cracking jokes. It’s one thing if they’re funny. But we all know they’re not. And their jokes have no place at my wedding.
- Soliciting. Yes, I’ve seen this. Imams trying to sell their CDs. On someone’s wedding.
- Making the ceremony interactive. No, a wedding ceremony doesn’t warrant audience participation. Do not ask wedding guests to shout out answers to your idiotic questions.
- Lack of fluency in English. Yes, this is important. I want to be able to understand the individual who is effectively facilitating the most important decision of my life. Fluency in English, therefore, is not unreasonable.
I just don’t understand how the nikah, THE WEDDING CEREMONY, effectively the most important part of the day ends up being placed in the hands of men who do all of the aforementioned. If the imam who performed my ceremony did any of the above (god forbid) I would be absolutely livid.
I want my wedding ceremony to feel special. I want it to feel sacred. Because it is.
And I want it performed by someone who is a decent, respectful person who values women’s equality and is fluent in the English language.
And I don’t want it to last more than 7 minutes.
Weddings are happy occasions. And the nikah is a special and scared part of them. Let’s give them the respect that they deserve.