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The Big Bang Weddings : How Grand Are Our Weddings?

Ever since I have written a few notes on Youth, career and marriages, many readers often ask me how much should they spend on their wedding? Some even inquire if it is alright to bow to family pressure if they spend lavishly on the reception (hosted by the bride's father) and umpteen items on the menu of waleema. What if our parents can afford the lavish reception (again hosted by the bride's father)? Well there is no upper limit in the hadith as far as the number of invitees in the waleema are concerned. One of the son in law of the Prophet was Uthman bin Affan r .a. He married two daughters of the Prophet (pbuh) one after the death of another, and was one of the richest man among the sahaba. The man who sponsored huge expenditure of one third of the entire Islamic army in one of the battles yet he did not invite the same men in either of his waleema except a handful ! Something worth to be noticed. Abdul Rahman bin Auf r.a. did not invite the Prophet (pbuh) in his wedding and the Prophet did not feel bad about it. Many of us may find this very strange because in our times being invited to a wedding has become a status and privileged. Our marriages are becoming more complicated. Even a middle class person energetically thinks about the numbers of dishes to serve in his daughter or son's marriage. Preparations begin months ahead. Expenditure behind the preparation itself runs high. “So what? We can afford it " Comes a common reply. Right! We can afford it.! But if we refer back to the hadith that states that no person will be allowed to move from his place on the day of Qiyamah till he gives the account of where did he spend his money as well. Even if it is your Halal earnings yet it would be required to justify his expenses.. Now use this hadith as a parameter..Go through the list of the menu of the Reception. 1, 2, 3...6...10....! Chinese, Italian... Moghlai... count the variety of salads...Just have a look at the stock of ice cream.. I don't mean to say that having ice cream or distributing ice creams is haram but look at the way the Ice creams scream in our marriages. Consider this... Last week there were news about increase in the rates of milk in Mumbai.. The house wives who objected increase in the rates of milk, the same house wives are fond of buying ice-creams worth four times the rates of milk. In Mumbai, one litre of milk costs around a dollar ie. 48 INR, but one kg of branded icecream costs around 200 /INR i.e. 4 Dollars! The Agro Ministry of India say that the ice cream industry is worth 15 billion Rupees in India, and 40 percent of that ice cream is consumed in the western India. From Ahmedabad to Mumbai Ice creams float like foams over sea. In our marriages ice creams have become a staple food. The rates of ice creams in wedding are quoted higher like the other items in the venue. How many weddings take place in Mumbai

every year? There are no less than 500 wedding Halls in Mumbai alone which cater to higher middle class. How many marriages take place in these halls every year? In Mumbai..In Karachi... in Lahore... keep counting how many guest push down ice creams into their throats after eating chicken tandooris, biryanis, noodles, seek and shami kebabs....Just one example..Now assemble the rest of the expenditure you plan to have in your wedding and think how many days will it take you to give the accounts to Allah and justify it? So how grand should your wedding be? Before you answer to your own self, know that there is no grandeur like simplicity.. See you in your wedding... Ponder into this Qur'anic verse...Surah Araf ch 7... Verse 157... The Prophet releases them from their heavy burden and from yokes..... Nikah that were supposed to be a simple affair has become a yoke on the community. Our weddings are like Big Bang theory. Like the big explosion that blew particles in every direction and went on stretching its space, our big bang weddings have explosions that blow our money in all the directions, Haldi- Mehdi, Expensive make ups, Multi-cuisine receptions, Wedding coats and Dresses for entire family, lavish invitation cards... the list keeps on stretching like the universe after the Big Bang Theory... A Muslimah, who is the daughter of a very rich man, was getting married so she insisted that her wedding be simple, and she argued profoundly and courtesy with her mother and it went on for days till she got her point across. Throughout her discussion, her argument was simple and straight: Why should my father celebrate my departure in a grand manner? The parents smiled. The Islamic daughter's instance saved more than half a million Indian Rupees of her father. Moral of the story? Most of us give up to the pressure of parents and other elders of the family, instead of talking to them with respect and politeness. If we be little firm towards deen our parents will also get inclined inshallah. A few months back a friend of mine invited me to his wedding and waleema. It was more like an event than like a wedding. It was an event in actual term. There was an event manager, staffed with an anchor who was giving a running commentary of the activities going on there along with jokes and all. I found it strange like a TV reality show. At times it becomes uncomfortable for us to respond at that time. It was then that I was introduced to a new trend in weddings. People are handing over their wedding management to event planners. Marriage is a big Industry. A new industry of around $11, growing at 25 percent annually (http://sepiamutiny.com/blog/2005/11/21/the_economics_o/) The Indian and Pakistani weddings are famous worldwide. Even the poor want to imitate this grandeur in his own way. Years ago, a young man, who worked with at my

uncle's grocery shop in a small village, was getting married. He asked for a loan of ten thousand rupees in those days. It was ten times of his salary. My uncle explained but in vain. The young man borrowed money from his relatives and friends and in few years he had to sell of his house to repay his debt. There are thousands of young Indians and Pakistanis who go out of their way to celebrate their wedding on things which are enjoyed for only few hours. This has promoted even the banks to come out with loans for weddings, as they say in Gujarati.. Where ever there are greedy people, frauds and cheaters don’t go hungry... The minimum budget for a wedding ceremony is $34,000, say wedding planners, while the upper-middle and rich classes are known to spend upward of $2 million. (The average American wedding costs $26,327.) This doesn’t include cash and valuables given as part of a dowry. Yesterday's Times of India reported that the British Muslims spend a lot on stage decoration and Mehdi ceremony! With the medhi artists and makeup artists charging around 300 to 500 pounds , weddings are getting expensive globally as average Asian wedding in UK costs around 40 -50 thousand pounds equivalent to 300000 Rupees !! Two years ago The Time Magazine had published an article The Big Fat Indian Wedding Grows Bigger and Fatter (http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1653427,00.html#ixzz1b1F8xq3Z) showing how much money Indians spend on their wedding. The article did not have any moral or lesson except that it spoke big and loud about such marriages. In a lay man's language it glamorized and encouraged such marriages. A group of Sikh leaders called for a July 28 meeting of representatives from New Delhi’s more than 400 Sikh gurdwaras, or temples, to discuss ways to rein in overthe-top weddings… the Sikh leaders said the deluxe wedding trend puts an unfair burden on brides’ families, who traditionally pay for the parties. http://nitawriter.wordpress.com/2007/08/22/high-wedding-expenditure-is-adisease-in-indian-society/. I wait for the day our Masajids also call such meetings and rein our expenditures in weddings.. With no malice towards anyone who is getting married in near future.....Mean while Author : Nisaar Nadiadwala speaks and writes on socio-educational issues from Islamic Perspective. He can be reached at nisaar_yusuf@yahoo.com

Regards, Sajid Holy

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