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The Nikah in Kerala Is a Beautiful Ride of Rituals and Rich Cultural Heritage and Much More Than Saying "Qubool Hai"

With the wedding season taking over, every part of the world seems to be witnessing a wedding celebration on a regular basis! If you are going for a Nikah in Kerala, this is your complete guide to one. Read on!

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Having a Muslim population of almost 28-30% in Kerala, Muslim weddings in Kerala is a rather grand affair. Nikah in Kerala isn’t very different from the general Muslim weddings, but yes, they do have a number of pre and post-wedding festivities. Nikah is the wedding ceremony (union of the bride and groom seeking Allah’s blessings) and is a very simple custom. However, with the pre and post wedding festivities, the customs and rituals become an extravagant affair followed by a lavish dinner spread for all the guests. It is indeed a grand affair that is a treat to witness even if you do not know about the ceremonies in depth. The subtlety and regal feel of it is worth participating.

Having said it all, it is worth knowing about the rich cultural influence in all the ceremonies and rituals that are a part of the Nikah in Kerala so let us get to know the various pre and post wedding ceremonies in a Kerala Muslim wedding.

Pre-wedding festivities

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1. Ishtikara 

A Nikah in Kerala’s first pre-wedding ritual in the ceremony of Ishtikara. This ceremony is a prayer service seeking Allah’s permission for the holy matrimony, Nikah. It usually takes place in a mosque with the presence of the bride and groom’s father along with other elderly relatives. Verses from the Quran are read out by the Maulvi and the wedding date is finalised with the mutual agreement of both parties. It is the beginning of the joy ride of the wedding that is, like any other Indian wedding, an affair of more than just one day.

2. Imam

Just like the Shagun ceremony among Hindus, this ceremony primarily revolves around protecting the would-be-couple from any kind of evil forces or disasters. The day begins with the groom’s mother visiting the bride along with other family members. They bring various gifts for the bride and her family. The most important part involves the gifting of a silver or gold coin wrapped inside a silk cloth to the bride. This signifies the beginning of the groom’s mother accepting the bride as their soon-to-be daughter-in-law. Following this, there are huge celebrations and entertainment for both families in a Kerala Muslim wedding. The Kerala Muslim wedding is also a gorgeous representation of how culture and society come into play even in religious matters and they mark the emergence of beautiful rituals.

3. Mehndi ceremony or Mailanchi Raavu

Just like it happens in every other religion, the Mehndi ceremony is more or less similar. For a Nikah in Kerala, this function takes place 2-3 days prior to the wedding ceremony at the bride’s place. Playing dholak, singing and dancing are the old traditions of this ceremony. Women of the house are seen applying Mehndi on their hands after the Bride is done applying on hers. Turmeric paste is also put on the bride’s face and body by her family and friends but it is not a separate ceremony mostly unless of course, one wants to do it the millennial way. According to the ceremony, once the bride has applied Mehndi, she is not allowed to step out of her house until the wedding day.  

The wedding day

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Nikah in Kerala – The main function of the entire ceremony is this – the wedding. In a Kerala Muslim wedding, the bride and the groom are asked to be seated separately. The wedding is presided by the Qazi, the head priest. The Qazi chants various verses of the Quran which ends in the bride’s father offering his daughter in marriage to the groom. The head passes on the proposal of the groom to the bride. This is known as Lijaab, the bride then accepts the proposal saying Qubool. Lijaab Qubul is thus the holy matrimony of the bride and the groom. This, of course, most of us are aware of given the beautiful Nikaah ceremonies we have had the chance to be a part of or at least watch it on television.

Post wedding ceremonies

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4. Ruksat

Similar to the Hindu Bidaai, Nikah in Kerala has the ceremony of Ruksat where the bride’s family bids her a tearful goodbye before she leaves for her husband’s house. The ceremony is called Ruksat because it involves the bride’s father giving her hand to the husband with a promise that he will always protect her from all things evil. As the bride enters her new home, the Holy Quran is held above her head as she takes her incoming steps. This is followed by the bride seeking the blessings of all the elderly members in the groom’s family.

5. Walima (The Marriage Banquet)

Following the ceremony of Ruksat, the groom’s family or both the families together host a post-wedding celebration known as Daawat-e-Walima in a Kerala Muslim wedding. Both the families celebrate the union of the newly-wed couple on this day by feasting on delicious meals, and singing and dancing their hearts out on this day.

Just like any other religion celebrates the union of the newlyweds, Nikah in Kerala too is just the same. It is all about merrymaking as two souls come together to share the path of eternity, together. Accompanied by the love and blessings of their near and dear ones, the couple is wished a lifetime of health, happiness, love and success. These are some Muslim wedding dress options you can take inspiration from. The Nikah in Kerala is an occasion that is hyped by aesthetic beauty and you will be awestruck by the soothing ceremonies that take place with equally fun merrymaking and jjoyous celebrations.

If you are also looking for insights on how to go about a Kerala Muslim wedding, look out for vendors right here!