Most people from the non –Islamic community fail to observe the difference in dogmas between the Sunni and the Shia Muslims. While Muslims from both sects celebrate wedding ceremonies on an elaborate scale there are quite a few notable differences between the two.
The Shia Muslims form the minority group and share their most basic beliefs about religion and God with the Sunni Muslims. However there comes in some conspicuous differences as far as the solemnization of the marriage is concerned.
Here are a few beliefs and rituals of a Shia Muslim matrimonial that make it a truly unique one.
Shia Muslims, contrary to the Sunni Muslims believe in the temporary arrangement of marriage called “nikah al Mutah”. The bride and the groom enter into a nuptial agreement that is valid for a predetermined period of time. The couple is required to abide by this agreement and stay together after that time only by their own will. This is a major difference between the Shia and Sunni communities of Islam.
The celebrations start with the elders reciting Islamic songs as blessings for the bride and the groom. Music and dance are an important part during the Shia Muslim matrimonial.
Almost a week before the wedding, the bride is not allowed to step out of the house. Shia Muslims believe that this is the time for the bride to focus on her life and get her familial values right. The bride also starts on a beauty regime for the big day during this week.
The Mehendi ceremony is an evening filled with loads of fun and frolic. The bride and the groom with their respective families gather in the bride’s house and sing and dance away to glory. The hands and legs of the bride are beautifully decorated with “Mehendi” art and there are also some small fun-filled competitions between the two sides.
The nikah is the main ceremony where the bride and the groom sign the marriage contract. Unlike the Sunni Muslims, Shia Muslims do not believe in presenting people as witnesses for signing of the contract. Shia Muslims believe that the institution of marriage is scared does not require the intervention of human.
Walima or the marriage feast plays a key role in Muslim marriages. While the Nikah may be a private affair with the gathering of only family and close friends, the Muslims believe that Walima is an external expression of appreciation and contentment and a grand means of publicising the marriage. Walima is offered before the consummation of the newly married couple.
Both Sunni and Shia Muslims are ardent believers of the Quran and incorporate the teachings of the holy book into their lives implicitly. As the couple leave the marriage hall, they are made to carry the Quran on their heads. This ritual implies the need to imbibe the goodness of the Islamic preaching into the new phase of their lives.
Shia Muslim weddings are light-hearted, grandiose and a lot of fun. The matrimony of the Shia Muslim couple happens amidst great music, good food and impeccable culture