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Muslim Marriage in India and Pakistan

There are certain preliminaries that take place before the Muslim marriage. Muslim marriage begins when the father or the guardian of the bride approaches her and seeks the power of being her attorney to fulfill the contract of marriage in her favor. He also asks her whether she would agree upon the dower that is offered to her by the groom. After this, the father or the guardian of the bride formally offers the marriage proposal to the groom. Both the above said ceremonies take place in the presence of two Muslim witnesses who would be required to confirm the marriage before the judge.

In the Indian subcontinent, certain cultural customs are followed For example, in India once the preliminaries are completed, the ceremony that follows is called Manjha. This is nothing but anointing the bride with turmeric paste. Usually, Manjha happens at the bride s house one or two days prior to the Muslim wedding day. For this occasion, the groom s family sends the paste of sandalwood, turmeric and chameli oil. A group of unmarried girls apply this paste to the bride during Manjha. Also, henna is applied on the hands and feet of the bride. As a symbolic token to the wedding process, a small bit of this paste is also applied to the groom. After the Manjha ceremony, the bride does not leave her house until the marriage.

In India, on the day of marriage, the groom arrives at the venue in a long procession of relatives and friends in a car or riding a horse. Then, the officiating priest reads select excerpts from the Koran and asks for the consent of the bride and the groom. The elaborate ceremonies of the Muslim marriage center around an important ritual called Mangni, comprising the mutual exchange of rings by the bride and the groom. This usually occurs before the marriage. After feast and celebrations, the father of the bride gives a send off to the entire party after vouchsafing the hands of the bride to the groom.

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