Praise be to Allaah.
The guidance of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) with regard to marriage was that he encouraged making it easy, announcing it and proclaiming it openly, and expressing joy and happiness on this occasion; making a wedding feast (waleemah) and inviting people to it; enjoining those who are invited to attend, and even if a person is fasting he should attend and offer du’aa’ for the host of the feast, but he does not have to eat.

Then he enjoined treating the wife with kindness and trying one's best to achieve that.


This is in general terms. There follows a detailed discussion:


Firstly: Affordable dowry (mahr)

Al-Bayhaqi (14721) narrated that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best of dowries is that which is most affordable.” It was narrated by Abu Dawood (2117) with the wording: “The best of marriages is that which is most affordable.” This was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani.


It says in ‘Awn al-Ma’bood:


i.e., the easiest for the man by making the dowry and so on easy. Al-‘Allaamah al-Shaykh al-‘Azeezi said: i.e., the lowest dowry or the easiest in accepting the proposal.


Ahmad (23957) and Ibn Maajah (4095) narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Messenger of Allaah (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) said: “One of the signs of a woman being blessed is that the process of proposing to her is made easy and the dowry is made affordable and she bears children easily.” Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’ (2235).


Al-Tirmidhi (1114) narrated that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: Do not go to extremes with regard to women's dowries. If that were something honourable in this world or a sign of piety before Allaah, then the Prophet of Allaah (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) would have been the most entitled to it, but I never heard that the Messenger of Allaah (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) offered as a dowry for any of his wives or accepted as a dowry for any of his daughters anything more than twelve uqiyah. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.


An uqiyah is 40 dirhams; the weight of a dirham in grams is 2.975 g.


Secondly: Announcing the marriage


Al-Tirmidhi (1089) narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that she said: The Messenger of Allaah (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) said: “Announce this marriage.” Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in al-Irwa’ (7/50).


Al-Nasaa’i (3369) narrated that Muhammad ibn Haatib (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) said: “What separates halaal from haraam is the daff and singing at the wedding.” Classed as hasan by al-Albaani.


Beating the daff at weddings is limited to women only.


Al-Haafiz said in al-Fath: In the strong hadeeths there is permission for that for women; it is not appropriate for men, because of the general prohibition on men resembling women. End quote.


Thirdly The wedding feast (waleemah)


This is a confirmed Sunnah at weddings and it is part of announcing the marriage and of expressing joy and happiness on this occasion.


It was narrated from Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) said to ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn ‘Awf when he got married: “Give a feast even if it is with just one sheep.” Agreed upon.


Some of the scholars said that this is obligatory, because of the reports narrated by Ahmad (22526) from Ibn Buraydah from his father, who said: When ‘Ali proposed to Faatimah (may Allaah be pleased with them both), the Messenger of Allaah (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) said: “There has to be a feast for the wedding.” Al-Albaani said in Adaab al-Zafaaf (72): There is nothing wrong with its isnaad, as al-Haafiz said in al-Fath. End quote.


It is obligatory to attend the feast if invited. It was narrated from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) said: “If one of you is invited to the feast, let him go to it.” Agreed upon.


Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy upon him) said:


The scholars (may Allaah have mercy on them) say that it is obligatory to respond to the first invitation, i.e., if one is mentioned by **** and invited as an individual, whether the host invites him himself or through a deputy or by means of a card sent to him, on condition that there be no evils involved in the wedding feast. If there is any evil involved, then it depends: if when attending he is able to prevent the evil, then he must attend; if he is not able to do that, then it is not permissible for him to attend. End quote.


Liqa’ al-Baab al-Maftooh, 13/133


Ruling on accepting an invitation, and the conditions for doing so


It was narrated in Saheeh al-Bukhaari (1164) and Saheeh Muslim (4022) that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: ‘The rights of a Muslim over his fellow Muslim are five: returning greetings, visiting the sick, attending funerals, accepting invitations, and saying Yarhamuk Allaah (may Allaah have mercy on you) when he sneezes.’”


The scholars divided the invitations which the Muslim is commanded to accept into two categories:


1 – Invitation to a wedding party (waleemah). The majority of scholars said that it is obligatory to accept such an invitation, unless there is a legitimate shar’i excuse – some such excuses will be mentioned below, in sha Allaah. The evidence (daleel) that it is obligatory to accept these invitations is the hadeeth narrated by al-Bukhaari (4779) and Muslim (2585) from Abu Hurayrah, that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The worst kind of food is the food of a wedding feast that is withheld from those who would come and to which people are invited who mayrefuse it. Whoever does not accept the invitation has disobeyed Allaah and His Messenger.”


2 – Invitation to various kinds of gatherings other than wedding-feasts. The majority of scholars say that accepting these invitations is mustahabb, and no one differed from that apart from some of the Shaafa’is and Zaahiris, who said it is obligatory. If we say that it is strongly mustahabb that is close enough. And Allaah knows best.


But the scholars have stipulated conditions for accepting an invitation; if these conditions are not met then it is not obligatory or mustahabb to accept the invitation, rather it may be haraam to attend. These conditions were summed up by Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen, who said:


1- There should be nothing ******ionable (munkar) in the place where the party etc. is to be held. If there is something ******ionable and it is possible to re
it, then it is obligatory to attend for two reasons: to accept the invitation and to change the ******ionable thing. If it is not possible to re it then it is haraam to attend.

2- The person who invited him should not be someone whom it is obligatory or Sunnah to forsake (such as one who openly commits immoral actions or sin, where forsaking him may be of benefit in bringing about his repentance).


3- The person who invited him should be a Muslim. If he is not, then it is not obligatory to accept the invitation, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The rights of a Muslim over his fellow Muslim are five…”


4- The food offered should be permissible for us to eat.


5- Accepting the invitation should not lead to ignoring a more important duty; if that is the case then it is haraam to accept the invitation.


6- It should not cause any trouble to the person who is invited. For example, if he needs to travel or to leave his family who need him there, and so on. (al-Qawl al-Mufeed, 3/111).


Some scholars added:


7- If the host issued a general invitation, saying that everyone is welcome, then it is not obligatory to accept the invitation.


From the above it should be clear to you that you do not have to accept such invitations, rather it may be haraam for you to do so, if you cannot change the reprehensible things (munkar) or if your attending the gatherings will affect your duties towards your husband and children and prevent you from taking care of them as you are supposed to do. Moreover you will not be safe from their evil and harm. This is an excuse which frees you from having to accept invitation which you are obliged to accept, let alone those which are not obligatory at all.


Women should also note that they have to ask their husband’s permission to go out to parties etc. to which they are invited. You should advise these sisters to try to make the best use of their time and their gatherings in ways that will benefit them either in religious or worldly terms. For the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) warned us of the consequences of attending gatherings in which Allaah is not mentioned. He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No people sit in a gathering in which they do not remember Allaah or send blessings upon their Prophet, but they will regret it, if He wills He will punish them and if He wills He will forgive them.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 3302; he said, this is a saheeh hasan hadeeth. It was also classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 3/140)


In Sunan Abi Dawood (4214) and elsewhere it is narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘People who get up from an assembly in which they did not remember Allaah will be just as if they had got up from a donkey’s carcass, and it will be a cause of grief to them.” (Classed as saheeh by al-Nawawi in Riyaadh al-Saaliheen, 321, and by al-Albaani).




It is permissible to offer a wedding feast without meat. Al-Bukhaari (4213) narrated that Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) halted between Khaybar and Madeenah for three days, during which he married Safiyyah. I invited the Muslims to his wedding feast, in which there was no bread and no meat; there was nothing except what the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) commanded Bilaal to spread out of leather mats, on which dates, ghee and dried yoghurt were placed.


Fourthly:

It is mustahabb to congratulate the husband as the Messenger of Allaah (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) congratulated people
. It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that when a man got married he would congratulate him and pray for him, saying: “May Allaah bless you and bring blessings upon you and bring you together in goodness.” Narrated by Abu Dawood (2130) and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani.

Fifthly:

It is mustahabb for the husband to do several things when he enters upon his wife, including the following
:

· Being kind and gentle to his wife when consummating the marriage with her


It was narrated by Ahmad (26925) that Asma’ bint ‘Umays (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: I was the one who took care of ‘Aa’ishah and prepared her for her marriage to the Messenger of Allaah (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him), and I had some women with me. She said: By Allaah, we did not find any food with him except a vessel of milk. He drank from it then he passed it to ‘Aa’ishah, but the young girl felt too shy. We said: Do not turn away the hand of the Messenger of Allaah (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him); take it from him. She took it shyly and drank from it, then he said: Pass it to your friends. We said: We do not feel like drinking it. He said: Do not combine hunger with lies.


Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Adab al-Zafaaf (19)


· Putting his hand on his wife's head and praying for her


Because of the reports narrated by Abu Dawood (2160) from ‘Amr ibn Shu’ayb, from his father, from his grandfather, from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) who said: “ When one of you marries a woman, let him take hold of her forelock and say: O Allaah, I ask You for the goodness within her and the goodness that You have made her inclined towards, and I take refuge with You from the evil within her and the evil that You have made her inclined towards.” Classed as hasan by al-Albaani.


· Some of the salaf regarded it as mustahabb for them to pray two rak’ahs together:


Ibn Abi Shaybah (17156) narrated that Shaqeeq said: A man came to ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood and said: ‘I have married a young virgin girl, but I am afraid that she may hate me.’ ‘Abdullaah said: ‘Love comes from Allaah and hatred comes from Shaytaan, who wants to make you hate what Allaah has made permissible. When she comes to you, tell her to pray two rak’ahs behind you.’”. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Adab al-Zafaaf (24).


· he should say when he has intercourse with his wife:


Bismillahi Allaahumma jannibna al-Shaytaan wa jannib al-Shaytaan ma razaqtana (In the **** of Allaah, O Allaah, protect us from Shaytaan and protect whatever You give to us from Shaytaan)’ because of the report narrated by al-Bukhaari (3271) from Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) said: “When one of you wants to approach (have intercourse with) his wife, if he says: ‘Bismillahi Allaahumma jannibna al-Shaytaan wa jannib al-Shaytaan ma razaqtana (In the **** of Allaah, O Allaah, protect us from Shaytaan and protect whatever You give to us from Shaytaan)’ – then if they are given a child, Shaytaan will not harm it.”


Finally: we affirm the importance of kind treatment of the wife and fearing Allaah with regard to her, and that she should fear Allaah with regard to him (the husband).


Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):


“and live with them honourably. If you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing and Allaah brings through it a great deal of good”


[al-Nisa’ 4:19].


And the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) said: “ If a woman offers her five daily prayers, fasts her month (Ramadan), guards her chastity and obeys her husband, it will be said to her: Enter Paradise from whichever of the Gates of Paradise you wish.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Takhreej al-Mishkaat (3254).