In a time where weddings had become nothing but flaunting extravagance and throwing money on anything and everything, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and may have reminded us of the genuine beauty behind a simple wedding.
Modern day weddings have always been about showing off how much money we are willing to spend. And that’s due to the way cultures have taken precedence over the sunnah. The clear cut lines between culture and religion have been erased, or more specifically, blended, to the point where it’s become difficult for us to distinguish between the two. Some weddings have become so glamorized that there’s no outward indicators that the couple are Muslim except for the signing of the marriage contract. And that’s where COVID-19 came in.
As restrictions began easing around the world, people began getting married again. But this time, they were able to hold back and have a wedding that resembled the sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAWS in more ways than one.
Has COVID-19 forced us back into the forgotten (but much needed and sensible!) sunnah of simple weddings?
Instead of trying to appease strangers and judgmental relatives with hall bookings, expensive caterers, individual gifts for each guest, and a DJ, people began holding weddings at home. The three most important parts of a wedding, according to the teachings of our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAWS, are the nikkah (marriage contract), the walimah (to publicize the wedding by feeding people), and mahr (dowry) that a man must give to his wife. Holding the latter two at home is an easy task.
It’s been so wholesome: seeing people post their intimate weddings on social media, where only immediate family members and closest friends attend. Extended family and friends can always watch on a livestream and not miss out on too much. These couples have saved thousands upon thousands of dollars by spending their special moment with those that truly matter…plus, no more judgmental uncles, aunties, and distant cousins and friends to criticize your every decision.
We only need to look at the wedding of Fatima RA, the most beloved daughter of our Prophet Muhammad, to Ali RA. Ali RA, who had nothing to give Fatima as a form of mahr, sold his shield at the request of the Prophet and held a small nikkah that was officiated by the Prophet himself. They held a walimah shortly after, and fed as many people as they could. Fatima moved into Ali’s house with no tears or drama. She was dressed simply, and left her father’s house with his blessing. And that was it. No five day affair, no bridal shower or bachelor party, no extravagant reception. Their wedding was one of simplicity, but their marriage was full of love and trust.
And in a way, COVID-19 has brought us back to following the sunnah. Now weddings are being held in homes or at the masjid. DIYing the events has become a cheaper and more sustainable option compared to hiring costly planners and stylists. Walimahs are being held in backyards with marquees and beautiful homemade flower arrangements. With the help of social media, it’s easier to publicize the fact that two people are now married, and catering costs are reduced too because you only have to feed as many people as you are allowed to have over as per the social distancing guidelines in your area, which is usually less than 10. That’s it. That’s the wedding.
Everyone needs to remember that a wedding will only last for a few days max. The marriage is what will last a lifetime, inshaAllah. It’s better to spend your hard earned money on your marriage that will last a lifetime than a three day event that will cause nothing but drama and headaches…and now maybe even literally spread a plague.
And indeed, Allah knows best.
Asiya is a writer and journalist based in Brisbane, Australia.