When people talk about empowering women, the image that pops into my head is not that of a skinny, toothpick of a woman – trying miserably to relieve her body of whatever fat it has in order to look “perfect” and make it to the list of the “hottest women.” What comes to my mind, instead, is a beautiful woman, who defies the gravity of exposing herself, chooses instead to cover her body from the wrath of the unpleasant stares and makes her known for the exquisiteness of her personality.
When people talk about beauty in a woman, what I think of is not perfect skin, nails, hair, body, features. I think about warmth, honesty, love, patience and humility – all deep rooted in the heart and soul.
When people talk about the ideal relationship, super-star marriages and affairs with all their glamour and subsequent divorces is not what comes to my mind. Instead, my mind wanders off to the deep-seated beauty in the relationship of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his wives.
When people talk about the best wedding, I think not of wedding planners, designers or makeup artists with their endless extravagance and pomp – the world where each wedding attempts to outdo the previous. I find myself, instead, dreaming of the simplicity of an Islamic wedding.
This brings me to my point of discussion – the beauty of an Islamic wedding. When I see the trends being picked up all over the world, in terms of glamorizing the concept of wedding I see that a lot of the pressure is placed on the woman. And not just in terms of spending or dowry, but in terms of living up to the mark where beauty is concerned.
This girl, since the day her wedding date is decided, is a victim to low self esteem issues. Or so it seems, when she attempts to drastically reduce her waist-line and eliminate any signs of a tan on her complexion (or the other way around, depending on the preferences). She jumps into the bandwagon of compulsive shoppers, even if she has not been one previously, and slowly is a regular client of various designers. Even if they do not fit her budget, because at the end of the day the wedding is “only a one-time affair” and even if it means robbing one’s father of his life’s savings or burdening on him additional loans, the key is to make sure everything is “perfect”. After all, it is not just Kate Middleton who deserved to be a princess on her wedding day. Every girl is entitled to that privilege.[pullquote_left]Even if they do not fit her budget, because at the end of the day the wedding is “only a one-time affair” and even if it means robbing one’s father of his life’s savings or burdening on him additional loans, the key is to make sure everything is “perfect”[/pullquote_left]
On the contrary, an Islamic wedding demands exactly the opposite. Even though Islam does not forbid you to marry someone for their beauty, it does not make it a high priority either. When a Muslim man and woman choose to spend the rest of their lives together, they do so to learn from the good qualities of one another and grow together in love and understanding. The aim of this union is not materialistic, although financial stability in a spouse is a definite point of concern, but spiritual transcendence.
The best part however, of an Islamic wedding, is how the woman is treated as royalty. And not with frills or fancy but by being given eternal peace. By that I mean the nonexistent financial or social pressure placed on the girl and her family during the course of the wedding. That does not mean the man is burdened either. The “Walima” or reception dinner that is to be hosted by the male spouse after the consummation of the marriage is to be carried out according to the affordability of the person. And the Prophet (PBUH) demonstrated this through his marriages, in his lifetime, where in some of his Walimas he could afford a better meal than the rest.[pullquote_right]It is only contemporary societal customs that have made marriages into unneeded public affairs, dragging everyone into a glitzy competition.[/pullquote_right]
So when we actually go into the depth of this union, we find not glitter and materialism but the purity and ease with which a man and woman can spend their lives together. It is only contemporary societal customs that have made marriages into unneeded public affairs, dragging everyone into a glitzy competition. If we actually followed the principles of Islam, people would be able to marry with so much more ease and save a lot of trouble, pressure and unneeded hassle on the day that should ironically be the couple’s most joyous & peaceful.