‘Extravagant weddings go against Islam’

National 3 minutes, 15 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

RELIGIOUS officers are urging Muslims to avoid excessive spending when planning for their marriage.

They said spending outside of one’s means could obscure the true meaning of marriage and put the couple in debt.

Dr Hj Noralizam Hj Ali Akbar, Dean of Student Affairs at Seri Begawan Religious Teachers University College (KUPU SB), said publicizing one’s marriage is part of the sunnah, but do not commit excess in doing so and only within your means.

“In a hadith, the Prophet (SAW) said: Oh young men, whoever among you can afford to get married, let him do so, and whoever cannot afford it, let him fast, for that will be a shield for him.

“So there, the Prophet mentions those who can ‘afford’ it, through a physical and material aspect and so on,” he said.

He said marriage isn’t just a ceremony but a form of ibadah (worship) and by fulfilling marriage on the basis of the latter, newlyweds will reap the rewards from Allah SWT.

He said making it big for the wrong reasons which are not prescribed by the Shariah will turn into an act of committing sins.

A religious officer of the Brunei Students Unit (UPP) in London, Hj Muskrisman Safari Hj Mustapa, said a wedding is actually a very simple process, but unfortunately, some among society believe it should be extravagant beyond one’s financial means.

“In a hadith of the Prophet (SAW), he said the best mahr (dowry) is one that is simple (or most affordable).

“Looking at Islamic history, the forms of mahr that the Prophet’s companions gave their new wives were their personal belongings,” he said, such as an iron ring or war shield.

“The fact is that in Islam, we must strive do everything in moderation based on what is affordable and not for the purpose of showing off,” said Hj Muskrisman Safari, adding that the marriage should only be held within one’s financial means.

He said that nowadays, we see expensive mahr and pemberian (wedding gifts) when the Islamic way is to avoid financial excess in spending that may lead to unnecessary financial burdens.

He said Islam is about simplicity and the middle path, so we risk misunderstanding the importance of marriage if it’s defined by the grandness of the wedding.

Hoping to get married soon, Azim Sulaiman, who works in the private sector, fears the dowry will far exceed his means. He said that nowadays, the standards of dowries can range from $3,000 to $5,000.

“Every time I tell my mom I want to get married, I always get scolded, as she will always ask ‘where is your money to pay the dowry?’” he said, laughing.

A newlywed, Irfan Ibrahim, said his marriage cost him and his wife around $30,000-$40,000, admitting that some things they bought for the wedding were unnecessary.

“For the wedding photographer, we paid around $1,400, and that was just a photographer doing freelance work. It would be more expensive if you hired studio photographers.”

He said he and his wife had four outfits each, one of which he didn’t have the chance to wear, adding that he’s never used the outfit since and doesn’t plan to.

“I can say that some parts of the wedding weren’t necessary, but it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. In the end, we get the money back anyway from the ziarah,” he said, referring to a process where guests greet the newlyweds and donate money.

“At a minimum, guests donate money ranging from $10 to $100, so imagine 1,000 guests attending the wedding. The money you get back can actually exceed what you paid for in the first place.”

Aziah Hj Husain, owner of wedding boutique Zella Boutique, said weddings nowadays commonly cost up to $15,000 for those who are on a “budget” and $40,000-$50,000 for the extravagant ones, which are still quite common.

The Brunei Times