A bride signing the marriage contract, Nikaah at a Pakistani wedding
If the couple are Muslim, a nikah is performed. Nikah is an Islamic official wedding ceremony that usually takes place at the bride’s home. Nikah is attended by close family members, relatives, and friends of groom and bride. Usually, the men and women are made to sit separately, in different rooms, or have a curtain separating them.
The nikah-naama (marriage contract) is registered during the nikah. The nikah-naama contains several terms and conditions that are to be respected by the bride and groom. Nikah-naama specifies mahr, the monetary amount the groom will give the bride. Meher includes two amounts in Pakistani culture, but in Islamic belief is one total amount; one that is due before the marriage is consummated and the other that is a deferred amount given to the bride at a time to be determined. The meher guarantees the bride's freedom within the marriage, and acts as the bride's safety net.
The fathers of groom and bride (waris) act as witnesses to the wedding. If the father is not available, the senior male, brother or uncle performs the ceremony. An Islamic imam (called maulana or maulvi in Urdu) reads the prophetic sermon for marriage which also consists of selected verses from the Quran and waits for the Ijab-o-Qubul (proposal and acceptance) of wedding. Usually, the groom's side makes proposal and the bride's side conveys her assent. Maulvi and witnesses (gavah) take the nikah-naama to the bride and read it to her aloud. She accepts the nikah-naama saying "qabool kiya," and signs it. The nikah-naama is then taken to the groom and reads aloud to him. He also accepts saying "qabool kiya" and signs the document. The maulvi and witnesses all sign the nikah-naama contract and the wedding becomes legal. The maulvi recites the Fatihah (first chapter of the Quran), and various durud (blessings/salutations upon the Prophet) to mark the closing of nikah ceremony.
After the wedding is legally announced, dishes of dates and misri are served to the groom's family. The groom is then escorted to his bride where he is allowed to sit beside his wife.



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