Marriage is a sacred knot, which binds a man and a woman in a formal and legal relationship. Therefore Nikah is the first while, Walima, or the marriage feast, is the second of the two conventional parts of an Islamic wedding. The practice is to perform Walima after the Nikah or wedding service.
Meaning of Walima:
The word Walima is derived from “Awlama,” which means accumulating or amass. The Arabs organized Walima for supper or meals, where individuals were welcomed and gathered. Later on, the term got exclusive for the wedding dinner.
What is Walima?
Walima celebration is a Sunnah of our beloved Messenger of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him) and has significant importance in Islam. It is an outward articulation of appreciation and joy and a unique method for publicizing the marriage, which Islam promotes extraordinarily.
One can judge the importance of Walima by the fact that the Messenger of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him) himself gave a Walima after his marriages. Holy Prophet served meat and bread on the event of his marriage with Zaynab bint Jahsh رضي الله عنهم, Sawiq (a sort of sweat-dish cooked with dates and barley) on the event of his marriage with Safiyya رضي الله عنهم.
Hence, it is a Sunnah. Islam emphatically prescribes to have a Walima.
Ibn Qudamah, the famous Hanbali Imam, narrates in his renowned book, al-Mugni:
“There is no difference of opinion between the scholars, in that Walima is a prescribed Sunnah at the time of marriage, for the Messenger of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him) ordered it and practiced it himself…..It is not necessary (Wajib) in the opinion of most of the scholars.”
_ (al-Mugni, 7/1-2)
Sayyidena Anas ibn Malik رضي الله عنهم narrates that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) saw a yellow mark on Abdur Rahman ibn Awf رضي الله عنهم and said:
“What is this?”
“I have married a woman with the dowry being gold to the weight of a date-stone.”
Messenger of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him) said:
“May Allah blesses you (in your marriage); perform a Walima, even if it is only with a goat.”
_ (Sahih al-Bukhari, no. 4872)
Can Nikah and Walima on the same day?
The Islamic Scholars differ concerning the right time of Walima. There are numerous viewpoints. For instance:
1) At the instant of the Nikah,
2) After the marriage Nikah and before consummation of marriage,
3) At the hour of the wedding carcade (lady going out) (Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari, 9/287)
Most Islamic Scholars (Jumhur) believe that Walima is a supper set up after the marriage has been consummated. Walima was the act of the Messenger of (Peace Be Upon Him), as expressly referenced in the following narration:
Sayyidena Anas رضي الله عنهم narrates:
“Therefore The Messenger of Allah (Allah Be Pleased With Him) consummated his marriage with a woman (Zainab), so he sent me to invite people for a meal.”
_ (Sahih al-Bukhari, no. 4875)
Along with it, Islamic Scholars mention that there is also scope in following the other viewpoints. Therefore, if one had a Walima before consummation, it is hoped that one will gain the reward of Sunnah, Insha Allah.
The Hanafi jurists (fuqaha) believe that a feast of up to two days will be considered a Walima; after that, it will not be considered a Walima.
Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya asserts:
“There is nothing wrong in inviting people the next day after consummation or the day after. After that, marriage and Walima celebrations will come to an end.” (5/343)
The Messenger of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him) states:
“Walima on the first day is best (Haq), and on the second day, it is good (ma’ruf), and on the third day, it is showing off.”
_ (Sunan Abu Dawud, no. 3738)
When the groom organizes a Walima, he sends invitations to the families and friends of both bride and groom.
Here comes the question, who one should invite to Walima reception?
Shaykh (Mufti) Muhammad ibn Adam states, “Sayyiduna Abu Huraira رضي الله عنهم narrated:
“The worst food is that of a wedding banquet (Walima) to which only the rich are invited while the poor are not invited. And the one who refuses an invitation (to a Walima) disobeys Allah and His Messenger (Peace Be upon Him).”
Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya narrates:
Neighbors, relatives, and accomplices are advised to be invited.” (5/343)
Thus, one should invite family members, relatives, friends, colleagues, scholars, pious people, and others to the Walima celebration reception. It is wrong to summon only rich people or those classified as wealthy or from the elite class.
It is emphasized in Islam to accept the invitation of Walima, and one is sinful to refuse it. When one takes the invitation and goes to the gathering, one has satisfied the duty, whether or not one ate or something else, even though it is better to eat in the event if one isn’t fasting.
The Messenger of Allah (Allah blesses him& gives him peace) said:
“He who refuses an invitation (to a banquet) disobeys Allah and His Messenger (Peace Be upon Him).”
The above narration indicates that accepting a Walima invitation is Sunna al-Mu’akkada, contrary to feasts and invitations on other occasions. Some narrators of al-Hidaya have proclaimed that it is close to being a “Wajib.” (Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr, 6/349)
The great Hadith and Sahfi’i scholar, Imam al-Nawawi (Allah have mercy on him), has stated various viewpoints of the Islamic scholars in this regard:
1) It is personally obligatory (fard ain), except if there is an excuse,
2) It is a general obligation (fard al kifaya)
3) Walima is prescribed (mandub) (See: Nawawi, al-Minhaj, Sharh Sahih Muslim, 1080)
Forbidden practices in Walima
Islam has disapproved of following numerous traditions They are against the values of Muslims. The examples are as follows.
1) Displaying the bride in front of the audience
2) Inviting visitors for the wedding from distant spots
3) Receiving visitors in the halls
4) It is in opposition to Sunnah (and the act of some non-Muslim clans in India) to wish, trust for, or request presents and presents for the husband from the lady of the hour’s kin. We ought to consistently recollect that our Nabi (Peace Be Upon Him) didn’t give Ali (Allah be pleased with Him) anything aside from Dua.
Walima is Sunnah and an Islamic obligation; Therefore, we ought to follow Islam’s directions and consider the recommended acts, that are frowned upon and forbidden.
At last, we should take into consideration that the simpler the Walima (and the wedding function overall), the better it will be. Now and again, individuals burn through thousands upon thousands in taking care of individuals, an aggregate that one can utilize for other fundamental requirements of the Muslims. What’s worse, if the expectation behind spending such a sum is just a hotshot, this will be considered a sin.
The thought here is to take care of individuals with earnestness and effortlessness. If that one feeds individuals with the least difficult of suppers yet it is from the heart, that is better (and the food is likewise more agreeable) than taking care of the quality food, where the aim isn’t so good.
We can see a vivid illustration of simplicity in the event of Ali رضي الله عنهم and Fatima’s رضي الله عنهم wedding.
Hence, Ali رضي الله عنهم hypothecated his protective layer to a Jewish individual to purchase a large portion of barley. A supper was set up by blending flour, oil, yogurt, slashed seedless dates, and grain bread; this was considered a decent feast indicated by those days’ conditions.
We can see another prominent example of simplicity when The Prophet (Peace Be upon Him) slaughtered a sheep at the wedding of his daughter Zainab رضي الله عنهم. He served dates and sawiq (a mixture of wheat and barley) at his wedding with Safiyyah رضي الله عنهم.
Crux of discussion:
The gild and gaud of a wedding reception depend on the monetary wellness and generosity of the host. Although the Prophet of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him) is the most generous of all people in the universe, He served simple food instead of meat and bread. (Ibn Majah, Sunan, Hadith no: 1908-1910).
According to Sayyida Ayesha رضي الله عنهم narrates that the Prophet of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him) said:
“The most blessed marriage (Nikah) is the one with the least expenditures.”
_(al-Bayhaqi in his Shu’ab al-Iman & Mishkat al-Masabih).