The Wedding Night
It is narrated from the Prophet (S): “The doors of Heaven to mercy will be opened in four situations: when it rains; when a child looks kindly at his parent’s face; when the door of the Ka°bah is opened; and when marriage (occurs).”1
As indicated by the above tradition, the concept of marriage in Islam is so sacred and valued, that the doors of Allāh (SwT)’s mercy are open on this occasion.
Indeed, this is not surprising when one considers that marriage secures a large portion of one’s faith and protects it from the evil of Satan, as narrated from the Prophet (S): “There is not a single young person that gets married during his youth, except that his Satan cries out that ‘Woe onto him, woe onto him, he has protected two thirds of his faith from me’; therefore, mankind must have taqwā (God-Conciousness) in Allāh (SwT) to protect the remaining one third of his faith.”2
It is therefore essential that a couple, when embarking on this step, take utmost care to protect the sanctity of this sacred union and do not taint it from the start by allowing the occasion of marriage to become a source of sin and extravagance.
In particular, the wedding night is the first night that a man and woman come together as husband and wife, and it is highly recommended that they form this union with the intention of obtaining the nearness and pleasure of Allāh (SwT) and perform the recommended amaal for this night.
At this point it is necessary to take a look at what state the ‘mistress of the women of the worlds’, Haďrat Fāťima (sa) had on the night of her wedding, and how she started her life with her husband, Imām °Alī (as) the wedding night, Imām °Alī (as) Haďrat Fāťima (sa) upset and in tears, and asked her why she was in this state.
She replied: “I thought about my state and actions and remembered the end of life and my grave; that today I have gone from my father’s house to your house, and another day I will go from here to the grave and the Day of Judgement (Qiyāmat). Therefore, I swear by you to Allāh (SwT); come let us stand for Ŝalāt so that we can worship Allāh (SwT) together in this night.”3
The following A°māl are recommended for this night4:
1. Try to be in Wuďū for as much of the night as possible, and especially during the amaals below.
2. Begin by praising Allāh (SwT), then say Allāhu Akbar (أللهُ أكَبر), followed by a Ŝalawāt
3. Recite a two Rak°at Ŝalāt, with the intention of ‘Mustaĥab Qurbatan IlAllāh (SwT)’ [a recommended prayer, seeking the pleasure of Allāh (SwT)], followed by a Ŝalawāt.
4. Recite the following Du°ā, followed by a Ŝalawāt. First the groom should recite it, after which the bride should say: Ilāhī Amīn [May Allāh (SwT) accept this].
“O Allāh (SwT)! Bless me with her affection, love and her acceptance of me; and make me pleased with her, and bring us together in the best form of a union and in absolute harmony; surely You like lawful things and dislike unlawful things.”5
5. Even if a couple are not intending to conceive on the wedding night, it is recommended that the following Du°ās are recited for righteous children (whenever they are conceived):
a. The groom should then place his right palm on the bride’s forehead facing Qibla and recite:
“O Allāh! I have taken her as Your trust and have made her lawful for myself by Your words. Therefore, if you have decreed for me a child from hver, then make him/her blessed and pious from among the followers of the family of Muĥammad; and do not let the Satan have any part in him/her.”6
b. The following Du°ā should also be recited:
“O Allāh! I have made her lawful for myself with Your words, and I have taken her in Your trust. O Allāh! Make her fertile and devoted.”7
6. The groom should wash the bride’s feet and sprinkle that water in all the four corners of the room and house. Allāh (SwT) will remove 70,000 types of poverty, 70,000 types of blessings will enter the house and 70,000 blessings will come upon the bride and groom. The bride will be safe from insanity, ulcers and leprosy.8
1. One should refrain from having the °Aqd or wedding during Qamar Dar Akrab – when the moon is passing through the phase of Scorpio.
2. One should refrain from having the °Aqd or wedding outdoors, under the sunlight.
3. It is recommended that the °Aqd and wedding take place at night.
NOTE: It is important to note that the main objective of the wedding is the joining of a man and a woman. More often than not, weddings that take place today are long and extremely tiring for the bride and groom; they reach their room late at night and not fit for the recommended A°māl of this sacred night, nor much else. Therefore, it is recommended that the procedures of this night are kept simple and to a bare minimum. If other ceremonies are desired, they should be held on the preceding or proceeding nights.
1. It is not necessary that consummation of the marriage take place on the wedding night; rather it may take a few days or even a few weeks.
2. Fatigue, nervousness and tension may make it harder; therefore it is important that husband and wife take time to get comfortable with each other and move at their own pace.
3. Artificial lubrication may be needed for the first few days or weeks in order to make consummation easier and more enjoyable.10
4. Early or premature ejaculation may be a problem for the first few times; however, this should eventually be resolved after time and experience.
5. The hymen may or may not bleed. Foreplay, gentleness and intercourse again soon after can help reduce the pain of the tearing of the hymen.
6. After consummation (whenever it may be), the bride should not have milk, vinegar, coriander, sour apple or melon for a week, as they cause the womb to dry up and become cold and barren. Eating vinegar at this time also results in the woman not becoming clean (ritually clean) from the blood of menstruation, coriander (and watermelon) results in a difficult labour and sour apple results in the stopping (of regularity) of menstruation, and these all result in illnesses.11
7. People may make certain comments over the next few days. It is important not to let this affect you, and not to get drawn in to their conversations.
8. Don’t talk about your intimate details to outsiders; maintain respect of your spouse and your relationship.
The Prophet (S) desired to have the °Aqd recited in the mosque and in the presence of the people. Imām °Alī (as) joyfully went to the mosque and the Prophet (S) also entered the mosque. The Muhājirīn and Anŝār gathered around them. The Prophet (S) went on the minbar and after praising and thanking Allāh (SwT), said: “Oh people! Know that Jibrā`il descended on me and brought a message from Allāh (SwT) that the ceremony of the °Aqd of °Alī (as) has taken place in the presence of the Angels in ‘Bait al-Ma`mur.’ Allāh (SwT) has commanded that I perform this ceremony on earth and make you all witnesses.” At the point, the Prophet (S) recited the °Aqd.
Then the Prophet (S) said to Imām °Alī (as): “Get up and give a speech.” Imām °Alī (as) got to his feet and after remembering and thanking Allāh (SwT) began his speech and expressed his satisfaction and contentment at his marriage to Haďrat Fāťima (sa).
The people prayed for him and said: “May Allāh (SwT) bless this marriage, and place love and friendship in your hearts.”12
Between the °Aqd and the wedding ceremony, Imām °Alī (as) was shy to speak about his wife to the Prophet (S). One day, his brother °Aqīl asked him: “Why don’t you bring your wife to the house so that we can congratulate you for the occasion of your wedding?” This topic reached the Prophet (S), who called Imām °Alī (as) and asked him: “Are you ready to get married?”
Imām °Alī (as) gave a positive response. The Prophet (S) said: “Insha-Allāh, tonight or tomorrow night, I will make arrangements for the wedding.” At that time, he told his wives to dress Haďrat Fāťima (sa) and to perfume her and to carpet her room so as to prepare for the wedding ceremony.15
The Prophet (S) told Imām °Alī (as): “There cannot be a wedding without guests.” One of the leaders of the Anŝār named Sa°ad said: “I gift you a sheep,” and a group of the Anŝār also brought some16 corn17, and some dried whey, oil and dates were also bought from the bazār.
The meat was cooked and the Prophet (S) with his purity took the responsibility of cooking for the wedding, and with his blessed hands, mixed them (the ingredients) and began preparing a type of °Arabic dish called Habīs or Hais.18
However, although the food was prepared, the invitation was public. A large number took part and with the blessings of the Prophet’s (S) hands, everyone ate and became full from the food, and there was even some left over for the poor and needy; a dish was also placed for the bride and groom.19
The Prophet (S) told his wives to prepare a celebration for Haďrat Fāťima (sa) After food, the ladies gathered around Haďrat Fāťima (sa) and the Prophet (S) helped her get on his horse. Salmān al-Fārsī took hold of the horse’s reins and with the special ceremony, brave men such as Hamza and a number of the family and maĥārim of Haďrat Fāťima (sa) gathered around the horse with drawn swords. Many women waited behing the bride and recited Takbir.
The horse began moving, and the ladies began reciting Takbir and praises of Allāh (SwT). At that time, one by one, they read beautiful hymns that had been composed, and with splendour and joy, took the bride to the house of the groom. The Prophet (S) also reached the group and entered the bridal chamber.
He requested a dish of water, and when that was brought, he sprinked some on Haďrat Fāťima’s (sa) chest and told her to do Wuďū and wash her mouth with the rest of the water. He sprinkled some water on Imām °Alī (as) as well and told him to do Wuďū and wash his mouth.
The Prophet (S) then took Haďrat Fāťima’s (sa) hand and placed it in the hand of Imām (as) and said: “Oh °Alī! May you be blessed; Allāh (SwT) bestowed on you the daughter of the Prophet (S) of Allāh (SwT), who is the best of women (of the world).” He then addressed Haďrat Fāťima (sa) and said: “Oh Fāťima, °Alī is from the best of husbands.”20
He then recited a Du°ā for them: “Oh Allāh, make them familiar (close) to each other! Oh Allāh, bless them! And place for them blessings in their life.”
As he was about to leave, he said: “Allāh has made you and your offspring pure (ritually clean). I am a friend of your friends, and an enemy of your enemies. I now bid you farewell and deposit you with Allāh.”21
The next morning, the Prophet (S) went to see his daughter. After that visit, he did not go to their house for three days, but went on the fourth day.22
On the wedding night of Haďrat Fāťima (sa), Asma bint Omaīs (or Umme Salama) who was among the women, asked permission from the Prophet (S) if she could stay near Fāťima so as to carry out any needs she may have.
She said to the Prophet (S): “When the time of the death of Khadīja came in Makkah, I was next to her and saw that Khadīja was crying. I said to her: “You are the ‘mistress of the women of the worlds’ and the wife of the Prophet (S) and despite this you are crying whereas Allāh (SwT) has given you the good tidings of heaven?” Khadīja (sa) replied: “I am not crying because of death; rather I am crying for Fāťima who is a small girl and women on their wedding night need a woman from their relatives and close ones (maĥram) who will tell them their hidden secrets, and I am afraid that that night, my dear Fāťima will not have anyone.”
Then I told Khadīja (sa) that, “I swear to my God that if I stay alive until that day, on that night I will stay in that house in your place.” Now I would like permission from you that you excuse me so that I can keep my promise.” Upon hearing this, the Prophet (S) started crying and gave me permission to stay and prayed for me.23
On the wedding night of Imām °Alī (as) and Haďrat Fāťima (sa), the Prophet (S) gave her a (wedding) suit to wear on that night. When Haďrat Fāťima (sa) had gone to the wedding house and was sitting on the prayer mat praying to Allāh (SwT), suddenly a needy person came to the door of the house of Haďrat Fāťima (sa) and with a loud voice said: “From the door of the house of Prophethood, I want an old suit.”
At that time, Haďrat Fāťima (sa) had two suits, one old and the other new. She wanted to give the old suit as per the request of the needy man, when suddenly she remembered a verse which states: “You will never attain piety until you spend out of what you hold dear.”24 Haďrat Fāťima (sa), who knew she liked the new suit more, acted on this verse and gave the new suit to the needy man.
The next day, when the Prophet (S) saw the old suit on Haďrat Fāťima (sa), he asked: “Why didn’t you wear the new suit?” Haďrat Fāťima (sa) replied: “I gave it to a needy man.” The Prophet (S) said: “If you had worn the new shirt for your husband, it would have been better and more suitable.” Haďrat Fāťima (sa) replied: “I learnt this manner from you. When my mother Khadija became your wife, she gave all her wealth to the empty-handed in your path, until it reached a point when a needy person came to the door of your house and requested clothes. There were no clothes in the house so you took off your shirt and gave it to him, and this verse was revealed: “Do not keep your hand chained to your neck, nor open it all together, or you will sit blameworthy, regretful.”25
Overwhelmed by the love and sincerity of his daughter Zahrā (sa), tears fell from the Prophet (S)’s (S) eyes, and as a sign of love, he hugged Haďrat Fāťima (sa) to his chest.26
- 1. A Bundle of Flowers, pg. 149
- 2. Muntakhab Mizān al-Hikmah, vol. 1, pg. 457
- 3. Kitāb al-Irshād, vol. 1, pg. 270
- 4. °alliyatul Muttaqīn, pg. 116-117
- 5. al-Kāfī, vol. 3, pg. 481
- 6. Ibid., vol. 5, pg. 500
- 7. Ibid., vol. 5, pg. 501
- 8. Wasāil ash-Shī~a, vol. 20, pg. 249, no. 25555
- 9. Halliyatul Muttaqīn, pg. 108-109 (Points 1-3)
- 10. Pāsukh be Masāil-e Jinsī wa Zanāshuī, pg. 235
- 11. Wasāil ash-Shī~a, vol. 20, pg. 250, no. 25556
- 12. Biĥār al-Anwār, vol. 43, pg. 120 and 129
- 13. Ibid., vol. 43, pg. 92
- 14. Some have narrated the time between the nikah and wedding to be one year.
- 15. Biĥār al-Anwār, vol. 43, pg. 130-131
- 16. About 8 pounds
- 17. Biĥār al-Anwār, vol. 43, pg. 137
- 18. Ibid., vol. 43, pg. 106 and 114
- 19. Manāqib Ibn Shahr Ashūb, vol. 3, pg. 354
- 20. Izdawāj Maktab Insān Sāzi, vol. 2, pg. 300
- 21. Manāqib Ibn Shahr Ashūb, vol. 3, pg. 354-355
- 22. Ibid., vol. 3, pg. 356
- 23. Sar Guzashthāye Hazrat ~Alī (as) wa Fāťima (sa), pg. 30
- 24. Sūrat Ali-‘Imrān, Verse 92
- 25. Sūrat al-Isrā, Verse 29
- 26. Sar Guzashthāye Hazrat °Alī (as) wa Fāťima (sa), pg. 31