Weddings

Here are the reasons why I love masjid weddings

Sometimes, you need to be present at such weddings to know what it really means

As a frequent attendee of weddings at different setups and venues, I have to say that masjid weddings are among my favorites.

One of my clearest memories involves a former Quran teacher’s wedding ceremony. The sun filtered through the wide glass windows and cast a halo over my teacher’s head as she signed the marriage contract. I remember giddily leaning over the balcony railing of the sisters’ section to look down on the groom as he carefully wrote down his own name, to the cheers of his friends as the imam officiated over the contract.

As sweets were passed, my friends and I watched the bride run off in a flurry of loose flowers from her bouquet, trying to hide her teary eyes for a private moment in her car. She returned after a while, flushed and with a watery smile. “It was just very powerful. I realize now what this all meant,” she said.

To me, that has always been the strongest blessing of a masjid wedding. Of course, you are married no matter where you are when your wedding ceremony takes place, but there is something charismatic about being inside a masjid when it happens. You are conscious of the fact that you are carrying on a long-held tradition, a wonder and a fulfillment of faith that is changing your life in ways you do not even expect during the wedding itself.

In the use of a masjid as a wedding space, you are acknowledging the roots you stem from and using them to ground you further into this new stage of life.

The masjid was our favorite haunt during high school. We felt safe and welcomed, whether we were attending a formal halaqah (gathering for religious studying) or just using the upstairs space to discuss life and exams and college plans. Unlike cafes, we could stay inside masjids without needing to purchase an item to justify our staying there. Thus, the masjid was a foreground of our personal memories alongside our heritage.

One of my best friends was married in our local masjid a few years ago. It was the first of several days of planned celebration, including two receptions and a henna night, so the bride kept her guest list small. She chose to wear one of her favorite dresses instead of a formal gown. In the hour between Maghrib and Isha – dusk and the decided darkness of evening – the masjid was hushed and we lowered our voices in respect. The attending friends nudged each other, took selfies and laughed like any other day in the masjid.

As our friend’s relationship with her fiance transformed into an eternal one, we shared this experience with her in this same space that we had spent countless other happy memories. The Quran recitation was familiar but also brand new for all of us, given the personal context. By the time she was declared a wife,  we were all joyous and emotional.

This is what a masjid wedding means to me: being welcomed into and blessed by a space that appreciates you for who you are and what you believe. It is particularly powerful to consider how the space can be syncretic despite differing culture, belief, and customs usually in practice at a particular masjid.

I have also attended a wedding in an Indonesian masjid where Afghani food was catered for an interracial couple who did not belong to either culture. I have seen our community masjid basement transformed by a particularly talented Black sister for her daughter’s wedding. It went from a drab concrete and plastic tables to an ornate, draped marvel. After the wedding, the basement was reassembled and cleaned up without any fuss – or wagering over the price paid per occupied seat.

Accessibility at low or no cost is one of the beautiful things about a masjid wedding. In a time when friends have privately shared stories of going into debt for lavish hall-hosted weddings, to be able to use a space with the understanding that you can mold it to what you need without financial difficulty is incredible.

There is no rule that you have to get married in a masjid as a Muslim, but having the option – and the mosque being utilized by those in the community – is amazing. When I attend a masjid wedding, I do so in a state of awe. No matter what is going on in the world around us, we keep living and loving and upholding our sense of faith. And to get married it in that sacred space makes our belief and sense of belonging stronger.