When the groom is hosting a Waleema, it is not necessary for him to serve meat dishes. Even something as simple as dates an juice will suffice because the purpose of the Waleema is to express one's gratitude to Allaah. The Ahadeeth make it clear that a marriage should be as simple as possible and according to what a person can afford. This is necessary because marriage signifies the building of a home and not the destruction of a home (which is the case when people are forced to cater beyond their means).
The manner in which Rasoolullah صلى الله عليه وسلم married the queen of Jannah Hadhrat Faatima رضي الله عنها is a lesson for the world. Ummu Salma رضي الله عنها and Aaisha رضي الله عنها both report that Rasoolullah صلى الله عليه وسلم asked the two of them to prepare Hadhrat Faatima رضي الله عنها and take her to her Husband Sayyidina Ali رضي الله عنه. Consequently, the two of them went to the house where Faatima رضي الله عنها was to reside and spread the soft sand of “Bat'haa" on the ground so that their bedding may be spread on soft ground. They also placed two pillows there, which they personally filled with the bark of a date palm.
For the Waleema, they served dates, water and a sweet drink prepared from dates to the people present. When this was over, they placed a stick in the couples room so that they could hang their clothing or a water bag on it. After narrating this, they added that they never saw a marriage better than that of Faatima رضي الله عنها .(ibn Majah pg.616)
This was the home and marriage of the woman whom Rasoolullah صلى الله عليه وسلم described as the queen of Jannah. It was strikingly simple and without stress. However, we have burdened ourselves with the difficulty of hosting elaborate functions, making life difficult for everyone else. Because marriage is one of the necessities of life, it ought to be kept extremely simple so that every person may find it easy.
It is therefore quite obvious that the marriage of Faatima رضي الله عنها did not feature any elaborate feasts coupled with an expensive bridal suite in silk and velvet. The food and the preparation were most simple so that every member of the Ummah until Qiyamah may find it easy to emulate.
However, one will scarcely find people today who are prepared to emulate the simplicity of Rasoolullah صلي الله عليه وسلم 's life. Instead of being proud to emulate his lifestyle, many wretched people actually feel ashamed to do so. One should bear in mind that if Rasoolullah صلى الله عليه وسلم wanted to host an elaborate wedding ceremony for his youngest daughter, he could have easily done so. However, he chose the simplest route for the convenience of the Ummah; so that they do not have to tire themselves in this effort and rather concentrate their wealth and efforts in the propagation of the Deen. It is rather foolish of Muslims to opt for the difficult ways of the kuffaar instead of the easy way of life that Rasoolullah صلى الله عليه وسلم lived.
It is obvious that the pomp and extravagance with which many Muslims host wedding functions is all done for name and show. Allaah and his Rasool صلى الله عليه وسلم despise any action done for the purpose of show. Concerning those who behave extravagantly (obviously for show), Allaah says in the Quraan Kareem “Without doubt, the extravagant ones are brothers of the shayateen.”
When Allaah grants a person wealth, this wealth is a test for him and on the day of Qiyaamah, Allaah will question him about the avenues in which he spent this wealth. One's wealth should be spend only as the Shari'ah prescribes.
Squandering money on elaborate wedding ceremonies is not condemned only in the eyes of the Shari’ah, but even common society realises that this is an evil and a great wastage. Muslims should realize that it is futile to destroy the lives of people for a day's frolicking. It is like someone burning the home of another to ashes merely to build a house of his own. He may enjoy the house very much, but will soon have to wake up to reality and find that someone else is burning down his house to build one of his own.
It is therefore the responsibility of every Muslim to follow the lifestyle of Rasoolullah صلى الله عليه وسلم and to encourage the world to do the same so that the rot and evils invading society are quickly weeded out. In fact, it has always been the Muslims who have been responsible for bringing the world out of darkness and into light. The purpose of a Muslim in this world is not to frolic in its pleasures and vanities. What the world needs is for the Muslim Ummah to rise to the occasion and wage Jihad against the foolish customs and traditions that are plaguing people and making their lives a misery.
The blessed lifestyle of Rasoolullah صلى الله عليه وسلم is long calling to the Muslims, telling them to forsake their false vanities and to adopt the pure practices of Rasoolullah صلى الله عليه وسلم because this will ensure their success in both worlds. However, if they insist on following the customs of others, they should understand that nothing will be able to check their downfall. One can either be the slave of Allaah or the slave of the ignorant customs. If women take the initiative of eradicating these customs from their lives, they can do so quite effectively and will earn tremendous rewards from Allaah.
The above is an Excerpt from the book 'A Gift to the Bride' (Tohfa-e-Dulhan)
Compiled by Moulana Muhammed Haneef Abdul Majeed.