The Marriage Aqd (Contract)
In keeping with the eternal tradition of our Prophet Muhammad (S) in the style of the recitation of the marriage Aqd, as he had done during the marriage of his daughter Fatimah binte Muhammad (as) to Ali ibn Abi Talib (as), the ceremony is preceded by a Khutbah or introduction extolling the Oneness of Allah (SwT) and His characteristics, and then sending praise and prayers upon the Prophet of Islam (S) and his noble family members. Once this has been recited, the actual Aqd or contract is performed.
According to a majority of our Ulama, the contract MUST be recited in the correct Arabic language however Ayatullah al-Uzma al-Hajj as-Sayyid Ali al-Husaini as-Sistani, in his recent book, A Code of Practice for Muslims in the West, states that if the man or woman can not read the Arabic correctly, then they should take a representative who could read the contract on their behalf. If this too is not possible, then they may recite the contract in their own language (translation) as long as the meaning remains the same as the original Arabic.
In the examples given below, we will assume that the brother and sister will be reading their own Aqd (contrary to that of having a Representative for each side).
أَعُوذُ بِاللهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطانِ الرَّجِيمِ. بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ.
أَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ الَّذي هَدانا لِهذَا وَما كُنَّا لِنَهْتَدِيَ لَوْ لا أَنْ هَدانا اللهُ. وَصَلاةُ وَسَلامُ عَلى سَيَّدِنا وَنَبِيِنا وَمَوْلانا وَحَبِيبِ قُلُوبِنا وَطَبِيبِ نُفُوسِنا أَبِي الْقاسِمِ مُحَمَّدٍ. وَصَلاةُ وَسَلامُ عَلى أَهْلِ بَيْتِهِ الطَّيِّبِينَ الطّاهِرِينَ الْمَعْصُومِينَ الْمَظْلُومِينَ. وَلَعْنَةُ اللهِ عَلى أَعْدائِهِمْ مِنْ يَوْمِ أَوَّلِ ظُلْمِهِمْ إلى يُوْمَ الدِّينَ. أَمّا بَعْدُ فَقَدْ قالَ اللهُ سُبْحانَهُ وَتَعالى فِي كِتابِهِ:
All the praise belongs solely to Allah (SwT), the One who guided us to this and we could not have been guided to this had it not been for the direction of Allah (SwT). And prayers and salutations are sent upon our Master and our Prophet and our Mawlana and the love of our hearts and the spiritual physician of our souls Abil Qasim Muhammad (S). And may prayers and salutations be upon his progeny, the Purified, Immaculate, free from sin, oppressed (individuals). May the perpetual curse of Allah (SwT) and removal of divine blessings overwhelm their enemies from the first day they committed such oppression, until the Day of Judgement. And after this, verily Allah (SwT), the Glorious and High has said in His Book:
وَأَنْكِحُوا الْأَيَامَىٰ مِنْكُمْ وَالصَّالِحِينَ مِنْ عِبَادِكُمْ وَإِمَائِكُمْ ۚ إِنْ يَكُونُوا فُقَرَاءَ يُغْنِهِمُ اللَّهُ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ
"Marry the single people among you and the righteous slaves and slave-girls. If you are poor, Allah (SwT) will make you rich through His favour; He is Bountiful and All-Knowing" (Surah 24, Verse 32)
قالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ (صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلّمَ): مِنْ سُنَّتِي أَلتَّزْوِيجُ فَمَنْ رَغِبَ عَنْ سُنَّتِي فَلَيْسَ مِنِّي.
The Messenger of Allah (S) has said, "Of my tradition is to marry. So then whosoever turns away from my tradition (Sunnah) is not from me (my nation)."
1a) The bride-to-be would say:
أَنْكَحْتُ نَفْسِي لَكَ عَلى الْمَهْرِ الْمَعْلُومِ
1b) The husband-to-be would say:
قَبِلْتُ النِكاحَ لِنَفْسِي عَلى الْمَهْرِ الْمَعْلُومِ
2a) Then the bride-to-be would say:
زَوَّجْتُ نَفْسِي عَلى الصِّداقِ المَعْلُومِ
2b) The, the husband-to-be would say:
قَبِلْتُ التَّزْوِيجَ لنَفْسِي عَلى الصِّداقِ المَعْلُومِ
3a) The bride-to-be would say:
أَنْكَحْتُ وَزَوَّجْتُ نَفْسِي لَكَ عَلى الْمَهْرِ الْمَعْلُومِ
3b) The husband-to-be would say:
قَبِلْتَ النِكاحَ وَالتَّزْوِيجَ لِنَفْسِي عَلى الْمَهْرِ الْمَعْلُومِ.
These lines are usually repeated two or three times over for the sake of precaution to make sure they have been recited properly. After these few lines have been said, the man and woman are then joined together in marriage according to the laws of Islam. There is no other 'ceremony' needed - a Walimah is Mustahab, but other things are part of our cultural practices (some are permitted to do, but we have to be careful so as to not perform anything haram).