The Wedding Night And It's Etiquette

By Saleem Bhimji

The first night of the newlywed couple is one full of divine blessings and mercy and it with this in mind that the new couple should start their married life together. Instead of resorting to music and dance parties to celebrate the happy occasion (as has unfortunately become common place in our time), we must take lessons from the method of the Ahlul Bait (as) and how they commemorated such an auspicious occasion.

The reason why we say night and not day, contrary to the way that most marriages and ceremonies take place these days is that there are clear ahadith from the Prophet (S) and his Ahlul Bait (as) instructing us to have the ceremony at night and for the new wife to be taken to her new home in the evening time (after sunset):

قالَ الإِمامُ جَعْفَرَ بْنِ مُحَمَّدٍ الصّادِقُ (عَلَيهِ السَّلامُ): زَفُّوا عَرائِسِكُمْ لَيْلاً وَاطْعِمُوا ضُحًّى

Imam Jafar ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq (as) has said, "Take your wife home at night time and during the day, eat food."

By eating food here, it is meant the customary and recommended Walimah or ceremony that is usually kept after the recitation of the Aqd.

Since this is the beginning of a new life, we have been instructed by the Ahlul Bait (as) to begin it in the name of Allah (SwT), and to seek protection in Allah (SwT) from the accursed Shaitan. This is done by performing the following acts which have been narrated in the various books.

It has been recommended that the husband perform Wudhu, a two Rakat Salat for the wedding night and then recite the following supplication:

أَللّهُمَّ ارْزُقْنِي أُلْفَها وَوُدَّها وَرِضاها بِي وَارْضِنِي بِها وَاجْمَعْ بَيْنَنا بِأَحْسَنِ إِجْتِماعٍ وَأَيْسَرَ ائَتِلافٍ فِإِنَّكَ تُحِبُّ الْحَلالَ وَتَكْرَهُ الْحَرامَ.

Allahummar zuqni ulfahaa wa wuddahaa wa ridhaahaa bi; war dhini bihaa waj ma banyanaa bi ahsani ijtimaain wa aysara tilaafin. Fa innaka tuhibbul halaala wa takrahul haraama.

"O' Allah (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 the lawful and dislike the unlawful things."

The husband should then request his wife to perform Wudhu and also perform a two Rakat recommended Salat before you are ready to go to bed.

In the well-known book, Makarim al-Akhlaq, it has been narrated from Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (as) that when the new wife enters the room where her husband is, they should both face the Qiblah and he should place his hand on her forehead and recite the following supplication:

أَللّهُمَّ بِأَمانَتِكَ أَخَذْتُها وَبِكَلِماتِكَ إِسْتَحْلَلْتُ فَرْجَها فَإنْ قَضَيْتَ لِي مِنْها وَلَداً فَاجْعَلْهُ مُبارَكاً سَوِيًّا وَلا تَجْعَلْ لِلشَّيْطانِ فِيْهِ شِرْكاً وَلا نَصِيباً

Allaahumma bi amaanatika akhadhtuhaa wa bi kalimaatika istahlalatu farjahaa. Fa in Qadhayta li minhaa waladan, faj-alhu mubaarakan sawiyyan wa laa tajal lish_shaytaani feehi shirkan wa la naseeba.

"O' Allah (SwT)! I have taken her through Your trust and have made her lawful for myself by Your words. Therefore, if You have decreed for me a male child from her, then make him blessed and pious and do not let the Satan have any part in him."

In another narration from Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (as), it has been mentioned that when a man intends to have intercourse with his wife, he should start in the name of Allah (SwT) by saying بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ . If this is not done, then Shaitan puts his hand in the conception of the child.
When the Imam (as) was asked as to how we could know if this had happened, he replied that we should look at the child and how his love or hate is for the Ahlul Bait (as) - if Shaitan had a role to play in the conception, then that child will have enmity for the Ahlul Bait (as), while the child who loves the Ahlul Bait (as) was protected by Allah (SwT) from the accursed Shaitan.

Another recommended act is that when the bride enters the room, the husband should greet her and take off her shoes and socks. He should then wash her feet in a basin and sprinkle this water around the house.

It is through this act, according to the Prophet of Islam (S), that 70,000 types of poverty will be removed and 70,000 types of desires (that the inhabitants need) will enter into the house. The Prophet (S) went on to mention that 70 blessings and mercies would be showered upon the bride such that each of these will fill the house with mercy and as long as the wife is alive, she will never be afflicted with madness or leprosy.