These are some of the processes that I have encountered during my wedding. Although the word wedding seems simple, it actually contains quite some lengthy process which follows the needs of Islam as well as Malay custom, and in my case it is narrowed to the Kelantanese culture.
At first, I did question about the needs to follow all the rigid rules and customs as for me, the procedure is just for the ‘Akad Nikah’ and that’s it. All others was considered as extra burden. However, that was just an old me. Now, after undergone some part of the process, I realise that there is an enormous agenda behind all these customs, which is to make my wedding life better.
This is the first formal step in getting marriage. Before the process takes place, the parents and family members from both sides have already had a general idea about what is expected from the person from the other side.
Before the actual meeting takes place, they usually have asked people around, used spy, done some investigations or maybe asking the person herself in order to get answers to some basic questions about the person and her family. The questions may centered on the four basic things suggested by the Prophet (SAW) “A woman is married for four things, i.e., her wealth, her family status, her beauty, and her religion. So you should marry the religious woman [otherwise] you will be a loser”.
In my case, we have done some
funny investigations as well. After getting agreement from my parents and closest relatives, we move on to the merisik (formal inquiry) stage. The merisik is a meeting whereby we went to my spouse’s place (not yet at the moment) and indirectly asked whether the girl is available or not. That was the moment when I had the first glance on my wife.
The meeting also means that I was able to contact her (within the limit of the religion, haram things before is still haram after the merisik stage) in order to know her better and if she meets the criteria, to discuss the preparation for the next stage.
Engagement is the stage where both parties are really commit to the marriage. There should be no U-turn after the engagement unless there is really big war without any solution happens. To be play safe, the news on engagement should not be public as it would give a shame to both parties especially the girl’s side if it is ended up with a break up.
The engagement ceremony
My engagement was quite unique as the duration of my engagement was only about two hours. Everyone was eager to get me married I guess. huhuhu
We bring along with us 7 things (pahar) as gifts to my spouse and her family. It can be any number as long as it is an odd number. Some of the compulsory item needed in the 7 pahars are sireh leaves where the ring is put, the yellow glutinous rice paired with egg (pulut kuning and bunga telur), some cloth, some fruits, some food (usually cake) and last but not least a book (usually Al Quran). All the gifts are a complete things needed in one’s life. Each symbolises important things that is needed to have a prosperity life.
The spouse will reply about the same (equal) things given from her side. The number will be the same or have two extra to number of pahars that they get. It depends on the agreement from both parties. I always crave for a weapon (i.e. keris) put on my pahar but all oppose my suggestion. Poor me.. huhuhu
Akad Nikah (Marriage Contract)
The marriage contract is the real deal. This is usually the stage which make the bridegroom shaking the whole body, freezing under the room temperature or perhaps suddenly becomes a stammer. Shaking hands with the religious officer or the wali (guardian) himself and utter one single sentence has become the heaviest things to do.
Alhamdullilah mine was an OK session. Thanks to my seniors for sharing the tips to counter the difficulties. huhuhu. For those who has not shaken hands with the imam yet, you can ask me about the tips. The fee is just a whole grilled chicken. Sate will do. huhuhu
Reading the contract is among the most scary part in a man’s life.
There is also Mas Kahwin (sum of money or anything (i.e. Al Quran, gold) as a gift to the bride) that the bridegroom needs to give. The quotation price is up to the bride to decide. There is usually a range of standard price given based on the trend around the place.
However there is also a trend in which the bride does not put any specific price for the gift. It is up to the bridegroom to decide. If the money is not used for the wedding ceremony. It is suggested that the gift is given in Gold Dinar or maybe properties with high probability to rise in the future.
The different that is seen in the Kelantanese wedding and other states in Malaysia from my point of view is that the Kelantanese does not have the additional allocation for the ‘wang hantaran @ wang hangus’ (or burned money). The burned money is paid prior to the wedding to the bridegroom as the down payment that is usually used for the wedding ceremony for the bride’s side. The sum is usually a lot higher than the Mas Kahwin.
Berkahwin (Wedding Ceremony)
This is the time when the family celebrate the happiness and announce that their daughter has already got a husband. The family would be the organiser for the ceremony. It started with the family inviting the guesses. The guess should carefully listen to the invitation or look at the invitation card because there is a hidden message between the lines mentioned by the host, whether it is a gratitude ceremony (kenduri kesyukuran) or the wedding ceremony (kenduri perkahwinan). huhuhu
The feast time during the wedding ceremony
If it is just a gratitude ceremony, the guesses can just come to the ceremony and enjoy the meal. They might also want to bring along a gift or alms to the couple such as giving simple things as simple as a kilogram of sugar. Giving money to the host is considered as rude perhaps because the host believes that they are serving some food to the guesses as a gratitude to God and only God can indirectly repay it, in term of happiness, health and etc.
For the invitation which is stated as a wedding ceremony, the guess is allowed to give present or money to the host as the alms. Maybe it is to lessen the burden of the couple when they live together in a new house or place.
On the day, the bridegroom and his contingent would march along with the pahars. There would be two additional pahars compared to the day of engagement. It usually contains about the same things as the engagement that, only that there were no sireh leaves given anymore. My contingent that came on that day was extraordinary. I mean the numbers. Thanks for the support. huhuhu
Menyambut Menantu (Receiving the daughter in law)
Then, the bride is delivered to the bridegroom’s family house. Another wedding ceremony is usually held as to inform the relatives especially the distance relatives of the bridegroom’s side that the person is already wed. If the the host has enough force and strength in term of people come to help to set up everything, then the host can think of cooking the meal from the scratch. But if not, paying the catering service is preferred.
Some of the relatives that came
The is also an unwritten rules whereby the bridegroom cannot go to the bride family’s house before she is officially sent to the house during the menyambut menantu ceremony. It is one of the extreme case scenario. The linear rule would be that the bridegroom can go to the bride family’s house but she cannot stay there too long or sleep at the house.
Menghantar Menantu (Sending the daughter in law)
Another new thing that I have learned when I got married was that my wife is not allowed to go to her parents’ house until my parents send her. Perhaps this custom is rarely practiced because of some hindrances such as geographical and time challenges.
The direct purpose that I can see in the procedure is that it can tighten the newly tied bond between the two families namely mine and my wife’s family. It has been at least six meeting since the first merisik ceremony. The intimacy should already sprout a bit if not much between our two big families. The good relation between the families is also crucial in building a sound family of mine. huhuhu
After the ceremony, the newly wed couple would probably hear the sentence sounds like ‘Ajok la Paih/Na gi jale kenal rumoh’ (Invite your spouse to our house) uttered by the close relatives. They would usually serve the couple with heavy meal and give some gifts as presents.
Nasir was smiling while glaring at the food at one of the relatives’ house. huhuhu
Based on my experience, as we had limited time at home before we departed to our work place, we went to nearly 10 houses in less than half a day. Only God can repay their kindness. There is nothing that I can compare for having such caring relatives around me. Alhamdulillah
I felt blessed because everything runs smoothly. Hopefully it is a good sign from God who has planned all the events for me. The whole process is now complete. It is now the time to explore the depth of understanding and patience with each other, with the strength of the mahabbah and rahmah thrown by the Creator to the heart of both of us, as husband and wife, and the big families that we have.
- It should be noted that the customs are not compulsory to be followed.
- If it becomes a burden especially the financial burden to a person, the simplest akad nikah is more than enough.
- Physical contact and relation (or something towards that) before marriage for any reason (i.e. postponing the wedding because of financial burden) should be avoided. Parents should aware that the customs can hold but some evils for postponing the wedding can’t. It can only be stopped by marriage.
- The entry post might be just my
syok sendiriperspective. Any correction or additional information is most welcome. huhuhu. Wallahua’lam.