Wedding Reception According to the Prophet

Wedding Reception According to the Prophet

Faculty of Tarbiyah and Teacher Training – A wedding reception, or “walimah” in Islamic jurisprudence, is a feast held for guests when someone gets married. Shaykh Muhammad bin Qasim discusses this in his book “Fathul Qarib” (Surabaya: Kharisma, 2000), page 236:

قوله (والوليمة على العُرس) مستحبة والمراد بها طعام يتخذ للعرس… وأقلها للمكثر شاةٌ، وللمقل ما تيسر

Translation: “A wedding walimah is recommended. This means a feast held for the wedding. The minimum feast for those who are wealthy is a sheep, and for those who are not, whatever they can afford.”

Indeed, serving a sheep is not mandatory at a wedding reception. It is a recommendation, especially for those who can afford it. This indicates that the variety of dishes at a wedding reception can vary according to individual capabilities and desires. There is even a hadith noting that the Prophet only provided a sheep at his wedding with the Mother of the Believers, Zainab:

عَنْ اَنَسٍ قَالَ: مَا اَوْلَمَ النَّبِيُّ ص عَلَى شَيْءٍ مِنْ نِسَائِهِ مَا اَوْلَمَ عَلَى زَيْنَبَ، اَوْلَمَ بِشَاةٍ. احمد و البخارى و مسلم
Translation: “From Anas, he said, ‘The Prophet SAW did not hold a walimah for his wives more lavish than for Zainab; he held a walimah with a sheep.’” (HR Ahmad, Bukhari, and Muslim).

Apart from sheep, typical wedding receptions might feature foods like dates, sawiq (flour porridge), cheese, ghee, or wheat. This is based on hadiths that document various foods served at wedding receptions. We can refer to the following hadiths for further insight into the variety of dishes in accordance with the Sunnah:

عَنْ اَنَسٍ اَنَّ النَّبِيَّ ص اَوْلَمَ عَلَى صَفِيَّةَ بِتَمْرٍ وَ سَوِيْقٍ. الخمسة الا النسائى
Translation: “From Anas, indeed the Prophet SAW held a walimah for (his marriage to) Safiyyah with dates and sawiq (flour porridge),” (HR five Imams except Nasa’i).

عَنْ صَفِيَّةَ بِنْتِ شَيْبَةَ اَنَّهَا قَالَتْ: اَوْلَمَ النَّبِيُّ ص عَلَى بَعْضِ نِسَائِهِ بِمُدَّيْنِ مِنْ شَعِيْرٍ. البخارى
Translation: “From Safiyyah binti Shaybah, that she said, ‘The Prophet SAW held a walimah for (his marriage to) some of his wives with two muds of wheat,’’ (HR Bukhari).

عَنْ اَنَسٍ فِى قِصَّةِ صَفِيَّةَ اَنَّ النَّبِيَّ ص جَعَلَ وَلِيْمَتَهَا التَّمْرَ وَ اْلاَقِطَ وَ السَّمْنَ. احمد و مسلم
Translation: “From Anas about the story of Safiyyah, indeed the Prophet SAW held a walimah (for his marriage) with dates, cheese, and ghee,” (HR Ahmad and Muslim).

So, the key point in a wedding reception is the food. If possible, a sheep is an excellent choice, but if not, any available food within budget is acceptable.

When holding a walimah and inviting friends, fairness is crucial. Do not invite only the wealthy. This emphasizes the importance of simplicity and fairness in hosting a wedding reception. There is a hadith that mentions the worst kind of walimah is one that only invites the rich:

شَرُّ الطَّعَـامِ طَعَامُ الْوَلِيْمَةِ، يُدْعَى لَهَـا اْلأَغْنِيَـاءُ وَيتْرَكُ الْفُقَرَاءُ
Translation: “The worst food is the food of a walimah, where only the rich are invited and the poor are left out.”

Thus, there are two important lessons from the Prophet’s teachings about walimah. First, make the walimah simple and not extravagant, especially in terms of food. Second, the principle of equality is crucial, so there should be no discrimination. I hope this information is beneficial for you. Only Allah truly knows best. Implementing these principles in daily life could be an interesting subject of study at Alma Ata University.




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