AQD AND WALEEMATU’ n- NIKAAH IN PERSPECTIVE
Comprehension 101: ‘Aqd and Waleematu’ n-Nikaah in perspective
The word ‘aqd (عَقْدٌ) literally means ‘a bond’, ‘a covenant’ or ‘a contractual agreement’ between two or more people. It’s plural is ‘uqood (عُقود). In Qur’aan 5:1, Allaah says, يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَوْفُوا بِالْعُقُودِ “O believers! Fulfil your contract obligations…” A trade contract between a seller and a prospective buyer is an ‘aqd. Similarly, a business agreement between two partners (as in partnership business) is also an ‘aqd.
When prefixed to ‘Nikaah’, as in ‘aqdun-Nikaah’, it connotes ‘Marriage contract/solemnization’. It’s a simple religious rite performed by the father of the prospective bride, his designate or her male guardian (mainly from her biological father’s family or her son, according to the ترتيب الأولياء). It requires no ceremony or pomp. It’s simply an acceptance of marriage proposal by the prospective groom. زَوَّجْتُكَ بِنتِي فُلانَةَ “I’ve married my sọ and so daughter to you”, or any other expression that implies consent. It doesn’t require any Alfa to come and do any shenanigan and charade. Simple and straightforward.
Waleemah (وَلِيمة) on the other hand connotes ‘a feast’. It’s defined literally as,
الوليمة أو المائدة تعني اجتماع مجموعة من الأشخاص الذين يعرفون بعضهم جميعاً أو يعرفون أحد الأشخاص في هذه الدعوة لتناول الطعام، غالباً بغرض الاحتفال أو لهدفٍ آخر
“A gathering of a group of people who are known to each other or who know one of the congregation for the purpose of eating food. Mostly, such occasions are as a result of celebration or for some other reasons..”
When prefixed to Nikaah, as in Waleematu’n-Nikaah (وَلِيمة النكاح) or (وليمة العِرس), it implies, ‘a wedding feast’. In contemporary usage, it’s otherwise known as wedding reception. (I harbour disdain for the usage of the term though, considering the fact that most ceremonies are plagued with ‘unislamic’ activities).
According to the Shari’ah, ‘aqdun-Nikaah is a compulsory rite for it’s the only activity that confers legality on marriage contracts. This is the express meaning of the words of the Most High, فَانْكِحُوهُنَّ بِإِذْنِ أَهْلِهِنَّ “Marry them with the permission of their family…” (4:25). This is explained by the hadeeth of Aaisha (may Allaah be pleased with her, that the Messenger of Allaah said:
وعن عائشة رضي الله عنها قالت : قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : ” أيما امرأة نكحت بغير إذن وليها فنكاحها باطل فنكاحها باطل ، فنكاحها باطل
“Any woman who gets married without the permission of her guardian (waliyy), then her marriage is invalid.” (He repeated it three times.)
As for the Waleematu n-Nikaah, then, it’s ruling is that it’s Sunnah and not obligatory. Ibn Qudaamah, rahimahuLlaah said,
قال ابن قدامة في المغني: لا خلاف بين أهل العلم في أن الوليمة سنة في العرس مشروعة، لما روي أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أمر بها وفعلها. فقال لعبد الرحمن بن عوف، حين قال: تزوجت: أولم ولو بشاة.. إلى أن قال: وليست واجبة في قول أكثر أهل العلم. انتهى.
“There’s no difference of opinion among the scholars on the Waleematu n-Nikaah being a Sunnah (non-obligatory act) based on the report that the Prophet said to ‘Abdurrahmaan bn ‘awf, after the latter informed him about his marriage, “organize a feast, even if it’s with just one sheep”. (Ibn Qudaamah thus continues discussion on this matter) until he said, and (the waleemah of nikaah) is not compulsory in the view of most of the scholars.
Simply put, while ‘aqdun-Nikaah is compulsory and inevitable, the Waleematu’ n-Nikaah is not.
What am I driving at, read in the next episode.
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