The (Extravagant) Walimah

Saleha Bhamjee

The walimah – a Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), very much revived celebration in this day and age. Why should the bride’s family have all the fun? The groom can be just as smart, if not smarter and of course it is the perfect opportunity for the new mother-in-law to instill some awe into the heart of the new daughter-in-law. A well planned walimah says loud and clear, “Don’t mess with me. I am one together woman!”

It starts out auspiciously enough, with a mandatory recital from the Qur`an by a hafiz, who almost always happens to be a friend of the groom. This is then followed by a dua`aa’ for happiness and barakah and then… music! Yaay! Let the party begin! This is a sure-fire recipe for marital bliss, and for attracting the mercy of Allah? And, all of this in the name of togetherness, and strengthening the bonds of brotherhood in Islam – in the name of… Islam!?

But can that truly be?
Lebanese Bride

None can argue that large, lavish walimahs are synonymous with waste. Honestly, what becomes of the chocolate cake that you took a bit of with your team and then discarded because your clothing was becoming a tad too tight and was threatening to cut off your circulation? And what of the dates that your son took in the grand entrance hall and dumped after he discovered the chocolate fountain on the tea table? What becomes of these? Food for the gulls at the dumping ground?

And what does the Ultimate Authority on all topics say in this regard?

… and eat and drink and be not extravagant; surely He does not love the extravagant” (An-Araf 7: 31)

And in another verse Allah says:

“Surely the squanderers are the fellows of the Shaytan…” (Bani Israel : 17: 27)

The word used in this verse is “tabdhir”. In explanation of tabdhir, it is said that it refers to wasting on such things that are not a necessity as opposed to things that are a requisite. Are lavish walimahs really a necessity? Prophet Muhammad (saw) was never wasteful, in fact a study of his life will show us that the walimahs that he (saw) hosted were simple affairs, where the people would gather. Each one would bring whatever food they had to give, and this would then be eaten together.

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