Could you please give information about Walima?

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Could you please give information about Walima?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

A feast thrown on the occasion of a wedding. There have been scholars who say feasts given owing to any occasion which represents joy and happiness are also called walima. (Shawkani, Nayt’ul Awtar, IV, Egypt n.d., 198) 

Since weddings are occasions of joy and happiness and conducive to both demonstrating happiness and opportunity to provide food for friends and the poor, giving a walima is praiseworthy.

The custom of walima was present in the time of Jahiliyya. The Prophet (pbuh) organized a walima on his wedding with our mother, Khadijah. He threw a feast for people by having two camels slaughtered. His uncle, Abu Talib arranged a banquet in his domicile for this reason, and he invited the Prophet (pbuh) and our mother, Khadijah. The Prophet (pbuh) organised banquets for his weddings with his other wives, too; and as a result, walima that was a tradition before became a sunnah (custom of the Prophet [pbuh]). Furthermore, the Prophet gave advice to believers on this issue. In the same way, when he heard Abdurrahman bin Awf was getting married, he advised him: “Arrange a banquet even if it is only one sheep’s meat.” (Ibn Majah, Sunan, Hadith No: 1907) We can see a vivid example of this custom in the occasion of Ali and Fatima’s wedding. Ali, for this reason, hypothecated his armor to a Jewish person so as to buy half a scale of barley. At that banquet, a meal which was prepared by mixing flour, oil, yoghurt and chopped seedless dates and barley bread was served. This was considered to be a good banquet according to those days’ conditions. (Asim Koksal, Islam Tarihi, I-II Istanbul 1981, 259). 

The Prophet slaughtered a sheep on the wedding of  his daughter Zainab, and He served date and sawiq ( a mush made of wheat and barley) on his wedding with Safiyya.

The wedding banquet depends on the financial strength and generosity of the host., Although he is the most generous of all people, the Prophet served simpler food instead of meat and bread. (Ibn Majah, Sunan, Hadith no: 1908-1910).

People should avoid serving haram ( religiously forbidden) food and signs of reputation and ostentation. Regarding this issue, The Prophet (pbuh) said: “giving a banquet on the first day is rightful; on the second day, it is nice but giving a banquet on the third day is an outward show and propaganda.” (Abu Dawood) II, 307). Moreover, poor people should be invited to such occasions along with the rich. For the feasts where the poor are not invited, the Prophet said: “The worst banquet of all is the one to which rich people are invited while the poor are not.” (Ibn Majah, Hadith no : 1913)

It is necessary for one to attend such occasions on condition that they are licit. Regarding this issue, the Prophet (pbuh) stated : “If any of you is invited to a wedding banquet, you should attend it right away” (Ibn Majah, Sunan, Hadith no : 1914). If a person is invited to more than one occasion at the same time, it will be best to attend the one belonging to the nearest neighbour in accordance with the advice of the Prophet (pbuh).  If one of the invitations is informed earlier than the other(s), it will be good to comply with priority. ( Shawkani, ibid, II:203) 

As for the food and entertainment provided at the wedding ceremony, they must be compatible with Islamic regulations. And as for the matter of attendance to illicit banquets and ceremonies, if it is known in advance that the food and beverage to be served at the banquet will be inappropriate (in terms of religion), such occasions must not be attended. If one attends an occasion without knowing about its content and then realizes its inappropriateness, they must warn people about religiously forbidden things if they can, yet if not, they should be patient. If the one in this position is a person whose words and attitudes are deemed as criteria and who is considered to be leading in the religious sense, they are to leave such meetings if they cannot hinder people from committing religiously forbidden deeds. Otherwise, this kind of attitude of theirs might be considered to be an example for others and as a license for consenting to evil. (Marghinani, Al-Hidayah, IV, 80) 

If beverages containing alcohol are served at the banquet, no one should partake of the food and drink at that banquet because, the Prophet (pbuh) said regarding the issue : Whoever believes in Allah and the Day of Resurrection must not sit by a table where alcohol is partaken. (Shawkani, ibid, XI, 206)

On occasions nowadays, people do not comply with Islamic principles and they also perform every kind of behaviors which are religiously forbidden such as alcohol, dancing women and men together etc., and afterwards, the Qur’an and mawlid is recited. These kinds of scenes which are fundamentally controversial to one another demonstrate clearly the religious and national weaknesses of our community and also display what we have sacrificed for the sake of imitating the west and how we have become hypocritical characters or rather characterless.

The institution of family is sacred and it represents the base of our community. This kind of institution must be constructed not over forbidden stuff but over divine principles and attitudes. Truths cannot be built upon the mistakes.

Ali Riza TEMEL

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