I recently converted to Islam and preparing to marry a Muslim girl. I have been wondering if my parents who are non-Muslims can attend the wedding. So, I conducted my research and spoke to an Imam to find out whether non-Muslims can attend.
Accordingly, can a non-Muslim attend a Muslim wedding? Yes, Islam does not forbid non-Muslims to attend the wedding. Allah encourages kindness between people. It treasures the relationships that exist between Muslims and non-Muslims. The evidence for this is the report mentioned by Ibn Sa`d, Ibn Hisham, as well as other scholars of the Prophet’s life’s work that, by the conclusion of the three days he resided in Mecca to perform `Umrah as directed by his agreement with Quraysh, men from Quraysh (Ibn `Abd al-`Uzza and Ibn `Amer) came to the Prophet asking him to depart quickly, according to the agreement.
He reverted to them, “What wrong will fall on you if you allow me to make my wedding among you and to make food to serve you when you attend it.”
The above was an invitation from the prophet to non-Muslims who resided in Mecca to attend his wedding feast he would make in his marriage with Maymonah. Allah does not discourage kindness between people. For instance, in a single family you may have individuals of different religions, including Muslims. Allah has directed to keep a good relationship with family members and not cut them. Likewise, to enjoy the good and forbid evil.
Provided that the proceedings of the wedding ceremony is not tainted with evil deeds then it is permissible. In the case of religious gatherings for prayer it is not allowed to partake or witness to false gods. Because worship is only for Allah and not the creation of Allah, or the creation of human beings. It is not allowed to allow the consumption of Alcohol, having parties because such deeds call for the fulfillment of lust and is considered fornication and not the embrace of Allah.
The Islamic legislation promotes tolerance as directed by Prophet Mohammed in his sayings that he was sent with tolerance of hanafiyyah as Allah does not allow individuals to argue except in the manner in which it does not breed hatred and affect their individual feelings.
Islamic law instructs all Muslims to respect religious freedom and it prevents the compulsion in religions and gives non-Muslims the right to practice their own religious rights. Therefore, there is no harm inviting non-Muslims to take part in a Muslim wedding celebration.
Consequently, non-Muslims can attend the wedding banquet. It is acceptable to receive wedding gifts from them. However, a Muslim should be careful not to have affectionate feelings towards as it is not permitted for a Muslim to have non-Muslims as helpers, protectors, and friends. The prophet received gifts from non-Muslims.
It was reported by Imam Al-Bukhari that the king of Aylat- a city that overlooks the red sea between Palestine and Jordan offered a gift of a garment and a white female donkey to the prophet.
The above issue is broad, and the evidence has been provided above. However, three opinions have been reported from Imam Ahmad concerning this issue, as outlined in the Al-insaf, and the third one outlines the permissibility of celebrating, offering condolences to non-Muslims, as well as visiting the sick amongst the non-Muslim.
All the above is encouraged if there is benefit from this. As seen by Ibn Taymiyyah. Therefore, if there is benefit in having non-Muslims, then it is encouraged to invite and allow non-Muslims to attend the wedding ceremony without feeling uneasy.
What can a Non-Muslim Expect from a Muslim Wedding?
When you are invited to a wedding where a different religion is practiced, you may have some questions on how to act and what the wedding ceremony involves. When a non-Muslim is invited to a Muslim wedding, there are some of the basic thing that you should know so that you can fit in.
Because it is a common thing for an office or the neighborhood to practice distinct faiths, being asked to attend a traditional Islamic wedding ceremony is hardly a common scenario. Unfortunately, this honor can be the source of some stress for the overwhelming majority of non-Muslims who do not understand much about the Islamic culture.
Islamic wedding ceremonies are much like any other. They are about the joining and the rejoicing of two individuals in marriage. Although there exists numerous types of Islamic weddings contingent on how each respective couple practices their religion, one of the most distinct characteristics of a Muslim wedding is the length. Muslim wedding ceremonies are hardly a one-day event; they often last for numerous nights.
If you have been invited, it is likely that you have been asked to attend the Walima celebrations, which is usually hosted by the groom’s family on the eve of the wedding. This is the same as any evening party; a celebration of the ceremony involves music, speeches, dining and cake cutting. Alcohol, however, is forbidden.
During the ceremony, men and women may be required to sit separate from each other. The Meher ceremony is conducted where the marriage contract is being signed. Two male witnesses are required to sign the contract.
One being the father of the bride. His work is to ensure that all the rights and affairs of the bride are met. After the signing is done, the bride and her family will share a piece of fruit. At the end of the ceremony the Fatinah is read.
The reception in a Muslim wedding is similar to any other wedding. It is characterized with lots of food, dancing and celebration. There is always a large feast with different types of foods. However, there is no pork served during the wedding.
Pork is forbidden in Islam culture because it does not have a cloven hoof and does not chew their cud. Muslim are instructed not to eat their meat and should not touch its carcass because they are considered unclean.
Non-Muslim guests attending the Walima shall not worry about what to wear. There is not a great deal of difference between a non-Muslim wedding and a Muslim wedding in this sense. You must ensure that you wear modest clothing.
For ladies, the dresses are required to be long enough to conceal the knees and should disguise the cleavage. You may also need to invest in a cardigan or a shawl to conceal the shoulders. A traditional suit is recommended for men.
Finding the perfect wedding gift could be challenging even for the closest family members. In any Islamic wedding, it is thankfully very straightforward. Most of the Muslim wedding will stipulate “no box presents for the bride and groom” which essentially means that you should not carry material items like decor, candles, glassware among other things. Instead, it is ideal to give money in an envelope.
Being invited to celebrate the marriage of a Muslim colleague, friend or neighbor is a privilege. Non- Muslims have little or no reason to worry about offending any individual in attending a Muslim wedding. You should however be cautious when it comes to fashion choice, gift giving and what to expect.
You can thoroughly enjoy what is bound to be a very intriguing and special event. In conclusion, the mixing of Muslims with non-Muslims in one region having different ethnicities and religions will bring about some social relations and dealings including attending and congratulating each other in numerous religious occasions including wedding ceremonies.
As outlined above, Islamic law does not forbid the invitation of non-Muslims into their wedding ceremonies. Islam promotes co-existence of people within a given society.