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Compare and contrast the marriage ceremonies of Christianity and Islam. For both, explain the importance of any symbolic elements.

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Introduction

Compare and contrast the marriage ceremonies of Christianity and Islam. For both, explain the importance of any symbolic elements. In Islam, Muslims are encouraged to marry and very few stay single. Similarly, many Christians get married at some stage in their lives as the bible says that marriage was given to humans by God, with intention that it would join men and women together for life and be able to help one another. In both Islam and Christianity, when a man and a woman get married, a wedding ceremony takes places on the wedding day. In Islam it is usual for the wedding day to consist of two parts - the nikah and the walimah. Similarly, in Christianity the wedding day normally consists of two parts - the ceremony and the reception. The nikah in Islam and the ceremony in Christianity are similar as are the legal binding of the couple and often take place in the religious place of worship - the Mosque in Islam and the Church in Christianity. Christians have the ceremony in the Church so they feel that they receive God's blessing. However, some Islam Nikah ceremonies take place in the home, as they believe that God is everywhere- tawhid. ...read more.

Middle

In Islam, the beginning of the nikah is different, as often it begins with the giving of mahr, a marriage gift which is usually dowry, given to them bride by the bridegroom. This is an essential part of the nikah contract as it makes her financially viable in case of divorce as well as showing the bridegroom's commitment. The giving of dowry originates from the Qu'ran, 'And give the women (on marriage) their mahr as a (nikah) free gift' (Qu'ran 4:4). A sermon is often then given by the Imam which invites the bride and bridegroom, as well as the participating guests in the assembly to a life of piety, mutual love, kindness and social responsibility. This is done as Prophet Muhammad made it his tradition, Sunnah, to have a marriage sermon delivered to solemnize the marriage. In the Christian ceremony after the Priest asks if anyone objects to the marriage, provided nobody does, the vows are then made between the bride and bridegroom. They face each other for this and the Priest places their hands on one another representing God joining them together. In turn, the bride and bridegroom repeat after the Priest marriage vows to each other. In these vows each promise to share their worldly goods, and to love, honour and remain faithful to one another for the ...read more.

Conclusion

In Islam during the walimah the Muslim bride, similar to a Christian bride, tends to dress up for the special occasion. They usually wear red or a deep pink-coloured silk, embroidered with gold threads, as red is considered to be a happy, bright colour, appropriate for the wedding. Similar to Christian brides usually wearing a wedding dress, Muslims brides also wear special clothes. These are called shalwar, which are loose or baggy trousers, kameez, which is a long embroidered tunic, and dupatta, which is a long scarf. In contrast to the bride wearing a white veil during a Christian wedding, in Islam often the bridegroom wears a white veil as this represents that it is an arranged marriage and love does not exist. However, in contrast to the Christian ceremony, during the legal ceremony in Islam, the nikah, no special clothing is worn. In Islam, the nikah contract signed by married Muslims and the witnesses of the wedding is a legal document, as is the register signed by Christians who wed. However, unlike the register signed by Christians, the nikah contract is a contract that gives both the husband and the wife rights and responsibilities. Conditions are often included in the nikah contract as because in Islam arranged marriages are usual, love is not present at the time of the wedding ceremony. This is different to Christian marriages which are not arranged and love is already present. 1 ...read more.

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