Islam is one of the noble religions in the world with billions of zealous followers of the religion. By the holy Quran, wedding is one of the primary duties of a Muslim and an integral part of Islamic culture.
Sunni Muslims and Ismailis are the two Islamic communities having different faiths and beliefs. Sunni Muslims follow the teachings of the last prophet while Ismailis believe in the seven Imams, and therefore is called the “Seveners”. Though the practices of both communities are technically a sect of Muslim, many Muslims don’t consider Ismaili as Muslims. And because of differences in their beliefs, their weddings are also a little bit different.
Like most weddings, Muslim wedding has two aspects, one is religious and the other is social. The wedding ceremonies are usually short and sweet. Nikah which is the significant ceremony of the wedding takes less than an hour.
In this ceremony, the bride does not present herself rather sends her two witnesses to the drawn-up agreement. The ceremony is officiated by a Muslim cleric and involves reading from the Quran and sayings of Prophet Muhammad. The vows are exchanged in front of witnesses for both bride and groom.
Since the marriage is declared publically, a large feast is served to guests.
Similar to a Muslim wedding, the Nikah ceremony is an important part of every Ismaili wedding. Islamic custom has the bride and groom sitting in separate spaces, not together. They are approached by the person who recites the Nikkah, who is known as the Qazi. The bride is approached first and is asked if she accepts the marriage. If she says “Kabul” no less than three times, then this indicates she has accepted the marriage. This ritual is then repeated for the groom in exactly the same way.
Witnesses aren’t as important in an Ismaili wedding as they are in an American one. However, alimony is! Part of the Qazi’s duties is to inform the groom that, in the case of divorce, he must pay the bride a sum of money called the “Mehar.”
Both weddings are the same to some extent, however, the major differences are between their religious beliefs.