This 32 page lyrical 9 x 11 hardback book with playful illustrations is a celebration on the similarities of all Muslim weddings and the cultural distinctions that make them unique. Four countries are highlighted: Pakistan, Morocco, Somalia, and Great Britain, and I really wish there were more. The book is written on an early elementary level, but would make a great wedding present, or even a text to be shared at interfaith gatherings that focus on traditions and women’s rights. It is joyous and informative complete with a glossary and info blurb at the end.
The book starts out with verse 30:21, Chapter ar-Rum in the Holy Qur’an and then jumps in to jubilations of mabrook, congratulations. It establishes what countries will be explored and that Muslims get married sharing religious rites, but different celebrations.
In Pakistan there’s a henna party and the groom rides in on a horse. The brides are adorned with bangles of gold and guests enjoy biriyani and rasmalai.
In Morocco the entire neighborhood helps prepare couscous and roasted lamb with olives and pickled lemons. At the waleemah the bride is carried in on a chair, and changes outfits seven times.
In Somalia, buraanbur is danced and blessings are sung to the mother of the bride.
In England the ginger bearded imam marries the groom to his hijab wearing bride in white. There are people of all faiths and backgrounds there to celebrate and wish them well.
But before all of that, there are meetings with families, prayers, important conversations, agreement to the marriage contract, the woman is given a mahr and guidance is sought.