Day 9: The happily ever after and the basis of it all - the nikkah nama


The Valima - it was a slower and relatively chilled out day. We were obviously physically drained and day-dreaming of crashing on a bed but the thought of one memorable phase ending and another beginning kept us mentally charged. While I had started counting days to our honeymoon
flight, I was all too aware that this time wasn’t ever going to come back and I wanted to fully live through each moment. That’s exactly what we did. We had a long and fun shoot, still had time left till the event so we drove around the city with two of our friends, grabbed take-away from Mc Donalds and had one of the friends faint in the car. Just like that.


The wedding frenzy ends with beaming bride and groom and prayers for a happily ever after. I would be concluding this series by talking about something that forms the basis of that ‘ever after’ - the Nikkah Nama (marriage contract). Since the purpose of this series was to bring forth the less talked about but definitely the more needed perspective on weddings, it would be incomplete without the highlighting how the single most important document of a wedding is widely ignored and mistreated.




I had sat down with my father almost a week before my nikkah to go through the nikkah nama and fill out the forms. There were two versions, urdu and english, I was super excited to fill them out! I discovered so many things that I never knew existed on that document, so many rights that I had the option to demand, legally, so cool. I know a few families who actually take the document extremely seriously (as everyone should) and even put down things like “The girl must be allowed to meet her family at least once a week” and “The husband must give at least xyz amount of money to the wife as monthly personal allowance”. No exaggeration, there is actually a ‘miscellaneous’ section in which you can put any extra demands that are not explicitly mentioned already. But the realization that those sections are generally conveniently crossed off or left blank (mostly without even asking the bride) also made the heart sink.


When everything is going good, times are happy and you’re on cloud number 9 to have found your soul-mate, it is easy to shut your eyes and not consider ‘what could go wrong’. You let go of your right of divorce because it just seems wrong to ask for such an unspeakable thing in such blessed and joyous times. Why spoil the mood and risk your ‘good girl’ impression? But stop and think for a moment, would anyone care about that mood you saved and the impression you made if, God forbid, a time comes when you’re desperately in need to exercise that right you let go off?


I completely understand that it might not be as easy for most girls out there to put forth their concerns in black and white. Sadly, it is mostly the bride’s own parents who discourage their daughters from writing down any ‘unconventional’ conditions, fearing the ‘wrong impression’ it would give to the in-laws. You know, “Haww haye! Larki tou abhi se itni demanding hai.” Our religion gives us unimaginably equals rights, but the cultural mindsets cannot be changed overnight. Shaadi is an extremely sensitive business in our society and things like the bride demanding an addition/change in the nikkah nama can potentially become deal breakers in many cases. Unfortunate, to the say the least, but a reality nonetheless. But the point to ponder over is, if a relationship can fall apart on just claiming your rights (no comments if you put down “buy me a diamond ring every month”, there are other issues to fix there), is that relationship worth getting into?



Even in many ‘modern’ and ‘liberal’ families, this is easier said than done. But I would only urge all of you to at least take the first step. Whether you are a bride-to-be yourself or have a relative/ friend getting married, if the nikkah nama hasn't even come to the bride for review, do something about it. You’re the best judge of how to handle the elders of the family, you may even need to address the matter in light humor to get your hands on that document, do what needs to be done. If you have certain demands, try for a discussion with your spouse-to-be and come to mutual conclusions. Convince your parents to review and discuss all the clauses with your in-laws well before the signing ceremony. There should not be any last minute surprises. We spend months researching on photographers and make-up artists, do all our bookings in advance to avoid any last minute hassle but the most important piece of paper is left for last minute cursory glances? Not fair.


It may sound far-fetched but our baby steps today may just make a huge difference for our generations tomorrow. It might be a given for our daughters that the nikkah nama must be filled out by the bride herself and no rights should be let go off, how cool would that be?
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This is it from the wedding series. I hope I have been able to contribute a tiny bit of positivity to someone’s wedding experience. I hope I have been able to highlight that there is a lot more to wedding festivities than designer clothes and bankrupting make-up. And lastly, I hope I have been able to communicate what really matters, beyond the wedding days.

Thank you for tagging along on this reminiscent journey, your company made it all the more enjoyable :)

Check out the complete wedding series here and stay tuned for more, straight from the heart reads.



13 comments

  1. I cannot tell on how many levels I relate to this. Thank you so much for writing this! I wish a time does come when it becomes a norm for the bride and groom to read and discuss the nikkah nama together and actually talk about the clauses before signing them off.

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  2. Such an important part of our weddings but so ignored. So sad. Loving your wedding series <3

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    1. It is sad, but lets hope it won't be so in the future :) And thank you :)

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  3. THE REAL DEAL, UHH WHICH IS OFTEN GIVEN NO CONSIDERATION WHATSOEVER
    MBS

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    1. Sadly, yes! Wrote a piece on the same time which was published on siddysays.com.

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    2. I m already googling siddysays' website:)

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  4. I read all about nikkahnama and conditions and rights i deserve but guess what! like it happens in our society, just an hour before nikkah, the old people sat with maulvi crossed all my rights put littlest amount of haq meher which i got to know when it was announced on the microphone in the hall full of people. It was my nikkah-cum-rukhsati day. I was shocked, I didn't want to sign that piece of paper not because i didn't want to get married but because that piece of paper made me feel invaluable. And now when my marriage is going through hard time, I sometimes sit and wonder would it be any different if I asked my rights at that time.

    I request all the elders and parents to please don't give your daughter away like this especially when you have educated her and empowered her the whole 20something years of her life.

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    1. I am so sorry anonymous. I really hope things work out for the better for you!

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  5. Same happened with me. Despite requesting all my rights were crossed,small amount of haq meher was decided due pressure from in laws. Had worst experience of married life. Hate life. Please save yourself girls, your life is precious. Its the most important decision of your life. Atleast try to have a meeting with your future life partner, its allowed in Islam. Trust me no one cares if you to go through a rough period of life after that.

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    1. I tell this to every single person in my life. PLEASE MEET YOUR PARTNER BEFORE SIGNING THAT LIFE CHANGING PAPER.
      Yes it's allowed in Islam and considering today's situation it is MUCH NEEDED.
      MAY ALLAH BLESS YOU AAMEEN

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    2. Sigh. Many prayers for you <3
      Allah will have a better plan for you insha'Allah!

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