Mabrook! A World of Muslim Weddings
Na’ima B Robert and Shirin Adi
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Mahbrook, the title of this fascinating book means ‘congratulations’ (or I think, ‘you are blessed’) in Arabic, certainly a sentiment one would want to pass on to a couple who have just got married: ‘Muslims from around the world share the same religious rites, but they celebrate in different ways in the four corners of the world.’ We then visit various countries to get a glimpse of the particular celebration that might take place when Muslims living there get married.
First stop is Pakistan where there’s a pre wedding henna party in full swing:
the bride’s hands and feet are being adorned with beautiful, intricate henna designs while family and friends enjoy some dancing. The following day, the groom rides in on a white horse, the bride, bedecked with gold, hides beneath her silks awaiting her husband to be. There’s a huge feast awaiting everyone once the baraat arrives and other formalities have taken place.
Morocco is the next wedding venue. There, weddings are community affairs when all the neighbours spend days cooking delicious food: couscous, roast lamb with olives and pickled lemons sufficient to feed the huge number of guests expected. The bride changes her dress seven times at the waleemah (feast for the community) into which she is carried by the crowds. There is much joy as the bride dances in a circle of song.
Traditional Somali dance to drums music and song is part and parcel of a wedding in Somalia …
In Britain the bride might wear a white hijab and have guests from many different faiths and backgrounds. Here’s one happy celebration:
Those are just some of the ways Muslim weddings are celebrated but in addition to having the same rites there are formalities that will be common no matter where the celebration takes place: important family meetings and discussions, a marriage contract, conditions that must be respected, guidance is sought for a blessed union and the groom pledges the mahr be it gold, a home, a ring or whatever she wishes – a dowry for his bride to be, the ceremony, in front of witnesses, is performed by the imam.
A new journey awaits the happy couple …
With its beautiful mendhi designs adorning the inside covers, glowing illustrations on every spread, and fascinating facts about aspects of wedding celebrations, this is a book to inform, to delight, to draw on for RE discussions and most of all, to further the celebration not only of the particular topic herein, but of the rich cultural diversity that is part of what makes our world such an exciting place.