A Muslim Wedding
at the Woking Mosque, July 1914
Reproduced below are the proceedings
of a Muslim marriage service held at the Woking Mosque in
July 1914, as published in The Islamic Review for August
1914 (p. 310314). The bride and groom were both British
converts to Islam. The Imam was Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din.
A Muslim Wedding Sermon
in the Mosque, Woking
The 2nd of July 1914 brought us a happy scene at
the Woking Mosque. The Muslim and other friends of Mr. Usman-el-Mehdi
(alias Mr. John Barlington Fisher), of Woking, met
in the Mosque to celebrate his marriage according to Muslim
rites with a young Muslim lady from Tarbet, Argyllshire, Scotland
Rasheeda (alias Miss Margaret Ross). The ceremony
began with a recital from the Quran by Maulvi Abdul Mohy Arab,
our Arabic translator, who appeared in his full Arab dress.
The Imam then, reciting the usual opening words of the Khutba
Nikah (wedding sermon) in Arabic, proceeded thus:
These which have just been cited are the opening
verses of a chapter from the Quran. This chapter goes under
the title of “The Women. Our Holy Prophet (hallowed
be his name!) often read these verses in his sermon when he
had to celebrate marriages among his followers. We Muslims
do the same on such auspicious occasions. Marriage is a most
sacred relation. It entails various duties and obligations
which are often ignored, thereby making home-life a curse.
Our Prophet therefore recited these verses, as also similar
other verses from the Quran dealing with female rights, in
order to remind the marrying couple of the grave responsibilities
they were incurring in entering into connubial life. In fact,
in this marital partnership, which unites two souls together,
woman has often been the sufferer. She is treated as a dainty
little thing, a beautiful embellishment in the household.
She has lavished upon her epithets like “better-half,"
but the fact remains the same, she is hardly ever awarded
the treatment she is entitled to by her very position as partner
in life. The reason thereof is not difficult to find out.
From times unknown in history man’s estimate of women
has been very, very low. Even civilisation could not ameliorate
her conditions. Rome, Greece, Egypt, Persia, India, China
all had their palmy days, but woman was always treated
as a -chattel-a marketable thing transferable at the sweet
will of the man at the head of the household. Even religion
before Islam could not better her condition. Woman remained
always in the shade till the final Book of God the
Quran was revealed. In order to do her honour one complete
chapter was revealed after her name and every justice was
done to her rights. The very first verse of the chapter strikes
people fear your Lord, who hath created you one soul, and
of his kind created his wife I from these hath spread abroad
many men I women. And fear ye God, in whose name ye ask
mutual favour, and reverence the womb that bear you. Verily
is God watching you. 
Man and woman coming out of one soul; they
proceeded from the same origin. Equality in origin demands
equality in treatment and gradation. Therefore it is ordered
that man, finding woman weak and frail, should not slight
her or make light of her position in any way, as she comes
from the same soul as man. The verse quoted is very important
in one respect: it gives the lie to what the Christian writers
say about us, that we do not believe in woman possessing any
In order to perpetuate the human species, man and
woman have to perform various functions of marital life. That
love and kindness should be the only rule of life, and no
enforcement of the authority by man and no subservience on
the part of woman, but that affection, tenderness, and benevolence
should regulate their mutual dealings and feelings, has been
brought home to us in the following verse:
And one of His signs is
that He has created wives for your own species that ye may
be comforted with them, and has put love and tenderness
between you. 
This is the ideal of wifehood in Islam, and one
cannot find elsewhere a higher ideal of the mutual relations
of man and woman based upon love, affection, and equality.
That men and women are equally indispensable to
each other’s happiness has been taught in another verse,
which to illustrate the truth uses a simile of exquisite beauty:
Untum libásun la hunna.
Your wives are a garment for you as you
are a garment for them. 
What a beautiful and apposite metaphor to explain the varied
duties and obligations of man and woman in the married life.
The garment when worn is next to our body; let man and wife
be so attached to each other in their mutual love and affection.
The garment hides one’s nakedness and such physical
defects as ought to be concealed; we have moral defects as
well. They may remain hidden from the public eye, but man
and woman become cognisant of each other’s secret defects
after the connubial knot is tied; and though we may be passed
as the best of society in public estimation, yet we do possess
some sore points in our life, which should always remain too
sacred for public knowledge. This privacy is also useful for
the good of human society. If our other half will not come
to our help in this respect the exposure would lead to dire
results, and the peace of domestic as well as of social life
will be in peril. Let man and woman therefore hide each other’s
defects as the garment does in the case of physical deformities.
Again, our clothes bring comfort to us against the inclemency
of the weather. In winter and in summer they protect us against
the cold and the heat. One may stand the severities of the
weather, but to cope with social inclemency, when chill and
breeze find their way into our domestic circles, is a trial
severe enough to exhaust all patience and perseverance. Wife
or husband are the only comfort in these trials. Again, the
garment brings grace, beauty, and embellishment to the body;
so, too, are wives to their husbands, as the latter to the
former. Thus pithily in one laconic verse the Quran gives
the best that can be imagined of all the mutual duties and
obligations of man and woman in their matrimonial life.
No disrespect and disregard of female
rights and claims is suffered in Islam. Live and associate
with (your) wives kindly is another injunction in the
words of God.
One may cite several other verses from the Quran indicating
female rights, but I quote one which gives them the best they
And if you men have certain
rights on them (women) they have similar rights on you in
all fairness. 
This establishes equality of rights between man and woman.
Every Muslim husband should therefore always keep this in
view in his dealings with the fair sex.
We have met today, ladies and gentlemen, in this assembly
of Muslim and other friends to celebrate marriage between
two Muslims Usman-el-Mehdi, alias Mr. John Barlington
Fisher, of Woking, and Rasheeda, alias Miss Margaret
Ross, the unmarried daughter of Mr. John Ross, of Tarbet.
They accept each other for husband and wife willingly, with
free consent and without any coercion. The dower of this marriage
under Muslim rites has been fixed at five hundred pounds,
half of which is two hundred and fifty pounds, with the mutual
consent of the parties. This sum will be payable to Rasheeda,
the bride, at her demand, by Mr. Fisher Mehdi, the bridegroom,
and will become the private property of Rasheeda to
be used by her in any way she likes without any interference
or participation by her husband. This sum is in addition to
what she will be entitled to from Mr. Fisher as his wife.
After this the Imam asked the bride and the bridegroom to
stand up in their places, and the following questions and
replies were made:
The Imam: Do you, Usman-el-Mehdi, alias Mr.
John Barlington Fisher, accept with your free consent and
without any coercion, Rasheeda, alias Miss Margaret
Ross, the unmarried daughter of John Ross, of Tarbet, Argyllshire,
as your wife with dower of five hundred pounds payable to
Rasheeda at her demand by you, which dower will be her private
Usman-el-Mehdi: I do accept.
The Imam: Do you Rasheeda, alias Miss Margaret
Ross, accept Usman-el-Mehdi as your husband, with dower five
hundred pounds payable to you by the said Mr. Fisher on your
demand, which will be your private personal property ?
Rasheeda: Yes, I do accept.
The Imam then said : I do declare you, Usman-el-Mehdi
and Rasheeda, as married, in the presence of this assembly
of Muslims and others, as witnesses to your marriage, which
is valid according to our rites. May God bless you, and grant
you a happy life. But, before we depart, let me give you a
word of advice, and in doing so I cannot do better than to
read to you, and for the benefit of the others present here,
some of the blessed sayings of our holy Prophet. You are Muslims,
and you have accepted Lord Muhammad as your Guide and Teacher;
then let his sacred words be the torchlight of the life you
have now to begin. First I will invite the attention of Usman-el-Mehdi
to the following words of his Lord and Master:
(1) Women are the twin-halves of men.
(2) God enjoins upon us to treat women well, for they are
our mothers, daughters, and aunts. Those men who beat their
wives do not behave well. He is not of my ways who teacheth
woman to stray.
(3) The rights of women are sacred: see that women are secured
in the rights attributed to them.
(4) Woman is sovereign in the house of her husband.
(5) Do not prevent your women from coming to the mosque.
(6) The world and all things in it are valuable, but the
most valuable thing in the world is a virtuous woman.
(7) A Muslim must not hate his wife, and be he displeased
with one bad quality in her, then let him be pleased with
another which is good.
(8) The best of you, before God and His creation, are those
who are best in their own families, and I am the best to my
(9) Give your wife good counsel, and, if she has goodness
in her, she will soon take it and leave off idle talking;
and do not beat your noble wife like a slave.
(10) That is the most perfect Muslim whose disposition is
best; and the best of you are they who behave best to their
(11) The Prophet said, when asked by Moawujah about wife’s
right over her husband: Feed her when thou takest thy food;
give her clothes to wear when thou wearest clothes;
refrain from either giving a slap on her face or even abusing
her; and separate not from thy wife, save within the house.
(12) Fear God in regard to the treatment of your wives, for
verily they are your helpers. You have taken them on the security
of God, and made them lawful by the words of God.
To you, Rasheeda, I have to say only one or two words from
the holy words of your Master Muhammad (glorified be his name!):
A virtuous wife is a mans best treasure.
She is the ideal wife who pleaseth thee when thou lookest
at her, obeys thee when thou givest her directions, and protectest
thy honour and thy property when thou art away.
The Imam resumed his seat and the clerk of the Mosque brought
two copies of the marriage deed, written on parchment, which
were then duly signed by the bride and the bridegroom in the
presence of the assembly, and attested by the said witnesses
of the marriage, and some of those present. One copy of the
deed was given to the bride and the other to the bridegroom.
This concluded the marriage ceremony, and the whole party
left the Mosque and went to refreshments.
Notes by Website Editor
 The Holy Quran, 4:1.
 The Holy Quran, 30:21.
 The Holy Quran, 2:187.
 The Holy Quran, 4:19.
 The Holy Quran, 2:228.