Creating a beautiful setting for your blessing-filled wedding may take months or even years of tedious planning only to culminate in a just a few joyous hours. So really, why not add one more detail to the list which could be the one to tip your scales on Yawm ad-Din through acts of sadaqah jariyah? Long after your wedding – long after your death – you could still be reaping the barakah accrued on your wedding day by encouraging your celebratory guests to give not for the enjoyment of the dunya, but because they love you, fisabilillah, and want to please Him on your day, which truly could be “blessing-filled.”
Get great gifts
Perhaps you’ve seen a headline or two about some celebrity or other rich folks requesting charitable donations in lieu of wedding gifts. I would prefer not to advise anyone to follow celebrity trends, but instead consider this Prophetic advice: Aisha (RA) once slaughtered a goat and distributed its meat. When the Prophet (SAW) asked her “What is left now?” She responded, “Nothing except a shank.” Referring to the barakah incurred from the distribution, the Prophet (SAW) said, “(In fact) all of it is saved except for the shank.” (Tirmidhi)
Insha Allah, your guests will be generous to you on your wedding day. Consider the many opportunities for you to truly get so much – barakah!
Tack on to an existing charitable or community project you know of personally or through a friend or family member. Along with your RSVP package you can formally ask guests to contribute either via online payments or by including self-addressed stamped envelopes. Less formally, you could pass around a collection box or basket at the wedding for your charity of choice – if you can get a small child to do this, the cuteness can help to maximize the giving potential!
Consider finding an organization, such as a mosque, school or orphanage which needs to build an Islamic library or add on to their small one. This is a great way to maximize your barakah as each time someone reads a book you helped to donate, you receive blessings for the Islamic knowledge they gain.
You have so many options here to work with already: How to cater? Red or white meat? Organic or plain ole halal? Add just one more “to-do” item to your menu planning.
Go for a more modest-priced dish option, letting your guests know that you will be donating the cost difference to a reputable global food relief agency.
Ask each guest (children too) to bring one non-perishable food item along to the dinner reception and then give someone the barakah-charged duty of delivering the haul to a local foodbank or kitchen.
Among the excellent and practical tips you can garner from 199 Ways to Please God, author Rianne ten Veen suggests making plans to donate left-over food to a local organization such as a soup kitchen, or perhaps you could even have it taken over to a mosque for folks to enjoy after Mahgrib or ‘Isha prayers. Be sure to let someone else get the barakah from doing the actual delivery!
Blowing bubbles, throwing petals, handing out chocolate covered almonds – whatever your wedding tradition leanings are heading towards, before you buy up a bunch of those expected little wedding favours, think ‘barakah’ and maximize yours here too!
Can’t give up the chocolate treat tradition? Choose a fair-trade chocolate and be sure to let guests know by way of a label or a teeny insert that their treats are fair-trade and thereby ethically supporting farmers and communities.
For just $3 or £2 you could slip into each guests’ hand a little pocket-sized du’a book, such as Fortress of the Muslim: Invocations from the Qur’an and Sunnah. Insha Allah each time one of your guests reaches for their book to make du’a for any occasion, your scale will take another little dip!
In an effort to reforest, Indonesia has recently passed a law requiring couples to plant two tree saplings before they can receive their wedding permit. Let your guests know that you have made a donation or planted a tree yourself for each one of them and invite them to join you in acting as stewards of Allah’s earth by further contributing to reforesting efforts with organisations either Muslim or non, such as local Arbor Clubs or the High Atlas Foundation in Morocco.
Access to clean water is a problem for many people the world over and providing access is an excellent way to receive sadiqah jariyah: “Whosoever digs a well will receive reward for that from Allah on the Day of Judgment when anyone amongst jinn, men and birds drink from it” (Bukhari and Muslim). Tap into a Muslim or any reputable organisation working to provide public wells and give each guest a little drop-shaped card letting them know to whom and why you have made a donation in their name.
Lastly, don’t forget the blessings in aiding to build a mosque, “”Whoever builds a Masjid for Allah, Allah will Build for him a similar House in Paradise” (Bukhari and Muslim). Find a mosque under construction anywhere in the world to donate to. You could do similarly to the water suggestion and give each guest a little brick-shaped card letting them know about the donation or again, seek out donations through your RSVP pack or at the wedding reception.
Surely you have a lot of work to do, so don’t be overwhelmed by adding just one more little detail. If you don’t know of any current charitable or green projects you can readily fold into your plans, spend a morning checking out green and eco wedding-planning sites, such as ethicalweddings.com or ecowedding.org. Many of the suggestions above have also been covered by our own LiveGreen writer, Arwa Aburawa. Do a keyword search of “wedding” on her blog greenprophet.com for more inspiration and ideas.
Mother of 6, Brooke Benoit rode the NYC subway to her first of a few modest weddings to the same blessed man.
This article originally appeared in the June 2012 ‘Love and Marriage’ issue of SISTERS Magazine.