Six wedding Da'wah considerations
Social gatherings are an ideal place to make Da'wah, and a Muslim wedding is a great example of this. Weddings are places where non-Muslims can learn about one facet of Islam in a relaxed social atmosphere without feeling they are being preached to.
Here are some practical tips you can use to make Da'wah at a Muslim wedding:
1. Make sure you explain some aspects of what will take place at the wedding beforehand.
How should a guest dress at a Muslim gathering? How do Muslims greet the bride and the groom? What kind of gift would be suitable?
These are just some of the protocol issues that may come up during the wedding and could cause surprise and/or embarrassment for non-Muslim guests who may not understand Muslim practices relating to gender interaction or modesty, for instance.
Politely explain to them some of these issues beforehand so they can feel prepared and comfortable at the wedding.
2. Seating arrangements for non-Muslim guests.
What is the Imam saying? What is the oily orange substance being served?
These are some questions that non-Muslim guests may have during the wedding. It would be a good idea to have a family member or a friend who is open-minded and knows their Islam to be sitting with your non-Muslim guests during the wedding to answer these kinds of questions.
Perhaps your non-Muslim guest and their designated host could be introduced to each other as they arrive at the wedding so they can sit together.
In most Muslim weddings, non-Muslims are generally given a separate table to sit at. It's a better idea to seat them on different tables where your designated host can properly take care of them and they can meet with more Muslims.
3. Provide brief written material about the marriage.
What is a Nikah? How will the marriage be conducted?
Print out this fact sheet on the marriage ceremony and make sure all guests have a copy. This will be a great educational and Da'wah tool for all guests, Muslim and non-Muslim. Perhaps you can even print it out on fancy paper, decorate it and make it a keepsake of the wedding.
4. Make sure everything is translated.
Try to have the Imam or at least someone else who can do it, translate the Duas (supplications) and Khutbah (sermon) of the marriage for the benefit of non-Arabic speaking Muslims and non-Muslims. Maybe the Imam can even explain why so much of the marriage ceremony is being conducted in Arabic.
5. Ask the Imam to speak briefly about Islamic social life.
A short, wise speech by the Imam or someone else who is qualified to do it, on Islamic social life will give a broader understanding of marriage and family from an Islamic perspective. It is important that the speaker knows English well enough not to offend people's sensibilities in his or her choice of words. The speaker should be especially careful how he or she presents the role of the wife in an Islamic marriage. Too often, speakers at weddings have presented a Muslim wife's position as that of a doormat instead of a partner in a relationship of faith, love and compassion.
6. Be on time.
What could be the worse Da'wah than this: you invite guests at 6 p.m. and you, the host, show up at 8 p.m. Please plan ahead to be on time. If you expect a delay, let your guests know what time is suitable to arrive at the wedding.