When you think of a traditional Malay marriage, you think of an extravagant ceremony, a once in a lifetime experience. Marriage is a pinnacle of life some might say, a sign of maturity. But a Malay marriage starts even before the marriage itself. It sort of builds up stage by stage up to the proper marriage proceedings.

Being an ignorant Malay, i am not that accustomed to such traditions. I was never interested with such traditions, growing up i was so crept with western culture. Baggy pants. Rock and roll. And now it seems, i have contributed to the decaying state of traditional rituals.

Brouhaha. But now, i am going to explain what has been learned of these traditional ways. Correct me if i am wrong.

MERISIK...(pronounced as mur-re-seek)

"Is your daughter still single? For me and my delegation seek to know whether your princess is still available on the market. Did any frog prince arrive before we did? Has her heart being taken away?"

Merisik, in the past, was to objectively pinpoint a few candidates suitable for the future bridegroom, and after deciding, they will pay a visit to the girl's house. These days it is a mere tradition since we are accustomed to modern day relationships such as being couples, so the role of identifying the girl has been done by the guy himself. And of course, we have facebooks and friendsters to find girls. One of the contributions of social networking services.

But i don't have accounts on friendster or facebook.

Before the modern age, people would accept the choice of their parents. So after identifying a suitable girl, usually the parents of the bridegroom wannabe would go to the candidate's house to ask the availability of that particular girl. Usually there might be some gifts from the guy's side. There might be an exchange of pantun (something like nursery rhymes) between the two parents.

Gendung gendut tali kecapi
Kenyang perut suka hati.
Sorong papan tarik papan.
Anak encik single lagi?

Yeah. I never liked pantuns. Moreover, i suck at writing them. Why can't we have like a rap battle between these two sets of parents. In the future we might have them. Sheesh. So western. I need to write my own set of pantuns for the future so that i can pantun-battle with the opposing parents. And i hope to win of course.

There might be a rejection from the girl's side. But as it is an informal proposal, it holds little significance and the guy proceeds to find other suitable candidates. If they agree, then we move to the next stage.

MEMINANG (murh-mee-nung)

This is the engagement ceremony. The bulk of the marriage will be planned at this stage. So here is when the guy needs to be wise in spending his money and identify priorities in order to save budget. Face it, the economic turmoil is affecting each aspect of our lives.

For the ceremony itself, there will a little food there, usually simple dishes like fried noodles (not instant noodles!), bits of traditional Malay cakes and kueh-muehs. And of course there is an exchange of gifts (hantaran) between the two sides. The future bridegroom will usually give the ring (of course..duhh), betel leaves and its container (sirih meminang) and a complete set of clothes presented on trays by odd numbers. The economic downturn would allow us males to give only such items without any additional gifts. But of course, if you're the son of Bill Gates, you could give whatever you want. And from the future bridegroom, her side would offer songkok (velvet cap in English), a prayer mat, clothes and so on.

BUT the potential bridegroom is absent at the scene of events. I don't really know why. One of the mysteries that will never be solved. So the parents will eventually discuss the date of marriage, the theme of marriage (aqua,fire or whatever it is), the food, so on and so forth.


There are some activities going on in the bride's house. The Khatam Al-Quran ceremony, only attended by women. The ber-"inai" ceremony, of which a paste of henna will be stained on the fingers of the future couple. There are 3 Inai ceremonies in total, which i don't intend to elaborate. And on the night before the wedding, the bride will be beautified with the help of Mak Andam, a makeup artist. Women and their make up. pffffft. I try not to elaborate as this particular makeup session is essential.

AKAD NIKAH (arcade knee-kah)

"I hereby wed you with this girl with the dowry worth RM10.99 cash". The imam (religious officer) will utter such words.

It seems normal that supermarkets hold their sales with the 99 cents at the back. Maybe now it is the mas kahwin's(dowry) turn to follow the trend.

This is an oath for marriage, which later will be replied in a clear sentence by the bridegroom,

"I accept to marry her with that amount of dowry you just mentioned". Of course, if you say something like this, you will be asked to repeat it once again. You have to mention everything in a clear manner.

And if you stutter, repeat it until the imam and the witnesses all agree with you. I suffer from panic attacks (self diagnosed) and i am really scared if that day would arrive for me, that i would stutter to the max. Can i just pre record it and play the video to the imam on the ceremony?

After the oath is accepted, the imam will lecture the couple of the dos and the donts, the rights and the wrongs. Most probably the bridegroom would think of...hmm...food to eat later on. His mind might just be fixed on something else. His work, his studies, so on and so forth.

Then comes my favourite ceremony. The batalkan air sembahyahg ceremony. Roughly translated as "cancellation of ablution" in english, when the guy finally slips the wedding ring to signify an ending to the akad nikah ceremony. It just sounds funny. The term itself tickles me.


The first wedding procession will be held at the bride's house and it is much more grandeur in nature. Usually the guy would wear something to make him look like this ancient Malay warrior from olden times. The girl would be adorned with a traditional Malay dress, either baju kurung or baju kebaya. I wish i could have a Liverpool themed wedding. We all would wear Red and sing "you'll never walk alone" together.

And later on, a procession will be held at the groom's home. As they say it, ladies first.

So there you go. The convoluted pathway to a traditional Malay marriage.

PS : I have moved my religious themed posts to my other blog http://tastethesoul.blogspot.com in an attempt to be completely sane on that blog, to concentrate on writing some good beneficial articles and to be partially sane on this blog. (signs of bipolar disorder?)I have written a follow up to my previous post, Muhammad : The Leader. Check it out.

PS : I have been wanting to write this for such a long time. So please don't speculate anything.


Kamal said...

aih. teringin nak kahwin ke? hahaha.

anyway, perkara wajib hanyalah yang kahwin tu (akad nikah), so aku rasa lebih baik buat yang wajib tu sahaja.

btw, tukar la theme on ur other blog. i know purple is the new black. but purple hurts my eyes. haha

QifA said...

teringin nak kawen? haha..sensitive question kamal.

yea.mine would be the fast forward akad nikah style. In desperation, i will cross the border to thailand. It;s not far from my home :)

Purple is the new black? Where you got that?

13 said...

tiru macam aku ngan shafiq..senang je..takyah susah2..haha

nanti tulisan2 ko aku pow, masukkan dalam musliminvolgo eh..kita kekurangan artikel bi..

QifA said...

hehe..ok2..tadahal matpi..ambik je article pape pn

nge said...

tuleh yg pendek2

QifA said...

ok boss.lpas ni pendeknye

aLia sharbani said...

i still think the tradition makes it dificult..
why cant we just buat yg wajib je kan...hahaha

QifA said...

yea everyone wants to fast forward to the wajib rituals but then again, tradition is tradition.

aLia sharbani said...

yea but don't you think we can break tradition? i mean not entirely, just the 'excessive' rituals...i know it not right to say this but sometimes traditions are overrated.

QifA said...

i think the future generations will forget about these traditions. not only the excessive but i think most of them will just disappear.

or maybe evolve or modernised? we have to wait and see