Thursday, August 30, 2007

Feature: Marriage Courses (Kursus Nikah)

Masjid Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien


In order to be eligible to proceed with your solemnization ceremony here in Brunei, both bride and groom must complete the 'Solemnization Course' or better known as Kursus Nikah. Some imminent brides and bridegrooms are often enlightened on the matter by friends or family members who have attended the course and have a general idea on what to expect. Yet, the issues that are discussed and explained to candidates during this course are changed every so often. The authorities may exclude some points or even maybe include new advice or pointers for future newly weds. Therefore always bear in mind that the Kursus Nikah attended by a friend or relative five years ago might not be the same now.

However, most of the customary procedures never change, for instance, the duration of the course and the dress code when attending classes. Before proceeding with a brief summary of the sections of different issues that will be covered during the course, here are a few essential details that one should know.

There are about Four lessons that one must attend, once a week, and each lesson normally lasts about 3 hours. Depending on your mosque of preference, classes will either be conducted in the morning, from 8.30am to 11.30am or in the afternoon, 1.30pm to 4.30pm. These times are not absolute as it depends on where your classes are taking place. The duration of each class may vary on the religious officer conducting the class who might just adjust the time and complete a section within 2 hours.

Upon sending in both applications with the complete requirement of documents, you will both be required to select the mosque of preference where each of you intend to carry out the course. You may both attend the courses at separate or the same mosque, depending on your convenience. Times and dates of the classes will be handed to you upon confirmation of the mosque you have selected. It is part of your responsibility to remember to attend on the dates stated and be punctual when attending these classes. If you happen to fail to attend to one of the classes, for instance, the second class of the course then you will have to wait until the next class covering that particular section to be conducted.

As for the required attire, you should dress accordingly and respectably. Men should wear a long sleeved shirt, long trousers and look presentable. That is to say that, a young gentleman intending to wed, should not attend the course wearing shorts or frayed jeans, a ragged t-shirt and long hair. As for the ladies, wearing a simple baju kurung and a tudong is sufficiently enough. Yet, some opt to wear the baju kebaya or baju opah style of dress. As long as you dress respectably for a muslim lady, all is well.

At the Religious Affairs office, each candidate will be given an attendance sheet as well as a booklet composed by The Family Advice Service Section of the Syariah Affairs Department in the Ministry of Religious Affairs of Brunei Darussalam. The booklet is titled "Buku Panduan Kursus Pra Nikah" or loosely translated as Pre-solemnization's Course Guidance Booklet which has six different sections that the religious officer/course lecturer will cover over the period of the course. These two items are crucial and must be brought along with you when attending the classes. Here is a brief layout of what to expect in this booklet.

The first part of the booklet is based on the Rules on Solemnization. This section covers a number of areas. It includes:
  • The meaning of solemnization
  • Its laws
  • Its Pillars
  • Intentions of marriage
  • Preparation
  • Choosing a life partner
  • Characteristics of a potential husband/wife
  • Proposal of Marriage
  • Engagements
Section two covers matters on the Rights and Responsibilities of a Husband & Wife in a Family. Issues part of this section are:
  • Introduction
  • Husband's responsibility to Wife
  • Wife's responsibility to Husband
  • Combined rights and responsibilities
  • Tasks & responsibilities as parents
  • Manners of a wife whilst pregnant with child
  • Manners of a husband whilst wife is pregnant with child
  • Upon receiving the arrival of a new born.

In the following section, the booklet focuses on Secrets to uphold a Happy Marriage where advice is given to candidates on different matters for a more harmonious marriage. Some of the issues discussed by your lecturer will be:
  • The foundation to building/molding a harmonious family
  • The Basis of a happy marriage
  • Advice on ways to care for your husband
  • Advice on ways to care for your wife
  • Bringing harmony back
  • Relationship with in-laws
Section Four of the Booklet, Prayers & Guidance for Soon-to-be-wedded Couples offers a couple short prayers (Do'a) as guidance on various events that occur during marriage life. The range of prayers are:
  • Do'a to Batalkan Wudhu upon solemnization of marriage (This is normally uttered by the Iman on the Groom's behalf while the Groom places his hand on Bride's forehead).
  • Do'a after performing Solat Sunat Nikah (Two-rakaat) with wife
  • Do'a before consummating the marriage
  • Do'a after intercourse (while showering)
  • Do'a to read when wife is pregnant
  • Do'a upon the arrival of new born
  • Do'a to be blessed with child
  • Do'a after being blessed with child as said by Prophet Ibrahim.
  • Do'a to have a wife and child with loving hearts.
In the next section, we are educated on the Factors that lead to a Family Crisis which does prove to be very essential for us to know. These factors listed below will allow us to prevent a family crisis from occurring:
  • Misunderstandings/Conflict of Interests
  • Abandoning wife/husband
  • Disloyal or betraying wife/husband
  • Polygamy (more than one wife)
  • Unfaithfulness
  • Health Problems
  • Third Party Intervention
  • Hot-tempered
  • Egoism
  • Nagging
And Finally coming towards the end of the booklet, we reach section six on Overcoming a Family Crisis. In this section, about a dozen points are given as advice on the matter. The course lecturer will explain further on each point of advice given.

For those who will be attending their courses, this is mainly a brief summary of what to expect. Sometimes, I receive unenthusiastic comments about these classes, but other times I do get positive remarks on classes as they are informative, very enlightening and beneficial for future husbands and wives. I do hope you take the positive outlook on these classes, be attentive and listen carefully to those pointers because in the end, when you are married, those pointers can prove to be very useful indeed.

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