month. After the month there are Eid celebrations
Å¸ Hajj (Pilgrimage) – All Muslims have to try to visit the Holy city
of Mecca and the Ka’bah at least once in their lifetime during the
holy month of Hajj. If they visit Mecca at any time apart from that
month, it is called Umrah and they still have to perform Hajj.
Background Information – Christianity
The Christian religion was founded in C.E. 0 by Jesus. Christian
believe that Jesus is the son of God and that he was born to the
Virgin Mary. Jesus was crucified by the Romans after being betrayed by
one of his followers – Judas. Christians believe that after Jesus
‘died,’ Jesus returned to our earth. The Christian Holy Book is called
The Bible. The Bible is divided into two halves – The Old Testament
and The New testament. In the Old Testament, there are stories of
prophets such as Noah, Isaac, David and others, along with tales of
how the earth was created , whereas in the New Testament are tales of
the life of Jesus and his teachings.
There are many Christian Denominations such as Protestant,Roman
Catholic and others. Denominations are people of the same fundamental
belief of Christianity, but slightly differing views on things such as
Divorce (which will be covered later in this book) and other
Glossary (in order of appearance)
Islam – A religion founded by Muhammed (pbuh)
Pbuh – Peace Be Upon Him
Muhammed – Founder of Islam
Muslim – A follower of Islam
Shahdah – One of the five pillars of Islam – Belief
Namaz – One of the five pillars of Islam – Prayer
Fajr – Morning Prayer (Islam)
Ruhr – Midday Prayer (Islam)
Asr – Afternoon Prayer (Islam)
Magrib – Evening Prayer (Islam)
Esha – Night Prayer (Islam)
Zakah – One of the five pillars of Islam -Charity
Saum – One of the five pillars of Islam – Fasting
Ramadan – Holy Month of Fasting (Islam)
Eid – Celebration after Ramadan (Islam)
Hajj – One of the five pillars of Islam – Pilgrimage
Mecca – Holy City where Muslims go to pilgrimage.
Ka’bah – Holy Monument in Mecca (Islam)
Umrah – Pilgrimage that is not in Holy Month (Islam)
Christianity – religion founded by Jesus
Jesus – founder of Christianity
Virgin Mary – Mother of Jesus (Christianity)
Romans – Empire based in Italy
Judas – Follower and Betrayer of Jesus (Christianity)
The Bible – Christian Holy Book
The Old Testament – First Half of Bible (Christianity)
The New Testament- Second Half of Bible (Christianity)
Noah – Prophet (also known as Nuh in Islam)
Isaac – Prophet (also known as Isaaka in Islam)
David – Prophet (Christianity)
Denominations – Types of a religion
Protestant – Denomination of Christianity
Roman Catholic – Denomination of Christianity
Divorce – When two married partners decide to separate and no longer
Married – The name given to people who has gone through the ceremony
Bride – Name given to a woman during the Marriage Ceremony
Bride Groom / Groom – Name given a man during the Marriage Ceremony.
Spouse – A married partner
Mormons – Followers of a religion based on / a denomination of
Monogamy – When someone has more then one spouse.
Church – Christian place of worship
Priest – A man who works in a Church (Christianity)
Altar – Section of Church where the priest / vicar stands
Vicar – (see Priest) (Christianity)
Congregation – Audience
Hymn – Holy song (Christianity)
Celibate – To live without sex
Monk – Holy Man (Christianity)
Nun – Holy Woman (Christianity)
Halal – Not Sinful (Islam)
Haraam – Sinful – (Islam)
Q’uran – Muslim Holy Book
Imam – Muslim Priest
Mehndi – Ceremony before wedding (Islam)
Henna – Fake tattoos
Laylat Al Henna – Ceremony before wedding, only in the UAE (Islam)
Walib – Party after marriage (Islam)
Mahr – Gift from man to wife on the day of the wedding (Islam)
Allah – God (Islam)
Adam – First man
Eve – First woman
What is marriage?
When two people love each other, they decide to get married. When two
people marry each other, it is a symbol of their love for each other
and a statement to everyone else. By being married, the bride and the
bridegroom mutually agree t love each other, and only each other for
the rest of their lives. They can then live together and have children
together as a married couple.
If one of the spouses cheats on the other, it is called adultery and
is a major sin in most religions – except Mormons, who believe in
monogamy – and can result to the break up of the marriage, i.e.
divorce. When two people divorce each other, it is a way for them to
no longer be married to one another and can allow them to see and
marry other people.
Different religions have many different traditions and customs during
the marriage ceremony and all of which can mean different things, from
the bride wearing white wedding dress, to gifts given to the bride by
the husband to be.
In the following pages, I will be analysing customs and traditions
from both religions and interpreting what they mean and comparing the
traditions of both religions to each other.
Christian Marriage Traditions
Traditional Christian marriages usually take place in a church and the
two people ho want to marry each other are married by a priest. This
is how a traditional marriage takes place.
The groom waits at the altar while the bride is taken up the altar by
her father or a father-like figure. Once the groom and bride are both
at the altar, they, as well as the congregation, stand before the
vicar. The vicar will then give an introduction to the marriage. The
congregation sit down and readings may / are read. The vicar will then
give a speech about the significance of marriage in the eyes of God.
Then, the vicar will ask the congregation – “But first I am required
to ask anyone present if there is a reason why these persons may not
lawfully marry, do declare it now, or forever hold your peace.” If no
one objects to the marriage, the vows are then read. During the vows,
the bridegroom and the bride place rings on each others finger. After
the vows the vicar pronounces the couple husband and wife, and says
that they are married in the eyes of the church. The bride and groom
then kiss. The vicar leads the congregation in saying the Lord’s
Prayer. The service ends with a celebratory hymn, after which the
bride and bridegroom proceed down the alter together as husband and
wife, where they sign the register.
What does it all mean?
Å¸ White Wedding Dress – Although the wedding dress does not have to be
white, it usually is because it is traditional. The colour white
stands for purity and cleanliness. The fact that it stands for purity
can also mean virginity but most couples getting married nowadays
usually aren’t virgins.
Å¸ Walk Up The Aisle – The Bride walks up the aisle on her fathers arm,
the father then, at the end of the aisle gives the bride to the groom.
This act symbolizes the fact that the responsibility of the bride,
financially, emotionally and well-being of her, is being handed from
the father to the new dominant male figure in her life – her husband.
Å¸ Vows – Once the wedding is booked, the vicar will ask the bride and
groom about the type of marriage ceremony they want., including the
music, and the vows that can be said. There are 3 main types of vows,
‘ The 1662 Solemnization Of Matrimony,’ from the book of common
prayer, ‘ The 1966 Solemnization Of Matrimony’, from Alternative
Services, series 1, ‘ The 1977 Marriage Service,’ from Alternative
Services , series 3 – later included in the Alternative Services Book
in 1980. The two most common being ‘ The 1662 Solemnization Of
Matrimony,’ and The 1977 Marriage Service.’
Å¸ The Rings- The rings that the bride and the brides groom give each
other symbolize their eternal and on-going love for each other that
will never end, like the ring, which will always go in the circle,
without an ending.
Å¸ The Kiss- The Kiss seals the marriage and makes it official, final.
It is also an expression of their love for each other.
Å¸ The Register – Two witnesses must be present at the signing of the
register, traditionally the best man and chief bridesmaid.
Å¸ The Honeymoon – This is not actually part of the wedding ceremony
but it traditionally occurs after it. The newlyweds are taken on a
holiday where they can be alone together and reflect on the wedding
and the future, among other things.
Muslim Marriage Traditions
A marriage in Islam involves a simple marriage contract which is just
the giving of a gift to a wife and the signing of a contract with
repeating of Quran’ic verses before an Imam. But traditionally, other
customs and traditions, which are not compulsory, are performed.
The gift that the groom gives to the wife has to be of value, whether
money-wise or of sentimental value. These gifts include such things as
jewellery, money, or even as Christian tradition, a ring. This giving
of a gift symbolizes the love and security the groom will offer to the
bride after the wedding.
The second part of the marriage ceremony involves the consent of both
parties in the vows which are taken from the Q’uran, which absolve the
spiritual and physical aspects of marriage in Islam. All points of the
agreement are considered everlasting, although the religion agrees
that there may be certain unforeseeable circumstances that may occur
involving the breakdown of the marriage. Although this will be
discussed later in this report.
What does it all mean?
Å¸ The Mehndi – The Mehndi is the event where Henna on the bride and
groom’s hands. Marked by traditional songs and dances, it sometimes
extends to two days – one day at the house of the groom to put henna
on his hand and the second day at the bride’s house to put henna on
her hand. This event usually takes place in Pakistan and India, there
is a variation in UAE and Egypt.
Å¸ Laylat Al Henna – This is a ceremony similar to the Mehndi, but only
takes place in the UAE. Laylat Al Henna (literally, the night of the
henna), which takes place a few days before, is very special night for
the bride, since it is a ladies’ night only. On this night, the
bride’s hands and feet are decorated with henna. The back-to-back
feasts and celebrations involve both men and women who usually
Å¸ The Shadi / Walib – This is the section after the actual signing of
the papers to declare the couple as married partners, the celebration,
guests eat many lavish dishes that are served. This party like
ceremony usually has many guests and is usually set up by the family
of the bride.
Å¸ The Gift- The gift given to the bride by the groom, resembles his
guidance and support that he is offering her. It is a statement from
him saying that he will respect and look after her.
The Role of Men and Women In Marriage
In Islam, the role of the men and women are very different.. Contrary
to popular belief about Islam, men and women have equal rights and
opportunities, but the cultures and traditions of Asian countries
restricts the life of women. In this section, I will look at the roles
of men and women in the eyes of the Q’uran, not the way of traditional
Pakistani and Indian ways.
The role of the Husband includes 3 main points. Maintenance is the
first one. This implies that the male figure in an Islamic marriage
has to maintain his wife emotionally, financially and socially. The
husband has to help with the food and cleaning up, if he doesn’t he
can hire a maid to clean up for him and his wife. “The best Muslim is
one who is the best husband” is a quote from the prophet Muhammed
The second role is Mahr, This is the gift from the husband to the wife
on the wedding day. A marriage cannot be valid without one. The third
thing the husband has to do is be equal to his wife. A husband is
commanded by the law of Allah to treat his wife with equity, respect
her feelings and show kindness and consideration. The prophet stresses
kindness and equality to women.
Women also have roles. One of the main duties of a wife is to
contribute to the success of the marriage and keep the well-being of
her husband. She must do as he wishes if his wishes are of order and
not demeaning and humiliating. She must try to bear him children and
keep the house the family well and healthy.
Celibacy and Chastity in Islam
In Islam, all people are required to marry and to not stay celibate
for their whole lives, whereas in Christianity, monks and nuns are
required to stay celibate. Islam considers marriage as one of the most
virtuous and important and approved institutions. Muhammed (pbuh)
declared “There is no monasticism in Islam” as well as stating ” O you
young men! Whoever is able to marry, should marry, for that will help
him to lower his gaze and guard his modesty” The prophet also stated
that “There is no celibacy in Islam”. In Islam, marriage is viewed as
a religious duty and consequently a moral safeguard.
In Islam, sex is only viewed as Halal and legitimate if it is within a
marriage. It is counted as sinful, or Haraam, if it occurs out of
marriage. Islam tries to control sexual urges so that it only occurs
in marriage. Men and Women in Islam, have to stay chaste until they
marry, otherwise it is a sin.
Celibacy and Chastity in Christianity
In Christianity, celibacy does not effect the general Christian
population and there aren’t many rules regarding the issues, apart
from if you are a monk or a nun. Monks and Nuns. Normal Christians can
remain celibate if they wish, but they don’t have to.
If a man or a woman is not chaste, they cannot enter the life of a nun
or a monk. If they would still like to become a monk or none, then
they will have to go through a cleansing ceremony, after which they
have to remain celibate, after this, and only after this, can that
person become a nun or monk. Generally, in the Bible, it is a sin to
have intercourse before marriage. The Bible states that marriage is “â€¦a
remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as
have not the gift of continency might marry.”
Divorce in Islam
In Islam, there are certain rules regarding divorce that must be
followed. Although divorce is frowned upon in Islam, it can still be
done and it is used as a last resort if the couple can find no other
way to solve their problems.
Men and women are allowed to terminate the Islamic marriage contract.
The man can end the contract freely if he wishes to do so, but he must
have a valid reason, but the woman in the marriage has to ask
permission for the divorce. If the man should refuse to allow the
woman to divorce, the woman can go to court, where the reasons are
assessed and if found in the favour of the wife, the marriage is then
terminated. Because men most of the time refuse to allow their wives
to divorce them and going to court is a hassle and takes up money,
effort and time, it is now standard practice in most Islamic countries
for the wife to include a clause in the marriage contract which allows
her to terminate the contract and have the same rights as the man in
the divorce proceeding. In Islam, the right to divorce a woman without
her permission is the only right that a man has that is greater then
In such circumstances, the party that is leaving or commanding the
divorce, usually the male, must make sure that the party they are
leaving, must be financially secure. If the person they are leaving is
not secure financially, or has no home, the initiating party must
compensate for the party that is not financially secure. These
compensations may include the mahr, (the gift given to the wife on the
day of the marriage) being returned to the husband, or an alimony
being paid to the wife, but anything can really be given to
Divorce in Christianity
Divorce in Christianity is very varied depending on the denomination,
but I will be mainly focusing on Roman Catholic views. Generally,
divorce is frowned upon – “When they were in the house again, the
disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered ‘Anyone who divorces his
wife and marries another woman is committing adultery against her. And
if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits
adultery” Mark 10:10-12.This quote shows us the general idea presented
in the Bible towards divorce.
The Roman Catholic church does not allow divorce but allows annulment,
this is when there is a declaration that the marriage was never really
true in the first place and can only be done if one partner was forced
into marriage, one partner suffered mental problems at the time of the
marriage, one partner did not intend t keep the marriage vows, one of
the partners was not baptised at the time of marriage. There is
usually a Marriage Tribunal to decide if a marriage is annulled or
Some Christians believe that Jesus allowed divorce in Mathew 19:9 “Jesus
replied ‘Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts
were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that
anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and
marries another woman commits adultery.” They believe that in this
passage, Jesus allows divorce only when marital unfaithfulness is
Contraception in Islam
In Islam, sexual intercourse is not just a way to fulfil emotional and
physical needs, but is a way of pro-creation. Children are the way
that humans can contribute to Allah’s will and creation.
Muslims believe that the birth of a child is a gift and is usually
welcomed into the family. That is why contraception is frowned upon.
” He bestows (children) male or female according to His Will (and
Plan), or He bestows both males and females, and He leaves barren whom
He will. For He is full of knowledge and power.” Surah 42:49-50. This
proves that contraception is frowned upon.
Like always in Islam though, there are certain times when
contraception should be allowed these circumstances are when –
Å¸ There is threat to the mother’s health.
Å¸ If there is a chance of a child being born with a disease or
unhealthy and handicapped.
Å¸ If there is not enough money to raise the child
Muslims generally prefer to use the ‘rhythm’ method of contraception,
where sexual intercourse occurs only at the time of the month that she
is known to be less fertile.
Contraception in Christianity
The Roman Catholic church teaches its followers that artificial means
of contraception is wrong, these artificial means include condoms and
the pill and only natural means are acceptable, such as the ‘rhythm’
method, where sexual intercourse only takes place at the time of the
month that the woman is least fertile.
The Roman Catholic Church teaches us that the main reason that sex was
created was not for our pleasure, but as a means of pro-creation and
way for children to be brought into the world. Thus, using artificial
means of contraception goes against God’s plans and thus it is wrong
and should not be done.
Other Christian churches such as the Church of England and the
Methodist Church disagree with the Roman Catholic Church and say that
artificial contraception is a good way to allow people to be free to
choose when and how many children they would like to have. They also
say that it is the responsible way for teenagers and young adults to
keep in control of their lives and follow their chosen career paths
and not have their lives ruined by a single fling. It is a way to make
sure that every child brought into this world is cared for and loved
by it’s parents, as well as being wanted by them.
The Role of Men and Women In Marriage
Christians have a variety of different views on the duties and roles
that men and women play in the average Christian household. The
believe that although they are equal in the eyes of God, they were
created for different purposes. In the book of Genesis, it tells us
about the creation of men and women. ” The LORD God said, “It is not
good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him”
This phrase of the Bible suggests that man needed a companion in life,
someone to help him, thus God created Eve, the first woman to go
alongside Adam, the first man.
Some Christians say that the statement above proves that God created
women as helpers for men. They believe that the needs of the men
should come first and that women are there to help them. Also with
Adam and Eve, Eve was the first to sin, suggesting that she was weaker
in a sense of temptation. There is a similar view in 1 Peter 3:1,7
“Wivesâ€¦be submissive to your husbands. Husbands, in the same way be
considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them and respect
them as the weaker partner”
Christians argue that the teachings suggest that women must stay home
and care for the family and husband. Whereas others believe that these
views are out dated and aren’t appropriate for the modern society,
believing that women and men were both created equally in “the image
of God”. They can also prove this by stating in the Bible, “There is
neitherâ€¦ male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Because of these two different views, the normal Christian household
is varied, some of which have the man working and the woman as a
housewife, others with both having the same roles and duties as each
Altogether, Islam and Christianity have many differences and
similarities between them.
Å¸ Both religions go against sex before marriage
Å¸ Both religions disapprove of contraception
Å¸ Both religions take vows on the marriage day
Å¸ The groom gives a ring or something of value to the bride on the
Å¸ Both religions disapprove of divorce.
Å¸ Islam states that women and men have equal rights
Å¸ Christianity states that women are the ‘weaker’ sex.
Å¸ Islam states that divorce can be done in certain cases
Å¸ Christianity states the only way a man and wife can separate is
Å¸ Christianity states that some people should be celibate, i.e. monks
Å¸ Islam states that no one should stay celibate
Å¸ Islam states that men have more right to divorce then women.
As you can see there are many similarities, but even more differences.
These differences are mainly to do with celibacy, divorce issues, and
I hope I have covered the majority of the facts needed for this report
and hope you’ve enjoyed reading it.