Malay Wedding and Islamic Marriage

There can be many things to do in a Traditional Malay wedding. Some of the steps are omitted or combined depending on the arrangement of both sides (man/ girl and their family) taking into consideration time, cost, requirements and practicality.

Merisik (Visit and observe) - This custom is practiced to observe or see. The man's parents or representatives pay a visit to the girl's house, ensure that the girl is eligible for marriage, as well as to get to know her - what does she do, does she know how to cook, etc. It's also an opportunity for the girl's family to find out about the man. Normally this step is skipped because in this day and age they would already know each other well enough before deciding to tie the knot.

Meminang (Proposal) - The male side sends a propose delegation consists of immediate family members to propose and ask the girl's parents for her hand in marriage. 

Bertunang (Engagement) - Barangan hantaran (gifts) consisting of a ring, clothing, food... will be given to the future wife. The ring is put on the girl's finger as a symbol of engagement. Both families will discuss about the akad nikah/ wedding ceremony, wedding gifts, amount of money for the girl (mas kahwin)... A small feast will be held usually at the bride-to-be's home.

Islamic Pre-wedding Preparation and Marriage Application (see below)

Adat Berinai - The bride and groom will have henna applied on their hands the day before akad nikah. 

Akad Nikah (Ijab & Kabul/ Offer & Acceptance) - Enactment of the contract to make the marriage valid according to Islam. The groom sits facing the wali (father of bride)/ the imam. They hold hands in handshake manner. The imam will say the words as to offer the bride in marriage and the groom replies to accept the offer. He prays and advices the couple. Marriage contract is signed and the man provides mas kahwin (gift money) to the bride.

imam shakes hand groom
Photo: any event Photography. Ijab & Kabul ceremony: Imam and groom holding hands in handshake manner

Bersanding (Enthronement) - Starts with the groom's procession of friends, relatives, musicians (kompang band), carrying 7 or 9 trays of hantaran (gifts) and people waving bunga manggar (palm blossom) to meet the bride. The couple will sit on a pelamin (dais) where family members, relatives and guests sprinkle yellow rice and scented water on them for blessing. Each guest will receive a bunga telur (hard boiled egg decorated with artificial flower), as a symbol of fertility.

carrying gifts in yellow flowers
Groom's procession carrying hantaran

scented water by the guest
nizamzailan Photography. The bridal couple, seated on the pelamin, receiving blessings from guests during Bersanding

Kenduri (Wedding Reception) - Feasting and celebration. Wedding food and drinks are served to the guests. Makan Beradab involves the bride, groom feeding each other sweetened rice. They are seated together with their family at the VIP table of the reception.

with spoon amazed spectator
Makan Beradab

Islamic Marriage Preparation and Application
Besides the traditional aspect of the wedding, the couple needs to follow some procedures and steps set by the Islamic law of each state in Malaysia- as included below, which may vary in different state. (for details check the info on the List of Jabatan Agama Islam below).

***NOTES: You can download the general guidelines here: Prosedur Perkahwinan, Penceraian dan Ruju-by JAKIM. Besides the respective Jabatan Agama website of each state, couples can now make the application online through: (Only applicable to Negeri Sembilan, Melaka, Perlis, Kedah dan Perak). Check out the List of Pejabat Agama Islam Daerah (PAID) for your area.

  • Pre-marriage course - Provide information to brides-grooms-to-be for building a family according to Islam, how to achieve a happy marriage and prevent conflicts. It is in accordance with the Modul Bersepadu Kursus Pra Perkahwinan Islam (MBKPPI). Information about marriage application procedure, forms to be filled, will be provided as well. The course can be registered at any Jabatan Agama Islam in your area or online-not all states. Duration is 2 days. Fee is about RM80-RM120.
  • HIV test
  • Fill in forms (online or offline), prepare supporting documents. Within a certain timeframe before the akad nikah date, get approval from the Penolong Pendaftar Nikah (PPN)/ Tok Kadi and arrange the date for nikah. Submit the application to Pejabat Agama Islam Daerah (PAID) to get Kebenaran Berkahwin.
  • Akad nikah
  • Get Surat Perakuan Nikah from Pejabat Agama Daerah.

List of Jabatan Agama Islam (Islamic Religious Affairs Department) - for Marriage Application
  1. Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (JAIS) | Website NCR - Aug 13: Can apply online or offline, marriage procedure 
  2. Jabatan Agama Islam Wilayah Persekutuan (JAWI) | Website - Mar 13: procedure
  3. Majlis Agama Islam Johor (MAJI) | Website | Online application e-NCR | List of Pejabat Agama Islam Daerah in Johor - Mar 13: Have to apply online. Apr 14: Marriage Procedure in Johor   
  4. Jabatan Hal Ehwal Agama Islam Negeri Kedah (JAIK) | Website - Oct 12: procedure, form in Jawi 
  5. Jabatan Hal Ehwal Agama Islam Negeri Kelantan (JHEAINK) | Website | e-nikah Kelantan - Feb 14: Procedure
  6. Jabatan Agama Islam Melaka (JAIM) | Website | Online application SPPIM - Jan 14: Procedure
  7. Jabatan Hal Ehwal Agama Islam Negeri Sembilan (JHEAINS) | Website | Online application SPPIM 
  8. Jabatan Agama Islam Pulau Pinang (JAIPP) | Website (procedure)  | Online Application 
  9. Jabatan Agama Islam Pahang (JAIP) | Website (procedure) | Payment
  10. Jabatan Agama Islam Perak (JAIPK) | Online application (e-nikah) - Apr 14: Procedure for groom in Selangor and bride in Perak
  11. Jabatan Agama Islam Perlis (JAIPs) | Website | Online application SPPIM 
  12. Jabatan Hal Ehwal Agama Terengganu (JHEAT) | Website (procedure)  
  13. Jabatan Agama Islam Sarawak (JAIS) | Website | e-nikah with procedure 
  14. Jabatatan Hal Ehwal Agama Islam Negeri Sabah (JHEAINS) | Website NCR (nikah,cerai,ruju) with procedure


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