Walima (Arabic: وليمة, romanizedWalīma), or the wedding reception banquet, is the second of the two traditional parts of an Islamic wedding. The walima is performed after the nikah (Arabic: نكاح) or marriage ceremony. It designates a feast in Arabic. The walima is used as a symbol to show domestic happiness in the household post-marriage.[1] As per sharia, the walima only takes place where the groom resides (which is also the new location for the bride). It is from the groom's side as a token of appreciation after the couple have met in isolation. The groom is to incur all marriage expenses and pay for the walima meal.[2]

A Pakistani bride at a Walima, an Islamic wedding reception.
A Muslim groom at his Walima.
A Bengali Muslim bride on her Walima

Debate: The Time of Walima

Scholars have different views on what the correct time of walima is. The timing varies by culture and opinion; for example some believe it should take place:

  1. At the time of the marriage contract,
  2. After the marriage contract and before the consummation of marriage,
  3. At the time of the wedding procession (bride leaving for her husband’s house). [Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari, 9/287]

However, the majority of the scholars (jumhur) are of the opinion that Walima is a meal that is prepared after the marriage has been consummated. This was the practice of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), as explicitly mentioned in one narration. [3]

Scholars are in agreement that the Walima must be organized, hosted, and paid for by the Groom's side. Furthermore, the ideal length of time is two days long. [4]

Other uses of Walima

While walima is often used to describe a celebration of marriage, it is also held to celebrate the birth of a newborn and the purchase of a new home. Walima in literal translation means "to assemble" and is used to describe an assembly or party celebrating major life events. Walima is essentially interchangeable with American and English terms such as: wedding reception or celebration (when held to celebrate a marriage), birthday party (when held to celebrate the birth of a newborn), or housewarming party (when held to celebrate the purchase of a new home). Similarly, walima is generally interchangeable with other languages/cultures terms that essentially mean to assemble for the purposes of celebrating a marriage, newborn, or new home. While it is an Arabic term, it is not necessarily a term reserved for Muslims per se, as the word simply describes the event that is to be celebrated.

See also


  1. ^ World faiths, Teach yourself - Islam. By Ruqaiyyah Maqsood. ISBN 0-340-60901-X. Page 179/180.
  2. ^ Fair, C. Christine (2018-12-15). In Their Own Words: Understanding Lashkar-e-Tayyaba. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-006203-3.
  3. ^ sufyan (2010-08-14). "What Are the Rulings of the Marriage Feast (Walima)?". SeekersGuidance. Retrieved 2024-03-29.
  4. ^ sufyan (2010-08-14). "What Are the Rulings of the Marriage Feast (Walima)?". SeekersGuidance. Retrieved 2024-04-11.