Celebrating the consummation of marriage

Q: There is an old custom in my country Tlemcen where at weddings a piece of cloth called a shirt is brought into the newlyweds' room. After the groom enters the room of his bride, the bride's family waits outside for the bloodstained shirt as proof that the marriage has been consummated. The shirt is then received by women and girls from among the bride's family - staying with the groom's family - who dance and utter cries of joy while waving the shirt before all the guests. Everyone then rejoices over the first blood stains indicating virginity. One hour later, the shirt is handed to the wife's family who takes it back to their relatives to convey the glad tidings. Once they arrive, dancing and other shameful acts take place. It often happens that the shirt is taken out the next morning, which requires those entrusted with the shirt to stay at the husband's family's home, as they cannot return without it. If the shirt is not brought out, shameless male or female friends talk to the husband or wife in private - to keep others from being involved - asking about the details as to why they failed to consummate the marriage. If they are convinced that it has something to do with what is called "Al Rabt" (Part No. 19; Page No. 158) (the spell), then this is considered the worse thing of all. However, there may be other reasons, which I being young and inexperienced may not be aware of. Everybody becomes saddened and help is sought from an expert woman or a scholar who can concoct a special amulet. In addition, the shirt may be brought out after many days have passed. My question is about the permissibility of such a custom. I hope that Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) will guide you to explain the points and details of this matter clarifying the teachings of Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) in this regard.

A: The wedding practices adopted in some countries, as those mentioned by the questioner, including joyous celebrations displaying the bloodstained piece of cloth after the consummation of marriage, and expressing sorrow and claiming that a sorcerer is needed to break the spell if the cloth is not presented, are prohibited groundless practices according to Islam. Moreover, it underlies a false belief and a despicable custom that runs counter to modesty and decency. Since the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him), marriages have been conducted in the best manner free from these false customs and baseless beliefs. It is not necessary for a husband to consummate the marriage on the first (Part No. 19; Page No. 159) night. Rather, it may be delayed due to a certain impediment and take place later without any of the above-mentioned practices. What is stipulated by Shari`ah (Islamic law) regarding marriage is announcing it by providing witnesses, preparing a banquet, and women beating Duff (a tambourine-like instrument without bells) and reciting lawful poetic words. If the groom is the victim of an evil spell which prevents him from having sexual intercourse with his wife, this can be treated through permissible means such as Ruqyah (reciting Qur'an and saying supplications over the sick seeking healing) and lawful medicines. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.