RIYADH (Agencies): The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah in Saudi Arabia has announced that nikah, or marriage contracts, can now be conducted at the two holiest sites in Islam – the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.

This move is part of the Saudi government’s initiative to enhance the experiences of pilgrims and visitors to the Two Holy Mosques, providing an opportunity for companies to devise innovative ways to organize such events at these sacred sites.

Musaed Al-Jabri, a Saudi mazoun or marriage official, explained that conducting a marriage contract at the Prophet’s Mosque is permitted in Islam. He noted that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is known to have officiated a companion’s nuptial rite at the mosque. It appears that Saudi authorities aim to regulate this pre-existing practice, which is already common among locals due to various reasons, including the inability of the bride-to-be’s family home to accommodate all invitees.

The Times of India reported last year that an increasing number of affluent Muslims from abroad are traveling to Madinah to solemnize their Islamic marriage contracts before hosting a separate walima, or wedding feast. Conducting the nikah at one of the Two Holy Mosques also offers the added benefit of being able to perform the lesser pilgrimage to Makkah, Umrah, which can be undertaken throughout the year.

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