More often than not, we have seen nikahnamas (marriage contracts) in our community often hastily scribbled on Microsoft Word, printed and then compiled. And once signed, these sacrosanct documents are almost never seen again.
However, one Pakistani-Canadian graphic designer decided it was time to change this.
Meet Umar Shahzad
Umar Shahzad is a senior graphic designer at Fusion Design Group in Markham, Ontario. He comes from a family of artists, and he’s always been keen on the subject on giving an artistic flair to the most mundane of things in our life.
For his sister’s marriage this summer, he decided that there was no way he could let her go with a traditionally (and boringly) designed nikahnama. He immediately set out to make this document special for her.
Mr. Shahzad first contacted the relevant religious authority first – his mosque’s Imam – for necessary information. After making sure he had gotten everything down, he asked his sister, a calligrapher, to design in Arabic the names of herself and her husband in a circular medallion.
The rest of the design was not revealed to her until her big day — and it’s the most beautiful thing.
Here’s how it looks:
And that name medallion is to die for:
When Mr. Shahzad shared the photos of this exquisitely designed nikahnama on his Instagram and Facebook, he was taken by surprise at the response.
Now, a large number of people have been asking him to design their own marriage contracts — and some have even requested him to “re-do” the ones they already have!
Umar has been happy to comply — he can be contacted here — and has said that he has always wanted to raise quality and appreciation for design in Pakistan and the Muslim community.
Some have asked him about the legal validity of the certificates he designs. He explains that they’re not different from marriage contracts in North America except that they’re not on plain white paper. In that context, they’re as genuine as could be.
In an interview to ProPakistani, Umar Shahzad said that he could not speak for the requirements in the rest of the world, but at least this would serve as an elegant keepsake for one’s wedding.
His own Nikahnama was plain, or in his own words indistinguishable from an “old newsprint paper”.
Marriage is such a special milestone in one’s life. We spend so much time, effort and money on so many different aspects – from dresses to hair and makeup, stage decorations and food.
The one aspect that’s always overlooked is the document at the heart of the ceremony. My goal for this was to create something that my sister would be proud to frame and display on her wall.
Umar Shahzad majored in graphic design at Sheridan College and York University. Following his passion for the art, Umar has been trying to improve non-profit and small businesses through design in the Muslim community.
He currently works at Fusion Design Group as a senior graphic designer and lives in Markham with his wife and two children.
Half the world is at Umar’s front door already – and we are swooning. Who wouldn’t want a nikahnama like this?