Buyer Beware: Read this before choosing who to buy a $100+ nikah contract from
Since launching in 2019 as the first website to offer nikah contracts, we've been delighted to see nikah signing ceremonies becoming so widespread. To offer Muslims beautiful and meaningful contracts is exactly what we intended, no matter who they are purchasing it from. However, we feel couples need to be educated about the price/quality of the products they're being sold.
We wanted to write a few tips to help guide you through your nikahnama buying process:
1. Find out if you're paying for real art by real artists
Many sites are downloading free or almost-free vectors from stock websites like Shutterstock and Creative Market, and charging customers more than $150 for a design they downloaded for free.
We ask that if you are willing to pay more than $100, please ask the vendor who the artist is and whether they worked with that artist directly. Make sure you're paying for a design that supports REAL artists, not a mass-produced design that you could have gotten for free.
(All of Nikahnama's designs and calligraphy are original designs by real human artists, or artistic interpretations of old manuscripts, reimagined by real artists.)
If you're on a budget, we can guide you on how to download these free designs. But it breaks our heart when people unknowingly pay so much for them.
Why is this so important? When you support such fraudulent "design", the victims are real, living Islamic artisans. It kills creativity in our community.
Multiple nikah contract sellers are using the same stock designs, so if these free computerized vectors are what we pay to support, how will the actual Islamic artists compete?
Examples of free designs all being sold for more than $120. They are available for free on Shutterstock here, here and here.
2. If you're paying more than $100, demand that your nikah contract comes with an actual Shari'ah-compliant nikah contract!
The whole objective behind launching Nikahnama is to make people think deeply about the words in the contract they're signing, and to provide them with the most precise contract text available.
We've commissioned real Islamic scholars to write our contract text. It is proprietary and part of what a customer receives when they purchase from Nikahnama.
It is shocking to us that most other nikah contract websites are willing to charge such high rates without even providing actual contracts with their designs.
Additionally, please look out for people who have stolen our contract text, whether on the cover page and in the actual contract, as they are copyright.
3. Make sure the calligraphy is unique, not stolen or downloaded for free
If you've paid a premium for a beautiful nikah contract for your special day, the vendor should respect you enough to use original calligraphy and design.
Unfortunately, we here at Nikahnama have had way too many other vendors outright steal our calligraphy—these are compositions which we commissioned and copyrighted.
Not only is it illegal, but we can't afford to commission more calligraphy if it's just going to keep being stolen. And the true victims will be the artisans behind the work. Make sure you ask where they source their calligraphy, and to provide links and proof of copyright if they said they've downloaded it. Some are using AI Arabic calligraphy apps to mimic our compositions--this is infringing copyright. There are so many thousands of variations in Islamic calligraphy, there's no need to be a copycat.
Overall: we are fully supportive of other businesses coming working with Islamic artists to create unique nikah contract designs and selling them. If you are one such artist, please reach out to us and we'd love to share your work, especially if it is handmade (handmade nikahnamas are obviously the most valuable!) But please be aware of sub-par vendors, illegal activity, and/or unfair pricing/advertising.