1. The Imam at my local mosque gave a speech in which he spoke out against imitating English weddings. In particular, he said that wearing a wedding dress was forbidden. Is this true?
I don't know where he gets the authority to ban wedding dresses (I mean the wedding dress that is Islamically acceptable). It is all right to wear a wedding dress of whatever colour shape or size, even if it emphasises the beauty of the wearer. What the imam may be condemning is the extravagance involved in spending huge amounts of money on a fashionable wedding dress that will only be worn once.
In the early days of Islam, it was encouraged to lend beautiful clothes and other items to those who were going to get married. Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, borrowed a necklace from one of her sisters on the occasion of her marriage, which is analogous with the tradition today of hiring a wedding dress. From the Islamic point of view, this beautiful occasion in the life of a woman and a man, and they are allowed to make themselves look beautiful for it, just as Lady Aisha did when she was preparing for her 'Arousah.
The only objectionable thing is too much extravagance on such an occasion.
(21 - Munakahat 2)
2. There has been a local dispute in which a Muslim community has prevented a Qadiani women from burying her husband in a Muslim cemetery. Given that Qadianis are consensually agreed to be outside the fold mainstream of Islam, is this a reasonable stance to take or is religious bigotry?
This is not religious bigotry. We do not have an excommunicating authority in Islam but we do have a set of beliefs which are indisputable. Anybody calling into question these beliefs is considered a Murtadd (an apostate). The finality of Prophethood is established in the Qur'an in Chapter 33 where Allah says that Muhammad was not the father of any man among you, but he is the Messenger of God and the seal of all the Prophets. The Prophet, peace be upon him, himself confirmed this when he said, "I am the last of all the Prophets. There will be no more after me." Thus the finality of Prophethood is an act of faith to which every Muslim must submit.
Those who dispute this belief with arguments, even though they may be couched in Islamic terms, have been declared as non-Muslims by all the scholars and research academies. As such they have no right whatsoever to be buried in a Muslim cemetery.
This is not bigotry. It is part of the Islamic way of life in which only Muslims should be buried in an Islamic cemetery to the extent that where a non-Muslim woman is married to a Muslim man and she passes away during pregnancy she is not to be buried in a Jewish or Christian cemetery because she is conceiving a Muslim child. Nor is she to be buried in a Muslim cemetery because she herself is not a Muslim. She has to be interred somewhere neutral.
(31 - Jana'iz 2)
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