Marriage Process (Engagement, Nikah, Walimah, etc.)

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Relevant Material

Rules Pertaining to Nikah (Marriage)
(Shaykh Ashraf Ali Thanwi)

Miscellaneous Fatwas Related to Marriage
(Maulana A S Desai)

The Islamic Status of Muslim Marriage Sites
(Mufti Muhammad Sajaad)


Q. My ustaad told me that according to the Maaliki Math-hab, when one goes to view a girl for marriage, it is permissible to see her naked? Can this be correct?

A. Your ustaad is perhaps a member of some nudist camp. Perhaps he has been frequenting the nudist beaches or perhaps he has veered into insanity. There is no need to comment further on the muck your ustaad speaks.


Q. What is the Islamic way for a boy and a girl to see each other with the intention of marriage? May they speak? Should someone be present with them? Is it waajib to view each other before marriage ?

A. It is not Waajib to see each other before marriage, but it is wise and advisable. The purpose of seeing is not to ascertain character. It is not possible to ascertain the character of the parties merely by a brief viewing and by exchanging a few words. The purpose of seeing is to ascertain if they have a natural attraction for each other. If there is no mutual natural/ emotional attraction, then they should not get married because in these times of corruption and the almost total lack of Taqwa, the parties, especially the man will be attracted by other women/ men after their marriage. Since his wife exercises no natural/emotional attraction for him, he will perpetrate infidelity. We are aware of innumerable such cases. Even men who are outwardly pious and learned are guilty of such evil, treacherous conduct.

Therefore, especially, in these times it is necessary to view each other before marriage, but the viewing must be arranged discreetly. The viewing should be coincidental. The girl should not be aware that she is being viewed for the purpose of marriage. Frequently it happens that the boy after seeing the girl, is not inclined to her. Females being naaqisatul aql are extremely hurt and grieved by what they perceive as a rejection. On the other hand, if the girl rejects the proposal of the boy, it will not or should not perturb the boy. He has to take the refusal in good spirit.
Close Answer


Q. When viewing a girl with the intention of marriage, is it permissible to speak to her?
A. It is not permissible to speak to her. Speaking to her briefly is futile. It is a nafsaani deception. Her character and habits cannot be gauged by such brief, artificially adorned statements which she is bound to make during the brief viewing. The system of pre-arranged viewing in vogue is downright bad and insensitive. The viewing should be coincidental without the awareness of the girl. In the event the boy does not fancy her looks, she will no have to suffer the heartache of rebuttal and refusal. People are extremely insensitive in these matters.


Q. Some scholars claim that it is permissible for girls and boys to chat telephonically for the purpose of marriage. Their grounds for permission are: (1) There is no nearness between them. (2) They seek surety. (3) Many marriages break up because they do not know each other. (4) The conversation is restricted to necessary talk.

A. The reasons proffered for legalizing an act which is explicitly haraam are downright stupid. The ‘fatwa’ which you say was given by an ‘aalim’, is in reality drivel disgorged by a jaahil posing as an Aalim. The arguments which he has presented to cancel Allah’s prohibition pertaining to premarital contact of the sexes are drivel and shaitaaniyat. No matter how ‘logical’ the arguments may appear to morons, Allah’s Laws cannot be cancelled. All forms of premarital communication are haraam. The stupid ‘fatwa’ is so ludicrous that a straight-thinking layman can also understand that this impostor ‘aalim’ is speaking bunkum.


Q. The girl whom my parents wish me to marry lives in another country I have not seen her nor has she seen me. Is it permissible to exchange photos for this purpose?
A. It is haraam to exchange photos for even this purpose. If viewing is felt necessary, then you will simply have to undertake the journey to her land. And, if you are pleased with her and vice versa, then arrange for the nikah in the same trip to avoid unnecessary squandering of money for a special trip. Nikah is a simple procedure in Islam.


Q. A Nikah was performed over a cell phone. Is the Nikah valid?
A. The Nikah which is performed telephonically is not valid. The witnesses do not hear the Ijaab (Proposal) and Qubool (Acceptance) in the same majlis (session/venue). The Ijaab is stated in one part of the world while the Qubool takes place in a different part of the world thousands of miles away. Furthermore, the witnesses sitting thousands of miles away have no certitude regarding the person who is stating the Ijaab/Qubool on the other side. It is quite possible for unscrupulous modernists, or persons bereft of Deeni conscience to play the Ijaab/Qubool from a cassette/recorded player. The brother who has ‘performed’ ‘nikah’ in this manner should ponder on the gravity of the matter. It is a matter of living in zina and producing illegitimate children. It will take only five minutes to perform a proper Nikah. He requires only two witnesses to listen to the Ijaab and Qubool. Caution demands that he again performs the Nikah.


Q. The girl and the boy are in different countries. Can the marriage be performed by telephone?

A. A nikah is not valid if conducted by telephone. The validity of Nikah is reliant on the Ijaab and Qubool being pronounced verbally in the presence of two Muslim male witnesses at the same venue. The simple way of performing such a marriage is for the woman to appoint a representative in the town/city where the man is. He will represent her at the Nikah ceremony which will be performed as usual. Or the man can appoint someone to represent him in the place where the woman is. The representative will then attend the Nikah ceremony on his behalf. The appointment of representatives may be done telephonically. Another method is to perform the Nikah by letter. One party can fax or e-mail a letter in which he/she proposes Nikah to the other spouse. This letter will be read out in the presence of witnesses, and the prospective spouse will verbally announce his acceptance.


Q. A boy and a girl who attend university had struck up a relationship. To end the sinful relationship they decided to perform nikah. But the parents refused because they wanted the couple to complete their studies. However, they decided to proceed with nikah without the consent and knowledge of their parents. The nikah was contracted over the phone. The boy had one witness by him and the girl had two witnesses. When the parents discovered this, they called an Imaam who said that the nikah was not valid. Another Maulana says that the nikah is valid. Please give the correct view of the Shariah.
A. The nikah was not contracted properly, hence it is not valid. The nikah should be repeated. It is a simple procedure. Someone should get the girl’s consent for her nikah to be performed. This person will then be her Wakeel (representative). The Wakeel, the boy (groom) and two witnesses should assemble at one place. The Wakeel should make the Ijaab (Proposal) by saying: “Aabidah has instructed me to contract her Nikah with you, Abdullah. Do you accept her in your Nikah?” The boy should then respond: “I have accepted her in my Nikah.” Both witnesses have to hear the Ijaab (Proposal) and the Qubool (Acceptance). The Nikah will then be valid even if no mehr is mentioned and even if the nikah khutbah is not recited. But it is best to recite the nikah khutbah. Anyone present may recite it. The mehr amount should also be arranged.

The refusal of the parents is of no consequence, neither legally nor morally. Morally they have no right to refuse because in allowing their children to attend kuffaar university and strike up zina relationships they have abdicated and abandoned their Waajib parental responsibility. They have paved the path of Jahannam for their children. They thus have no Shar’i right to refuse when their children desire to rectify a haraam relationship and render it halaal. Parents should take note of this and not try to invoke their parental right and authority in such situations. Misdirected authority, be it parental authority, cannot be rewarded with obedience.

Parents who are engrossed with their worldly affairs and oblivious of the Shariah, are insistent on sending their daughters to immoral secular institutions. They have no objection to the haraam and illicit relationships of zina which their sons and daughters strike up at university. The evil relationship continues for long periods with the tacit consent of fussaaq parents. But as soon as the children enter into nikah, a storm is let loose and everything is done in an attempt to break the union. Remember that parental blessings and the performance of Nikah in the Sunnat style with honour and joy are ingredients of a holy setting, not of a haraam relationship.
Close Answer


Q. A close friend of mine states to me he has very few options and wants to get married over the phone, and wants me to be one of the two witnesses. On his side will be the witnesses and Imaam while overseas they will have the girl and her parents and more witnesses including Imaam and also lawyer who will expedite with all the necessary paperwork so they can join each other soon as they can. Is this way permissible? Or does the Nikah has to be performed again when she comes here or when he goes there? Please advice, on what best course of action my friend should take.
A. Nikah over the phone is not valid. The method described by you will not validate a Nikah. The simplest solution is to have the Nikah performed by proxy (or letter). The letter can be faxed. Ijaab and Qubool can take place by letter and the Nikah can be concluded in the presence of at least two Muslim male winesses who MUST hear the Ijaab and Qubool being read and pronounced in the same session. The same two witnesses must hear both the Ijaab and Qubool in the same session. Only then will the Nikah be valid.


Q. If a man says to a woman that he is marrying her, and hands her a sum of money as mehr, and she accepts, is the Nikah valid?
A. Nikah does not come into effect in this way. The handing over of money and the woman saying ‘yes’, is not a Nikah. Two male Muslim witnesses are a fundamental requisite for the validity of the marriage.


Q. If an adult girl marries without the approval of her parents, is the nikah valid?
A. It is Waajib for a girl to obtain the consent and blessings of her parents for marriage. Although her marriage will be valid without parental consent, she will be sinful if she marries without their consent, if the parents have a valid reason for refusing. However, according to the Shaafi Math-hab the marriage will be valid only if a male contracts the nikah for her. She must compulsorily have a male to represent her.


Q. A divorced Shaafi’ woman has no male relative to be her Wali for marriage. What should she do regarding her contemplated Nikah?
A. According to the Shaafi’ Math-hab, a woman cannot contract her own Nikah. A male Wali is an imperative requisite for the validity of the Nikah. If a woman has no close male relative Wali to arrange her marriage, then she may appoint any other man to be her Wali to contract her Nikah.


Q. A man has presented his proposal for marriage to a certain woman. Will it be permissible for another person to submit his marriage proposal to the same woman while the first proposal is yet under consideration?
A. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) forbade Muslims to propose for marriage when a prior proposal is under consideration. After one proposal has been rejected another may be submitted.


Q. My friend has a strong interest in a particular girl. He intends to propose marriage. Is it permissible for me to propose marriage to her before he has sent his proposal?
A. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has prohibited proposing while a proposal is still under consideration. In your case, there is no proposal under consideration. It is therefore legally (in terms of the Shariah) permissible for you to propose marriage to her. She will be married to only the person who has been destined to be her husband in her Taqdeer.


Q. I am aware that someone intends sending a marriage proposal to a girl. Is it permissible for me to send my proposal to her before his proposal reaches her?
A. As long as the girl has not received a proposal, it is permissible for a person to submit his proposal. If you are aware that a Muslim has intentions of marrying a certain girl and that he is about to submit his proposal, then too it is un-Islamic and dishonourable to rush with your proposal to ensure that your proposal reaches the girl first.


Q. Who should be the wakeel of a converted Muslim lady at her Nikah? She has no Muslim male relatives. How can she travel without having a Muslim mahram to accompany her?
A. Any honourable Muslim man may act as the Wakeel of a woman who has no Muslim male mahram. She may not go on a journey if she does not have a husband or a Muslim son.


Q. The Maaliki Imaam at the Musjid performed the Nikah of a pregnant woman. He was not aware that she was pregnant. Is the Nikah valid? And, what is the ruling of the Hanafi Math-hab? Will the child be legitimate?
A. The marriage of a pregnant woman is valid according to the Hanafi Mathhab. If the child is born six months after the date of Nikah, it will be legitimate. If it is born before six months, it will be illegitimate. In terms of the Maaliki Math-hab the Nikah is not valid because the woman is pregnant. They have to separate. There is no way of rectifying this grave error. Only after the woman has given birth can the Nikah be performed.


Q. Whose duty is it to pay the Mehr?

A. The Mehr has to be paid by the man who is getting married. It is his obligation to pay the Mehr and it becomes the property of the bride.


Q. Is there any wedding engagement custom in Islam Besides the Mehr, what else has to be paid?

A. According to the Shariah there is nothing besides the Mehr to pay. There is no wedding engagement custom. However, people have introduced many baseless practices which have no origin in Islam.


Q. What is Mehr-e-Faatimi?
A. Mehr-e-Faatimi is the amount of the Mehr which Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) paid to Hadhrat Faatimah (radhiyallahu anha). The amount is 1.75 kg of silver or its price. This is the best and the Sunnah Mehr.


Q. Dowry (Mehr) was not arranged at the time of the Nikah. Is the Nikah valid?
A. Mehr is not a condition for the validity of Nikah according to the Hanafi and Shaafi’ Math-habs. While payment of Mehr is compulsory, the Nikah is valid even if it was not mentioned or arranged at the time of Nikah.


Q. The mahr for girls in our family/society is 20,000 PKR. My parents had agreed to a considerably lesser amount, and I was under pressure to accept. I reluctantly agreed. But I feel utterly humiliated and insulted. Can I still claim the full mahr from my husband?
A. Mahr is the right of the bride. Mahr Mithl is the stipulated amount which is normally paid to girls of a particular family or tribe. While you and your parents had the right to demand the stipulated amount of 20,000 PKR, your family had waived their right and you too by having agreed to the lesser amount and having accepted it have forfeited your original right. You can’t now demand the full amount. It is now of no goodness to resurrect the Mahr issue. Make the best of it. Try your best to forget the issue in order to make a success of your marriage.


Q. If a krugerrand is giving to the wife with the intention of it being Mehr-e-Faatimi, will the Mehr-e-Faatimi Sunnat be fulfilled?
A. Yes, you may give a Krugerrand and make niyyat of Mehr-e-Faatimi in view of the value of the coin being more than the value of Mehr-e-Faatimi.


Q. Is it compulsory for the man to pay Mahr to validate the Nikah?
A. Mahr is Waajib. However, it is not a condition for the validity of the Nikah. But the husband must pay his wife a sum of money which they should mutually agree on. If he does not have cash, payment may be deferred to a later date. The Sunnat is Mahr-e-Faatimi which is 1.75 kg silver or its price. A lesser amount is also permissible.


Q. A Nikah is renewed because one of the spouses uttered kufr. Should Mehr be paid again?
A. The Mehr should also be renewed.


Q. A person says that it is not necessary for a written contract for a Nikah because this is not to be found in the Qur'aan and Hadith. Is he correct?
A. The argument that because something is not written in the Qur’aan or Hadith it is not part of Islam, is baseless. There are innumerable masaa-il (rules) of Islam which are not to be found in the Qur’aan or in the Hadith, nevertheless, they are part of Islam. Such issues are based on principles evolved from the Qur’aan and Hadith. The validity of Nikah does not depend on a written contract. The Nikah is contracted verbally. The written contract is for convenience and for future use in different circumstances.


Q. Is it a must to perform a Nikah in a Musjid. Can it be performed at home?
A. It is not incumbent to perform Nikah in a Musjid. It is preferable. However, a Nikah may be performed anywhere, even at home.


Q. An Imaam of a Musjid says that Nikahs should not be performed inside the Musjid. Nikahs should be performed in the courtyard or in the section where Janaazah Salaat is performed. He says that because of the sanctity of the Musjid , Nikahs should not be performed inside. Is this correct?

A. The best place for a Nikah is the Musjid. Performing Nikah in the Musjid is not negatory of the sanctity of the Musjid. Nikahs are always performed inside the Musjid. 


Q. In many weddings only the rich are invited. The poor are ignored. Is this correct?
A. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that the worst of foods is a “Waleemah” (the Islamic marriage feast) to which only rich are invited, the poor being excluded.


Q. A relative of mine is getting married. I will not be attending the wedding function because it will be a mixed gathering of males and females. However, if I am asked to assist with the wedding preparations, will I be assisting in sin and transgression?
A. In fact, you will be participating in sin and aggression, not only assisting. It is not permissible for you to assist in any way a haraam function. If you assist, then according to the Hadith you will be regarded to be present at the function even if you are physically absent.


Q. A girl’s parents wish to have an elaborate wedding affair for her with all the usual customs, etc. But she refuses. If the parents insist, will she be disobedient for refusing to participate in the wedding customs, e.g. attending a hall, etc.?
A. On the contrary, it is haraam for her to obey the haraam wishes and orders of her parents. It is not permissible for her to participate in the wedding function. She should remain at home and silently and respectfully tolerate the displeasure of her parents for the sake of Allah’s Pleasure.


Q. How should the Walimah be held?
A. Walimah is Sunnat. This is the duty of the husband. Walimah is a simple meal of just a couple of persons, including some very poor Muslims to participate in a simple meal. Even if five or ten people are invited, it fulfils the Walimah Sunnat. The Walimah may be held at any time after the Nikah, and on any day within the home environment.


Q. What is the best method for a walimah?

A. The best manner of fulfilling the Walimah is for the husband to invite a couple of relatives, friends and some poor persons to have a meal at his home. Even if there are five or six people, it will suffice. The Walimah should not be an elaborate function as are the haraam wedding receptions of this age. 


Q. Whose obligation is it to arrange the walimah?

A. The Masnoon obligation of the Walimah is on the bridegroom. It is not the responsibility of the families. The man himself should organize the Walimah feast. 


Q. Someone wishes to organize walimah in a restaurant. If it is ensured that the food is halaal, is it permissible to have a walimah in a restaurant?
A. Walimah is a Masnoon act. It is an ibaadat which has to be performed in a simple way encapsulating the spirit of the Sunnah. Eating at a restaurant even if the food is halaal is not a Walimah. It is an outing in western style accompanied by several un-Islamic and haraam factors: • Women have to leave the home to attend a public venue • Purdah violation • Sitting on chairs and eating from tables in western style • The restaurant is a venue for all types of persons – fussaaq, fujjaar and kuffaar • The restaurant also deals with haraam meat, etc. even if it is assumed that for this particular occasion some restraint will be exercised • Market places are mabgoodh (the worst and most detested) places. The proper Masnoon setting for a Walimah is the home, not a public restaurant.


Q. According to the Shaafi’ Mathhab, when should the walimah be?

A. The time for Walimah begins after the Nikah has been performed. It is permissible before or after consummation of the Nikah although according to some Shaafi Fuqaha it is preferable to have it after consummation of the marriage. According to the Shaafi Math-hab, the Masnoon time for Walimah is night time. 


Q. According to The Majlis women are not supposed to attend Walimahs. I have been informed by some Maulanas that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to allow women to attend Walimahs. Please comment.
A. The Maulanas are all Muqallideen or are supposed to be Muqallideen of the Math-hab. It is not permissible for a Muqallid to deduct Shar’i masaa-il from the Qur’aan and Ahadith. The limit for the Muqallid is the Rulings of the Fuqaha and the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen. The Muqallid may not go beyond this limit. There are Ahadith which say that wudhu have to be taken after eating cooked food. There are Ahaadith which allow women to attend the Musjid. But the Ruling of Allah’s Shariah is that it is not permissible for women to attend the Musjid. Just as it was permissible for women to attend the Musjid during the age of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), so too was it permissible for them to attend Walimahs in that age. Later when Musjid attendance was prohibited for them, it was extended to Walimahs to a greater degree. Do not be misled by the baseless arguments of men with shallow knowledge.


Q. Could the ‘waleemah’ feast be given before the Nikah has been performed?
A. There is no question of ‘waleemah’ before the Nikah. The Sunnat waleemah feast can be given only after the Nikah.


Q. Is it Masnoon for both men and women to attend a Waleemah?
A. Waleemah is the Sunnat feast which is a duty on the man who has just married. It is a simple feast held in the privacy of the home. A few poor persons should also be necessarily invited. It is not permissible for women to attend a waleemah. When it is not permissible for womenfolk to participate in even the Masnoon Waleemah, how could it ever be permissible for them and even for males to attend a haraam wedding feast in a hall as has become the incumbent practice nowadays?


Q. Is the waleemah valid if held prior to consummation of the nikah?
A. It is valid. Consummation is not a condition for the validity of the Waleemah.


Q. Will the wedding feast organised by the girl’s parents on the day of the nikah serve the purpose of the waleemah?
A. The customary wedding feasts organised by the girl’s party is not the waleemah. The husband has to arrange the waleemah.


Q. Is the custom of the girl’s family hosting a reception at their home after the nikah a valid Islamic custom?
A. No, it is not an Islamic custom. It has no place in the Sunnah. Islamic customs are those which have their origin in the Sunnah.


Q. At nikah functions, waleemahs and jalsahs there is much extravagance, show and pride. If invited, will I be sinful for not attending?
A. It is not permissible to attend any function where these acts prevail. Besides the Waleemah, the other functions have no origin in the Sunnah. There is no need to attend. Furthermore, if any haraam activities occur there, then it will not be permissible to attend. This includes even a Waleemah.


Q. A close relative is getting married. After the Nikah there will be a haraam wedding reception in a hall. Should I attend the Nikah in the Musjid?
A. If after the Nikah there will be an un-Islamic wedding function, then you should not attend even the Nikah even if it is held in a Musjid. Display your aversion for the haraam wedding reception with your abstention. Imaams of the Musaajid should not perform Nikahs which will be followed by haraam wedding receptions. Let the evil and flagrant transgressors get hold of some mercenary, bid’ati, qabar-puja (grave-worshipping) molvi/sheikh to perform the nikah in the haraam hall where the haraam wedding reception will be held under Divine Curse.


Q. Please comment on the Hall receptions that take place nowadays after Nikah.

A. Among the haraam ways of fraternizing with flagrant sinners and abandoning Amr Bil Ma’roof-Nahyi anil Munakar (Commanding righteousness and prohibiting evil) of the Ulama of our times is their participation in Nikahs followed by haraam hall receptions. At reception halls a range of haraam acts of immorality are perpetrated. Everyone is aware of the flagrant transgression with which wedding receptions in halls are associated. It is not permissible for the Imaams of the Musaajid and the Ulama to perform such Nikahs in the Musaajid, which will be followed by haraam wedding receptions held in haraam halls. It is the obligation of the Ulama and Imaams to refuse to perform such Nikahs and to participate in any way whatsoever in both the Nikah and the reception.

Some miscreant molvies and sheikhs with naked shamelessness even venture into the haraam halls to deliver lectures. They have no respect for the Deen, for their Imaan and for Allah Ta’ala. People who are desirous of haraam wedding receptions in haraam halls should be told to have their Nikahs performed in the street or at their homes or at their haraam wedding ceremony. The sacred facility of the Musjid should not be allowed to the immoral and shameless sinners who make a mockery of the Deen. They clamour for a Musjid Nikah whilst they obey Shaitaan regarding the haraam wedding reception in a haraam hall. If the Ulama and Imaams of the Musaajid take the step of Amr Bil Ma’roof by debarring the shameless transgressors from using the holy Musjid facility for their mock nikah, then people will start getting the message and sober up. They will begin to realize their fisq and fujoor.
Close Answer


Q. My relative will be having a haraam wedding reception in a hall after the Nikah in the Musjid. I shall not be attending the wedding reception, but my parents want me to be present for the Nikah in the Musjid. What is your naseehat?

A. The un-Islamic, haraam wedding reception is mal-oon (accursed). The people who will be attending the haraam function will also become mal -oon. Satisfying their request is not permissible. Our practise here in P.E. at our Musjid is that we do not allow a Nikah to be performed in the Musjid if that Nikah is to be followed by a haraam reception. It is improper to attend even the Nikah in the Musjid when it is known that the people who have gathered for the Nikah are contemplating to commit fisq and fujoor whilst they are sitting even in the Musjid. They are making a mockery of the Deen for having the Nikah in the Musjid. They should have their Nikah in the accursed hall where they will be having their haraam function. You should never participate in even the Nikah. And, make known the reason for your absence. It is not permissible to obey the haraam wishes of parents. Politely refuse. 


Q. When according to the Hadith women attended Walimahs, why will it not now be permissible?
A. When it is not permissible for women to attend the Musjid for Salaat, then to a greater degree is it prohibited for them to attend waleemahs. The same reasons on which the prohibition of attending the Musjid is based apply to waleemahs and all other functions. The Fuqaha and even our Akaabireen such as Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (rahmatullah alayh) have decreed that it is no longer permissible for women to attend waleemahs.


Q. Is it necessary for the marriage to be consummated before the Walimah?
A. Consummation is not necessary The Walimah may be organised at any time. (Walimah is the Sunnat feast which the man organises. It is not the customary wedding feast which is accompanied by haraam acts).


Q. Is the bridal showers custom permissible?

A. The bridal showers custom is haraam. It is in emulation of the kuffaar. It is not permissible. 


Q. A Mufti says that marriage engagements are Sunnat. In Hadith terminology he says that an engagement is called khitbah. Is this correct?
A. If the Mufti meant that an engagement means to negotiate a date for the Nikah, then there is nothing wrong with such an arrangement. If he means that the customary shaitaani engagement parties and ceremonies which are in vogue are Sunnah, then obviously he has blundered. But it is not expected of a Mufti to claim that the customary engagement parties are Sunnah. Haraam and immorality cannot be Sunnah. Furthermore, khitbah in the meaning of the Hadith does not refer to engagement or fixing of the Nikah date. Khitbah only means a marriage proposal made.


Q. What does Islam say about breaking off an engagement (of marriage)?
A. It is forbidden to break off the engagement without any valid reason. An engagement is a mutual agreement which has to be honoured by both parties.


Q. Is it true that a faasiq cannot be a witness; that he cannot marry a pious woman; that he cannot lead the Salaat?
A. The testimony of a faasiq is inadmissible. A pious woman should not marry a faasiq as long as he has not repented and abandoned his fisq. It is not permissible for a faasiq to lead the Salaat nor is it permissible for others to appoint him to lead the Salaat. It is not permissible for him to hold any position of trust.


Q. When does consummation of a marriage take place according to the Shariah? Someone said that sexual relations are conditional for consummation.
A. Consummation is valid in one of two ways: (1) Sexual relations (2) Such privacy with the wife in which sexual relations are possible even though one may not have indulged in it. Sexual relations are not conditional.


Q. In Islam how is a marriage consummated?
A. Consummation of the marriage is effected in one of two ways: (a) Sexual relations (b) Such privacy in which it is possible for sexual relations to take place. Even if relations do not take place, then too such privacy will fulfil the requisite of consummation.


Q. If only the wife accepts Islam, not the husband, what is the status of their marriage?
A. When a non-Muslim woman embraces Islam, and the husband refuses, the marriage terminates. She will have to separate herself from him. After the Iddat, which is a period of three menstruation cycles, she will be free to marry any Muslim.


Q. It is claimed that it is haraam for women to adopt the surname of their husbands. Please explain the Shariah’s ruling in this matter.
A. There is no basis for claiming that it is not permissible for a woman to adopt the surname of her husband. Those who make this claim should provide daleel (proof). There is nothing in the Shariah to negate this permissibility. The adoption of the husband’s surname is for convenience and to avoid confusion. The claimants cite the Qur’aanic aayat in which Allah Ta’ala negates Zaid (radhiyallahu anhu) being the son of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). But this aayat is never a basis for the claim of the Salafis. The two issues are vastly different. Changing the surname is tantamount to saying: ‘I am the wife of Mr. Patel”. There is nothing wrong – nothing in conflict with the Shariah for a wife to say: ‘I am the wife of Abdullah or Patel or Ahmed.’ Now instead of writing every time after her name: Faatimah, the Wife of Ebrahim Cassim’, the wife says in an abbreviated form: Faatimah Cassim/Patel/Ahmed. Everyone knows from this abbreviation that she is saying: ‘I am Faatimah who is the wife of Ebrahim Cassim.’ There is nothing logically nor Islamically wrong with this statement and its abbreviation.


Q. The husband dislikes the name of his wife, and asked her to change it for a better name. The wife complied. Her parents are angry with her. In this situation what should the wife do?

A. If the husband wanted his wife to change her name, then she had acted correctly. Since it is the husband’s wish, the parents should accept the decision and not be offended or grieved. In an issue of this nature, the wife has to submit to her husband’s wishes even if her parents dislike it.


Q. What is the Islamic procedure for changing one's name?

A. There is no Islamic procedure for changing a name. The person is simply called by the new name.


Q. Is it necessary for a Nikah certificate to validate an Islamic marriage?
A. A certificate is not Waajib. It has no relationship to the Nikah. However, in these times it is advisable to have documentary evidence (a Nikah Certificate) of one’s marriage.


Q. The Shaikh who will be performing my Nikah does not have a marriage licence. Will the Nikah be valid?
A. According to the Shariah no one needs a licence to perform a Nikah. The Nikah is valid.


Q. Is it permissible to register a Muslim marriage in terms of the secular law?
A. If there is a need to register, it will be permissible providing that registering the marriage does not create haraam consequences. In some systems if the marriage is registered, the estate of the deceased cannot be distributed according to the Shariah. Some marital systems do allow for the deceased’s assets to be distributed in any way his/her will directs. Therefore, one should first consult a lawyer to learn which system or matrimonial property regime will allow a Muslim’ estate to be distributed in accordance with the Shariah. In South Africa the matrimonial property system known as ante nuptial contract excluding the accrual clause does not prevent an Islamic Will.


Q. I am about to get married. How will the new Muslim marriages law affect me. What should I do?
A. The MMB (i.e. the new kufr socalled ‘Muslim’ marriages bill) is not law. It has not yet been made law. Insha’Allah, they will fail. It will not become law. And, even if it becomes law, it will apply to only those who opt for the kufr. Those Muslims who do not want it, cannot be compelled to submit to it. The government will not impose the kufr law on Muslims who refuse to be governed by it. There is no need to register your Nikah. However, if you, for some reason will want to have the Nikah registered, then you and your husband have to enter into an ante nuptial contract which excludes the accrual clause. You have to do this via an attorney. Any other system of registration will be haraam.


Q. Is it permissible to wear the customary wedding dresses in vogue today?
A. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Whoever emulates a nation becomes of them.” Muslims have drifted so far from the Path of Imaan that they no longer have the slightest inhibition in adopting the kufr styles of Allah’s enemies. Consider the kuffaar custom of bridal or wedding dresses. Today Muslims don such satanic and kufr garments with pride, little realising the Wrath and La’nat of Allah Ta’ala which accompany such garb. The wedding dress of the kuffaar has connotations of shirk and kufr. Regarding this kufr mode of dress, the Encyclopedia Britannica says: “Liturgical vestments have developed in a variety of fashions, some of which have become very ornate. The liturgical vestments all have symbolic meaning. In the Orthodox Church the liturgical vestments symbolize the wedding garments that enable the liturgists to share in the heavenly wedding feast, the Eucharist. The epitrachelion, which is worn around the neck and corresponds to the Roman stole, represents the flowing downward of the Holy Spirit. (For a fuller treatment of liturgical vestments, see RELIGIOUS DRESS AND VESTMENTS.)” (Eucharist means Holy Communion which is representative of Christ’s death on the cross as the Christian kuffaar believe.) Wearing these bridal dresses are therefore haraam akin to kufr.


Q. Is it more meritorious for a bride to wear new clothes?
A. There is no Islamic requirement or significance in her wearing new clothes. It is left to the individual’s choice.


Q. Although the Nikah was performed months ago, the girl's parents do not allow her to live with her husband. They want to observe an 'official' departure ceremony. Is there any basis in the Shariah for this?
A. Once Nikah has been performed, the husband has full right over his wife. The bride’s parents have no right of preventing their daughter going and living with her husband. It is cruel and haraam for the brides parents to prevent her from being taken to her husband. The ‘departure’ ceremony is a haraam bid’ah.


Q. I married recently. However, due to cultural restriction in our community in Gambia, I am not allowed to be with my wife. The family will allow my wife to live with me only after all the cultural restrictions/customs have been observed. Is there any Islamic proof for this?
A. The cultural restrictions/customs which prevent your wife from being with you are haraam. Such customs are not permissible. A husband is allowed to take his wife immediately after the Nikah.


Q. These days, even Ulama, at the time of nikah, send jewellery and money enclosed in envelopes (which I think is called Salaami) to the prospective bride even before nikah. Is this proper?
A. It is improper. This `salaami’ custom is a practice of riya. There is no goodness in it.


Q. On the wedding day there is a ring ceremony. The bride is fitted with the wedding ring. Sometimes the girl’s or the boy’s relatives put the ring on the bride’s finger. Is this ceremony permissible? If I do not allow it, will I be disobedient to my parents who insist that this custom takes place when I get married?
A. This is a non-Muslim custom. It is not permissible for Muslims to imitate this stupid custom. It is obligatory on you to refuse this custom. You will not be regarded in Islam as being disobedient to your parents when you refuse to obey their un-Islamic and haraam wishes and instructions.


Q. Placing the wedding ring on the finger of his newly wed wife, a Muslim man following western custom, kneeled at the feet of his wife to fit the ring. What is Islam’s view regarding this ring-fitting custom?

A. The man who has aped the western kuffaar custom of kneeling like a monkey at the feet of his wife for placing a ring on her finger has become one of them. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: ‘Whoever emulates a people is of them.’ The ring practice is haraam, disgraceful and shameful. 


Q. Is marriage during the month of Muharram sinful?

A. It is in fact sinful to believe that marriage in Muharram is sinful. This erroneous belief stems from Shi’ism.