Praise be to Allaah.
Marriage in Islam has
essential “pillars” and conditions; if they are fulfilled then it is a valid
marriage. The “pillars” are the proposal and acceptance. The proposal is
where the woman’s wali (guardian) says: I give So and so (or my daughter or
my sister) to you in marriage. Acceptance is when the man says: I accept
marriage to So and so.
The conditions of marriage
include: Naming the bride and groom, their consent, the contract being done
by the wali or his deputy, and the presence of two Muslim witnesses of good
character, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him) said: “There is no marriage except with a wali (guardian).” Narrated by
Abu Dawood (2085), al-Tirmidhi (1101), Ibn Majaah (1881), from the hadeeth
of Abu Moosa al-Ash’ari; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh
It was also narrated by
al-Bayhaqi from the hadeeth of ‘Imraan and ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased
with them) with the wording: “There is no marriage except with a wali and
two witnesses of good character.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in
Saheeh al-Jaami’ no. 7557.
Some scholars are of the
view that if the marriage is announced, then there is no need for two
witnesses to the marriage contract.
With regard to civil
marriage that is done in a court that implements man-made laws, if what is
meant is documenting the marriage and recording it, then this is something
that is required, so as to protect people’s rights and prevent tampering
with marriage. But if the conditions of marriage are not met or it involves
anything that is contrary to sharee’ah with regard to divorce and so on,
then it is not permissible to do it, unless documentation of the marriage
cannot be done otherwise, or if the person has no choice but to do it. In
that case he can do the correct marriage contract according to sharee’ah in
an Islamic centre, then do the civil marriage in the court, but he should
resolve to refer to sharee’ah law in the event of any dispute, and to
disavow himself of the false rituals that accompany the marriage contract in
some countries. The Muslims who live in western countries should strive to
have their marriages recorded officially in Islamic centres, with no need to
go to the civil marriage office.
And Allaah knows best.