Court Marriage in the West: Valid?
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Court Marriage in the West: Valid?

Questioner

Hisham

Reply Date

Dec 16, 2018

Question

Dear scholars, as-salamu `alaykum. We recently got married in a US court, even though we haven’t started living together. I want to know do we also need to do an Islamic marriage ceremony or is our marriage valid? Can we start living together?

Mufti

Answer


Court Marriage in the West

Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.


In this fatwa:

1- A valid marriage has to meet certain requirements such as ishhar (announcement), the payment of the dower, the consent of both parties, the permission of the wali (woman’s guardian) and the presence of witnesses.

2- If these conditions have been fulfilled in the court marriage, then it is not absolutely necessary to follow it up with another ceremony.


In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

Marriage in Islam is a solemn contract for which the Shari`ah lays down rules and arrangements to guarantee its stability.

The absolute prerequisites of a valid marriage in Islam are the following: free consent of both parties to the marriage, offer and acceptance, and the presence of two reliable witnesses.

It is also important to get the permission of guardian, especially if the woman is a virgin who has never married before.

If these conditions have been fulfilled in the court marriage, then it is not absolutely necessary to follow it up with another ceremony. Nevertheless it is still considered advisable to do so to satisfy the social requirement of publicizing the event in your community.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Publicize marriages and beat drums over them.” (Ibn Majah)

Court marriages are not accompanied by publicizing and celebration, and in a marriage both of these elements are never to be underestimated. Ideally speaking, marriage in the view of Islam is not simply a secret contract between two persons; it is as much a social contract to be reckoned and recognized by the society as well.

Almighty Allah knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.




About Sheikh Ahmad Kutty

Sheikh Ahmad Kutty is a Senior Lecturer and an Islamic Scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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