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:
2- As for the qualifications of the witnesses, it should not be taken rigidly; as long as the people we choose for witnessing are of good reputation, they are reliable for this task.
In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
Marriage is primarily a social contract in Islam; and, as such, two reliable individuals should witness it. The purpose of this is to serve as an attestation of the marriage contract as well as to help publicize it, as it should be distinguished from secret affairs or liaisons which are unlawful in Islam.
However, there is no need to be overly rigid over this issue. We should consider people as innocent unless proven otherwise.
Almighty Allah knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.