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Getting Married Secretly Without Witnesses: Permissible?

26 May, 2021
Q Respected scholars, as-salamu `alaykum. I am in a bad situation and I read some fatwas concerning my problem. The man I love wants me to marry just "between us and Allah". He means to say that we should get married without being in a mosque, without having an imam, without having any witnesses and without any mahr. Moreover, he wants to keep our marriage completely secret. He told me that he will marry me officially after two years. Now, he is married and he told me that his marriage is only formal. We are mature and will not have children anymore; he is 19 years older than me. He is angry with me and I do not like this way. He told me that he will not change anything that we agreed on initially and he will not make our relationship public for two years. Please tell me if this relationship is haram? Thank you so much for your answer.


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- Marriage is a sacred bond and in order for it to be valid, there are certain conditions that must be fulfilled.

2- A secret marriage without witnesses and in the way you mentioned is nothing more than illegitimate sexual intercourse.

In his response to your question, the eminent Muslim scholar and renowned Da`iyah, Sheikh `Abdel Khaliq Hasan Ash-Shareef, states:

Announcing the marriage is one of the conditions that make a marriage valid. The presence of witnesses to the marriage contract is another condition as well as the presence of the girl’s wali (guardian) in case she did not marry before.

Secret marriage is considered illegitimate sexual intercourse and marriage in the way you mentioned is nothing more than that.

Therefore, be careful, dear daughter, and do not indulge in this illegal relation.

We advise you to be keen on pleasing Allah the Almighty and to seek the halal way of marriage seeking the help of an imam in a nearby Islamic center, friends and relatives rather than indulging in an illegal relationship.

Allah Almighty knows best.

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