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:
To be valid, a marriage has to meet certain requirements. These conditions include 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.
Responding to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states;
Conditions of valid marriage in Islam
It is not clear what you mean by “making a nikah just for both of you” and not for others. In Islam, marriage must conform to certain minimum standards and requirements to be valid and acceptable.
Without meeting these requirements, marriage is neither valid nor acceptable. This is because it is then hardly distinguishable from fornication or illicit relations.
The minimum conditions for the validity of nikah are the following; the consent of the guardian of the woman, presence of witnesses, offering and acceptance, and finally mahr (dower).
Once the above conditions have been fulfilled, the marriage will be valid. But if these conditions are not fulfilled, then marriage will be null and void.
The consent of guardian can only be dispensed with if the guardian is simply refusing to give consent for considerations other than Islamic. In this case, the judge can authorize the marriage after having followed the due process.
If, on the other hand, such is not the case and no attempt was made to ascertain the consent of the guardian, then such a marriage would be invalid and, therefore, unacceptable in Islam.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “There is no (valid) marriage without a guardian and two reliable witnesses.” (Abu Dawud)
Publicizing marriage in Islam
By stipulating the above-mentioned conditions for the validity of marriage, Islam insists that a marriage should remain distinct from other loose and immoral lifestyles such as fornication and illicit affairs. Hence, the Prophet insisted on making marriages public.
Based on what has been stated above, the concept of a marriage “just for both of you or for Allah” is not acceptable in Islam.
Society has a share in marriage in the sense that people should know that both of you are married so that they do not suspect you of maintaining an illicit relationship.
According to the teachings of Islam, we are under obligation to do whatever we can safeguard our religion, honor, and dignity. As such we should stay away not only from that which is as strictly haram or impermissible but also from all that is doubtful and dubious.
The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Whosoever shuns what is doubtful he has protected his religion and honor; but whosoever commits what is doubtful, he may inadvertently fall into haram!” (Al-Bukhari)
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.