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Must New Muslims Renew Marriage Contract?

20 March, 2018
Q I am a German. My husband and I were married in Germany according to German law. I was Christian and then converted to Islam after my marriage. Some time ago, my husband got to know that we have to be married Islamically so that our marriage would be legal. So we decided to do this. But then my husband found out about a hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) which states that there has to be a wali for a Muslim woman in order for her marriage to be legal. But when my husband asked the person in charge of Islamic marriage measures (the Imam of the local mosque) whether there has to be a wali for me, the Imam said that this is not necessary for a woman who doesn’t live with her parents any more. I was a thirty-six-year old woman and lived on my own. We had our wedding with two Muslim witnesses and with the Imam, but without a wali. So we are worried concerning the Prophetic hadith which my husband knows. We want to know whether our marriage is Islamically legal or not. What should we do?


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- Your marriage before you have embraced Islam is still valid, and you do not need to have a new marriage contract after you have been guided to Islam. In other words, the marriage of non-Muslim people is not nullified by their embracing of Islam.

2- But if you wish to reinstate your marriage contract again after you embraced Islam, you may take the Imam of the local mosque as your wali, so long as your relatives are non-Muslims.

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3- Also, you should know that Imam Abu Hanifah (may Allah have mercy on him) maintained that an adult, rational woman is capable of contracting her own marriage without a wali. Therefore, honorable sister in Islam, calm down and do not worry; your marriage is undoubtedly legal.

Answering your question, eminent Muslim scholar, Dr. Abdul-Rahman Muhammed Yaki, Imam of the Islamic Center of Capital District, states:

If two couples get together as man and woman and before they accepted Islam they are living as man and wife, as soon as they accept Islam their marriage is valid; they don’t need to re-marry Islamically.

On that note, we would regard the marriage that is being done according to culture or any system before they accept Islam as valid marriage.

As soon as they accept Islam they will go on with their life as usual, as man and wife.

I understand in this case that you were a Christian at the time that you got married and your husband was a Muslim.

In this case you do not have to do anything about your marriage once you have accepted Islam. Because there is a verse in the Qur’an (5:5) in which Allah clearly stated that the pious women of the People of the Book can be married by a Muslim man.

Almighty Allah knows best.

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