Nikah (Marriage) In Islam
by: Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi Rahmatullah Alaihi
(Taken From: http://www.nazmay.com/islamicbooks/islamicbooks.php)
Table Of Contents
Nikâh - Marriage
1. Nikâh is a great bounty from Allah Ta'âlâ. The
affairs of this world and the hereafter are put in order through marriage.
There is a lot of wisdom and many benefits in marriage. A person saves
himself from sinning and his heart is put at ease. He does not have any evil
intentions and his thoughts do not begin to wander and stray. The greatest
virtue is that there are only benefits and only rewards in this. This is
because a husband and wifes sitting together and engaging in a loving
conversation, joking with each other, etc. is better than nafl salât.
2. A marriage can be executed by just two words, e.g. a
person says the following words in the presence of witnesses : "I
give my daughter to you in marriage." The person who is addressed replies
: "I accept her in marriage." In so doing, the marriage is valid and
both of them are lawful husband and wife. However, if the person has several
daughters, the nikâh will not be executed by his uttering the words
mentioned above. He will have to mention the daughter by name, e.g. he says
: "I give my daughter, Qudsiyyah, to you in marriage", and the person
replies : "I accept her in marriage."
3. A person says : "Give so-and-so daughter of yours
to me in marriage." The father replies : "I give her to you in
marriage." In so saying, the nikâh will be valid irrespective of
whether he says that he accepts or not. (In other words, it is not necessary
for the word "accept" to be mentioned).
4. If the daughter is present and the father says :
"I give this daughter of mine in marriage to you", and the person replies
: "I accept her", the nikâh will be valid. It will not be
necessary to mention her name.
If the girl is not present, it is necessary to mention her
name and the name of her father in such a loud tone that all the witnesses
are able to hear. If the people do not know the father and there is a strong
possibility that by mentioning his name they will still not know whose
nikâh is being performed, then it will be necessary to mention the name
of the grand-father as well. In other words, such identification is
necessary whereby those present immediately know whose nikâh is being
5. In order for a nikâh to be valid, it is also
essential for at least two males or one male and two females to be present,
to hear the nikâh being performed, and to hear the two words (i.e.
the offer and the acceptance) being uttered. Only then will the nikâh
be valid. If two persons sit together in privacy and one says to the other
: "I give my daughter to you in marriage" and the other person replies
: "I accept your daughter", the nikâh will not be valid.
Similarly, if the nikâh was performed in the presence of one person
only, even then the nikâh will not be valid.
6. If there are no males present, but only females, the
nikâh will not be valid even if there are ten females present. Together
with two females, one male has to be present.
7. If there are two males but they are not Muslims, the
nikâh will not be valid. Similarly, if both are Muslims but both or one
of them is immature, the nikâh will not be valid. Similarly, if there
is one male and two females but both or one of the females is immature, the
nikâh will not be valid.
8. It is preferable to perform the nikâh in a large
gathering such as after the jumu'ah salât in a jumu'ah
musjid or in any other large gathering. This is so that the nikâh
will be well announced and the people will become aware of the nikâh.
A nikâh should not be performed in secret and privacy. However, if
due to some reason many persons are unable to attend, then at least two
males or one male and two females who hear the nikâh being performed
in their very presence should be present.
9. If both the man and woman are mature, they can perform
their own nikâh. All that they have to do is say the following in the
presence of two witnesses : One of them must say : "I am
making my nikâh with you" and the other must say : "I
accept." In so doing, the nikâh will be valid.
10. If a person does not make his nikâh himself, but
asks someone to perform his nikâh with someone, or, he mentions the
name of the person with whom he wishes his nikâh to be performed and
this person performs this nikâh in the presence of two witnesses -
the nikâh will be valid. Even if this person rejects or denies this
later, the nikâh will still be intact.
Persons with whom Nikâh is Harâm
1. Marriage with one's children, grand-children, great
grand-children, etc. is not permissible. Nor is marriage with one's parents,
grand-parents, maternal grand-parents, etc. permissible.
2. Marriage with one's brothers, uncles and nephews is not
permissible. According to the Sharîah, a brother is one whose mother
and father is the same, or they have one father but two mothers, or one
mother but two fathers. They are all brothers. But if the father is
different, and the mother is also different; that person will not be a
brother. Nikâh with him will be valid.
3. Marriage with one's son-in-law is not permissible. This is
irrespective of whether the daughter is already living with him or not. In
all cases, nikâh with him is harâm.
4. A girl's father passed away. Her mother married another
person. However, before the mother could even live with her new husband, she
passed away or he divorced her. In such a case, the girl can marry this
step-father of hers. However, if the mother lived with him, it will not be
permissible for this girl to marry him.
5. Nikâh with one's step-children is not valid. In
other words, if a man has several wives, then one of the wives cannot marry
the children of the co-wives. This is irrespective of whether she had lived
with her husband or not. Nikâh with these children is prohibited
under all circumstances.
6. It is not permissible for a woman to marry her
father-in-law or even the father or grand-father of her father-in-law.
7. As long as a sister is married to her husband, it is not
permissible for another sister to marry this brother-in-law of hers.
However, if her sister passes away or he divorces her and she completes her
iddah, it will be permissible for the other sister to marry her
brother-in-law. In the case where the brother-in-law divorces the first
sister, it is not permissible for the second sister to marry her
brother-in-law until her sister completes her iddah.
8. If two sisters marry one person, the marriage of the
sister whose nikâh was performed first will be valid while the
marriage of the sister whose nikâh was performed later will not be
9. A man married a woman. As long as he remains married to
her, he cannot marry her maternal and paternal aunts and nieces.
10. If the relationship between two women is such that if we
had to regard one of them as a man, their nikâh will not be valid,
then such two women cannot marry a person at the same time. When one of them
passes away or one of them is divorced and completes her iddah, only
then will it be permissible for the person to marry the other woman.
11. If a woman and her step-daughter marry a person at the
same time, the nikâh will be valid.
12. Adoption is not considered in the Sharîah. By
adopting a boy, he does not become one's son. It is therefore permissible to
marry one's adopted son.
13. If a man is not one's real uncle but he becomes an uncle
through some other distant relationship, marrying him is permissible.
Similarly, if a man happens to be one's paternal uncle or nephew through
some distant relationship, nikâh with him is permissible. Nikâh
with one's cousins is also valid irrespective of whether they are paternal
or maternal cousins.
14. Two women who are not blood sisters but are maternal or
paternal cousins are permitted to marry one man at the same time. In the
presence of such a cousin, another cousin can also marry the same man. The
same rule applies to a very distant maternal or paternal aunt. That is, the
niece and this distant maternal or paternal aunt can marry the same man at
15. All the relations which become harâm on
account of lineage also become harâm on account of
breast-feeding. In other words, if a girl is breast-fed by a particular
woman, then this girl cannot marry the latter's husband because he will now
be regarded as her father. A girl who has been breast-fed by a particular
woman cannot marry a boy who has been breast-fed by the same woman. Nor can
this girl marry the children of this woman because she is also regarded as a
child of this woman. All the maternal and paternal uncles and maternal and
paternal nephews who become related due to this breast-feeding also become
harâm on this girl.
16. If two girls have been breast-fed by one woman, they
cannot marry the same man at one time. In other words, whatever has been
explained previously, will also apply to relations based on breast-feeding.
17. A man committed adultery with a certain woman. Now it
will not be permissible for her mother or her children to marry this man.
18. Due to the passions of youth, a woman touched a man with
evil intentions. It will now not be permissible for her mother or her
children to marry this man. Similarly, if a man touches a woman with evil
intentions, her mother and her children will be harâm on him.
19. In the middle of the night, a man decided to awaken his
wife. However, he mistakenly touched his daughter or his mother-in-law.
Thinking them to be his wife, he touched them with the passions of youth.
Now, this man will become harâm on his wife forever. There is
no way in which she can become permissible for him. It will be
necessary for him to divorce his wife.
20. If a boy touches his step-mother with an evil intention,
she will become harâm on her husband. There is no way in which
she can be halâl for him. If the step-mother touches her
step-son with an evil intention, the same rule will apply.
21. A Muslim woman cannot marry a man who belongs to any
other religion. She can only marry a Muslim man.
22. A woman's husband divorced her or he passed away. As long
as she does not complete her iddah, she cannot marry anyone else.
23. Once a woman marries a man, she cannot marry another
person unless and until she is divorced by this person and also completes
24. If a woman is not married and she falls pregnant due to
adultery, it will be permissible to marry her. However, it will not be
permissible to have intercourse with her until she delivers the child. But
if the woman marries the same person who had committed adultery with her, it
will be permissible for the person to have intercourse with her.
25. If a person has four wives, he cannot marry a fifth
woman. If he happens to divorce one of his four wives, another woman cannot
marry him until the one who is divorced completes her iddah.
26. The marriage of a Sunnî girl with a Shî'ah
man is not permissible according to the majority of the ulamâ.
The Wali or Legal Guardian
The person who has the power or choice of getting a boy or
girl married is called a wali.
1. The first wali of a boy or girl is their father. If
the father is not present, the grand-father becomes their wali. If he
is not present, then the great grand-father. If none of them are present,
the blood-brother becomes their wali. If he is not present, then the
step-brother, i.e. brothers from one father. Thereafter, the nephew,
thereafter the nephew's son; and thereafter, the nephew's grand-son. If none
of them are present, the blood uncle becomes their wali. If he is not
present, then the step-uncle, i.e. the step-brother of their father.
Thereafter, the son of the blood uncle and thereafter his grand-son.
Thereafter, the son of the step-uncle and thereafter his grand-son. If none
of them are present, the father's uncle becomes their wali; and
thereafter his children. If the father's uncle, his children and
grand-children are not present; then the grand-father's uncle becomes their
wali. Thereafter, his children, grand-children, and great
If none of them are present, the mother will be their wali.
Thereafter, the paternal grand-mother, then the maternal grand-mother and
then the maternal grand-father. Thereafter, the blood-sister and then the
step-sister, i.e. sisters from one father. Thereafter, the step-brother and
then the step-sister who is from one mother. Thereafter, the paternal aunt,
then the maternal uncle, and then the maternal aunt.
2. An immature person cannot become a wali of anyone.
A kâfir cannot be a wali for any Muslim, nor can a lunatic be
a wali for anyone.
3. A mature girl has the choice to marry or not to marry. She
can marry whomsoever she wishes - no one can force her to marry a particular
person. If she marries a person on her own, the nikâh will be valid
irrespective of whether the wali is informed or not, and irrespective
of whether the wali gives his consent or not. In all cases the
nikâh will be valid. However, if she does not marry a person who is of
the same social standing as her, and instead, marries a person who is of a
lower standing than her family, and her wali is not happy about this
marriage, then the fatwâ in this case is that the nikâh will
not be valid.
If she marries a person who is in the same social standing as
her, but the mahr that she receives is less then what is normally
fixed in her paternal grandfathers family, then although the nikâh
will be valid, the wali will have the right to annul this marriage.
The mahr that is normally fixed in her paternal grandfathers family
is known as mahrul mithl. The wali can go to a Muslim court
and have such a marriage annulled. However, it should be borne in mind that
this right of annulment is only possessed by all those walis whom we
had mentioned before the mother. In other words, from the father
onwards till the children of the grand-father's uncle.
4. A wali performed the nikâh of a mature girl
without asking her or without seeking her consent. The validity of such a
nikâh will be dependent on her permission and consent. If she grants her
permission, the nikâh will be valid. If she does not grant her
permission or is not happy, the nikâh will not be valid. The method
of granting permission is mentioned in the next mas'ala.
5. The wali came and informed a young virgin girl that
he intends performing her nikâh with a certain person, or that he has
already performed her nikâh with a certain person. Upon hearing this,
she remained silent, began smiling or began to cry. All these responses of
her's will be considered to be a permission and a consent. Now, if the
wali performs her nikâh, it will be valid. If he has already
performed it, it will also be valid. It is not a prerequisite for her to
give a verbal permission. Those who force a girl in giving a verbal
permission are in error.
6. At the time of seeking her permission, the wali did
not mention the name of her future husband, nor did she have any prior
knowledge of him. In such a case, her silence will not be considered to be a
form of consent, nor will it be considered to be a form of granting
permission. It is necessary to mention the boy's name or some other form of
identification whereby the girl can understand that the wali is
referring to a particular person. Similarly, if the wali performed
the nikâh without mentioning the amount of mahr to her and it
was far less than the mahrul mithl, the nikâh will not be
valid without her permission. He will have to seek her permission again.
7. The girl is not a virgin, and instead had married
previously and this is her second marriage. When the wali asks her or
seeks her permission for this second marriage, her mere silence will not be
considered to be a form of granting permission. Instead, she will have to
give a verbal reply. If she does not give a verbal reply and remains silent,
and despite this the wali performs her nikâh, then her
nikâh will be in abeyance. Later, if she gives a verbal permission, the
nikâh will be valid. If not, it will not be valid.
8. Despite the father being present, the uncle, brother or
any other wali sought the permission of a virgin girl. If she remains
silent, it will not be considered to be a form of granting permission. Only
when she gives a verbal permission will it be considered. However, if the
father sent these persons to seek her permission, her silence will be
considered to be a form of consent. In short, the wali who is given
the first preference in the Sharîah and who has the most right to
seek permission from the girl - when he asks her or when someone who has
been sent by him asks her, then only will her silence be considered to be a
form of consent. If the grand-father had the right of asking her, and
instead the brother asked her; or if the brother had the right of asking her
and instead she was asked by her uncle, then in such a case her silence will
not be considered to be a consent.
9. A wali performed the nikâh of a girl without
asking her and without obtaining her consent. After the nikâh, the
wali or his messenger came and informed the girl that her nikâh
with a particular person has been performed. In such a case, if she remains
silent, this will be a permission on her part and the nikâh will be
valid. But if someone else comes and informs her, and this person is a
pious, reliable person, or two persons come and inform her, then by her
remaining silent the nikâh will be valid. But if there is only one
person who informs her and he is an unreliable person, then by her remaining
silent the nikâh will not be valid. Instead, it will be held in
abeyance. When she gives a verbal reply or any other form of granting
permission is found, then only will the nikâh be valid.
10. Upon being informed of her nikâh, the girl did not
give a verbal reply although it was necessary for her to give a verbal
reply. However, when her husband approached her she did not refuse him from
engaging in sexual intercourse with her. Even in this case, the nikâh
will be valid.
11. The same rules apply to a mature boy, i.e. he cannot be
forced into a marriage nor can the wali perform his nikâh
without his permission. If his nikâh is performed without his
permission, it's validity will be dependent on his permission. If he
expresses his consent, his nikâh will be valid. If not, it will not
be valid. However, it should be borne in mind that the boy's silence is not
considered to be a form of granting permission. He will have to give a
12. If a boy or a girl are immature, they do not have their
own choice. Their nikâh is not valid without a wali. If a boy
(or girl) performs his nikâh on his own or someone else performs it,
it will be dependent on the permission of the wali. If the wali
grants permission, the nikâh will be valid. If not, it will not be
valid. The wali has full rights over such a boy or girl. He can get
them married to whoever he wishes and refuse whoever he wishes. Immature
girls and immature boys cannot reject such a nikâh at that time. This
is irrespective of whether the girl is a virgin or had been married
previously and had also been sent to her (first) husband's home - the same
rule will apply.
13. If the father or grand-father perform the nikâh of
an immature girl or boy, they do not have the right to reject or repudiate
this nikâh even after they become mature. This is irrespective of
whether the marriage was executed with a person who is of the same social
standing or with a person of a lower class, and irrespective of whether the
nikâh was performed with mahrul mithl or whether it was far
less than the mahrul mithl. In all cases the nikâh will be
valid and they cannot reject or repudiate this nikâh.
14. If a wali other than the father or
grand-father performed the nikâh, and it was performed with a boy of
the same social standing and the mahrul mithl was also given, then in
such a case the nikâh will be valid. However, after reaching the age
of maturity, she has the right to endorse this nikâh or to go and
complain to a Muslim judge and have this marriage annulled.
But if the wali performed her marriage with a person
of a lower social standing or accepted a mahr which was far less than
the mahrul mithl, the nikâh will not be valid from the very
outset. Similarly, if the wali performed the nikah of a boy
with a mahr which was far more than the mahrul mithl of the
girl, the nikâh will not be valid from the very outset.
15. A wali other than the father or grand-father had
performed the nikâh of an immature girl who also had knowledge of
this nikâh. Thereafter, she became mature and until then her husband
hadn't had any sexual intercourse with her. In such a case, the moment she
becomes mature, she must mention her discontent with regard to marrying this
person. She must clearly state that she is not happy. Alternatively, she
could say that she does not wish to continue with this marriage. This could
be said in the presence of others or in privacy where she is all alone. But
she has to mention it verbally. However, by her merely saying this, the
nikâh will not be annulled. She will have to go to a Muslim judge, he
will annul the marriage, and only then will it be annulled.
Once she becomes mature and allows even a moment to pass in
which she does not mention her discontent, she will not have the choice of
having her nikâh annulled.
But if the girl did not have any knowledge of this nikâh
and only learnt of it after becoming mature, then the moment she is
informed, she will immediately have the right to reject the nikâh. If
she remains silent for even a moment, she will forfeit this right to reject
16. If her husband engaged in sexual intercourse with her,
and thereafter she becomes mature, it is not necessary for her to reject the
nikâh immediately after becoming mature or after being informed.
Instead, as long as she does not express her consent and happiness, she will
have the choice of rejecting or accepting irrespective of how much time
lapses. However, if she clearly states that she is happy about this
marriage, or her consent is made apparent in some other way such as being in
solitude with her husband like any other normal husband and wife, then she
will have no choice and this nikâh will become entrenched.
17. The person who is most entitled of being the wali
of an immature girl is gone to a foreign country. He is so far away that if
the rest of the family had to await his arrival in order to consult him, the
girl will lose this opportunity. Furthermore, the person who has come with
the proposal is not prepared to wait for so long and it will be difficult
for the girl to receive a similar proposal. In such a case, the person who
is next in line to become her wali can also perform her nikâh.
If he performs the nikâh without consulting the girl, it will be
valid. But if the first wali is not very far away, her nikâh
should not be performed without consulting him. If it is performed, it will
be dependent on his permission. Once he grants his permission, the nikâh
will be valid.
18. Similarly, if the second wali performs the
nikâh of an immature girl despite the most rightful wali being
present, it will be dependent on his permission. For example, if the
grand-father performs the nikâh without consulting the father despite
the latter being present, it will be dependent on the father's permission.
If the right belonged to the brother but the nikâh was performed by
the uncle, it will be dependent on the brother's permission.
19. A woman became a lunatic and lost her sanity. She has a
mature son and a father as well. If her nikâh has to be performed,
her wali will be her son because the son is more entitled of being a
wali than the father (father of the woman).
The Question of Compatibility or Kufu'
1. The Sharîah has taken great precautions in
ensuring that nikâh with an incompatible person or a person of a
lower social standing does not take place. In other words, do not perform
the nikâh of a girl with a man who is not equal to her in status or
who is of no match to her.
2. Compatibility or equality is considered in several factors
: (1) lineage, (2) Islam, (3) piety, (4) wealth, (5) profession or
1. Equality in lineage is that the Shaykh, Sayyid, Ansâri,
and Alawi are all equal to each other. In other words, although the
status of a Sayyid is more than the others, if the daughter of a
Sayyid marries a Shaykh boy; it will not be said that she did not
marry someone who is of her family relations. Instead, it will also be
regarded as if she has married one of her relatives.
2. In matters of lineage, the lineage of the father is
considered and not the mother. If the father is a Sayyid, the son is
also a Sayyid; and if the father is a Shaykh, the son is also
a Shaykh - irrespective of what the mother may be. If a Sayyid
marries a woman who is not a Sayyid, their son will be regarded as a
Sayyid. This son will be equal in status to all other Sayyids.
Although the son whose father and mother are both from a noble family is
respected more, according to the Shariah they will all be regarded as
relatives or of the same social standing.
3. The Moghuls and Pathans are regarded as one
nation and are not of the same class as that of the Sayyids and
Shaykhs. If the daughter of a Sayyid or Shaykh gets
married with one of them, it will be said that she married someone who is of
a lower social standing than her.
being a Muslim
1. Equality in being a Muslim is only considered among the
Moghuls, Pathans, and other non-Arab nations. There is no consideration
of this among the Shaykhs, Sayyids, Alawis, and Ansâris.
A man who accepts Islam and his father was a kâfir cannot be on par
or equal to a woman who is a Muslim and her father was also a Muslim. The
man who is a Muslim, his father is also a Muslim, but his grandfather was a
kâfir; cannot be equal to a woman whose grandfather was also a
2. A man whose father and grandfather were Muslims, but his
great grandfather was a kâfir will be regarded as equal to a woman
whose several forefathers were Muslims. In short, this equality is only
considered till the grandfather. Equality beyond the grandfather, such as
the great grandfather and beyond him is not considered.
Equality in piety means that a man who does not follow the
dictates of the Sharîah - who is a wicked person, a scoundrel, an
alcoholic, a shameless person - will not be considered to be equal to a
pious, chaste and religious woman.
Equality in wealth means that a person who is an absolute
pauper cannot be compatible to a rich woman. If the man is not an absolute
pauper, but is capable of giving that amount of mahr that is normally
given on the first night and is also capable of giving her maintenance, then
he will be regarded to be equal to her in status even if he is unable to
give the entire amount of mahr. It is not necessary for the man to be
in exactly the same financial position as that of the woman. Nor is it
necessary for him to be close to that financial position.
1. Equality in occupation is that, e.g. weavers are not
regarded as equal to tailors and are accorded a status that is lower than
that of tailors. Similarly, barbers, washermen, etc. are not regarded as
being equal to tailors, but are regarded as being lower than tailors.
2. A mad, lunatic person cannot be equal to an intelligent,
Mahr - Dowry
1. Once a nikâh is performed, it will be valid
irrespective of whether mention of any mahr was made or not. Despite
it being valid, one will have to give the mahr. In fact, if a person
makes the condition that he will not give any mahr and that he is
marrying the woman without any mahr, he will still have to give the
2. The minimum mahr is 10 dirhams and there is
no limit to the maximum amount of mahr. The woman can stipulate as
much as she wishes. However, it is not good to stipulate a very high figure.
If a person gives an amount less than 10 dirhams or its equivalent,
he will have to give the balance as well because mahr cannot be an
amount less than the minimum. If the husband divorces his wife (in this
case) even before she can come and live with him, he will have to give half
of the minimum.
3. A person stipulated R20, R100, R1000, or any other amount
according to his financial position. The woman thereafter came and lived
with him. He also had sexual intercourse with this wife of his. Alternately,
he did not have intercourse with her, but he and his wife were able to meet
in privacy where no one or nothing stopped them or prevented them from
engaging in sexual intercourse. In both these cases, it will be wajib
on the person to fulfil the full amount of the stipulated mahr. If
none of the above transpired between them, and one of them passed away, it
will still be wâjib to fulfil the entire mahr. Furthermore, if
none of the above transpired between them, and the man divorced her, it will
be wâjib on him to fulfil half the stipulated mahr.
In short, if the husband and wife meet in privacy, as
mentioned above or one of them passes away, the entire mahr becomes
wâjib. And if the husband divorces her prior to them being in privacy
and seclusion, it will be wâjib to fulfil half the stipulated mahr.
4. If one of them was ill, keeping a fast of Ramadân,
in the ihrâm of hajj, the woman was in her
hayd or there was someone who was peeping at them or
intruding on their privacy, and they met in private or seclusion in any of
the above situations, then this privacy or seclusion of their's is not
considered. If they meet each other in any of the above situations or
circumstances, the total amount of mahr will not become
wâjib. If the husband divorces her, it will be her right to receive half
the total mahr. However, if the fast was not a fast of Ramadân,
instead it was a qadâ, nadhr, or nafl fast, and this
was being kept by one of them, then in such a case if they happened to meet
in privacy and seclusion, the wife will have the right of receiving the full
amount of the mahr. It will be wâjib on the husband to fulfil
the full amount.
5. The husband is impotent, however, both of them met in
privacy and seclusion. The wife will still receive the full mahr.
Similarly, if the husband is a hermaphrodite and they meet in privacy and
seclusion and thereafter he divorces her, she will receive the full mahr.
6. The husband and wife met in privacy and seclusion but the
wife is so young that she is incapable of sexual intercourse. Alternately,
the husband is so young that he is incapable of sexual intercourse. If they
meet in privacy and seclusion in such a case, the full mahr will
not be wâjib.
7. If no mention whatsoever of the mahr was made at
the time of the nikâh, or the nikâh was performed on the
condition that the woman will not receive any mahr, and thereafter
one of them passed away or they met in privacy - that is regarded as a valid
privacy in the Sharîah - even then the mahr will have to be
fulfilled. However, in such a case, the mahrul mithl will have to be
In the above case, if the husband divorced his wife prior to
being in seclusion with her, she will have no right to receive any mahr.
Instead, she will only receive a set of clothing. It is wâjib on the
man to give this to the woman. He will be sinning if he does not do so.
8. When giving this set of clothing, only four items are
wâjib on the man : a dress, a scarf, a pants, and a sheet which
can cover her body from head to toe. Apart from these items it is not
wâjib to give any other clothing.
9. The clothing that the man gives should be according to his
financial position. If the man is poor, he should give cotton clothing. If
he is of a middle class, he should give silk that is of an inferior quality.
If he is very rich, he should give silk clothing that is of a very high
quality. However, it should be borne in mind that in all these circumstances
the clothing that is given should not be more than half the mahrul mithl
in value. At the same time, it should not be less than 5 dirhams in
In other words, it is not wâjib on the man to give
clothing which is very expensive and which exceeds half the mahrul mithl
in value. However, it is permissible for him to give clothing that is more
than the stipulated amount provided that he gives it happily and out of his
10. At the time of the nikâh no mahr was
stipulated. However, after the nikâh, the husband and wife agreed
upon a specific amount as mahr. In such a case, mahrul mithl
will not have to be given. Instead, the amount that they had agreed upon
will have to be given. But if the husband divorced his wife prior to their
meeting in privacy and seclusion, she will not have any right of receiving
any mahr. Instead, she will only receive the clothing that had been
11. A person stipulated R100, R1000 or any other amount
according to his financial position. Thereafter the husband decided to give
more than the original amount that was stipulated. This he did voluntarily
and out of his own good will. For example, the stipulated mahr was
R100, but he decided to give R150. Whatever additional amount he decides to
give will now become wâjib upon him. If he does not give it, he will
be sinning. But if he divorces her prior to meeting in privacy and
seclusion, he will have to give half of the original amount that was
stipulated. The additional amount that he had decided to give will not be
Similarly, if the wife happily and willingly reduces the
amount of mahr, it will be considered to be reduced. If she absolves
him from paying the entire amount, it will be absolved. Now she has no right
to claim it.
12. If the husband pressurized her into reducing the mahr
or instilled some fear into her so that she reduces the mahr, then by
her reducing or forgiving her husband, it will not be considered to be
forgiven. It will still be wâjib upon him to fulfil the mahr.
13. No cash, gold or silver was stipulated for the mahr.
Instead, a small village, a farm or some land was stipulated. This is
permissible. The farm, land, etc. that was stipulated will have to be given.
14. A horse, elephant or any other animal was stipulated as
mahr. However, a specific horse or a specific elephant was not
stipulated. This is also permissible. In such a case an average horse which
is not too cheap nor too expensive will have to be given. Alternatively,
it's value in cash could be given. However, if an animal was stipulated
without specifying the type of animal, this will not be valid. Mahrul
mithl will have to be given.
15. A couple got married in an unlawful way and the husband
and wife were therefore made to separate. For example, they got married in
secret without the presence of two witnesses. Alternately, two witnesses
were present but they were deaf and were therefore unable to hear the words
that make a nikâh valid. Alternatively, a man had divorced his wife
or he had passed away. Prior to completing her iddah, the woman
married another man. Or some other form of unlawful marriage had taken place
and the husband and wife were therefore made to separate. However, in all
these cases, the man did not have any sexual intercourse with this woman. In
such a case, she will not receive any mahr. In fact, even if they met
in privacy and seclusion, she will still not be eligible to receive any
mahr. But if sexual intercourse had taken place, she will receive
mahrul mithl. However, if at the time of nikâh some mahr
had been stipulated and this mahr is less than the mahrul mithl,
then she will receive the mahr that had been stipulated at the time
of the nikâh and not the mahrul mithl.
16. A person had sexual intercourse with a woman after
mistaking her for his wife. He will have to give her mahrul mithl as
well, and this intercourse with her will not be regarded as adultery
(zinâ) nor will there be any sin. In fact, if the woman falls pregnant,
the lineage of the child will be in order. It will not be tainted and it is
not permissible to label the child as being illegitimate. The moment the man
realizes that this is not his wife, he should immediately separate himself
from her and it will not be permissible for him to continue with the
intercourse. It is also wâjib on this woman to observe the iddah.
It is not permissible for her to stay with her husband or to engage in
sexual intercourse with him. The rules related to iddah will be
mentioned in a later chapter - Inshâ Allah.
17. If in a certain place or country, the norm is that the
entire mahr must be given on the first night, then the woman has the
right to demand the mahr on the first night. If she does not ask for
it on the first night, she can ask for it whenever she wishes and it will be
wâjib on the husband to give it to her. He cannot delay in fulfilling
18. The practice in India is that the paying and receiving of
mahr is undertaken after divorce or after death. When the woman is
divorced, it is only then that she claims her mahr. Alternatively,
when the husband dies and leaves behind some wealth, she takes her mahr
from this left over wealth of his. If the woman dies, her inheritors claim
the mahr. As long as the husband and wife are living together, no one
pays the mahr nor does she ask for it. In such a situation, the woman
cannot demand the mahr before divorce. However, it is wâjib on
the man to give an amount that is normally given in that place on the first
night. But if all these practices are not found in any place, these rules
will not apply.
19. If the husband does not give the amount of mahr
that is normally given beforehand, the wife has the right to refuse him to
engage in sexual intercourse with her until he pays that amount. If they
engaged in intercourse once, she still has the right of refusing him the
next time or the following time if he does not pay the mahr. If he
wishes to take her to another city or country, she has the right of not
going unless her mahr is paid. Similarly, if the mahr is not
paid and the woman wishes to travel to another city or country, or wishes to
go to her parents home, and there is a mahram who can take
her, then the husband does not have the right to stop her. But once he pays
the mahr, she does not have the right to do any of these things
without her husband's permission. It is not permissible for her to go
anywhere without his consent. As for the husband, he can take her wherever
he wishes. It is not permissible for her to refuse him.
20. The husband gave some item (or cash, gold, silver, etc.)
to his wife with the intention that it is mahr. Whatever he gives
will be regarded as part of the mahr. It is not necessary for him to
inform his wife at the time of giving it to her that he is giving her
21. The man gave an item to his wife. She claims that the
item was given as a gift and not as mahr while the man claims that he
gave it as mahr. In this case, the husband's claim will be
considered. However, if the item was such that it is consumed as food or
drink, it will not be considered to be mahr and the husband's claim
will not be considered.
1. Family mahr or mahrul mithl is determined in
the following way : look at any woman in the girl's father's family
who is similar or equal to this girl. That is, if the girl is young, the
woman must also be young at the time of marriage. If the woman is beautiful,
this girl must also be beautiful. If the woman's marriage had taken place
when she was a virgin, this girl's marriage must also take place while she
is a virgin. The wealth that this girl possesses at the time of her nikâh,
that woman also had possessed the same at the time of her nikâh. The
place or locality from which this girl is, that woman must also be from the
same place. If this girl is religious-minded, intelligent, well-mannered and
educated, that woman must also be the same. In short, this girl whose
nikâh is being performed now, must also possess the qualities that that
woman possessed at the time of her nikâh,. If they share the same
qualities, then the mahr that was stipulated for that woman will be
the mahrul mithl for this girl.
2. Women of the girl's father's family refer to the girl's
sisters, paternal aunts, cousins (children of paternal uncles), etc. In
other words, girls or women who are connected to her paternal grandmother.
When determining the mahrul mithl, the mahr of the mother is
not considered. However, if her mother is also of the same family as that of
her father's, e.g. if her father marries his cousin (paternal uncle's
daughter), then the mother's mahr will also be regarded as mahrul
The Marriages of the Kuffâr
1. The different forms of marriage in the different religions
are recognized in the Sharîah. If both, husband and wife, accept
Islam, there is no need to repeat their nikâh. The nikâh that
they had performed as kuffâr will still be valid.
2. If the husband or the wife accepts Islam and the other
partner does not accept, their nikâh will be annulled. It will not be
permissible for them to live as husband and wife.
3. If the wife accepts Islam and not the husband, then as
long as the wife does not complete three hayd periods,
it will not be permissible for her to marry another person.
Equality among Wives
1. If a person has more than one wife it is wâjib upon
him to treat each one equally. Whatever he gives to one wife, the other wife
also has the right to claim something equal to that in value. This rule of
equality applies to all types of wives, i.e. whether both were virgins at
the time of marriage, both were previously married or one was a virgin at
the time of marriage while the other had been previously married. If he
spends one night with one wife, he will have to spend one night with the
other wife as well. If he spends two or three nights with one wife, he will
have to do the same with the other wife as well. Whatever wealth, jewellery,
clothes, etc. he gives to one wife, the other wife also has the right to
claim something equal to that in value.
2. If a person marries a second woman, the rights of this new
wife and the rights of the old wife are the same. There is no difference in
rights between the two.
3. Equality is based on spending the night and it is not
necessary to spend an equal time with them during the day. If a person
spends more time with one wife during the day and less time with the other,
there is no harm in this. However, it is wâjib to spend an equal time
with them at night. If a person goes to one wife immediately after
maghrib, and the following day he goes to the other wife after ishâ,
he will be sinning. However, if a person's occupation is such that he works
at night and remains at home during the day; for him, the basis of equality
will be the day. For example, a night watchman or guard will have to base
his equality with his wives according to the day and not the night.
4. There is no equality in engaging in sexual intercourse in
the sense that if a person engages in sexual intercourse with one wife, it
is not necessary for him to engage in sexual intercourse with the other wife
5. The man has to maintain equality in allocating nights to
his wives irrespective of whether he is ill or not.
6. There is no sin in loving one wife more than the other
because these matters are connected to the heart and one does not have any
control over one's heart.
7. Equality is not wâjib when embarking on a journey.
The husband can take whichever wife he wishes. However, it is preferable to
cast a lot and to take the wife in whose favour the lot was drawn. In this
way there will be no unhappiness or disgruntlement.
The Virtues and Rights of Marriage
1. It is mentioned in a Hadîth that this world has
been created to be utilised and that of all the things that are utilised in
this world, there is nothing better than a pious woman. In other words, if a
person is fortunate enough to get a pious wife, it will be a great blessing.
It is also a mercy from Allah Ta'âlâ that she is actually a comfort for the
husband and a means for his success in this world and in the hereafter. A
person enjoys comfort from such a woman for his worldly needs and she also
assists him in fulfilling his religious duties.
2. It is mentioned in a Hadîth that Rasûlullâh sallallâhu
alayhi wa sallam said : "Marriage is my way and my
sunnah." "The one who does not act upon my sunnah is not of
me." That is, there is no relationship between him and me. This is actually
a warning and a threat to the one who does not practice on the sunnah
and a mention of Rasûlullâh's sallallâhu alayhi wa sallam
anger on such a person. It is therefore necessary to be extremely cautious
in this regard. Furthermore, how can a Muslim bear to have Rasûlullâh
sallallâhu alayhi wa sallam displeased with him for even a moment.
May Allah Ta'âlâ grant us death before that day comes when a Muslim
is able to bear the displeasure of Allah and His Rasûl sallallâhu
alayhi wa sallam.
It is mentioned in a Hadîth that Rasûlullâh sallallâhu
alayhi wa sallam said : "Marry so that I can be proud (of your
numbers) on the day of judgement over the other nations." In other words,
Rasûlullâh sallallâhu alayhi wa sallam likes his ummah
to be in large numbers and more than the other nations. If this happens, his
ummah will be carrying out more good deeds, and in so doing he will
receive more rewards and gain closer proximity to Allah Ta'âlâ. This is
because whoever from his ummah does good deeds, does so through his
teachings. Therefore, the more people who act on his teachings, the more
reward he will receive for conveying those teachings. We also learn from
this that whenever and however possible, we should undertake to carry out
those tasks and actions that will take us closer to Allah Ta'âlâ, and that
we should not display any laziness in this regard.
It is mentioned in a Hadîth that on the day of
judgement the people will be standing in 120 lines. Out of these, 40 lines
of people will be from the other nations while 80 lines of people will be
from the ummah of Rasûlullâh sallallâhu alayhi wa sallam.
Glory be to Allah! How beloved Rasûlullâh sallallâhu alayhi wa
sallam is to Him.
The one who is able to (fulfil the rights of a wife) should
marry. As for the one who does not have sufficient wealth (to fulfil the
rights of a wife), he should fast. That is, he should fast so that there
will be a decrease in his desires. Fasting is actually a means of curbing
his desires. If a person does not have a very dire need for women, and
instead has an average need, and he is able to pay for her basic
necessities, then nikâh is sunnat-e-muakkadah for such a
person. As for the person who has a very urgent need, nikâh will be
fard upon him. This is because there is a fear that he will
commit adultery and thereby get the sin of committing a harâm
act. If a person has a very urgent need but is financially incapable of
maintaining a wife, then such a person must fast abundantly. Later, when he
has sufficient funds to maintain a wife, he must get married.
3. It is mentioned in a Hadith that children are the flowers
of jannah. This means that the amount of joy and happiness one will
experience on seeing the flowers of paradise, that same amount of joy and
happiness is experienced when he looks at his children. And we know fully
well that children can only be obtained through marriage.
4. It is mentioned in a Hadîth that when the status of
a person is increased in jannah, he asks out of wonder : "How
did I receive all this?" (That is, "How did I receive such a high status
when I hadn't carried out so many good deeds to deserve such a status?") It
will be said to this person that this high status is on account of your
children asking for forgiveness on your behalf. In other words, your
children had asked for forgiveness on your behalf. In return for that, you
have been accorded this status.
5. It is mentioned that the child who is born out of a
miscarriage (i.e. it is born before the due date) will "fight"(wrangle) with
its Creator when its parents are entered into jahannam. In other
words, this child will go to extremes in interceding on behalf of its
parents and will ask Allah Ta'âlâ to remove its parents from jahannam.
Through His bounty, Allah Ta'ala will accept the intercession of this child
and He will be soft and lenient towards it. It will be said to this child
: "O siqt (which means, miscarried foetus) who is
quarrelling with its Lord! Enter your parents into jannah." So this
child will draw its parents out of jahannam with its navel cord and
enter both of them into jannah. We learn from this, that children of
this sort, who are actually a by-product of marriage, will also be of help
in the hereafter.
6. It is mentioned in a Hadith that when the husband and wife
look at each other (with love), Allah Ta'âlâ looks at both of them with
7. It is mentioned in a Hadith that Allah Ta'âlâ has taken it
upon Himself (i.e. out of His mercy, He as taken the responsibility) of
helping the person who gets married in order to attain purity from that
which Allah has made harâm. In other words, the person who
marries in order to save himself from adultery with the intention of obeying
Allah Ta'âlâ, Allah will help and assist him in his expenses and other
8. It is mentioned in a Hadîth that two rakats of
salât performed by a married person is better than 82 rakats performed
by an unmarried person. In another Hadith, 70 rakats have been mentioned
instead of 82 rakats. It is possible that this means that 70 rakats are
written in favour of the person who fulfils the necessary rights of his wife
and family, and that 82 rakats are in favour of the person who apart from
fulfilling their necessary rights, serves them more with his life, wealth
and good habits.
9. It is mentioned in a Hadîth that it is a major sin
for a person to be neglectful with regard to those whom he is responsible
for (and to have shortcomings in fulfilling their needs).
10. It is mentioned in a Hadîth that Rasûlullâh
sallallâhu alayhi wa sallam said : "I have not left behind
any test and tribulation on men more harmful than women." In other words, of
all the things that are harmful for men, women are the most harmful. This is
because, out of his love for a woman, a man loses all his senses, so much so
that he does not even take the commands and orders of Allah Ta'âlâ into
consideration. Therefore, a person must not fall in love with a woman in
such a way that he has to act contrary to the Sharîah. For example,
her demands for her food and clothing are more than what the husband can
afford. In such circumstances, never accept any bribes in order to
supplement your present income. Instead, give her from the halâl
earnings which Allah Ta'âlâ has blessed you with. You should continue
teaching your womenfolk and inculcate respect and good manners in them. Do
not allow them to become impudent and disrespectful. The intellect of women
is deficient, it is therefore incumbent to take special measures in
11. It is mentioned in a Hadîth that you should not
propose to a girl when your fellow Muslim brother has already proposed to
her until he gets married or gives up this proposal. In other words, when a
person has sent a proposal to a particular family and there is a likelihood
of their replying in the affirmative, another person should not send a
proposal to that same family. However, if they reject this first person, or
he himself changes his mind, or they are not too happy with him and are
still hesitant in giving a reply, it will be permissible for another person
to send a proposal for the same girl.
The same rule applies to the transactions of buying and
selling. That is, if a person is busy buying or selling something, then as
long as they do not separate or abandon the transaction, another person
should not enter into their transaction and should not offer a price above
or below that which has been already offered when there is an indication
that they are about to come to an agreement. Understand this well, and know
that a kâfir is also included in this rule.
12. It is mentioned in a Hadith that a woman is either
married because of her Dîn, her wealth or her beauty. Choose the one
with Dîn, may your hands become dusty. In other words, a man may
prefer a woman who is religiously inclined. While another may prefer one who
is wealthy. While yet another may prefer one who is beautiful. However,
Rasûlullâh sallallâhu alayhi wa sallam says that one should
choose a religiously inclined woman and that it is preferable to marry such
a woman. However, if the circumstances are such that a woman is very pious
but at the same time she is so ugly that one's nature does not find her
acceptable and there is a fear that if he marries such a woman there will be
no mutual understanding between them, and that he will be neglectful in
fulfilling her rights, then in such a case he should not marry such a woman.
"May your hands become dusty" is an Arabic mode of expression which is used
on different occasions. In this context, it is meant to create a yearning
and a desire for a pious woman.
13. It is mentioned in a Hadîth that the best wife is
one whose mahr is very simple. That is, it is very easy for the man
to fulfil her mahr. These days, there is the habit of specifying a
very high mahr. People should abstain from this.
14. It is mentioned in a Hadîth that you should look
for a good place for your sperms because a woman gives birth to children
that resemble her brothers and sisters. In other words, marry a woman who
comes from a pious and noble family because the children generally resemble
the maternal relations. Although the father also has some influence over the
child's resemblance, we learn from this Hadîth that the mother's
influence is greater. If the wife is from a disreputable and irreligious
family, the children who will be born will be similar to that family. But if
this is not so, then the children who will be born will be pious and
15. It is mentioned in a Hadîth that the greatest
right that a woman has to fulfil is to her husband, and that the greatest
right that he has to fulfil is to his mother. In other words, after the
rights of Allah and His Rasûl sallallâhu alayhi wa sallam the
woman has a very great right to fulfil to her husband, so much so that the
husband's rights supersede the rights of her parents. As for the man, after
the rights of Allah and His Rasûl sallallâhu alayhi wa sallam,
the greatest right that he has to fulfil is to his mother. We learn from
this that the right of the mother supersedes that of the father.
16. It is mentioned in a Hadîth that if anyone of you
wishes to engage in sexual intercourse with his wife, he should recite the
following duâ :
The virtue of this duâ is that if a child is
conceived through this intercourse, shaytân will not be able
to harm this child in any way.
17. There is a lengthy Hadîth in which Rasûlullâh
sallallâhu alayhi wa sallam addressed Abdur Rahmân bin
Auf radiyallâhu anhu asking him to have a walîmah
even if it is with one sheep. In other words, even if you possess very
little, you should spend. It is preferable to have the walîmah after
engaging in sexual intercourse with one's bride. However, many ulamâ
have permitted it immediately after the nikâh as well. It is mustahab
to have a walîmah.
One who has attained a considerable amount of Islamic knowledge. He could
also be referred to as an Islamic scholar.
Literally means "blessings". It refers to the experiencing of abundance
in things which are apparently insignificant or little, both in value and
Literally means "innovation". In Islam it refers to introducing new
things into religion which have no basis in the Quran or Sunnah, and in
addition to this, to regard these new things as acts of ibâdah. A bid'ah is
a major sin in Islam.
ul-maghfirah : Supplicating to Allah Ta'âlâ and asking Him for His
Annulment of a marriage after the husband's sworn testimony to have
refrained from sexual intercourse with his wife for a period of at least
four months. For further details, refer to the chapter on îlâ.
: Literally means "compulsory". In Islam it refers to those acts and
things which are compulsory on a Muslim. Abandoning or abstaining from a
fard act is a major sin. Rejecting a fard act amounts to kufr.
A formal legal opinion or verdict in Islamic law.
: Refers to all those persons with whom marriage is permissible. Based
on this, it is incumbent to observe purdah with all ghayr mahrams.
Slander or backbiting.
: Monthly periods or menstruation experienced by a woman.
: Literally means "pilgrimage". In Islam it refers to the annual
pilgrimage to Makkah.
: That which is lawful or permissible in Islam.
: That which is unlawful or prohibited in Islam.
: Refers to the large-eyed women of jannah, promised to the believers.
Literally means "worship". In Islam it refers to all those acts of
worship which one renders to Allah Ta'âlâ.
A period of waiting during which a woman may not remarry after being
widowed or divorced. For further details, refer to the chapter on iddah.
: Two pieces of unstitched cloth donned by the person performing hajj
A group, party, community.
Literally means "a disbeliever". In Islam it refers to one who rejects
Allah and does not believe in Muhammad sallallâhu alayhi
wa sallam as the final messenger of Allah.
Literally means "penance, atonement, expiation". In Islamic law it
refers to redemption from the omission of certain religious duties by a
material donation or a ritual act. For further details, refer to the chapter
Divorce at the instance of the wife who must pay a compensation. For
further details, refer to the chapter on khula'.
Plural of kâfir.
Sworn allegation of adultery committed by either husband or wife. For
further details, refer to the chapter on li'ân.
Literally means "a school". Also used to refer to a religious school.
Literally means "evening or sunset". Also refers to the time of sunset
and the salât that is offered thereafter.
Dower or bridal money.
: Refers to the person with whom marriage is not permissible and with
whom strict purdah is not incumbent.
: The dower or bridal money that is equal to or similar than that which
was given to a girl's paternal grandmothers. For further details, refer to
the chapter on mahrul mithl.
Plural of mas'ala.
Literally means "an issue, problem or question". In Islamic
jurisprudence, it refers to a rule or regulation.
: Literally means "preferable or desirable". Refers to that act which
was carried out by Rasûlullâh sallallâhu alayhi wa sallam or
the Sahâbah occasionally. Carrying out these actions entails
reward and leaving them out does not entail punishment.
A vow or solemn pledge.
Refers to the flowing of blood after child-birth.
An Urdu word meaning "seclusion". It is an equivalent of the Arabic
word "hijâb". Refers to the seclusion of women from strangers. There
are different stages of purdah, the highest of which is that the woman
should not come out of her home except for a valid Islamic reason.
: Literally means "carrying out or fulfilling". In Islamic
jurisprudence it refers to fulfilling or completing those duties that one
may have missed out due to some reason or the other.
A heretical sect which regards Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani as a prophet
of Allah. Qadianis are regarded as disbelievers.
The direction in which one faces when offering salât.
Literally means "sacrifice". In Islam it refers to the sacrificing of
animals solely for the pleasure of Allah Ta'âlâ on the day of îd ul-ad'hâ
and the two days following it.
: The ninth month of the Islamic calendar which is regarded as the most
Literally means "peace".
The Islamic Law.
: Satan or the devil.
A heretical sect found primarily in Iran.
: Refers to those actions which Rasûlullâh sallallâhu alayhi
wa sallam carried out continuously. It is a sin to leave out such a
sunnah without any valid excuse.
Refers to those who belong to the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamâ'ah. This term is
generally used as an opposite to Shîah.
Antimony. A black powdery substance that is applied to the eyes. It is
sunnah to apply surmah.
A divorce that is issued in vague terms without clearly uttering the
words of talâq.
: A divorce that is issued in clear terms without leaving any vagueness
bâ'in : A divorce which causes the annulment of the marriage. If a
person wishes to retain his wife to whom he had issued a talâqul
bâ'in, he will have to remarry her, i.e. their nikâh will have to be
: A divorce which not only causes the annulment of the marriage, but if
the couple wish to remarry, the woman will have to marry another person
first, when he divorces her or passes away, only then can she remarry her
raj'î : A revocable divorce.
details with regard to all the above forms of talâq, refer to the
Plural of âlim.
Literally means "community or nation". Here it refers to the Muslim
community and nation.
Literally means "obligatory". In Islamic jurisprudence it refers to that
act which has not been established by an absolute proof. Leaving out a wajib
without any valid reason makes one a fâsiq and entails punishment.
In the context of marriage or divorce, it refers to the legal guardian of a
Refers to the feast that is organized after a marriage. It usually
takes place after the bride and bride groom have spent a night together.
: Literally means "purity or cleanliness". In Islamic terminology it
refers to the act of washing oneself before offering salât.
: Likening one's wife to one's mother. It is a form of divorce. For
further details, refer to the chapter on zihâr.