‘Urfi Marriage (In Secret With Or Without Wali) And Mut'ah Marriage (With Set Time Limit)
Islamic Rulings -
Living Shariah Verdicts
Islamic Questions & Answers
I want to marry a Muslim girl, but in three years'
time, and I do not want to commit sin with her. I want
to marry her in a ‘urfi marriage (a kind of marriage
in which the nikaah is not registered officially or
announced) or a mut'ah marriage until I can marry her
in the shar'i manner later on. What should I do when I
want to marry her in the shar'i manner after that?
Because I fear Allaah and I do not want to fall into
sin. This is the best and most permissible method, but
Allaah knows best. What should I do?.
Praise be to Allaah.
The question is not clear. The brother's words may be
understood in more than one way with regard to his
intention in the marriage contract about which he is
asking. He says " ‘urfi marriage" then he says "mut'ah".
It is known that there are two well-known forms of "
‘urfi marriage", and he could be asking about three
kinds, so we will answer on the assumption that he is
asking about all of them.
As for mut'ah marriage, which means marrying for a set
time limit agreed upon by both parties, for a
specified mahr (dowry), after which the marriage
contract is annulled upon expiry of that time period –
this is a haraam marriage contract which is not valid
at all. This has already been discussed in the answers
to questions no. 1373, 2377 and 6595.
With regard to " ‘urfi marriage" – there are two types
1 – Where the woman is married in secret, without the
agreement of her wali (guardian). If that is the case
then it is a haraam marriage contract which is not
valid, because the agreement of the wali is one of the
conditions of the marriage contract being valid.
In the answer to question no. 2127 you will find a
summary of the conditions of marriage, and the
conditions of the wali. In the answer to question no.
7989 there are more details about the importance of
the wali in order for the marriage to be valid.
2 – Marriage with the agreement of the woman and her
wali, but without announcing the marriage publicly, or
registering it in the shar'i or civil courts, but
there are witnesses. If this is the case, then it is a
valid marriage from the point of view of having met
the necessary conditions, but it goes against the
Islamic command to publicize the marriage. Not having
the marriage officially documented may lead to the
wife losing out on her rights with regard to the dowry
and inheritance, and if the marriage leads to
children, how will this child be recorded in official
documents? How will the woman defend her honour before
It should also be noted that some of the fuqaha' say
that publicizing the marriage is one of the conditions
of it being valid, which is not far from the truth.
They gave as the reason for that the fact that
publicizing the marriage demonstrates the difference
between marriage and immoral relationships. This is
supported by the words of the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him): "The difference
between what is halaal and what is haraam is beating
the daff and raising the voice at weddings." Narrated
by al-Tirmidhi, 1088; al-Nasaa'i, 3369; Ibn Maajah,
1896. Classed as hasan by Shaykh al-Albaani in Irwa'
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said:
There is no doubt that a marriage which is announced
publicly is valid, even if it is not witnessed by two
witnesses, but if it is concealed and kept secret,
this is a matter concerning which there is some
debate. If there are witnesses and it is also
announced publicly, this is the marriage concerning
which there is no dispute that it is valid. If there
are no witnesses and it is not announced publicly,
then it is invalid according to all scholars. But if
there are any scholars who dispute this, they are very
Al-Fataawa al-Kubra, 3/191
Ibn al-Qayyim said:
The Lawgiver has stipulated four conditions for
marriage in addition to the marriage contract, in
order for there to be no suspicion of immoral conduct:
it should be publicized, there should be a wali
(woman's guardian), the woman should not do the
marriage contract herself and it is mustahabb to beat
the daff and raise voices (in song) and give a
waleemah (wedding feast), because that does away with
the means that may lead to immoral actions under the
guise of being married.
I'laam al-Muwaqqi'een, 3/113
i.e., if marriage is done in secret, it is possible
that if the woman gets pregnant and gives birth, the
man may deny this child because there is no proof that
this woman is his wife and this child is his child.
But if there are witnesses and the marriage is
publicized, there is no room for this evil action to