Permissible For A Woman To Write Marriage Contracts? Case
Study - Conclusion
Islamic Rulings -
Living Shariah Verdicts
Islamic Questions & Answers
In our country there are ladies who write
marriage contracts. They work as registrars, and as
such they write down marriage contracts. I know that
one of the conditions for the witnesses and the wali
(guardian of the bride) is that they must be male.
Is it permissible for a woman to write the marriage
I hope that you can answer my question. Many thanks.
Praise be to Allaah.
The one who writes down the marriage contract is known
as the registrar or by other titles
This is the one who conducts the marriage procedure in
accordance with the essential shar'i requirements, and
records it in a document called ‘aqd al-nikaah (the
One of his duties is to confirm that the bride gives
her consent and agrees to this marriage, by consulting
a previously-married woman and by asking the
permission of a virgin, finding out the conditions
stipulated by both parties and ensuring that there are
no impediments to the marriage.
His duties also include confirming whether the wali is
acceptable as a wali according to sharee'ah or not,
and confirming the identity of the witnesses and
recording their testimony.
His duties also include documenting the nature and
amount of the mahr, whether it has been received by
the bride or the wali, or not, and whether there
remains any of it to be paid at a later date, or it
has been paid in full.
Acting as a registrar is regarded as a branch of the
judiciary, in fact the registrar is acting as a deputy
of the shar'i judge (qaadi), so the registrar must
himself meet some of the conditions that are
stipulated for the qaadi, the most important of which
are that he should be Muslim, male, an adult, of sound
mind and mature.
It is permissible for a woman to help prepare the
marriage contract with regard to the dowry and consent
of both parties. But with regard to directly doing the
marriage procedure, it is not permissible for her to
do that. Concerning this there is a report from
‘Aa'ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her).
It was narrated that Ibn Jurayj said: When ‘Aa'ishah
wanted to arrange the marriage of one of her
womenfolk, she called some of her family and would
recite the shahaadah, and when there was nothing left
but the nikaah, then she would say: "O So and so,
perform the marriage, for women cannot perform
Musannaf ‘Abd al-Razzaaq (6/201); classed as saheeh by
al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Baari (9/186).
It was narrated that ‘Aa'ishah said: If a young man
from among her sister's children liked a young women
from among her brother's children, a curtain would be
set up between them and she would speak, and if there
was nothing left but marriage she would say: "O so and
so, perform the marriage, for women cannot perform
Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah (3/276)
There was also narrated from ‘Aa'ishah a report which
may be misinterpreted as meaning that a women is
allowed to conduct marriages, and the Hanafis quoted
it as evidence that it is not essential to have a wali
It was narrated from al-Qaasim ibn Muhammad that
‘Aa'ishah the wife of the Prophet (peace and blessings
of Allaah be upon him) married Hafsah bint ‘Abd al-Rahmaan
to al-Mundhir ibn al-Zubayr when ‘Abd al-Rahmaan was
away in Syria. When ‘Abd al-Rahmaan came he said: How
could such a thing be done to me? How could I be
mistreated in such a manner? ‘Aa'ishah spoke to al-Mundhir
ibn al-Zubayr and al-Mundhir said: That is up to ‘Abd
al-Rahmaan. ‘Abd al-Rahmaan said: I would not undo
something that you have decided. Therefore Hafsah
remained married to al-Mundhir and there was no
Narrated by Maalik (1182). Its isnaad is saheeh.
What they understood from this report is wrong. What
the report means is in accordance with what we have
narrated from ‘Aa'ishah (may Allaah be pleased with
Imam Abu Waleed al-Baaji (may Allaah have mercy on
The words " ‘Aa'ishah married Hafsah to…" may be
understood in two ways:
1 – That she herself did the marriage contract. This
was narrated by Ibn Muzayn from ‘Eesa ibn Dinar who
said: This is not the usual practice – i.e., the
practice of the people of Madeenah at the time when
‘Eesa was there – because Maalik and the fuqaha' of
Madeenah did not regard as permissible a marriage
contract done by a woman, and it to be regarded it as
invalid whether the marriage is consummated or not.
2 –That she only discussed the mahr and other matters
having to do with the marriage, and appointed one of
her male relatives to conduct the marriage, but the
contract was attributed to ‘Aa'ishah because she is
the one who arranged it. It was narrated that
‘Aa'ishah would arrange marriages then say: "Perform
the marriage contract, for women cannot perform the
marriage contract." This is what is well known among
the Sahaabah, that it is not valid for a woman to
perform a marriage contract for herself or for another
Al-Muntaqa Sharh al-Muwatta' (3/251).
Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
The words in this hadeeth – ‘Aa'ishah married Hafsah,
the daughter of her brother ‘Abd al-Rahmaan, to al-Mundhir
ibn al-Zubayr – are not to be taken at face value.
What is meant by the words "she married Hafsah to" is
– and Allaah knows best –the proposal of marriage and
other arrangements concerning the dowry, consent to
marriage and so on, not the marriage contract itself.
This is based on the hadeeth that is narrated from
her, which says that when she had finished discussing
the proposal, dowry and consent to marriage, she would
say: "Perform the marriage contract, for women cannot
perform the marriage contract."
He said: The Kufis quoted as evidence the hadeeth of
Maalik from ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn al-Qaasim from
‘Aa'ishah that is mentioned in this chapter about it
being permissible for a woman to perform a marriage
But it cannot be evidence because of the hadeeth of
Ibn Jurayj that we have quoted, and because ‘Aa'ishah
is the last of those who quoted the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) as saying: "There can
be no marriage without a guardian." The word wali
(guardian) can only be applied to male relatives, not
It is permissible for a woman to arrange and prepare
for a marriage but it is not permissible for her to
conduct the marriage herself, because that is the job
of the qaadi or his deputy, and one of the conditions
of the qaadi is that he should be male.
If the marriage contract has been performed with the
consent of both parties and the agreement of the wali,
and the woman is appointed to document the marriage
contract, such as if she is an employee working in the
court or sharee'ah department, and the like, then it
seems that there is nothing wrong with that, because
the marriage contract has been done, and all she is
doing is recording it in a document.
But if she is a witness to the marriage contract or is
the one who decides the validity of the witnesses or
she is the one who conducts the marriage, instead of
the wali, then that is not permissible.
And Allaah knows best.
Is the marriage contract valid if she is not present?
I had a proposal come few yrs ago.mans family
disapproved of me due to different caste.he wanted
tomarry me as did i.i gave him written permission for
a nikah.we had a nikah in proxy.i was not present, he
was there, two witnesses, a local imam etc.my parents
do approve of this marriage but are not aware we
actually had nikah.is this nikah jayaz.is it a
nikah.we have not committed any haram intimate acts,
all we do is talk over phone but had nikah as
conversation this is only allowed after nikah.my issue
is would a nikah in proxy be valid if i wasn't
actually aware of exact day it took place.he did not
inform me on the day that this was hapenning as we
could not make contact.although i have no objections
to this nikah just need to know if islamically it is
Praise be to Allaah.
It is not essential for you to be present at the
marriage contract; what matters is that it be proven
that you give your consent, and written permission is
sufficient for that.
What matters is that your wali (guardian) or his
wakeel (representative) should be present, because a
marriage contract without the wali of the woman is not
valid, because the Prophet (blessings and peace of
Allaah be upon him) said: "There is no marriage
without a wali." Narrated by Abu Dawood (2085), al-Tirmidhi
(1101) and Ibn Maajah (1881) from the hadeeth of Abu
Moosa al-Ash'ari; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in
And the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon
him) said: "Any woman who gets married without the
permission of her wali, her marriage is invalid, her
marriage is invalid, her marriage is invalid."
Narrated by Ahmad (24417), Abu Dawood (2083) and al-Tirmidhi
(1102); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami',
From your saying "my parents do approve of this
marriage but are not aware we actually had nikah" it
may be understood that your wali was not present at
the nikaah and that his representative was not present
either. If that is the case then the marriage contract
is not valid, and you have to repeat the marriage
contract in the presence of the wali and two
This applies if you have a Muslim wali, such as a
father, brother or other guardian. If there is no
Muslim wali then your wali is the Muslim qaadi
(judge). If there is no qaadi, then it is the director
of the Islamic centre or the imam of the mosque.
You do not mention anything about your parents'
Based on that, if none of your guardians are Muslim,
then the way in which the marriage contract was done
is valid. But if one of your guardians is Muslim, then
the marriage contract must be repeated in his
presence, or he must appoint someone to do the
marriage contract on his behalf.
And Allaah knows best.