A Christian Woman Got Married In A Church Then Became Muslim
Islamic Rulings -
Living Shariah Verdicts
Islamic Questions & Answers
Upon chatting with a Muslim sister who recently moved
to our community, I came upon something disturbing.
She has been married for about 7 years (she was
Catholic at the time and al hamdullilah she has
reverted to the right path). Her husband was a brand
new Muslim at that time. They were married in a church
by a priest. He did not know any Muslims at the time
and thought that marrying the people of the book could
be done in a church. It was only last week that they
both found out that the ceremony should have been
conducted by a Muslim. They already have 4 kids. What
are they supposed to do now? Is their marriage
contract valid? Do they have to redo the ceremony?
What about all the years they have been together not
knowing that Muslims do not get married by priests?
Please advise, so that we could correct the situation
if it needs correction.
Jazakum Allah Khairan.
Praise be to Allaah.
Praise be to Allaah Who has guided them to Islam. We
ask Allaah to help us and them to be steadfast in
adhering to His religion. In response to your
question, if the marriage was contracted through an
offer or proposal (eejaab) from the walee (guardian)
of the bride and acceptance (qabool) on the part of
the groom, with the consent of the bride, in front of
two Muslim witnesses of good character (as regards
piety, attitude, conduct, etc.), then the marriage
contract is valid. Ibn Qudaamah (may Allaah have mercy
on him) said: "A marriage is not properly contracted
unless there are two Muslim witnesses, regardless of
whether the bride and groom are both Muslims or only
the groom is. This is what Ahmad stated, and it is
also the opinion of al-Shaafi'i." (Al-Mughni, 9/349;
al-Mufaddal fi Ahkaam al-Mar'ah, 6/120).
If the marriage was conducted as described above, then
it is valid, otherwise it must be repeated. It is
permissible for a non-Muslim woman to be married by
her non-Muslim guardian, but if she becomes Muslim,
this role can only be played by a Muslim. If she has
no Muslim walee, then this role can be delegated to
the director of the Islamic Centre or whoever is
acting in his stead. As regards the children who were
born during this time, they are the children of the
man and should be given his name, as is the ruling in
cases where there is uncertainty of this nature.
And Allaah knows best.