Does an Accepted Proposal of Marriage Without Intention Constitute a Valid Marriage?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: If a male and female do a marriage proposal which is valid but not with a serious intention as understood by all parties and people present is this marriage valid?

The wording of the offer was “will you marry me/do you accept for marriage” and the reply was “yes, i do.”

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

This would not be considered a marriage contract.

In the Hanafi school, there is no consideration given to intention in contexts where the actual wording of the offer and acceptance is indicative of the commencement of the contract and its confirmation respectively.

However, an offer for marriage that is presented in question form, as described by you in your question, is not necessarily indicative of the above. In order to consider it an actual offer, there would need to be some external indicants demonstrating that such a wording (“will you marry me?”) was in fact uttered in order to commence a contract and not simply as a promise of marriage at some future date.

Therefore, if such a wording was uttered in an actual session where the marriage is taking place, it would count as an offer and the response of the other party as an acceptance. However, if no such context exists, and nor an intention on the part of the two parties to contract marriage, it would simply be viewed as a future promise.

[Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar (2:271-72); al-Abyani, Sharh Ahwal al-Shaksiyya (2:15)]


Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani