Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel
I recently read that based on Hanafi fiqh, although agreed upon by all major scholars, the offer and acceptance in front of witnesses is a mandatory requirement, which, if not fulfilled, invalidates the Nikah contract.
I got married six years ago to my Moroccan wife. We met online and agreed online between us to marry each other. The marriage took place in Morocco, where her family, Wali, and two witnesses were present.
However, while we all knew why we were there, for the Nikah, no words of offer and acceptance were uttered; everyone met, we did fatiha, made dua, and then celebrated.
Can you advise if such an implicit approach invalidates my Nikah contract? If so, what recourse do I have?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
I pray you are in good faith and health. Thank you for your question.
Generally, the offer and acceptance must be clear and definite. However, there is leeway regarding this in the Hanafi school: anything that would ultimately be understood to have been a marriage, mainly where people came together for marriage, then this took place. It is not ideal, but certainly, in the Hanafi school, it counts as a marriage.
Most Important Matter in a Marriage Ceremony
The most important matter in a marriage contract ceremony is the presence of two males or one male witness and two female witnesses to witness the marriage.
This is why if the bride and groom just offer and accept by presenting themselves to a valid number and gender of witnesses or a mixed group of people, the marriage will be valid.
Marriage is concluded and contracted with the offer and acceptance in the presence of two male witnesses or one male and two female witnesses. [Ibn ʿAbidin, Radd al-Muhtar; Al-Lubab fi Sharh al-Kitab]
I would like you to go through the valuable answers and links below. You will receive guidance and direction in sha Allah.
The Elements of Meaningful Marriage Contracts – SeekersGuidance
Key Considerations in the Act of Marriage – SeekersGuidance
Benefits of a Marriage Agreement – SeekersGuidance
Etiquette of Marriage: A Comprehensive SeekersGuidance Reader
Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered (seekersguidance.org)
Four Keys to The Most Successful Marriage – SeekersGuidance
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I pray this helps with your question.
[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied in the UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey.
He started his early education in the UK. He went on to complete hifz of the Quran in India, then enrolled into an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied the secular and Alimiyyah sciences. He then traveled to Karachi, Pakistan.
He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for a number of years. He has taught hifz of the Qur’an, Tajwid, Fiqh, and many other Islamic sciences to both children and adults onsite and online extensively in UK and Ireland. He was teaching at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK, where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences.
He currently resides in the UK with his wife. His personal interest is the love of books and gardening.