Is a Nikah Valid in the Presence of Three Female Witnesses and without the Mention of Dowry?
Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel
I exchanged nikah words with a friend in the presence of three female friends, and when a friend asked if I accepted her as my wife, I said “yes” three times, and when she asked, I said “yes” again. Mahr was not mentioned at all.
Is this Nikah valid?
There was no wali present. And if a physical relationship is maintained, is it zina because no mahr was decided?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
I pray you are well.
The above marriage (nikah) is invalid in the presence of three female witnesses. There had to be one male witness for your marriage to be valid Islamically. The presence and permission of a guardian (wali) and non-payment or mention of marriage payment would have still validated the marriage. If you maintain the relationship based on the invalid marriage ceremony above, it will constitute fornication (zina).
Contract of Marriage
Marriage is concluded and contracted with the offer and acceptance in the presence of two male witnesses or one male and two female witnesses (in your case, it was only three witnesses). [Maydani, al-Lubab fi Sharh al-Kitab]
Marriage Payment (Mahr)
The marriage contract is valid when the dowry is mentioned or not.
The dowry (mahr) is a consequence and gift of the marriage contract, which is an obligatory due, whether it is contractually stated during the nikah contract or not. Physical relation is absolutely fine; both are married, and any children born would be legitimate. In any case, the dowry remains a debt upon the husband until payment.
Marriage without a guardian is not permitted except under circumstances of religiously recognized necessity. [Ibid]
However, this is no light matter. Even though consent is not a condition of the validity of the marriage, the guardian has the right to the annulment of the marriage if, without consent, she marries someone who is not seen as Islamically compatible with her. Compatibility is stipulated by specific criteria set by the Sacred law. [Ibid.]
The summary is you will have to conduct your marriage again with two male witnesses or one male and two female witnesses. If there is no guardian (wali) or mention of marriage payment of yet (mahr), the marriage would be conducted and still be valid.
A Guide to Marriage: SeekersGuidance Reader – SeekersGuidance
Some Rulings Related to the Dowry – SeekersGuidance
What Are the Conditions for Doing a Marriage Contract without a Consenting Guardian (Wali) or Witnesses? (seekersguidance.org)
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 the hifz of the Quran in India, then enrolled in an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied the secular and ‘Aalimiyya sciences. He then traveled to Karachi, Pakistan. He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for several years. He has taught hifz of the Quran, Tajwid, Fiqh, and many other Islamic sciences to children and adults onsite and online extensively in the UK and Ireland. He taught 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 interest is a love of books and gardening.