Is It Permissible to Have a Civil Marriage for Legal Purposes before Nikah?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel


Is it permissible to do civil/legal marriage before nikah? I need legal proof of marriage so that my fiancée can get a visa to live in my country. However, due to visa delays, the whole process may take weeks. That is why I am considering getting the legal marriage and visa paperwork done before the nikah so that she can come to my country immediately after the nikah.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

I pray you are in good faith and health.

Yes, one can perform the civil marriage before the actual Islamic marriage (nikah) if there are two Muslim male witnesses or one male and two female witnesses.

If the marriage ceremony fulfills the sharia considerations of “offer and acceptance” and the presence of two Muslim males, or one Muslim male and two female Muslim witnesses. [Ibn ’Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

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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 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.