Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick
I married a girl who was not present in my country. I’m from Pakistan, and she is from Indonesia. Her father appointed a proxy in Pakistan. The proxy performed the ijab in the presence of two witnesses, and I accepted (qabul) in Urdu. I follow the Hanafi school of thought, while she follows the Shafi’i school of thought. Is our nikah valid if the ijab and qabul were done in Urdu, not Arabic, even though we can speak Arabic? Because I have heard that, according to Imam Shafi’i, if the ijab and qabul are not in the Arabic language, then the nikah will be invalid. Do we have to renew our nikah?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah guide every dimension of our lives to that which pleases Him.
Assuming no other discrepancies in the marriage integrals, the non-Arabic marriage contract was valid, and Allah knows best.
The Marriage Contract
The spoked marriage contract (aqd al-nikah) is the explicitly stated spoken agreement (sigha) comprising a verbal offer by the guardian and verbal acceptance by the groom. The oral agreement is valid in languages other than Arabic, even when one can speak Arabic. [Keller, Reliance of the Traveler]
The spoken form (sigha) of marriage is not valid if allusive. Nor is it valid without:
- An offering statement from the guardian that affects it, namely “I marry you” (i.e., to her, the Arabic ‘zawwaja’ meaning to marry someone to another).
- An immediate spoken acceptance by the groom, namely “I marry her,” or “I accept her marriage.” [Keller, Reliance of the Traveler]
If the above conditions are present in the marriage contract you referred to, it is valid, but if not, it would be invalid, and Allah knows best.
I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar Shaykh Taha Karaan.
Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.
He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.
Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and has completed his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.