Are Marriage Contracts Valid via Video Calls? (Shafi’i)

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

What is the validity of the marriage when the guardian of the woman is in a place different from the place of the marriage? What are the conditions according to the Shafi’i school for the validity of this marriage?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam, thank you for your question.

For the wedding contract to be valid, the bride’s guardian (wali) and the groom must be physically present, as must two male witnesses to the marriage. It is not a condition that the bride be present. Generally speaking, marriage ceremonies should be made in public.

Marriage contracts made via phone or video would not be sufficient due to the possibilities of deception.

Solution

The solution to the issue is to have the bride’s guardian appoint a proxy, meaning an appointed representative, to attend the place where the groom is and wed the bride on his behalf. For example, the guardian could appoint the bride’s brother, uncle, or the local Imam.

In this case, the proxy would say to the groom, ‘I marry you to the daughter [or otherwise] of so and so [the guardian’s name], who is my mandator (muwakkili). The groom then says ‘I accept’. There must be a minimum of two male witnesses to the marriage, who are upright.

Alternatively, the groom may travel to the place where the guardian is and perform the marriage contract in front of two witnesses.

[Mishkat al Misbah, al Yaqut al Nafis]

I pray this helps.

Please see also (Hanafi School):

What Are the Minimum Steps That Must Be Taken for a Marriage to Be Valid?

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.