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

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.

Am I Allowed to Keep a Phone Potentially Replaced by the Seller for the Wrong Reason?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

I may have potentially damaged my iphone’s silent switch by water damage. I took it to the Apple store but all they asked me was “What is the problem with it?”. I said the silent switch does not work. The adviser went through a check list, and to the best of my knowledge did not check for water damage. I perhaps should have mentioned that potentially it could have been damaged due to water damage. They ultimately replaced the phone. Am I therefore allowed to keep this device?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

Yes, you can keep the device. Assume that the malfunction was not due to something you did, and that were further questioning necessary, it would have occurred.

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.

Can I Check My Husband’s Phone for Pornography?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

Can I check my husband’s phone for pornography, with the intention of confronting him with proofs, so that he will get help?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Spying

Abu Hurairah reported the Messenger of Allah (May peace be upon him) as saying: “Avoid suspicion for suspicion is the most lying form of talk. Do not be inquisitive about one another, or spy on one another.” [Sunan Abi Dawud]

Dear sister, it is not permissible for you to check for pornography on your husband’s phone. Confronting him with proof may not bring about the outcome you desire.

Pornography

Your intentions are good, and I pray that Allah rewards you for that. Combine your good intentions with what Allah has made permissible. Speak frankly to your husband, and say that you want to help him overcome his pornography addiction. Even if he denies it, repeat that you are there for him.

Purify Your Gaze is an excellent resource for your husband. Please encourage him to reach out to them. If he is unwilling, then I suggest that you contact them, and ask for help.

Recovery from pornography and sex addiction is a journey that begins with repentance. Make your home one that is conducive to his repentance. Treat him with excellent character.

Prayer

I encourage you perform the Prayer of Need in the last third of the night. Allah alone is the Turner of hearts. Never underestimate the power of dua.

I pray that Allah heals your husband and your marriage.

Please see:

How do I Stop my Husband from Watching Pornography and Masturbating?
A Reader on Pornography and Masturbation

Wassalam,

[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.

I Feel Like I Lost the Man for Me, Because I Ripped up His Number. What Do I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

A few years ago, I was going to college with my father on his bike and a boy wrote his number down and threw it on my bag. I tore it up, but now I feel like I lost the man Allah sent to me, and I am unable to forget him. What do I do?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Reflection

Dear sister, I encourage you to read Distinguishing Between Thoughts From Ourselves, Shaytan, and Allah.

Reflect on where you think these thoughts are coming from. Are these thoughts from your lower self, or are they Shaytanic whisperings? Please trust that no good will come from giving in to them.

Repentance

Each time you think of that young man, please make copious istighfar, and seek refuge in Allah from the whisperings of Shaytan. Guard yourself, and your heart. Longing for companionship is normal and healthy in a young woman. Channel that longing towards dua, instead of preoccupying your heart with a man who is not your husband.

Marriage

Your dignity and wellbeing matter to Allah. The right man for you will approach you and your family in the right way, befitting your rank as a Muslimah. Throwing a note on your bag is disrespectful.

I encourage you to enrol in Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages. Please learn about the qualities you need to look for in a husband, and what kind of character traits you need to acquire in yourself.

In the meantime, please listen to this free downloadable lesson set – Getting Married.

Prayer

Nothing shuts and opens doors like the powerful Prayer of Guidance. I encourage you to perform it up til 7 times about the young man you are attached to. If Allah sends you a positive sign, then perhaps marriage to him is good for you. If Allah sends you a negative sign, then I pray you will close that door and be content with it.

Connection

What is your relationship like with Allah? There is a special place in your heart that cannot be filled by anyone other than Him. No man can give you that contentment, no matter how wonderful he may be.

Please nourish your connection with your Merciful Lord through prayer, fasting, recitation of Qur’an, dhikr, and any other praiseworthy act of worship.

I pray that Allah grants you the blessing of a husband of deen and excellent character.

Please see:

Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered
A Reader on Waswasa (Baseless Misgivings)

Wassalam,
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.

Does a Divorce Need to Be Uttered in Front of Witnesses to Be Valid?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I am not sure if I am really divorced. My husband uttered these words but I think it should have been in front of witnesses. We signed the divorce papers and I also made my husband call me with his father and utter the words of divorce over the phone.

Can I remarry? Am I really divorced?

Answer: In the Name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate           

 

Dear sister, rest assured that you are, without a shadow of a doubt, divorced from your ex-husband and are free to remarry. The thoughts that you are having are nothing more than the devil playing tricks, and his whispering should be tossed aside and never given any attention.

 

To help you get through this, I have detailed some advice and explanation of the rulings relevant to your situation, with textual evidence, so you can be sure that what you are being told is correct. Sometimes understanding the working knowledge of a ruling (if it already has not been explained to you) can bring peace to one’s heart, rather than a simple answer of validity or invalidity.

 

RULING

 

You mention two separate occasions when divorce was made; one when signing the divorce papers, the other when he spoke to you on the phone and clearly pronounced the divorce.

 

WRITING/SIGNING WORDS OF DIVORCE

 

Writing explicit or implicit words of divorce does not require witnesses.

 

In the Shafi’i school, written words of divorce simply require that the husband intends divorce when writing the words. [Tuhfa al Muhtaj, Mughni al Muhtaj].

 

In the Hanafi school, clear and unambiguous writing alone constitutes a divorce. [Bada’i al-Sana’i]

 

In both schools, this also applies to signing legal paper work written by a third party (even if non-Muslim, and even through the courts), and when signed by the husband on divorce papers if, a) the husband has understood the contents of the papers and has no objection and b) He intends by his signature confirmation of divorce (in the Shafi’I school).

 

Imam Ibn Abidin states, ‘If the husband requested another person to write the declaration of divorce for him, and he (the writer) after writing it, read it out to the husband who took the divorce paper, signed and stamped it, and sent it to his wife, divorce will be effected if the husband admits that it is his writing.” (Radd al-Muhtar).

 

It is clear from what you wrote that your ex-husband had no objection to signing the divorce papers and that his signature indicated full consent and intention to issue the divorce. Therefore, according to both the legal schools, one divorce would have been affected.

 

DIVORCE BY PRONUNCIATION

 

In both the Shafi’i and Hanafi Schools, explicit words of divorce do not require an intention (such as, ‘I divorce you’), while allusive words require an intention for divorce to be effected. [Tuhfa al Muhtaj, Radd al Muhtar]. This can be done in person or on the phone, provided that one is certain the person on the phone is the husband.

 

It is clear that it was your husband on the phone, and he used explicit words to issue the divorce (which as we mentioned does not require an intention). While your father-in-law being witness is not a condition for the validity of the divorce to take place, it does mean that you’re certain it was your husband speaking on the phone.

 

We have already stated that the divorce that counts was already issued through the legal process. However, should it be necessary for you to feel at peace, the explicit pronunciation on the phone was an absolute and final confirmation that your marriage is annulled, and this is in agreement with all four legal schools.

 

WASWASA (Baseless Misgivings)

 

There is nothing more satisfying to the devil than causing doubt in the heart of a believer, and one of the ways he does this is through sewing discord in the matters of marriage and procreation, which are the foundation and fortification of every Muslim society. He is either trying to get us to abandon our chastity and corrupt our lineage through lewdness, or at the least, cause us to doubt in them.

 

One of his wretched names, is al Khanas, the one who whispers and draws away. Allah Most High tells us this in Surah al Nas, when He orders us to seek refuge ‘From the mischief of the Whisperer (of Evil), who withdraws (after his whisper). (The same) who whispers into the hearts of Mankind, Among Jinns and among men.’ [114:4-6]’.

 

Therefore, recognise that this is what is happening, and do not give him an inch. I will discuss below some ways to do this.

 

Know the ways the devil may come at you: Satan will come at you from every single angle possible, causing doubt wherever there is a door open for it. The following is typical things the vile creature will whisper to you and make you doubt:

 

Perhaps I didn’t tell the scholars everything or left out something?

Perhaps the scholars are just giving a quick answer and haven’t really understood everything or perhaps they overlooked something in my case?

Perhaps the scholars I asked are not qualified and another scholar will give another ruling?

Perhaps my ex-husband’s intention was not clear or definite?

What will people think of me or say about me if I remarry and have children?

What if I am committing sin by remarrying?

 

This is all nonsense! If any of these come to your mind, seek refuge in Allah from the devil and ‘Alhamdulillah’ abundantly. There is nothing more the devil hates then when one is grateful and pleased with his Lord.

 

 

BUILDING YOUR DEFENSE AGAINST THE DEVIL:

 

Get on with life: Take steps to get remarried if that is what you want to do and don’t look back. Once life starts moving for you and in society with your new family, Satan would have failed and leave you. By getting on with life with the very thing that he is causing doubt in and holding you back from, the door will be shut. Maintain this by fulfilling your obligations to God and being grateful to Him.

 

Stay busy: Keep busy and don’t spend too much time on your own or at home alone. Satan sewing doubts in your mind about your marriage and divorce is only part of a bigger picture. What he wants is you to lose hope in God, and ultimately leading you to losing faith in God. Keeping busy productively drowns his feeble whisperings.

 

Open spaces: Go to open spaces like parks which will help clear your mind. Go with friends and family who are optimistic and good company.

 

Tahajjud: Try to wake up before Fajr and make earnest du’a to Allah to fortify you against the devils whispering. Do not say ‘if I am doing wrong by remarrying then forgive me’ etc., because this will only continue your doubts. You’re not doing anything wrong, and you know that yourself.  Rather, ask Allah to give you the strength to be a firm believer and a pious servant to Him and that you surrender all your affairs to Him alone, and ask for  a good and righteous husband and pious children.

 

Qur’an, dhikr and worship: Read a set amount of Quran each day and set amount of dhikr at. The benefits are innumerable, but among them is that they keep devils away, fortify one’s home, and most importantly bring peace to one’s heart. Allah most high tells us, ‘Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah: for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction’ [13:28].

 

Often, the devil gets a foot in the door and is allowed to whisper because there was an open gap for him to do so in the first place. Fortify yourself through observing your obligatory worship and what you can of the supererogatory acts, especially dhikr, and avoid sins or continuing in any sin.

 

Before sleeping: Recite Surat Ikhlas and Al Falaq and al Nas three times and blow on yourself when you go to sleep at night. It was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that when the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) went to bed every night, he would hold his hands together and blow into them, and recite into them al Ikhlas, al Falaq, and al Nas. Then he would wipe his body, starting with his head and face and the front of his body, and he would do that three times. [al Bukhari].

 

Al Ta’awudh: Recite often, أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم (I seek refuge in Allah from the cursed Satan) whenever the doubts occur.

 

DUA

 

You may find the following supplications useful. Perhaps try reciting them after each prayer, or any other convenient time.

 

Seeking refuge in Allah from evil

 

أَعُوْذُ بِكَلِمَاتِ اللهِ الْتَّامَّاتِ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا خَلَقَ

I seek refuge in the Perfect Words of Allah from the evil of what He has created

 

Seeking protection from the devils and jinn

أَعُوذُ بكَلِمَاتِ اللهِ التَّامَّاتِ الَّتِي لَا يُجَاوِزُهُنَّ بَرٌّ ولَا فَاجرٌ مِنْ شّرِّ مَا خَلقَ، وبَرَأَ وذَرَأَ، ومِنْ شَرِّ مَا يَنْزِلُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ وِمنْ شَرِّ مَا يَعْرُجُ فيهَا، ومِن شَرِّ مَا ذَرَأَ في الأَرْضِ ومِنْ شَرِّ مَا يَخْرُجُ مِنْهَا، وِمنْ شَرِّ فِتَنِ اللَّيْلِ والنَّهارِ، ومِنْ شَرِّ كُلِّ طارِقٍ إِلَّا طَارِقاً يَطْرُقُ بخَيْرٍ يَا رَحْمَنُ

I take refuge within Allah’s perfect words which no righteous or unrighteous person can transgress, from all the evil that He has created, made and originated. (I take refuge) from the evil that descends from the sky and the evil that rises up to it. (I take refuge) from the evil that is spread on Earth and the evil that springs from her, and I take refuge from the evil of the tribulations of night and day, and the evil of one who visits at night except the one who brings good, O Merciful One.

 

When feeling helpless regarding matter:

 

 حسبي اللهِ ونعم الوکيل

Allah is my sufficiency, and how perfect a benefactor (Abu Dawud). This invocation can be is best repeated 3 times or more in odd counts.

 

You should also ensure that you are saying the supplications before going to the bathroom, as bathrooms are spaces where devils are more likely to cause mischief:

 

Entering the bathroom:                                   

 

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْخُبُثِ وَالْخَبَائِثِ

O Allah, I seek refuge with you from all evil and evil-doers.

 

NOT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY NOW

 

Finally, remember that Allah, Most High, tells us, ‘On no soul doth Allah Place a burden greater than it can bear’ [2.286]. You have done all that is in your capacity as an individual to find out the ruling in this situation (more than once and to different scholars!). There is nothing more in your capacity to do other than submit to what has been said and move on. Religion, nor life, is not meant to get to the point where you become immobile and unable to move forward. It is a practical religion, so once you have taken the appropriate steps to find out the ruling and been given advice, then you move on with no regrets and no turning back.

 

Furthermore, no qualified scholar will tell you to get remarried if he wasn’t absolutely certain of the ruling, otherwise he is liable to be being asked about it, and the consequences of such an answer, himself. When a clear and definite answer is given, the scholar takes on the responsibility for that answer. Therefore, there is absolutely no duty or accountability on your behalf now, either in this life or the next.

 

I wish you every happiness, and that Allah takes away your doubts, and grants you with a loving and pious husband and family, insha’Allah.

 

Please keep us in your dua’s.

 

Warmest salams,

[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007 I travelled to Tarim, Yemen, where I spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with my main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, I moved to Amman, Jordan, where I continue advanced study in a range of sciences, as well as teaching. Away from the Islamic sciences, I am a qualified Homeopath, and run a private clinic in Amman.

My Husband Pronounced a Divorce Over the Phone Without Warning. Is My Divorce Valid?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: My husband and I married a few months ago. I left to come to visit my family. While I was home, we got into an argument about me working. A week later my husband called me and pronounced talaq (divorce). He has not spoken to me since.

Is the divorce valid? Have I committed any sins? Will he be judged on his behaviour?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well.

Consultation

Is there a local scholar you can speak to about your situation? Please consult one as soon as you can.

Validity

I am very sorry, but based on your description, your divorce is valid. It would be sinful for your former husband to have divorced you without good reason, but it is still valid. You have done your part by reaching out to him and trying to reconcile. Yes, as with any action, he will be taken to task by Allah for his behaviour.

Moving Forward

You have two options:

1) Reconcile

Perhaps your husband regrets his decision to pronounce talaq. It could have been a result of waswasa, poor advice from others, or something entirely different. Allahu alam. Is there any way you can reach out to him, perhaps through a trusted family member or respected community elder? Because he pronounced talaq only once, there is still a chance for you to reconcile.

Please complete this course Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life to help you better understand the spirit and law behind marriage in Islam. Ideally, a couple should be clear on how to deal with major points of contention before getting married e.g. the wife working, living arrangements etc.

Should the two of you reconcile, then please work on better methods of communication and conflict resolution. Consult a marriage therapist if you need to.

2) Move on

As heartbreaking as this sudden and unexpected divorce is for you right now, trust in the promise of Allah. “For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease. Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.” [Qur’an, 94:5-6]

To help you decide, please perform Salatul Istikhara up to 7 times. You do not need to look for the answer in a dream. Rather, observe how events unfold in your life, and see what Allah makes easy for you. If He makes easy a return to your husband, then that is a sign for you. If He blocks your return, then that is a sign for you.

Divorce may seem like the end of the world right now, but trust that even the worst of heartaches is temporary. Think of this as a new beginning, and a way for you to know what you want in a husband for next time, inshaAllah. Some of the best lessons in life hurt, but they provide us with invaluable wisdom. Look after yourself during this heartbreak. Reach out to loved ones who will support you. Make a lot of istighfar, read Qur’an, make dua in the last third of the night and make plenty of salawat upon the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace).

I pray that Allah soothes your heartbreak, grants you clarity, and replace what you have lost with something better.

Please refer to the following link:

My Heart Feels Uneasy After Divorce – What Can I Do?
What are the Wisdoms behind the Rulings on Divorce in Islam?
A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah
Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.