Witness for Marriage
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
How many witnesses are necessary for a nikkah? And do these witnesses have to be muslim? Also, What is the minimum amunt necessary for the dower?
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Witness for Marriage
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 9.98 Narrated by Abu Huraira
The Prophet (saws) said, "A virgin should not be married till she is asked for her consent; and the matron should not be married till she is asked whether she agrees to marry or not." It was asked, "O Allah's Apostle! How will she (the virgin) express her consent?" He said, "By keeping silent." Some people said, "If a virgin is not asked for her consent and she is not married, and then a man, by playing a trick presents two false witnesses that he has married her with her consent and the judge confirms his marriage as a true one, and the husband knows that the witnesses were false ones, then there is no harm for him to consummate his marriage with her and the marriage is regarded as valid."
In Islam, the marriage is not made a private affair, but rather it is a preferred Sunnah that when one marries, he gives a wedding feast or walima to announce to the society that he is married.
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 8.395 Narrated by Anas
The Prophet seeing a yellow mark (of perfume) on the clothes of 'Abdur-Rahman bin 'Auf, said, "What about you?" ' Abdur-Rahman replied, "I have married a woman with a Mahr of gold equal to a date-stone." The Prophet (saws) said, "May Allah bestow His Blessing on you (in your marriage). Give a wedding banquet, (Walima) even with one sheep."
All the scholars in Islam are unanimous in this opinion that for a marriage to be recognized as legal, there must be two witnesses.
Your statement: And do these witnesses have to be muslim
Yes, it is a condition that the two witnesses who witness the marriage contract must be believers.
Your statement: What is the minimum amunt necessary for the dower?
Giving the mahr or dowry to the bride is a command of Allah unto the believers in the Holy Quran.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 4 Surah Nisaa verse 4:And give their dowries willingly to women (as an obligation). But if they, of their own accord, remit a portion of the dowry, you may enjoy it with pleasure
The scholars have stated that the main reason behind the giving of mahr to the bride is to protect the right of the woman, so that the man would at least have the fear that he stands to loose financially if he takes the marriage contract as a play or joke; whereby he marries one day and divorces the next day at will! The marriage contract is a very serious thing in Islam, and when a man and woman marry, their intention should always be to stay married in peace, love, and harmony for life. The commandment of giving mahr is to sanctify the marriage, and a deterrent against easy divorce if initiated by the man. If the divorce is initiated by the woman, she will have to pay back the dowry to the man. It is also a gesture of goodwill and generosity before the partners go into marriage.
The nations or cultures that do not practice the system of mahr, have had to make laws in modern times as a detterent to easy divorce, which Islam made almost 1400 years ago to protect the rights of the woman. In the USA, they have had to make a law in recent times that the woman would get half of the mens wealth, if he divorced her for any reason. Because the law is made by man himself, it has its flaws and there is a movement now to change or alter this law to make it more lenient to the man. That is because some women have taken advantage of this law and married rich men, and then soon divorced them and taken possession of half their wealth, and now the men are crying for protection and using lawyers to draw up a pre-nuptial agreement to fix the amount in case of a divorce; which oftentimes creates ill-will and distrust amongst the partners, even before they go into marriage.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your Brother in Islam,