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Does Marriage have to be documented?

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:

Does the Nikah have to be on paper or can it be done verbally? Does the Maher have to be written down or can it be just a verbal agreement? Also, do the witnesses have to sign anything indicating they observed the nikah? 


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Does Marriage have to be documented?

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.


Nikhaah is basically a verbal agreement between a man and a woman done in front of witnesses that they will live, love, honor, and respect one another as husband and wife. The only reason today it is documented is that one needs this documentation to make further papers like registration, passports, identity cards, etc. A verbal Nikaah done in front of witnesses is just as valid and legal in the sight of Shariah.


The Mehr too is a verbal proposal by the groom and acceptance by the bride, and does not have to be documented. If a believer gives his word, then that will be considered his bond. But today, it is a standard practice that the Mehr amount is documented on the Nikaah forms, and there is absolutely no harm in doing so.


The witnesses are not required by Shariah to sign anything indicating that they observed the Nikaah, for the Nikaah to be valid. They simply have to be present and have witnessed the Nikaah proceedings physically for the Nikaah to be considered legal and valid in the sight of Shariah. But if they do sign, as is the norm today, there is absolutely no harm.


If one writes or documents the Nikaah, the Mehr and the signatures of the witnesses, it would be better for the protection of all parties concerned. But if one does the Nikaah verbally, it will be considered absolutely legal in the sight of Shariah.


Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s 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,





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