Ulema maintain there is no such thing as nikah on phone

Marriages are made in heaven. But in this age of information technology they are taking place over the net and telephone too. The controversy involving the marriage of Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Malik with Hyderabad girl Ayesha Siddiqui has many wondering whether telephonic marriage is legitimate at all.

Though it is the in thing, ulema maintain that there is no such thing as nikah on phone. Merely taking marriage vows on phone is not valid as there is no proof and ample scope for conflict later. Only such marriages are held valid where a proper ‘wakalatnama' (power of attorney) duly attested by government authorities is produced.

The nikah on phone trend has caught on in many Islamic countries. And India is no exception.

People living in different countries and unable to personally attend the nikah ceremony for some reason have chosen this way out. As per the Islamic jurisprudence, “Ittehad-e-Majlis' is a necessary condition for a valid contract of marriage. It means the bride, the bridegroom and the witnesses should be present at one place. Meeting these conditions is simply not possible over telephone.

Seminary issues fatwa

In fact, the Jamia Nizamia, Hyderabad's oldest Islamic seminary, has issued a fatwa terming ‘phone marriages' invalid. The edict was given in 1975 when the Andhra Pradesh Wakf Board approached the Jamia following a furore over such marriages turning sour. Since then the authorities are insisting on production of the power of attorney.

“The groom should also authorise a person to accept the nikah on his behalf and mention the ‘mehr' [dower amount]” says Qazi Mir Mohd Qader Ali, president, Anjuman-e-Qazat, Andhra Pradesh.

Pakistanis' case

In the case of Pakistani nationals, the authorities also insist on birth certificate, copy of the passport and stay permission given by the Police Commissioner.

The most important proviso in the Islamic nikah is the offer from the groom and the acceptance from the bride or her appointed ‘vakil' and two witnesses to this contract. “But it is important that ‘Ijab and Qubul' are pronounced in one session and the witnesses listen to the words,” said Mufti Khaleel Ahmed of Jamia Nizamia.

What about Shoaib-Ayesha phone marriage? The Wakf Board authorities refuse to comment. But they are firm that the marriage did not take place in Hyderabad.

Keywords: Muslim weddingNikah