I have been staying in a foreign country for the past years. My parents chose a girl for me. They wanted me to marry her because they had given their word to the girl’s father. The girl’s parents did not wish to delay, because her mother was seriously ill and she would want to see the marriage of her daughter contracted. So, I concluded my marriage contract by telephone. Is my marriage valid?
The contract of marriage, like any other contract, has essential components for it to be a valid contract. These are two: the confirmed offer of marriage, and the acceptance of the proposal. Every marriage contract in Islam requires two contracting parties to conclude it. In this case, it is the man and the guardian of the woman, or the mature woman herself according to the Hanafi school of thought. The confirmed offer is given by the first party to the contract, such as the guardian of the woman saying: ‘I gave you in marriage to my daughter, so and so.’ The man or his agent will reply: ‘I accepted.’ Now, this confirmed offer and acceptance should take place at the same time and place. So, what should happen in the case of an absent partner?
Muslim jurists say that in this case a well-defined letter will be acceptable. The well-defined letter means that a clearly written and addressed letter to the person concerned such as, ‘To: Miss (so and so), residing in such and such place. I am Mr. (so and so). I married you.’ Once the letter is received by the woman or her guardian, read immediately in the presence of witnesses and she says: ‘I accepted,’ the marriage is then concluded.
Muslim scholars say that if the voice on the device is well recognized to be the voice of the proposed bridegroom, and is received in the presence of witnesses, such that the girl herself said, ‘I accepted marring you,’ then, the nikah is valid. She is your wife and deserves all rights due a wife. If anything happens to any one of you, the legal relationship will entail all rights upon each and every one of you. The big question is: Is such a marriage recognized by your government or not? The written letter is an established authority. Is the word of mouth over the telephone officially recognized? This is not a Shariah problem, rather it may be an administrative procedural problem involving your government.
Al-Munajjid, M. S. (1997). Ruling on doing the marriage contract over the phone or Internet. Retrieved on December 12, 2018 from htps://islamqa.info/en
Mahama, A. (n.d.). Marriage over telephone. Retrieved January 23, 2019 from https://islamqa.org/hanafi/daruliftaa/8305
Mahama, A. (1996). Muslim life. Accra: The Call Consult. Sabiq, S. (1990). Fiqh as Sunnah (Arabic text), vol. II.Cairo: Dar ar Rayyan.