Marriage in Islam is one of the unique blessings from Allah SWT and a very important Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) which is a must for every able-bodied and mature man and woman. Therefore, it is a demand of Iman for every adult and capable man and woman to get married as soon as possible. Marriage in Islam is the communal life of an adult and capable man and an adult woman according to the rules of Shariah, through which they can fulfill their biological needs in addition to obeying the imperative commandments of Allah Almighty, attain mental and physical peace by forming an ideal family, and can continue to cultivate the world by propagating their progeny. In short, marriage in Islam is a valid contract and recognition of the law of forming a relationship of marriage between a marriable male and a female.

“And marry those among you who are single and the Salihun (pious, fit, and capable ones) of your male and female slaves. If they are poor, Allah will enrich them out of His Bounty. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knowing.”   [Surah An-Noor: 32]


The Significance of Marriage in Islam

The great significance of marriage in Islam is the organization of marriage between men and women for joint, beautiful, peaceful, and holy life. Islam strongly urges every capable man and woman to be married to protect them from the curse of licentiousness and impurity of an illegal, antisocial, and licentious life. Because marriage is the most sacred, socially accepted, and effective tool to protect the purity and integrity of men and women. So, marriage is a valid social relationship between a man and a woman conducted in accordance with the Islamic Shari’ah and resulting in the cohabitation and sexual legitimacy of the two of them. Thus, marriage in Islam is an auspicious and significant ritual that marks the beginning of the united life of a man and a woman. As per the Holy Qur’an, marriage is a divine gift from the Lord Almighty.

“And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put affection and mercy between you.”   Ar-Room: 21

However, Islam fixes marriage as an obligatory term for a single man and woman subject to ability and also provides some significant and effective guidelines to live a happy married life for the husband and wife. Since marriage in Islam is an obligatory commandment for an individual, his or her family, and society, by consummating the commandment a couple, their parents, and concerned society complete a valuable act of worship. That’s why the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) instructed us to get married as early as possible after being capable.

“O, people of youth! Whoever among you can afford the expenses of married life should marry. Because it lowers the graze and preserves the public area.”    [Muslim]

Moreover, marriage is a panacea for men and women to heal various physical, mental, and spiritual ailments and is a unique stream of mental peace and happiness through a mutual contact, companionship, and union. On the other hand, it is through this sacred relationship that human beings continue to roam the earth. Therefore, the last word on the significance of marriage in Islam is an imperative order of Almighty Allah to form a holy conjugal relationship free of all forms of indecency. As Almighty Allah states in the Holy Qur’an:

“Wed them with the permission of their guardians and give them their Mahr according to what is reasonable, that they may be protected in the fortress of marriage and not freely indulge in sexual practices and secret friendships.”      [Surah An-Nisa: 25]

Read Also: Islamic Guidance for Happy Married Life


The Conditions of Marriage in Islam

Marriage in Islam is simple, beautiful, and peaceful. However, there are several conditions to be considered in selecting the bride and groom before consummating the marriage in order to make this relationship auspicious and productive.

Conditions for Selecting the Bride

  • The bride must not be from the Mahram for marriage in Islam (who is one of those whom a man is never permitted to marry at any time in his life.

  • The bride cannot be one who is already married to someone else. But if she is a divorcee, a slave or captive, or her husband has died already then, she will be allowed to marry in the condition of marriage in Islam.

“Also forbidden are women already married except those (captives and slaves) whom your right hands possess.”  An-Nisaa: 05

  • The bride should be a religious woman. She may be a rich, influential, or beautiful lady. However, Islam prefers a Muslim to choose a devout and religious Muslim woman to marry. Because a pious woman can inspire her children and husband on the path of peace, progress, and prosperity with the guidance of Islam. That’s why our beloved Prophet (PBUH) said about this condition of marriage in Islam:

“A woman may be married for four reasons: for her property, her status, her beauty, and her religion. So, try to get one who is religious, may your hand be besmeared with dust.”  Muslim: 1466

  • The bride may be a non-Muslim but she must be from those who are given the Holy Books (Jewish or Christian). But it will not be enough for her to be from the Ahlul Kitab. Instead, she must be stately and free from Shirk (being free from associating others with the Oneness of Almighty Allah.)

“(Lawful to you in marriage) are chaste women from the believers and chaste women from those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) before your time.”  Al-Maidah: 05

Conditions for Selecting the Groom

  • In marriage in Islam, the groom must not be from the Mahram (one of those men whom a woman is never permitted to marry at any time in her life.

  • The husband must be a Muslim man. It is forbidden for a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim or a disbeliever man under any circumstances in the condition of marriage in Islam.

“And give not (your daughters) in marriage to Al-Mushrikun (non-Muslim) till they believe (in Islamic Monotheism).”    [Surah Al-Baqarah: 221]

  • The groom should be a religious person. The prophet (PBUH) said:

“if a man with whose religion and character you are satisfied asks your daughter’s hand in marriage, comply with his request.” Tirmidhi: 1084

  • He must be fit physically, financially, and mentally for marriage. If he is sexually disabled, financially unable, or mentally unfit then he cannot be selected as a bridegroom. Even if the bridegroom is not financially well off, he should be able to pay the prescribed dowry for the marriage The Holy Qur’an states:

“And let those who find not the ability for marriage keep themselves chaste until Allah enriches them of His Bounty.”   An-Noor: 33

Read Also: Rights of a Husband and Wife in Islam

The Condition of Polygamy in Islam

Polygamy is a common and established topic of marriage in Islam. However, according to Islamic Shariah, a man can marry more than one woman and live with all of them at the same time. Although Islam allows polygamy for men, it has various implications and significance for women’s personal, social, and financial security. But in the case of a woman, polygamy is not permissible and valid in any way. However, men are permitted to practice polygamy but should never do so if they are unable to fulfill the certain condition. This condition is that he must maintain equality and justice with all his existing wives. That is, the wives cannot be discriminated against in any way. Therefore, the Holy Qur’an states:

“And if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry other women of your choice, two or three, or four but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with them, then marry only one or (the captives and the slaves) that your right hands possess. That is nearer to preventing you from doing injustice.   [Surah An-Nisa: 03]

Condition of Kufu (Equality)

Kafah or Kufu is known as al-Kaf’ah in Arabic which means ability or qualification. This is a term for marriage in Islam which literally means equality, ability, similitude, equal, etc. in Islamic jurisprudence. Kufu is defined as the compatibility or equality between a potential husband and his potential wife. In this term, the interests, needs, lineage, and qualifications of the bride and groom should be equal or closer to each other in marriage. And this is one of the conditions of marriage in Islam which must be followed.

This conformity depends on a number of factors including religion, social status, lineage, or customs. The religious morality of a man and woman in the term of Kufu is generally given the most priority in marriage in Islam. But most Islamic scholars suggest that it is preferable for the overall position of the groom to be close but relatively better than that of the bride. And Kufu ensures the position of the groom is not lower than that of the bride. The Prophet (PBUH) said:

“Take good wives for the sake of future generations and marry with consideration of equality (Kufu) and be careful to give (your daughters) in marriage to equality (Kufu).”   [Ibn Majah]


The Essentials of Marriage in Islam

A marriage performed according to the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is the most beautiful, orderly, benevolent, and blessed marriage. So, to live a happy married life, the marriage must be conducted according to the Shariah of Islam. In this law of Shariah, a couple enters into their happy, beautiful, progressive, and peaceful integrated life through some easy and hassle-free rituals. And these rituals of marriage in Islam are circumscribed with several essentials. These are:

The Consent of Bride and Groom

After choosing the bride and groom, in Islamic marriage, the consent or agreement of both of them is the first importance. If the bride refuses to marry the bride chosen for her, or the groom does not agree to marry the bride appointed for him, the marriage performed between them will not be valid. In Islam, the bride can also agree or disagree with the marriage according to her wishes. Prophet (PBUH) said:

“A woman without a husband (widow or divorcee) cannot be married without her decision. A virgin girl cannot be married without her consent. People asked, O Messenger of Allah, how to know her consent? He said, her consent is to remain silent (out of shame).”  – [Bukhari]

The Permission of the Guardians

A woman and a man are completely different by creation. Whereas men can be their self-guardians in many cases, women are not. Therefore, Islam mandates the consent and presence of the bride’s guardian in the marriage. So, if a woman likes someone and marries him without the consent or permission of her guardian, then the marriage will not acceptable in Islam. But this issue is not obligatory for a man in marriage in Islam.

“A woman who marries without the permission of her guardian, her marriage is void, her marriage is void, her marriage is void.”  – [Tirmidhi]

But if the bride is a widow or a divorcee, then her own consent shall prevail over the permission of her guardian.

“A woman who has been previously married (divorcee or widow) has more right to her person than her guardian.”      [Muslim]

If the bride or groom is a slave, then he or she must need the permission of his master.

“If a slave marries without the permission of his master, he or she is considered an adulterer.”  [Tirmidhi]

Marriage Contract

marriage in Islam requires the consent of the groom, the bride, and the bride’s guardian (Wali). The marriage contract must be executed by the bride’s guardian and the groom. A male guardian who is nearest in the relationship of the bride, initially the father of the bride is considered the Wali. The Wali also must be Muslim. The bride can also be present during the marriage contract if she wishes although it is not compulsory. During this contract, the bride may present certain conditions or wishes to the groom. And that condition or wish of a bride should be accepted and filled by the groom

“It is more obligatory for you (the groom) to fulfill the conditions of Marriage than all other conditions because it is through this that you have been given the right to enjoy the female parts.”   [Bukhari]

However, the bride cannot impose conditions of divorce or desertion on any other wife (if any) of the groom.

“It is not permissible for a woman to stipulate at the time of marriage that she will demand the divorce of her sister (former wife) so that she can fulfill her pot (enjoy exclusive rights).”     [Bukhari]

Fixing up the Mahr (Dowry)

Marriage in Islam delineates the mutual rights and duties of the bride and groom. According to law, a certain amount of dowry is levied for the bridegroom according to his ability to be given to the bride at the contract of marriage. However, the burden of dowry (Mahr) overcapacity cannot be imposed upon a bridegroom. And the wife can waive any part of the prescribed amounts if she wishes. Holy Qur’an states:

“And give to the women (whom you marry) their Mahr (obligatory bridal money) with a good heart, but if they, of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, take it, and enjoy it without fear of any harm.”   – [Surah An-Nisaa: 04]

The Presence of the Guardians

In the case of marriage in Islam, the presence of the bride’s guardian or Wali is required at the time of marriage. The bride’s father is considered her Wali generally. If the father is not alive, one of her nearest relatives will be considered her guardian. And if the bride is a slave, her master will be considered her Wali in that case. If no such person is found then the ruler of the state or region will be considered her Wali. But whosoever the Wali is, He must be a male and Muslim person. However, her guardian or Wali should be present at the marriage in Islam. But in the case of a Groom, the presence of his guardian is not obligatory.

“No woman shall give marry another woman. And no woman shall give marry herself. Because the woman who gives marry herself is an adulteress.” [Ibn Majah]

But if no guardian or Wali of the bride is present in the marriage, then the marriage cannot be called annulled or canceled. However, the absence of the male Wali is inappropriate and discouraged in marriage in Islam. But, in some exceptional cases, any responsible woman can perform the duty of Wali for the bride. As an example, we can submit the Sahih proof of mother Ayisha RA:

Ayisha RA gave Abdur Rahman’s daughter Hafsah’s marriage to Ibn Zubair in her father’s absence.”   [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaibah]

The Presence of the Witnesses

Marriage in Islam is a social ritual. So, it is important to establish a marital relationship socially. Also, social validation of this relationship is essential. Therefore, Islam has made the witnesses of two people mandatory when performing a marriage. So, marriage is not valid in Islam without the presence of two witnesses. And of course, both of them must be Muslim personnel. Prophet (PBUH) said:

“Women who give themselves in marriage without witnesses are adulterers, like prostitutes.”  [Tirmidhi]

The necessary and minimum conditions to be valid for marriage in Islam in terms of witnesses are:

  • Two adult, independent, and sane men. Or-
  • One adult, independent, and sane male and two adult females.

These men and women will hear the proposal (Izaab) and the acceptance (Kabul) of the marriage from the mouth of the bride and groom. And through this, the bond of the marriage between a man and woman will be valid.    [Bahroor Rayek, Durrul Mukhtar, Fathul Qadir, Hedaya]


As we all know, marriage in Islam is a social ritual and a recognized and valid union between a man and a woman. The first principle of marriage is the establishment of a legitimate and civilized sexual relationship as opposed to illicit sex. Therefore, Islam enjoins publicizing and exposing the event of marriage as much as possible. So, secret marriage or secrecy after marriage is strongly discouraged in Islam. Prophet (PBUH) stated:

“You announce the matter of marriage.”  – [Musnad Ahmad]

Wedding Banquet (Walima)

It is an important Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) to organize a wedding banquet for relatives, neighbors, and needy people after the formalization and announcement of marriage have been completed. In Islam, this formality of feasting after marriage is called Walima. The Prophet (PBUH) himself used to organize it and ordered others to do the same as per their ability. However, the bridegroom has been instructed to arrange this feast of Walima. As, after hearing about the marriage of Abdur Rahman bin ‘Auf, The Prophet (PBUH) ordered him:

“Arrange a banquet (Walima) even with one sheep.”  [Bukhari, Muslim]


Contractual Marriage in Islam

Consensual marriage between a man and a woman for a certain period is called contractual marriage in Islam. In this agreement, a mutual agreement is made between the husband and the wife to give and receive financial or any benefits for a specified period and at the end of the fixed period of the agreement, the marriage is considered to be annulled. That is, wives can get separated from their husbands without getting a divorce.

Before the advent of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), such marriages were widespread among the Arabs, and even during the early days of His Prophethood, contractual marriage in Islam was permitted and valid. Like other evil practices of Arab society, the Prophet (PBUH) gradually eradicated this evil practice. In 7 A.H. He (PBUH) first prohibited contractual marriage and permitted it for three days during the Battle of Awtwas and later prohibited it again. And during the Battle of Khyber, he outlawed contractual marriage forever. Therefore, contractual marriage is forbidden in Islam.

“Messenger of Allah (PBUH) permitted Mut’ah (contractual) marriage for three days in the year of the Battle of Awtwas. Then He forbade it.”   [Muslim]

“O, people! I permitted you to enter into Mut’ah (contractual) marriage with women. But soon Allah SWT prohibited it until the Day of Resurrection. Therefore, whoever has a wife in such a marriage, let her leave her way. And do not take away what you have given them.”  [Muslim]

“The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) forbade the Mut’ah marriage and the meat of livestock donkeys on the day of the Battle of Khyber.”    [Muslim]



Islam is the way of peace and a complete code of life. Therefore, only Islam has clear, correct, and perfect guidance for all matters necessary in human life from birth to death. As a unique example of this, we can present the clear and complete principles of marital relationship against the essential biological needs of human life in the Deen (Way of Life) chosen by Allah Almighty. There is no doubt, only Islam has such beautiful, benevolent, and universal principles and guidance of matrimonial rites. Therefore, marriage in Islam is said to be a great gift given by the Almighty to human life which makes our life meaningful, enjoyable, and peaceful, in the presence of spouses, children, and families. Hence the strict warning of the beloved Prophet (PBUH) against living a life of celibacy despite being capable:

“Marriage is my standard ideal and permanent principle. Whoever does not follow this ideal (Sunnah) of mine is not of my party.”    {Bukhari, Muslim]



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