Performing Marriage at Islamic Centres
If both parties are Muslims, or if the man is a Muslim and the woman belongs to a divine religion, they may have their marriage performed in an Islamic centre according to Islamic law
Performing Marriage at Islamic Centres
· Can Islamic centres perform marriage?
· Marriage at Islamic centres.
· Marriage performed at an Islamic centre.
An Islamic centre functioning in a Western country performs a marriage contract following the Islamic method and in the presence of witnesses, making sure that it is properly done.
If both parties are Muslims, or if the man is a Muslim and the woman belongs to a divine religion, they may have their marriage performed in an Islamic centre according to Islamic law. The entry of the marriage in the centre’s records is considered a proper document of the marriage and its conditions. All this is considered good publicity and there is no disagreement about this.
Jurisdiction of the Islamic centre
May we consider an Islamic centre to act as guardian for a Muslim woman who is without a guardian and assume this task in her marriage contract? Contemporary scholars are of two different views:
The first view sees that an Islamic centre has a judicial role which puts it in a similar position to that of a judge in Muslim countries. As such, it has the right to act for a Muslim woman who appoints it as her guardian and asks it to act for her in her marriage. This ruling is given by the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America. 
The second view considers that it is not permissible for the Director of an Islamic centre or its Board of Directors or Trustees to act as the woman’s guardian. Only a woman’s own guardian or a Muslim judge can undertake this role.
It is stated on the Islam Question and Answer website that in marriage certain essentials and conditions must be fulfilled for the marriage to be correct and valid. The essential requirement is the commitment and acceptance. The commitment takes place when the woman’s guardian says to her suitor: ‘I give you my daughter, sister, or this woman [mentioning her name] in marriage.’ The acceptance is when the suitor says: ‘I accept to marry this woman [naming her] The conditions of the marriage include the identification of both spouses and their willing acceptance of the marriage, as well as it being undertaken by the woman’s guardian or his attorney and the presence of two Muslim men of integrity as witnesses.
The Prophet says
No marriage may take place without a guardian.
Related by Abu Dawud, hadith No. 2,085; al-Tirmidhi, hadith No. 1,101; Ibn Majah, hadith No. 1,881 on the authority of Abu Musa al-Ash[ari.
Some scholars are of the view that if the marriage is publicized, the publicity is considered as substitute for the presence of witnesses.
A civil marriage that takes place in a court of law or a Registrar’s office is appropriate if it is intended to document and register the marriage. It is certain to prevent foul play and ensure the rights of both parties. On the other hand, if such a civil marriage does not fulfil the conditions of the marriage, or if it allows for Islamically unacceptable procedures concerning divorce and other matters, it must not be done – unless the marriage cannot be documented without it or it is a matter of necessity. In such cases, the marriage should be performed properly in an Islamic centre, then the civil marriage conducted in the court, with the two parties clearly intending to settle any future dispute according to Islam and disregarding the unacceptable rituals that attend a marriage in some countries. Muslims living in the West should endeavour to reach a situation whereby marriage is properly officiated in Islamic centres without the need to resort to a Registrar’s office.
Another fatwa published on the same website says: ‘In short, it is not right that the Director of an Islamic centre should hasten to conduct the marriage of a woman under the pretext that her guardian refuses to act for her. He should ask her guardian and ascertain the reason for his refusal. If the Director realizes that her guardian has a valid reason, he may not marry her. On the other hand, if the Director concludes that the guardian has no valid reason, and the woman has no other guardian, he may act for her in marriage, particularly if her guardian repeatedly refuses to act for her.’
· Islam Question and Answer: www.islamQA.info.
· The website of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA): www.amjaonline.org.
· The Message of Islam website: www.islammessage.com.
- The Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA).www.amjaonline.org
- It is graded as authentic by al-Albani. The hadith is also related by al-Bayhaqi on the authority of [Imran and [A’ishah as: ‘No marriage may take place without a guardian and two reliable witnesses.