More on The Wali (Legal Guardian)

More on The Wali (Legal Guardian)


A mature girl has the choice to marry or not to marry. She can marry whomsoever she wishes – no one can force her to marry a particular person. If she marries a person on her own, the nikah will be valid irrespective of whether the wali is informed or not, and irrespective of whether the wali gives his consent or not. In all cases the nikuph will be valid. However, if she does not marry a person who is of the same social standing as her, and instead, marries a person who is of a lower standing than her family, and her wali is not happy about this marriage, then the fatwa in this case is that the nikah will not be valid.

If she marries a person who is in the same social standing as her, but the mahr that she receives is less then what is normally fixed in her paternal grandfather’s family, then although the nikah will be valid, the wali will have the right to annul this marriage. The mahr that is normally fixed in her paternal grandfather’s family is known as mahrul mithl. The wali can go to a Muslim court and have such a marriage annulled. However, it should be borne in mind that this right of annulment is only possessed by all those walis whom we had mentioned before the mother. In other words, from the father onwards till the children of the grand-father’s uncle.

A wali performed the nikah of a mature girl without asking her or without seeking her consent. The validity of such a nikah will be dependent on her permission and consent. If she grants her permission, the nikah will be valid. If she does not grant her permission or is not happy, the nikah will not be valid. The method of granting permission is mentioned in the next mas’ala.

The wali came and informed a young virgin girl that he intends performing her nikah with a certain person, or that he has already performed her nikah with a certain person. Upon hearing this, she remained silent, began smiling or began to cry. All these responses of her’s will be considered to be a permission and a consent. Now, if the wali performs her nikah, it will be valid. If he has already performed it, it will also be valid. It is not a prerequisite for her to give a verbal permission. Those who force a girl in giving a verbal permission are in error.

At the time of seeking her permission, the wali did not mention the name of her future husband, nor did she have any prior knowledge of him. In such a case, her silence will not be considered to be a form of consent, nor will it be considered to be a form of granting permission. It is necessary to mention the boy’s name or some other form of identification whereby the girl can understand that the wali is referring to a particular person. Similarly, if the wali performed the nikah without mentioning the amount of mahr to her and it was far less than the mahrul mithl, the nikah will not be valid without her permission. He will have to seek her permission again.