Types of Marriage and Their Permissibility in Islamic Law


Marriage holds a central place in Islamic culture, and as per Shariah, it is a sacred bond with legal, social, and spiritual implications.
Islam has set some rules and guidelines for marriage,
which aim to ensure the well-being and happiness of the spouses and their children.

However, not all types of marriage are acceptable in Islam because some of them may violate Islamic principles or cause harm and injustice to the people involved.
So, let’s learn about the different types of marriage in Islam, their conditions, and their permissibility according to Islamic law.

Halal Marriage (Nikah)

A halal marriage in Islam is one that meets all the conditions that are prescribed by the Quran and the Sunnah.
These conditions are:

  • Acceptance between the man and the woman. Both parties must agree to the marriage freely and without any force or deception.
  • A suitable dowry (mahr) is given by the groom to the bride.
    The dowry symbolizes his love and respect for her,
    and it is a right that she can claim at any time.
  • The presence of two witnesses who are honest and trustworthy. The witnesses must confirm the marriage contract’s validity and the spouses’ consent.
  • The announcement of the marriage to the public. The marriage must not be concealed or kept secret from the family and relatives of the spouses. The announcement can be done through a wedding celebration, a feast, or any other means of spreading the news.

Misyar Marriage

Misyar marriage is a marriage contract valid in Islam,
but it has some rules that make it different from normal marriage.

  • In misyar marriage, the woman agrees to give up some of her rights,
    such as housing and alimony, and the man does not have to provide them for her.
  • The woman also agrees to live separately from the man, and he can visit her whenever he wants.
  • Misyar marriage is usually done as a second or third marriage,
    and it is rare for a man to marry a misyar wife as his first wife.
    Misyar marriage is considered a form of polygamy,
    and the man must treat all his wives equally in terms of food, drink, and clothing.
  • However, the woman voluntarily waives some of her rights in misyar marriage and does so with her complete freedom and choice.
    The main reason for misyar marriage is that the woman, with her full freedom and choice,
    gives up some of her rights.

Temporary Marriage (Mut’ah)

Temporary marriage, also known as mut’ah, is a type of marriage contract that is invalid and prohibited in Islam.

  • In this type of marriage, the man pays the woman a certain amount of money to marry her for a fixed period of time. T
    he marriage ends automatically when the time expires, without needing a divorce.
  • The spouses have no obligations or rights, such as alimony, housing, or inheritance. Temporary marriage is considered a form of adultery and exploitation, and it violates the dignity and honor of the woman.
  • Temporary marriage is also contrary to the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad SAWW, who forbade it and warned against it.

He said: “O people, I had permitted you to contract temporary marriage with women, but Allah has forbidden it (now) until the Day of Resurrection.
So he who has any (woman with this type of marriage contract) he should let her off, and do not take back anything you have given to them (as dower).”

— Narrated by Muslim in Sahih Muslim on the authority of Sabra bin Ma’bad al-Juhani, hadith number: 1406

Customary Marriage

Customary marriage is a type of marriage contract that is not registered or documented by any official authority.
The man and the woman write an agreement on a piece of paper declaring that they are married to each other.

They also have two witnesses who sign the contract. The man and the woman each keep a copy of the agreement. Customary marriage does not meet the conditions or pillars that are required for a valid marriage in Islam. These conditions include:

  • The consent of the woman’s guardian (wali) is usually her father or a close male relative.
  • The announcement of the marriage to the public so that the family and relatives of the spouses know about it and can attend the wedding ceremony or the feast.
  • The registration of the marriage in the court or the relevant authority so that the marriage is recognized by the law and the rights and obligations of the spouses are protected.

The ruling on customary marriage depends on the mistake or defect that happened.
If one of the main parts of the contract is missing,
the contract is incomplete, and that defect needs to be fixed.
If the flaw makes the contract invalid and forbidden by Islam, the spouses need to cancel and separate.

Final Words about Types of Marriage in islam

Islamic law primarily upholds “Halal” marriages as the ideal form of matrimony, ensuring the rights and responsibilities of both spouses. While other forms of marriage exist, their permissibility and acceptability are subject to varying interpretations. May Allah Almighty guide us all!

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