Secret Nikah


As-salaamu alaykum Mufti I am a 17yr old. I wish to get married but my parents are strongly against the idea. They want me to wait a bit till I am older. My question is can I get married in secret without my parents awareness and consent?
السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته


1. In Islam, when a girl who is of age requests her parents to let her marry a man against whom they have no reasonable complaint, she may refer her case to a higher judicial authority (the qāḍī, where such exists, or the qaḍā authority, which in our situation is the MJC) to have her married, even against the wishes of the parents.
2. However, all of this will involve a good deal of investigation and procedure to ascertain whether the matter is actually as your email states it to be.
3. In your case it might be understandable, why your parents are opposed to you marrying. In our society, people tend not to consider a 17 year old person as very mature. This is a very general remark and may in fact not apply to you yourself. But your parents’ perspective might differ, and in all probability they have only your best interests at heart.
4. Furthermore, you would have to take into consideration the fact that marriage to a person under the age of 18 could be construed as a statutory crime under South African law.
5. The crux of your question, however, is the matter of a secret nikāḥ. We strongly discourage you from taking this route. The Sharīʿah requires nikāḥ to be concluded publicly, preferably in the masjid in the presence of public witnesses.
6. If experience is anything to go by, then keeping a marriage secret is bound to eventually create tremendous problems—problems against which your present concerns will dwindle into insignificance.
7. At the present moment you are faced with two options: pushing through with a basic secret nikāḥ through which you feel you would save yourself and the boy in whom you are interested from sin; and holding on till your parents are sufficiently convinced by the maturity and sensibility you have shown to give their consent.
8. In the first option you might indeed save yourselves from one sin, only to incur several others with the passage of time. On the other hand, while the second option might appear to be harder right now, chances are that it will give you and everyone around you much greater happiness and satisfaction in the long run.

9. May Allah guide you to what is best for you in this matter.

والله تعالى أعلم
And Allah knows best.

(Issued: April 2019)


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