UK's New "Muslim Marriage Contract": If not Zina, it is Close to Zina (Adultery)

The so-called “” (see document here) cooked up by a several Muslim organizations in UK gets a scathing review by Shaykh Haitham al-Haddad. Shaykh Tawfique Chowdhury comments below the video, and I’ll add my layman-two-cents, that anyone who reads the contract can see right through its progressive, and almost blatant anti-traditionalist slant. May Allah protect us all from these innovations in the name of progress and integration -Amad

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Part 3

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Part 5

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Part 6

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Shaykh Abu Yusuf Tawfique Chowdhury’s view on the new Muslim Marriage contract:

Assalamualiakum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

Finally after the people of the land have spoken about this contract do I feel it appropriate to speak about this contract in my own capacity. I also speak with reservation and althought I too disagree with it, I urge all the students to show due respect to the fact that some people of knowledge may have supported it, such as Mufti Barakatullah hafidahullah who I know him to be knowledgeable and not a follower of desires alhamdulillah. So I would urge everyone to discuss the contract objectively without giving a ruling on those who are behind it. Remember: Everyone’s statement is to be taken and rejected except that of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam. It is my sincere hope that if we speak with more clarity, strenght of proof and with some softness and kindness, that the better ones amongst them may recant and reject the contract and all good is from Allah.

As Sh Haitham hafidahullah pointed out, the contract is riddled with problems and in all truth, it plays on the concessions of scholars, goes against established rulings of fiqh, goes against the truth in many matter, goes against points of ijma sukuti in some, using daeef ahadeeth in quoting facts and in others there seems to be a blatant misunderstanding of the fiqh of some of the nikaah terms – such as in talaq at-tafweed.

I too hold this contract to be at odds with the goals and principles of the Shariah in marriage and do not consider the contract with its present conditions and wording to be valid. This is apart from the fact that the contract lowers the status and position of the husband treating him constantly from an angle of mistrust, whereas the position of the husband is one of highest importance and one of having tremendous right over the wife. There is no mention of this nor any alluding to this in the contract since it seems to have been designed to counter unscrupulous husbands. No only this, but if we were to put the rulings of halal and haram aside – is it not illogical to propose the disolution of the husband’s sole right to talaq, taking second wife etc.. and at the same time oblige a mahr on him?! If indeed, instead of equity you are after equality, then where is the equality in obliging a mahr on the man when so many of his rights are totally removed away from him?

I am however concerned that perhaps many points of what Sh Haitham is mentioning in his video may not be clearly understandable to those who listen to it, so I would suggest that people NOT miss the upcoming AlKauthar A-Z of love and mercy course in London 1st/2nd November where all the issues and more will be explained in great detail so that everyone will be easily able to find the faults with contracts like this in the future inshaAllah. I am also afraid that many of those who are pushing the contract don’t understand how they may have misunderstood the issues of fiqh themselves eg in matters of talaq tafweed.

I would summarize (very concisely without detailed explanations) the problems in the contract from my own reading of it, as the following 6 major issues:

1. To say that witness in Islam is gender/faith neutral: Is a poor and weak argument. Firstly as far as gender is concerned, if two muslims are getting married, no scholars have allowed except for 2 male muslims or 1 male and 2 female (as many have allowed) but never 4 female at all. Secondly regarding witnesses being faith neutral – If the authors are alluding to the opinion of Imam Malik rahimahullah that witnesses are not compulsory, but that the matter be known widely, then this is also incorrect, since the Maliki madhab requires it to be made known in Muslim areas, not ahlul-kitab and dhimmi areas. If the authors have based this opinion based on the fiqh issue of a muslim marrying a dhimmi, and some minority opinion allowing online casinos witnesses from the dhimmis non-muslims – this itself is a really weak opinion and the vast majority of the ulema require the witnesses to be muslim even if the wife is dhimmi and/or ahlul kitaab.

2. Misunderstanding of talaq tafweed: Whereby scholars have allowed the husband to give his agent (in this case, his own wife) the right to divorce – the right for her to pronounce the divorce is only for that instance and only for one pronunciation of divorce, not for more than that. The right thus transferred, expires right after and does not perpetually stay with her and so it is of no consequence if she came tomorrow and divorced herself from him – it would not be of any consequence. Thus – to propose that the talaq tafweed is perpetual for the length of the duration of the marriage is a new matter and this is directly against the verse where Allah specifically makes talaq from men to women only [2:231, 236 etc].

3. To negate the condition of the wali – or to propose as in the explanatory notes that guardianship stops at puberty – is a false statement as far as marriage is concerned. Even the Ahnaf agree that guardianship in marriage continues even after puberty in the case of a slave girl – which is how they understand the hadeeths where rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam obliged women to get married only with a wali (they said that he was referring to slave girls that must have their master or inother words, their wali’s permission for marriage whereas free women dont need walis according to them). However even the Ahnaf (i.e Hanafis) – although they dont oblige a wali for ennactment of marriage, however they disallow its establishment if the family of the girl disapproves and does not think that the man is kufu’/kafaa’ah (suitability and good comparision) for the bride. So for example, even if the wali is not obligatory in the hanafi madhab may Allah have mercy on them, still however, the father of an arabian sister may object to her daughter’s marriage to a non-Arab as in the hanafi madhab. So if the wali is not a condition in marriage, however the wali’s role can come in by way of kafa’ah. So practically speaking, the removal of stipulation of a wali does not remove the stipulation of kafa’ah and thus practically – the effect is still the same – the blessings of the wali is still required for the marriage to not be hindered. So this non-stipulation of the wali (even if we give the excuase that the hanafis dont stipulate it) gives the wrong message and in no case, is the sister free of needing her wali’s blessing for the continuation of the marriage.

4. The contract stipulates that a second wife not be taken formally or informally here or abroad since the laws of the land forbid it. This extending the law of the land into a moral territory and to make it a moral police and to extend its jurisdiction into other countries – is a matter in which the law simply does not extend its own jurisdiction to itself.

5. Some of the stipulations individually may have been acceptable on their own if they were individual stipulations (eg if a sister put the condition for her husband not to take a second wife – such as in the hanbali madhab), however when the whole spirit of the contract is based on achieving a whimsical equality and appeasement and gratification of so called modern muslim values; as a collection, the conditions go against the goals and purposes of Islam no doubt. I have little doubt that this contract will fail to achieve the goals for which it was designed. And Allah knows best.

6. I was surprised to find that the contract allowed mutual amendaments to the contract by both parties – something quite new to me. If what is intended is that the sister does not demand certain conditions anymore – such as allowing her husband to take on another wife, talaq tafweed condition etc.. then this wording of this condition permits this and more. If more is intended, then I would love to see the basis of the authors for allowing this sitpulation in the contract. This condition is against the clear injunctions of the sunnah of Rasulullah to carry out the conditions by which a person has made sexual intimacy with his spouse permissible. [AlBukhari]

[Also as a side point for benefit of the students]
There are some statements in the explanation of the contract based on daeef hadeeth: such as the statement that divorce is regarded by Allah as the most hated thing – is unauthentic as graded by Ibn Hajr rahimahullah in AlFath and AlAlbani rahimahullah in Daeef Sunan Abi Dawood.

I would say that if this contract is pushed out to people of UK without strong opposition – very soon the effect of it will be that the number of divorces would increase, the number of brothers seeking brides from their own countries back in the subcontinent would increase, the number of unmarried women will increase, the ages of sisters getting married will increase, the number of self styled islamic feminists will skyrocket, the number of sisters traumatised and hurt by fleeting marriages will skyrocket and for the first time we will surely see a trend wherein some woman get married only for the mahr then divorce soon after only to repeat this with other unsuspecting men – a phenomenon quite common in Iranian mutah marriages. Infact I have little doubt that this contract will actually result in the exact opposite of the noble aims that it set out to achieve. But as the saying goes: The road to jahannam is paved with good intentions!

I would appreciate if the students could post this post on various forums and on email lists so people can benefit and understand the points clearly inshaAllah.


Tawfique Chowdhury
AlKauthar and Mercy Mission


59 / View Comments

59 responses to “UK's New "Muslim Marriage Contract": If not Zina, it is Close to Zina (Adultery)”

  1. sacbutteredtoast says:


    wow, it’s really obvious

    are these groups in Britain known for stuff like this?

  2. me says:

    hmm…I don’t see what the big deal is.

  3. AnonyMouse says:

    From what I’ve read of the contract, it doesn’t hold up in Shari’ah at all. By getting rid of the need for a wali, giving the woman the “right of talaaq” – how dare they blatantly write off the Law of Allah as set down in the Qur’an itself?!
    Allahu musta’an.

  4. Kareem Muhammad says:

    I hoped he would get to the point he bored men on the 2nd prt and didnt make any sense yet, I couldnt listen anymore

  5. Mezba says:

    AnonyMouse… it doesn’t violate the sharia.. In a sharia nikah you are free to put in pretty much whatever you want in the contract – it’s upto the other person to accept it.

    What would be wrong is if the groups there promoted it as the ONLY shariah acceptable contract. It’s just ONE of the acceptable. If a man wants to give up the right of extra wives it’s up to him.

    I would argue against a woman accepting the write of divorce though – not recommended highly due to greater emotional nature of women.

  6. IbnAbbas says:

    Its absolute nonsense. Even a muslim with basic knowledge about Islam would know that its no way acceptable and close to commiting kufr.

    Just to let all the muslims in America and other parts of the world know that MCB doesn’t represent us muslims here in Britian. They maybe officially recognised as Muslims’ representatives but we don’t support them. I don’t think even 2% of muslims here even know anything about MCB or its members. Though I know, as Shaykh Haitham mentioned, that they lied on the document that MCB has approved it. They mentioned its name because just one of its member agreed to all the conditions. Also, I don’t think any muslim couple would even go anywhere near to this filthy piece of contract…..we have our own reliable masjids and Imams to go to for such issues.

    I don’t think you were paying any attention.

  7. AnonyMouse says:

    AnonyMouse… it doesn’t violate the sharia.. In a sharia nikah you are free to put in pretty much whatever you want in the contract

    Perhaps you didn’t notice the bit where they do away with the need for a wali, and not requiring the witnesses to be Muslims, amongst other things. These are very much necessary parts of the Islamically acceptable nikaah, and changing it is challenging/ overturning the Law of Allah.

  8. Mezba says:

    I am talking about the contract itself. It is upto the scholars to debate the necessity of a wali (as far as I know Hanafis don’t require permission of girl’s parents, an imam could do) and the eligibility of Muslim witnesses.

    However I don’t think the contract itself is un-Islamic.

    However, I repeat that I would not apply some of what they put in the contract.

    Again, couples are pretty much free to specify conditions etc in their nihak contract (unless it’s clearly unIslamic such as asking for wine as dowry).

  9. IbnAbbas says:

    “AnonyMouse… it doesn’t violate the sharia.. In a sharia nikah you are free to put in pretty much whatever you want in the contract – it’s upto the other person to accept it. “
    The problem is that they have ALREADY agreed on the rights of women to give talaaq and it seems like thats the only option on the contract. And No, you cannot put in EVERYTHING in shariah Nikah. Even generally, any business contract or anything has to be based on Shariah and the two parties cannot just agree on literally anything that goes against the shariah.

  10. Ibn Masood says:


  11. Ibn Masood says:

    Oh and I originally watched this video on another blog and I think the evidence presented by Sheikh Haitham is pretty clear. If you did not understand what he was saying, or didn’t see why it’s such a ‘big deal’, then Allahu Alam but you either didn’t pay attention, or had some previous bias to the topic, or may have some weird understanding of Ahlus Sunnah methodology.

  12. Yasir Qadhi says:

    Salaam Alaikum

    May Allah reward Sh. Haitham al-Haddad immensely for his efforts in clarifying the truth. He is one of the few people that I personally feel comfortable going back to for advice and insight regarding Muslim situations in Western lands. I find it a privilege to sit with him, and every time that happens I benefit immensely from his wisdom and knowledge.

    Truly, a blessing for all of us in the Western world.


    PS – I have been asked to comment on this ‘marriage’ contract by many brothers; really after listening to Sh. Haitham, there is nothing for me to add. He has done a better job that I could possibly do.

  13. Amad says:

    Br. IbnMasood, you are confusing the “Haithams”. This is Haitham al-Haddad in UK, not Haitham Hamdan from USA.

    Sr. Mezba, in any Islamic contract, some things are “negotiable” and some things are fixed. Like you can’t have a marriage contract between 2 men for instance (extreme, but you get the point). Similarly other issues are mandated, like the wali, the witnesses, etc. Those haven’t changed with the passage of time. There is no reason why a wali or 2 MUSLIM witnesses, etc. are any less important now than 1400 years ago. Have the characteristics of men and women changed? Characteristics of Muslims v. non-Muslims changed? If the nature and the essence of these individuals/types have not changed, then how does the passage of time permit a change of their role/need? A legal scholar will easily see this effort to be farcical at best. I would say even common law lawyers can see the fallacy of the arguments here.

    Why don’t these people just either admit that they no longer feel that Islamic laws are suitable (deny shariah), or stop doing these oddities in the name of Islam? Calling this a “Muslim” contract is saying that Allah and His Messenger would have accepted this, and that is indeed a heavy burden to carry. May Allah forgive us.


    P.S. Notice no Shaykh Suhaib Hasan on the contract… years ahead in knowledge, and light-years ahead in wisdom, of his son, Usama Hasan, who was part of this. This is especially important because Shaykh Suhaib is heavily involved in Islamic family courts in UK.

  14. Abu Bakr says:

    Sr. Mezba, in any Islamic contract, some things are “negotiable” and some things are fixed. Like you can’t have a marriage contract between 2 men for instance (extreme, but you get the point).

    Amad, just give it a year or so, and they’ll be challenging that one too.

  15. Shibli Zaman says:

    as-salamu `alaykum,

    First and foremost, before I state my observations, I’d like to state a few things. I have not read the contract. Yet, from what I know from this video, I would never follow, nor permit anyone in my care or influence to follow, this contract. It opposes the Ahkam of the Madhhab I follow.

    However, at the same time the issue is being approached with rage and emotion and some unfair statements are being made. May Allah reward those brothers and sisters for their anger for the sake of Allah, even if it has, in this instance, driven them to be a bit unbalanced in their approach. Amin.

    This contract was obviously written by people who have little or no training in Fiqh. Nay, little or no knowledge in Fiqh to an inexcusable point since they are writing up legal contracts. May Allah forgive them. Yet, with all due respect, I also feel that certain items in the contract are being misrepresented and then inferences are being made of changing/negating Shari`ah and that leading to kufr. This is a bit extreme.

    The claim that no scholar ever said that a Nikah is valid without two Muslim witnesses is absolutely incorrect.

    Actually, many have rejected the obligation of having any witnesses altogether. There is one report of Imam Ahmad declaring a Nikah without 2 witnesses as valid. This opinion was shared by quite of few Sahaba and Tabi`in such as al-Hasan bin `Ali and Ibn `Umar (radi Allahu `anhum). Imam Malik agreed so long as it was in public and announced. Ibn al-Mundhir believed that the evidences for 2 witnesses are not substantiated. He cited as evidence of 2 witnesses not being necessary the marriage of the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) to Safiyyah bint Huyyay which was performed without 2 witnesses upon her manumission. There are quite a few others as well. So to say that no one held this opinion is simply an incorrect statement.

    Please remember, as I stated earlier, I completely reject this opinion, but I am merely highlighting where the critics are making bombastic claims out of emotion and are, in the process, being completely unfair, w-Allahu A`lam.

    The claim that the contract is contravening Shari`ah by giving the woman the right to so-called “Talaq al-Tafwidh” (a strange term I am unfamiliar with), followed by the mockery of “does the husband go on `Iddah, etc”, is also incorrect.

    Obviously, the people writing up the contract were unaware of Khula` which is the right of the woman to go to the Qadhi to seek a divorce from her husband in the event that he is guilty of enormities regarding his marital obligations. In Khula` the husband does not go on `Iddah, etc. To mock Khula` is actually a way of mocking Shari`ah. There are other ways of a woman being free from her marriage as well. The Asl of a woman’s ability to be free from her spouse, with Islamic legal due process, is in Surat al-Ahzab 28-29:

    يا أيها النبيُّ قُلْ لأزواجِك إنْ كُنْتُنَّ تُرِدْنَ الحياةَ الدنيا وزينتَها فَتَعَالَيْنَ أُمَتِّعْكُنَّ وأُسَرِّحْكُنَّ سَرَاحًا جميلًا
    O Prophet! Say unto your wives: If you desire the world’s life and its adornment, then come! I will content you and will release you with a fair release.”

    Shaykh Ibn Jibrin when asked about a man giving the authority of being free from the marriage by her own hand, then he must adhere to that when it happens, just as if he were to give that authority to anyone else. Yet, he (Hafidhahu Allah) concludes that such conditions should never be set since they contravene the very core of the concept of marriage in Islam.

    This is a deep subject, but I fear that both the advocates and the critics of this contract are not properly studying the matter before voicing their opinions. This contract has very, very serious problems, but the intent behind it appears to be good, w-Allahu A`lam. The solution is for the critics and advocates to come together with an open mind and come to a good contract based upon that good intent. Getting emotional and attacking and mocking is never a solution.

    Please don’t curse me or attack me. I am merely sharing my observations. Allah, indeed, knows best.

    Jazakumullahu khayran. was-salam

  16. OM says:

    Shibli Zaman, you haven’t read the contract- Shaykh Haytham has. You have less knowledge than him, and less knowledge of this situation. Have you even listened to what he has said? With all due respect, you aren’t in the UK, you have no idea of what’s going on, and Shaykh Haytham does. Have you read what these people have written outside the contract? That one of them wrote that Islam was a ‘desert, patriarchal religion’, and that Islam’s laws aren’t suitable for all times and places. Furthermore, they added that there was more justice in British law. Or what about the fact that they claimed that this was a revolution in Muslim family law, openly celebrating this bid’a?

    “The claim that no scholar ever said that a Nikah is valid without two Muslim witnesses is absolutely incorrect.”

    Shaykh Haytham *never* made this claim, and he is more aware of the opinions of the Jurists than you. He was actually very careful if you had listened to this talk and others, or listened to his Jum’ah khutba, or spoken to him.

    “To mock Khula` is actually a way of mocking Shari`ah. ”

    You haven’t listened to him. He said that woman can pronounce divorce to a man, without having recourse to a judge. Again, please listen to what he said with attention. He is not ignorant of khula’, and has more knowledge than you.

    The least you can do is listen carefully to what he said, read all the surrounding articles etc. You haven’t done that.

  17. OM says:

    “The claim that no scholar ever said that a Nikah is valid without two Muslim witnesses is absolutely incorrect.”

    What Shaykh Haytham said was that no scholar ever held the opinion that, in a marriage *between two Muslims*, it was valid for the witnesses to be either non-Muslims or two women. In other words, he is speaking of those who presuppose witnessing as a condition for the validity of the nikah.

    Can you bring me a single scholar in history who has ever said that the testimony of one woman (regardless of her standing) is equal to one believing, upright, trustworthy man, in terms of witnessing nikah? Or that the testimony of one kafir is valid in a nikah, and equal to testimony of said Muslim male? Why can’t you acknowledge that these people have introduced new opinions in our religion? It is *they* who make witnessing a part of the contract- if they had said no witnesses were needed it would have made more sense and been less condemned.

    Don’t speak about things (the contract) that, by your own admission, you haven’t even read!

  18. Shibli Zaman says:

    as-salamu `alaykum,

    I’d like to inquire into some of Shaykh Tawfique’s (وفقه الله) commentary:

    – “If the authors are alluding to the opinion of Imam Malik rahimahullah that witnesses are not compulsory, but that the matter be known widely, then this is also incorrect, since the Maliki madhab requires it to be made known in Muslim areas, not ahlul-kitab and dhimmi areas..”

    The Mu`tamad positions in a Madhhab are sometimes not the same as the relevant Hukm from the Imam of that Madhhab. There are numerous examples of this. Imam Malik stated that the witnesses are not necessary, but only the i`lan (announcement) is. Perhaps, the Mu`tamad position due to clarifications of later Maliki scholars stipulates that this be in Dar al-Islam (I don’t know), but all the major Fuqaha’ that I have read have never stated this coming from Malik himself. Of course, that could be due to my limited information. I would be most interested in seeing this clarification from Imam Malik himself.

    Also, “..[T]he right for her to pronounce the divorce is only for that instance and only for one pronunciation of divorce, not for more than that..”

    I do not believe this is correct based on Shaykh Ibn Jibrin’s statement on the matter:

    وإذا طلقت نفسها في هذه الحال ثلاثًا وقعت الثلاث؛ لأنه فوضها
    “If she divorces herself under this condition 3 times, then it counts as 3 times because he (the husband) made her a delegate (for this).”

    Please see Shaykh Ibn Jibrin’s Fatwas 6697 and 9435 for his opinions on this matter.

    Can someone please paste this to that forum? I have learned to avoid online forums because of the harm that occurs in all of them without exception. Indeed, Allah knows best.

    Jazakumullahu khayran. was-salam

  19. Saleh says:

    I am quite bewildered by how some these days belittle the Shouyukh, Shaykh Haytham hold many classes up and down the UK and to date none have said that they were able to not understand him yet we find these comments from some on MM:

    ‘Me’ says:
    ‘hmm…I don’t see what the big deal is.’

    Ajeeb, you have no ‘big deal’ with brothers having to give up a Sunnah of polygamy?
    You have no ‘big deal’ of sisters loosely giving talaq?
    You have no ‘big deal’ of marriage without Wali when this is safer?
    You have no ‘big deal’ that two disbelievers from somewhere can become the appointed guardian and witness?

    Then this ‘Kareem Muhammad’ says:
    ‘I hoped he would get to the point he bored men on the 2nd prt and didnt make any sense yet, I couldnt listen anymore’

    You are bored by ilm? You couldn’t make sense of the haqq thus gave up? May Allaah azza wa jall guide you and us-Ameen.

    Then a user ‘Ibn Masood’ says:

    No this is Shaykh Haytham Jawwad al Haddad (Hafidh’allaah) of the Islamic Shari’ah Council (UK) and Director of the Muslim Research and Development Foundation (MRDF) from amongst the foremost senior scholars of the United Kingdom alhamdulillaah.

    BURHAN UDDIN states that Abu Yusuf says:

    ‘I am however concerned that perhaps many points of what Sh Haitham is mentioning in his video may not be clearly understandable to those who listen to it, so I would suggest that people NOT miss the upcoming AlKauthar A-Z of love and mercy course in London 1st/2nd November where all the issues and more will be explained in great detail so that everyone will be easily able to find the faults with contracts like this in the future inshaAllah.’

    What is he on about?! Why say such a thing as if Shaykh Haytham has some communication problem with the masses? He Abu Yusuf may not understand (though being someone called a ‘Shaykh’ should) and his al Kauthar Institute students may not either but what the Shaykh (hafidh’allaah) stated in the video is crystal clear and whoever I’ve forwarded links to this to have understood perfectly alhamdulillaah. Furthermore, any in the UK who know of him know him for being one firm on the haqq, easy to contact, and approachable thus if any clarity after this was needed then we’d simply call or meet him in person and/or hold a free lecture for the community rather then continue to think as if he was ‘not clear’ when in fact the Shaykh was masha’allah.

    And to go further by using some excuse that in Shaykh Haitham’s efforts (as he tirelessly does for us here) somehow ‘may not be clearly understandable to those who listen to it’ as some reason to promote a £60.00 course by stating ‘so I would suggest that people NOT miss the upcoming AlKauthar A-Z of love and mercy course in London 1st/2nd November where all the issues and more will be explained in great detail so that everyone will be easily able to find the faults with contracts like this in the future inshaAllah’ is just low. What if then someone says that about Abu Yusuf on day- that he may not be ‘clearly understandable’- how would he feel? So because he himself do not understand Abu Yusuf the individual tells the whole world this over the Net for all to see so as to offer some ‘course’ where people have to fork out this much money for ilm that in reality you can easily obtain from the scholars in UK for no charge whatsoever through a phone call or meeting them in person if needing any clarification.

    I pray Shaykh Haitham and the bros of MRDF continue their work freely for the sake of Allaah azza wa jall and without listening to unjust criticism of them by others.

  20. ee are says:

    May Allah protect us all from these innovations in the name of progress and integration

    Feeling OK today?

  21. Shibli Zaman says:

    And this is why I avoid online forums because all civility and decency, for some unfortunate reason, go out the window…

    “Don’t speak about things (the contract) that, by your own admission, you haven’t even read!”

    Subhan Allah, can we please discuss this subject without the fascist rhetoric?

    You behave as if I am defending this contract, whereas, I state clearly on the onset that I am vehemently opposed to it. My problem is that the critics themselves have made mistakes in their approach as well as in relaying the facts. Based on these mistakes they are implying that people are close to committing Kufr. This is uncalled for and extreme. On other forums people who are nominally affiliated with this contract are being called “evil” in full view of their family members. All decency has gone out the window.

    The contract does not say anywhere that the witness of 1 woman is equal to 1 man. This is what the contract states:

    “Witnesses – According to Islamic law, a witness should be sane, adult and reliable. This requirement is
    gender/faith neutral. Hence, the Muslim Marriage Certificate requires to be witnessed by
    ‘two adult witnesses of good character’.”

    There are minority opinions that in the absence of upstanding men, women may be incorporated as witnesses. Also, 2 women may witness so long as at least 1 male is present in a well known in the Hanafi Madhhab. You will find this in Ibn `Abdin’s Radd al-Muhtar and other sources. So to flamboyantly ask, “Name one single scholar who says the witness of 1 woman is equal to that of 1 man” is a very bad Red Herring. No one ever said that. The contract certainly does not say that anywhere. If I have missed it, please point it out without getting emotional.

    So all these opinions can be understood from the extremely poorly worded Witness clause of the contract. Again, they have not introduced something new in the religion. They have written up a very poorly worded contract based on Shudhudh read with a very poor understanding of the Fiqh of Nikah. Their crime is taking the very hefty responsibility upon themselves to write up a legal contract alleging to be Shari`ah compliant without having the necessary tools to do so.

    There is much harm in the carelessness with which this contract was drawn up. Yet, at the same time, the critics are exercising an equal amount of carelessness when addressing it.

    Yes, obviously Shaykh Haitham is light years ahead of me in knowledge and understanding and many other things. Yet, this is completely irrelevant. All throughout history great Fuqaha’ have been questioned by laymen and students who found fault with their conclusions. They didn’t live in the “Pop Star” culture we live in where if you dare even pronounce the Scholar’s name wrong your head is place on the guillotine.

    Again, I implore everyone stick to the issues and discuss things in a manner that we can all benefit from. Allah knows best.

    Jazakumullahu khayran. was-salam

  22. Shibli Zaman says:

    Also, I want to apologize if I was disrespectful towards anyone in anyway, especially the Shuyukh. May Allah forgive me if I made that mistake. Amin. It was, in no way, my intent. I just think the throwing around of words like “Zinah”, “Zindiq”, “Kufr”, etc is a bit of an overreaction and counter-productive to solving this problem. Allah knows best.

  23. cotton eye joe says:

    “anyone who reads the contract can see right through its progressive, and almost blatant anti-traditionalist slant”

    No offence to the author but I think he should maybe use a different choice of words. Im sure he didnt imply that this is “progressive”

  24. Amad says:

    “ee are”

    Feeling OK today?

    Quite well alhamdulilah, and you?

  25. Amad says:

    I see Br. Shibli commenting respectfully and with good manners. I hope we don’t follow suit on the McCain post example, and resort to belligerance and insults. A person who has the truth on the side should be the calmest. I hope we all can try to learn together, to be kind even when firm and holding tight to a position inshallah… the advice first goes to me.


  26. talib says:

    subhan allah…the examples mentioned by sh haitham in relation to absent wali marriage contracts were hilarious.

    btw brother shibli can you post where you got this information from

    “There is one report of Imam Ahmad declaring a Nikah without 2 witnesses as valid. This opinion was shared by quite of few Sahaba and Tabi`in such as al-Hasan bin `Ali and Ibn `Umar (radi Allahu `anhum).”

    jazakum allah khairan

  27. Shibli Zaman says:

    Wa iyyakum, brother Talib. It is in Ibn Qudama’s al-Mughni, Kitab al-Nikah, Mas’alah: wa la nikaha illa bi-wali, Fasl al-Thani (#2).

  28. OM says:

    Ya Shibli, you are wrong on the witness thing! And I am not a fascist, simply for asking you to know what you’re talking about! You haven’t read or listened to anything from City Circle- they said *clearly* that this is a 21st century multicultural society and that therefore the witness of a woman should be equal to a man and a kafir to a Muslim. They said this! They said it clearly, and everybody over here heard and read this! And Sh Haytham knows it too! We know what we are talking about, and hearing something with your own ears, and seeing it with your own eyes, is something you aren’t favoured with at the moment (being outside London).

  29. OM says:

    “The Contract also requires “two adult witnesses of good character”, rather than the traditional insistence on two Muslim men. In today’s multi-cultural Britain, women and non-Muslims must be recognised as just as capable of providing a reputable guarantee that the marriage took place and of the terms and conditions the couple agreed upon. ”

    This is straight from the horse’s mouth! So don’t tell us you know better than us, when we heard them with our own ears, saw them with our own eyes etc!

    And apologise for calling me a fascist.

  30. OM says:

    Sorry, I saw you apologised just now.

    But bear in mind that Sh Haytham spent a week reading the documents, reading what they said at CC, phoning people right left and centre etc. Anybody who knows the shaykh masha Allah knows he is a man who is absolutely certain of what he is talking about before he says it. Nor is this all he said on the contract, he has other things.

  31. Shibli Zaman says:

    OM, you really need to calm down. First and foremost, I did not call you a fascist. I asked you to please stop with the fascist rhetoric. You’re telling me to not ask questions and to be silent in expressing my views and opinions based upon your fallaciously assumed superior perspective. These are some definitions of “Fascist”:

    – A person who is dictatorial or has extreme right-wing views.
    – A reactionary or dictatorial person.

    When you tell someone to not make statements of Tashayyu` when the exaggerate the Tafdil of `Ali (`alayhis-salam) you are not calling them a Shi`i. When you tell someone not to make a statement of Kufr when they erroneously say that American Democracy is better for a Muslim society, you are not calling them a Kafir.

    Likewise, when you tell someone to stop using fascist rhetoric when they are demanding that others be silent from asking questions or expressing their opinions because they view their own perspective to be superior, you are not calling that person a fascist even though such behavior is absolutely fascist in nature.

    I apologized for any offense, yet, this is obviously not sufficient for you. I can’t do anything more about that.

    I have presented my questions and opinions on this matter and I was seeking some more scholarly feedback and input on this matter, but instead I got a lot of steam. Therefore, I will conclude my comments on this matter. Every single time I haplessly wander onto any medium of communication with Muslims on the internet the exact same things happen. I guess my desire for stimulating discourse with my fellow Muslims makes me a very slow learner in this matter.

    May Allah guide us all to what pleases Him most. Amin.


  32. talib says:

    brother shibli and whoever want to respond..

    i noticed something confusing in the mugni, once it says that ahmad has reported no nikah contract without witnesses and after that it says the opposite, that ahmad allowed the nikah without witnesses. can someone care to explain the contradiction

    أن النكاح لا ينعقد إلا بشاهدين هذا المشهور عن أحمد وروى ذلك عن عمر‏,‏ وعلى وهو قول ابن عباس وسعيد بن المسيب‏,‏ وجابر بن زيد والحسن والنخعي‏,‏ وقتادة والثوري والأوزاعي‏,‏ والشافعي وأصحاب الرأي

    وعن أحمد أنه يصح بغير شهود وفعله ابن عمر والحسن بن علي‏,‏ وابن الزبير وسالم وحمزة ابنا ابن عمر


    and i found in rawd al-muraba sharh zaad al-mustaqni3.. imam al-bahooty quoted that “no nikah except with a wali and two witnessess” reported sahih by ibn hiban

  33. Shibli Zaman says:

    Brother Talib, this confusion is normal for the average person and it is the very reason why most teachers in Fiqh instruct their students not to read through al-Mughni. It is a valuable resource in comparative Fiqh, but Ibn Qudamah has done such an amazing job compiling such a wide breadth of variant opinions concerning the Masa’il therein that is a smorgasbord for the misguided person seeking dispensations from the Shadh opinions of the scholars. I suspect this might be what the authors of the Marriage Contract may have done, Allah knows best. The reason why I quoted from it is only because of the oft-repeated “No scholar ever said such and such” which is almost always an incorrect statement. A gloss through al-Mughni will almost always disprove it. Otherwise, al-Mughni, in my opinion, should be avoided for learning Fiqh. Allah knows best.

    Ahkam in the Madhahib are not based solely upon statements from the respective Imams of each Madhhab. Its a common mistake for people to mistakenly conclude, “Imam Malik said x, y and z, thus, the Maliki position is this.” This is incorrect. It is quite common for there to be seemingly contradictory statements from Imam Ahmad, as well as the other Imams on one particular issue. There are many, many different reasons for this. Perhaps, the Imam made one statement under one given set of circumstances and the “contradictory” statement under entirely different variables. This is why we depend on the standard positions amongst the scholars of that Madhhab to determine what its Mu`tamad positions are. They were more aware of these circumstances than the general populace.

    From what I have learned, the Mu`tamad position amongst the Hanbalis is that the Wali is required as well as two male Muslim witnesses. There are exceptions, but those exceptions should not even be discussed unless circumstances arise to warrant that. You read Rawd al-Murbi` say that the Wali is required with two male Muslim witnesses because it is not comparative Fiqh. It is Hanbali Fiqh (Sharh of a standard Hanbali primer in Fiqh) and that is all.

    I hope this helps clarify the issue, insha’ Allah.

  34. talib says:

    tayyib..yea this is why i avoid comparitive fiqh for now, it gets really confusing without a teacher..i also heard the imam ahmad would have three different answers to one issue, this may be one of them..allahu a3lam

    jazak allah khair for your effort

  35. Shibli Zaman says:

    Brother Talib, that’s a bit of an exaggeration about Imam Ahmad (radi Allahu `anhu) that I hear quite often, but, yes, Fiqh (and all sciences, Islamic and otherwise) can be very confusing without a teacher. We need to treat these sciences the same way we treat the sciences we learn in secular school, w-Allahu A`lam.

    To bring this point home, you can probably now see the danger in going through all the opinions, Shudhudh and all, in a vast work of comparative Fiqh seeking out what one wants and then going “Aha!” when they find it. Its ok to take the opinion of an Imam other than the Imam you follow when the opinion has weight and it is what is easiest for you in following your religious obligations. Yet, according to the scholars (as Shaikh Haitham has mentioned in the video) to pick and choose what one likes, thereby, making one’s self the Imam of the Madhhab of one’s own desires can lead to Zandaqah.

    Still, people who do this are not people of knowledge. We’re not talking about Wasil bin `Ata’ here. These people need to be approached and given Nasiha so that the problem can be fixed and this contract completely gutted and reworked. No matter how much one thinks these people are heretics, we need to stomp on our own pride and arrogance and give our Muslim brethren 70 excuses before condemning them. If you approach the matter properly and according to the Sunnah, people will comply. Allah knows best.

    May Allah save us from that. Amin.

  36. Shibli Zaman says:

    Hah! My sentence “May Allah save us from that” was meant to be after the paragraph about Zandaqah. Funny how it wound up at the bottom. Can someone fix that please? :)

  37. OM says:

    Ramadan is around the corner; Allah guide all of us to what He loves and is pleased with.

  38. Abu Aaliyah says:

    May Allah reward the two shaykh with further goodness. Not having heard Sh. Haytham’s response fully yet, I did find Sh. Abu Yusuf’s response to be highly measured, sufficiently detailed for us non-specialists, and maintaining the very objectivity which he urges upon others. Juristic ‘errors’ aside, I also share his concern that the upshot of the contract will actually negate many of its well-intended aims. I would like to remind myself and others of that invaluable creedal point articulated by Imam al-Tahawi: “We follow the Sunnah and the Jama’ah, and we avoid isolated opinions, discord and sectarianism.” This, along with not ignoring our current context, nor failing to take account of the sweeping social changes we find ourselves in today and the challenges thrown up to us as a faith community. May Allah look favourably upon us; forgive us all; and guide us to the paths of His good pleasure.

  39. Amy says:

    Why do you think it is zina or close to zina? That I don’t understand…

  40. anon says:

    If Shibli Zaman is still here can he link to some of his old anti-missionary polemics? I used to enjoy them masha Allah.

  41. Amad says:

    JazakAllah khair Shaykh Abu Aaliyah for your comment…

  42. concerned says:

    with the greatest respect, i would like to say…

    for year s we have been calling for clarity from our scholars, and it seems that when we receive it from Shaykh Haitham – it is referred to with praise, but at the same time – our ‘teachers’ say: I am however concerned that perhaps many points of what Sh Haitham is mentioning in his video may not be clearly understandable to those who listen to it, so I would suggest that people NOT miss the upcoming AlKauthar A-Z of love and mercy course in London 1st/2nd November

    Not only is this statement unnecessary, it contradicts the call for clarity… i gree with one of the brothers above, it was / is crystal clear masha Allah.

    And, i hope this is taken in the best way – but to use the negative comment about unclarity in Shaykh haithams speech as a ‘spring board’ for advertising another course which will clarify the ‘confusion’. I mean no disrespect, marketing and advertising is very important, but if it feels like the product is being shoved down your throat at every oportunity- it can have negative impact.

    In conclusion, this is not a fan fair for shaykh haitham, and neither is it a linch mob for al-kauthar or Ustadh Abu Yusuf… just voicing concerns.


  43. A fitting logo for the “Islamic” marriage contract…

    The so-called Islamic marriage contract recently proposed by the Muslim Institute has attracted a lot of attention in the Muslim blogosphere lately, much of it negative, for reasons anyone who has read it will understand. It contains brazenly anti-Isla…

  44. Yusuf Smith says:

    As-Salaamu ‘alaikum,

    The MCB have in fact distanced themselves from this document, which besides its Islamic invalidity is extremely shoddy in its legal status; it mixes boilerplate rhetoric and vague demands like ‘loyalty’ with actual terms and conditions, and among its stipulations are redundant because they are already covered by civil and even criminal law. It is an extremely ill-drafted and poorly researched piece of work and should be a source of embarrassment to those who produced it.

  45. Khalid says:

    salaam aleikum,

    it should be kept in mind that the same Muslim entities behind this govt created “contract” are also funded by the British govt. i.e.
    hamza yusuf supporters/followers at the Radical Middle Way. This was covered in depth here:

    and trying to fool/lie to Muslims that taking money from the govt. is ok because it is “dawah” is garbage. the same set of aspiring Muslim British secularists who are trying to pass of this “marriage contract” have called out the bluff and have openly said that Radical Middle Way’s govt. funding SHOULD BE CUT if they do NOT tow the line, as they did here:

    the above blog (HurryupHarry) has:
    1. endorsed the war in Iraq (just as Ed Husain has).
    2. openly is pro-Israel in orientation (some of the same people behind the marriage contract (Ed Husain/Majid Nawaz) have openly stated that they can make a case from Islamic texts accepting the state of Israel as a permanent part of the world).

    Lastly, according to right wing blogs, the principals behind the contract (in late Sept/early October) will soon be hitting the lecture circuit in the U.S. with Irshad Manji, Ayaan Hirsa Ali, and others warning of the dangers of “politicized Islam”.

    the more things change, the more things stay the same.

    salaam aleikum,

  46. Amad says:

    welcome back nuqtah :)

  47. asgher says:

    Asalaam alaykum people.Interesting discussion.I may be going off the beaten track a bit here but i wonder what the thoughts are regarding my predicament.I got to know a pious sister back in June 2008 and she approached me regarding nikkah via a website (I know people will have varying opinions regarding this).We both practise Islam, Alhmdulillah but there is an age gap of 15 years between us. I repeatedly asked her if this was an issue and she always said not.We got on well always in the presence of a Mahram.I thought she would make a good wife for me and I am in a position to fulfill my obligations to her ie support,food,shelter etc etc.We planned Nikkah for after Ramadan but she was most keen to get it done quicker. Trusting her and her sincerity I agreed and Nikkah was done 2 weeks ago.She then went abroad for 1 week immediately to see family and I had no problem with this.On her return however, she decided that the age-gap, which she knew all about from day 1 and had stated as not being a problem, had suddenly become an issue.I explained that Nikkah, done quicker at her insistence is no trivial matter and at least we shoud try to make a go of it.She refused and has sought an annulment which I have granted her as I do not wish to be married to someone who doesnt wish to be married to me.I feel misled and am upset that a practising sister would either have 1.misled me from day 1 or 2.had so little regard for Nikkah that she was not even prepared to give it a try.We had met repeatedly pre-Nikkah and she always appeared to be in favour of this. My ego can cope but its the deception that troubles me.Any thoughts? Wa salaam.

  48. Yusuf Smith says:

    As-Salaamu ‘alaikum,

    Re: Khalid, 21st Aug

    The organisations behind this contract are the so-called Muslim Institute, AKA Muslim Parliament (based out of the same building), AKA Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, a former Khomeini fan-boy who is now trying to make a name for himself on the lecture circuit as a pet moderate, and Cassandra Balchin, a supposed convert with strong secularist and tendencies and a bee in her bonnet about polygamy. No traditionalist organisations are involved, and books relied on by traditionalists (e.g. Reliance of the Traveller) make it clear about issues like stipulations in marriage contracts and which are valid and which aren’t. This contract is a secularist effort, not a traditionalist one by any means.

  49. Yusuf Smith says:

    As-Salaamu ‘alaikum,

    Asgher, probably she personally did not see a problem with it before, but perhaps her family have got to her. Perhaps they made her see things in a different light, but equally perhaps she was distressed by an angry response, or was told that they would no longer accept her if she continued with her marriage, or something like that. It does not sound like deception, unless she has taken a load of your money or something.

  50. Sara says:

    Asalam o Alaikum

    Brother Asgher, the Sister went abroad to meet family ? And then on her return she said that the age gap was an issue,
    Hmm sounds like maybe the family might have given her negative points about the age gap,

    I mean its not only your life she seemed to play around with but this sister must be abit confused !
    May Allah swt give evveryone hidayah ! ameeeeeen



  51. Ala Uddin says:

    السلام عليكم ورحمة الله تعالى وبركاته

    أرجو منكم أن تساعدوني وجزاكم الله خيرا

    لقد قررت وعزمت الزواج بثانية ومنذ سنه تقريبا وانا أبحث عن الزوجة الصالحة والمناسبة وهاقد وجدتها وأريد منكم أن تساعدوني في إعداد وإجراء عقد زواجي منها لأحصن فرجي وعدم وقوعي في الحرام والعياذ بالله. إن كان بمقدوركم مساعدتي لإتمام وتحرير وثيقة عقد القران فأنا جاهز وأرجو أن تفيدوني بما يترتب علي أن أفعله, وإن لم يكن بمقدوركم مساعدتي فالرجاء أن ترشدوني إلى من يستطيع مساعدتي.

    جزاكم الله خيرا

    أخوكم في الله

    علاء الدين

    ملاحظة: أنا اسكن في لندن وأحمل الجنسية البريطانية وزوجتي الثانية الجديدة أصلها من رومانيا وقد اعتنقت الاسلام منذ عدة أشهر وهي تتمتع بإقامة دائمة في بريطانيا

  52. Anon says:

    Is it just me or does the Shaikh make a math error in the first video?! He says only 30% of children in the UK are living with both parents, as a fraction that would come to 3/10, but he says it is 1/3. Would be grateful if someone could check that. The figure of 3/10 is more favourable in terms of the argument he is trying to make!
    Anyways it seems like an interesting lecture and I am checking it now.

  53. Rehman Yousaf says:

    i am singal plz contract marriage visia send me my mobil number 03037378069 from pakistan
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  54. Father’s Name: Muhammad Yousaf
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  55. krista beebe says:

    I would like to know if a divorced woman can marry a Muslim man. I am not Muslim, I am Methodist.

  56. […] stand up in a court of law in the UK; besides this, there are moral objections, such as that, as Dr Tawfique Chaudhury notes, “the contract lowers the status and position of the husband treating him constantly from an […]

  57. Mezba says:

    Just a note that after reflecting and studying further, I have changed my views and now agree to a greater extent with Amad and Anonymouse’s comments here. I would also like to urge everyone to reflect on the issues and problems of our communities and how we can improve the situation. May Allah guide us all.

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