Civil Marriage

Assalaamu Alaikum,
Mufti Saheb, my question is that if a couple intend to get married Inshallah. They propose that they will do a civil marriage through the courts initially, thereafter a period of a year they will do the nikah ceremony (the delay is because the grooms brother is in prison and the groom and his parents wish is that his elder brother is there to witness the blessed event) during this year the girl will live at her parents house and the boy to live at his parents house,(both will agree to this) however if they meet at work or elsewhere i.e shopping etc. during this year would they be in sin ?

And does the civil marriage constitute nikah and class the couple as husband and wife in an Islamic context?

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful.

Answer

The conditions for a nikah to be valid according to Shariah are that there should be offer and acceptance (from the couple or a proxy) in one session, which should take place in the presence of two adult male witnesses or one adult male and two adult female witnesses. (Hidayah, Vol 2, P305-306)

If the above conditions are found in the civil marriage then the nikah will be valid in Shariah and the couple will be classed as husband and wife and therefore will not be in sin if they meet. However if any of the above conditions are not met in the civil marriage (i.e. offer and acceptance did not take place or the two required witnesses are not present) then the couple will not be classed, as husband and wife and therefore it will not be permissible for them to meet.

Only Allah knows best.

Sayeedur Rahman

Darul Ifta, Birmingham