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Is nikah valid without witnesses?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Darulifta-Deoband.com
Two people who wanted to secretly get married, went to a public place and approached two male strangers. The man who wanted to get married, asked the strangers in urdu, if they spoke urdu. The men replied that they did. Then the couple in front of these two men, said the proposal and acceptance and immediately left. My question is, is this nikah valid? The couple only assumed the strangers to be muslim because they spoke urdu, and there is now no way for them to get in contact with them so as to ask if they are actually muslim.


(Fatwa: 452/408=D)

For a nikah to take place it is necessary that it is done in the presence of two sane and Muslim witnesses who can understand the procedures of nikah:

قال فی الدر: و شرط حضور شاھدین حرین أو حر و حرتین مکلفین سامعین قولھما معاً علی الأصح فاھمین أنہ نکاح علی المذھب [الشامی: 2/296]

In the abovementioned case, when you can not say with surety that the two witnesses were able of being a witness or not, then surely the nikah can be regarded as neither valid nor invalid. Therefore it is better to avoid to have any relation i.e. if you like to continue the relation then you should renew the nikah and if you want to discontinue then you should terminate it by talaq out of precaution.

Allah (Subhana Wa Ta’ala) knows Best

Darul Ifta,
Darul Uloom Deoband

This answer was collected from the official ifta website of Darul Uloom Deoband in India.

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