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Would saying I am…NOT accepting this woman constitute acceptance in marriage

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by DarulIftaBirmingham

A few years ago i had problem with a family and i was not a very good muslim at that time. I was a muslim but I wasnt praying every day. This family had a daughter and i told them i will marry her.
 So on the day of nikah when imam asked me “do you accept this woman”. I replied “I am…” or “I’m” then there was a few minutes pause and I continued in saying “NOT accepting this woman”. Then I walked off and havent spoken to that family or woman since then. I did this as a way of revenge to the family.
 I know what I did was wrong and have made tauba to Allah. I wanted to know does this make that woman my wife? I am scared because of the hadith “three things done in jest are taken seriously, marriage, divorce and manumitting a slave”. Because what I did was a kind of joke.
 Because I said “I am” or “I’m” and then left a pause of few minutes before saying anything else, does that mean that I completed the statement of acceptance of this woman even though I did not complete the full sentence.
 Or because I did not complete the whole sentence does it mean we are not married.
 I really hope you can help me as soon as possible as I am really scared. I’m really sorry if I am annoying you brothers by asking.


In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.

A marriage can be executed by just two words, e.g. a person says the following words in the presence of witnesses: “I give my daughter to you in marriage.” The person who is addressed replies: “I accept her in marriage.” In so doing, the marriage is valid and both of them are lawful husband and wife.

If the daughter is present and the father says: “I give this daughter of mine in marriage to you”, and the person replies: “I accept her”, the nikah will be valid. It will not be necessary to mention her name.

If the girl is not present, it is necessary to mention her name and the name of her father in such a loud tone that all the witnesses are able to hear. If the people do not know the father and there is a strong possibility that by mentioning his name they will still not know whose nikah is being performed, then it will be necessary to mention the name of the grand-father as well.

Furthermore, in order for a nikah to be valid, it is also essential for at least

  • Two males
  • One male and two females to be present

To hear the nikah being performed, and to hear the two words (i.e. the offer and the acceptance) being uttered is necessary. Only then will the nikah be valid. If two persons sit together in privacy and one says to the other: “I give my daughter to you in marriage” and the other person replies: “I accept your daughter”, the nikah will not be valid. (Hidayah p.305 & p.306 v.2)

With regards to your question when you said “I am…” if you made the intention of marriage or to put it in another way you meant yes, then the marriage will be done. If you did not make the aforementioned intention then the answer is clear that the marriage would not occur as the sentence you said afterwards “NOT accepting this woman” will indicate towards rejection of this woman in marrying her.

Only Allah Knows Best

Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham

This answer was collected from DarulIftaBirmingham.co.uk, which is run under the supervision of Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah from the United Kingdom.

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