Q. If a couple that is already married (be it Hindu, or Christian rights) and reverted to Islam, should they perform the nikkah? From logical thinking I thought they should, as they would have joined in a period of their life that incorporated shirk. My question is should such individuals have to perform the nikkah?
A. It is not essential for both parties to perform the Nikah upon accepting Islam. This is clearly evident in the Books of Islamic Jurisprudence. (Al Hidaaya vol. 2 pg. 344; Jawahirul Fiqh vol. pg.134). The reason for not renewing the Nikah is the fact that although they were non Muslims, they nevertheless entered into a martial contract which were witnessed by others and they fulfilled the requirements of their former religion. Marriage in essence, occurs when both parties accept each other and is witnessed by sound witnesses, along with a marital gift called the Mahr or dowry.
However, if the couple had previously gotten married in a way that was unacceptable in their former religion, for example, if they got involved in a common law marriage, then they must perform a Nikah (marriage) as Muslims after embracing Islam, since they did not have a marriage before.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan