Witnesses for marriage and divorce

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by

Q. 1) What are the requisites for a muslim to be a witness in the case of a marriage? Must he be someone that has a lot of knowledge of Islam for example?

2) Does a muslim need witnesses at the time of giving a divorce to his wife and if so how many witnesses and how should he conduct that?

3) What if a muslim had separated from his wife for almost a year and said to himself that he divorced her, but he had no witness at the time of doing that and also has no intention of going back to her, will this be a divorce acording to shariah?

4) Who should communicate the divorce to the woman, bearing in mind that the couple has been separated for almost a year and had no sexual contact and the man does not want to be with her any more? I asked him why he did not tell her that she is divorced and he said that every time I try to tell her she will say, I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT THAT, so I could not tell her, now she is asking for a divorce, that is why.

A. 1) In order to be a witness in a Muslim Marriage, one must be a Muslim who has reached the age of puberty and should be a male. One must be in his senses, and must have complete understanding of the marriage which is taking place. It is not necessary that one has a lot of knowledge about Islam.

2) No, a Muslim does not need witnesses at the time of giving a divorce. When one wishes to give divorce he can simply say to his wife ‘I have divorced you’. This should be said one time.

3) Yes, this will be a divorce in Islam, even though he had no witnesses at that time.

4) Any reliable person who is known to the parties can communicate this information to the wife. If the husband wants to give this information to his wife directly, then because of the situation you have described, he can write on a paper that he has divorced her and give the paper to his wife.

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Waseem Khan

This answer was collected from, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Waseem Khan from Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago.

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