Can a nikāḥ (islamic marriage) be conducted via phone or Skype; is it a valid nikāḥ in such a case?
In the Name of God, Most Merciful, Most Kind
Jazāk Allāh Khayr/ Thank you for your question.
Nikāḥ by the means of phone and or video chat such as Skype, Zoom or Facebook Live is not islamicaly permissible.
Offer and acceptance of nikāḥ must take place in the same geographical space, in the presence of witnesses.
The alternative is proxy marriage, which is a valid method when one is not in the same location during a transaction. In such a scenario, a representative is appointed to be in the same geographical location with the fiancé and witnesses, in whose presence all the proceedings of nikāḥ take place.
Proxy in Islam is termed as “wakālah” under Islamic jurisprudence, which means to authorize someone to act or be a representative on one’s behalf.
(See: Mukhtaṣar Al-Qudūrīy, Al-Fiqh Al-Islāmiy Wa Adillatuh, Fatāwā Dār Al-ʿUlūm Zakariyah)
It is also important to note that in Canada, as of 2015, IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) does not recognize marriages conducted by proxy, telephone, internet and fax. If one or both parties are not physically present at the ceremony, the IRCC will not recognize the marriage. – (See: CIC.gc.ca and Canada.ca)
And Allāh Knows Best