Q. An adult woman has recently reverted to Islam and she intends making Nikah. Her father and brothers are non-Muslims. Can her father or brothers be her Wali at the time of her Nikah?
A. One of the pre-conditions for one to act as a guardian (Wali) on behalf of a Muslim is that he must be a Muslim. This is because a guardian (Wali) enjoys certain rights and powers over a Muslim that a non-Muslim does not enjoy. Allah Ta’ala states in the Qur’an:
“Allah shall never give the disbelievers authority over the believers.”(Surah Nisaa; V:141)
As such, if one’s father or brothers are non-Muslims, they cannot act as guardians (Wali’s) on behalf of a Muslim male or female. Instead, they may be appointed as representatives (Wakeels) who simply represent a person on their mandate without having any rights or powers over them.
Therefore, in the enquired case, a revert Muslim may appoint her non-Muslim father or brothers as representatives (Wakeels) to represent her at the time of her Nikah and not as guardians (Wali’s). (Shaami 3/76)
Nonetheless, it is best for a revert Muslim woman to have the local Imaam/scholar involved throughout the process and to consider appointing him as her representative (Wakeel) at the time of her Nikah.
Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
Mufti Ismaeel Bassa
This answer was collected from TheMufti.com, which is a fatwa portal managed by Mufti Ismaeel Bassa from South Africa.