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Can We Marry in Secret before Our Wedding?

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad


A boy and I love each other and want to marry. We are not dating, he met my mom, and I met his mother; the rest of our families will meet soon. He has plans to travel to make his career, and then I will join him and study law. Our parents don’t want a nikah this early because he’s leaving, but we don’t want to fall into sin. I also don’t want to rely on engagement only. My family also knows that my father cannot be the wali because he sexually harassed me for years.

My family never made the right decisions for me. I have always been taking care of myself. Can we do our nikah without parents but with friends as witnesses? My family will think we are only engaged and they agree for us to marry next year. I want to do the purest thing according to Islam.


I deeply sympathize with your situation. Being abused by your father is perverse on his part and prohibited. The Prophet, may Allah bless and give him peace, said, “Beware of oppression, for indeed oppression will be waves of darkness on the Day of Judgment.” [Bukhari]

I pray that you can heal from such treatment in your past, but I am very grateful to Allah that you have found a suitable husband to give you a halal escape and a new home. I pray that Allah blesses your union with your husband and gives you the best.

Marrying in Secret

Is it valid to marry in secret? See these links:
Can I Marry in Secret With the Minimum Conditions for a Valid Marriage to Avoid Fornication?
Can We Get Married Without Involving Our Parents?

Disrespect of Parents

Although you may feel the utter need to marry now, it would be much more dignified and beneficial for both of you to wait until the wedding. “It is true that there are academic positions in our tradition that allow two adults to get married without the permission of the woman’s guardian (wali). [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar] However, this does not mean that one is at liberty to go and marry whom they wish without the knowledge of their guardian, who, in the default case, happens to be the father. In fact, despite the validity of such a marriage, it could be potentially sinful to take such a course of action without good reason as it entails disrespect of a parent, which is forbidden in the Quran.” [Ustadh Salman Younas]

Self-Care and Healing

I am concerned about your emotional well-being after everything you have been through. Have you seen a therapist or a doctor? They can point you in the right direction to contact an organization for sexual abuse survivors. You must address the pain you endured and deal with the scars you have. In the end, you will be a stronger person and be a source of comfort and healing for those around you, in sha Allah.

Ultimately,  channeling your pain into du’a and prayer will benefit you most significantly. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Fear the supplication of the oppressed, for there is no veil between it and Allah.” [Bukhari] Remember Allah and know He is with you and sees all. Allah, Most High, says, “Lo, by the remembrance of Allah do the hearts find rest.” [Quran, 13:28]

Father as a Guardian

Although your father is still your mahram, it is obligatory upon you to avoid all situations of seclusion with your father, given his corruption and untrustworthiness. See this link for reference: Is a Father Who Molests His Daughter Still Considered Her Mahram (Unmarriageable Kin)? Despite his crimes, he can still play a role as your wali for your marriage.

Plan to Wait

Please devise a plan to wait to marry as you are already engaged. Several things could happen to a secretly married couple that could result in massive problems: pregnancy, an utterance of divorce, and being found out, which could result in ruing both of our reputations. Although it seems your marriage is ages away, time will pass quickly in sha Allah. Instead, use your time to learn beneficial skills for marriage and take a free course on marriage at Seekers to prepare yourself. Too many a couple jump into marriage without knowing their obligations and rights. This is, in my opinion, the purest thing to do.

Here is the link for the course:
Keys to Successful Muslim Marriages: Practical lessons that explain the Prophetic Spirit of Marriage

Here is a good reader prepared by seekers on Marriage:
A Guide to Marriage: SeekersGuidance Reader

May Allah Most High reward you for striving to do right by Allah, despite being victimized during your childhood.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqida, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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