What if a woman has no wali?

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by Shafiifiqh.com


As salamu alaykum. I understand that in the Shafi’i School, according to Qadi Abu Shuja, a woman’s wali is: the father, the grandfather whole brother, half brother, whole brother’s son, half brother’s son…and then the Hakim (or Islamic ruler). What will be the ruling to a sister in the west that has no Islamic ruler and no Muslim male family to give her away in marriage? Who can be her wali and what are the conditions in our Madhab? jazakumAllah wasalam.

Country: United States


wa alaykum salam wa rahmatuLlahi wa barakatuHu,

In Kifayat al-Akhyar p. 426 (Kifayat al-Akhyar is a commentary on Abu Shuja’s Ghayat al-Ikhtisar), an opinion is stated that if there are no awliya for a woman, and also no Sultan, then there is an opinion that she can use tahkim and appoint an upright and learned Muslim to act as her wali. The text in Kifayat al-Akhyar is taken, almost verbatim, from Imam Nawawi’s Rawdah. There it is stated to be the preferred view. (v. 7, p. 50) In his Fatawa, Ibn Hajar al-Haytami thoroughly discussed the matter. (See: v. 4, p. 88-92)

If there are local ulama present, then she should seek their assistance. Many do not have detailed knowledge of marriage proceedings according to Islamic law. Thus, qualified ulama should be sought for advice, and that should be done case by case.


Allah knows best.

Shafiifiqh.com Fatwa Dept.