Can a Woman Arrange Her Own Marriage? Do I Need a Walli?

Post Rating

Rate this post
By Pure Matrimony -

Can a Woman Arrange Her own Marriage?

My question:
Is it permissible for me to get myself married without my wali’s permission and approval? Is he an inadequate wali for me? Please answer me in detail, may Allah have mercy on you and reward you!

Praise be to Allaah.


Marriage is not permissible and is not valid except with a wali, according to the majority of scholars, because of the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “There is no marriage without a wali.” Narrated by Abu Dawood (2085), al-Tirmidhi (1101) and Ibn Majaah (1881) from the hadeeth of Abu Moosa al-Ash’ari; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.

And he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There is no marriage except with a wali and two witnesses of good character.” Narrated by al-Bayhaqi from the hadeeth of ‘Imraan and ‘Aa’ishah; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’ 7557.

And he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Any woman who gets married without the permission of her guardian, her marriage is invalid, her marriage is invalid, her marriage is invalid. But if the marriage is consummated then the mahr is hers because she has allowed him to be intimate with her. If they dispute, then the ruler is the guardian of the one who has no guardian.”  Narrated by Ahmad (24417), Abu Dawood (2083) and al-Tirmidhi (1102); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’ no. 2709.

The woman’s guardian is her father; then her paternal grandfathers, no matter how far the line of ascent reaches; then her son and his sons, no matter how far the line of descent reaches (this applies if she has a son); then her (full) brother through her father and mother; then her (half) brother through her father only; then their sons, no matter how far the line of descent reaches; then her paternal uncles; then their children, no matter how far the line of descent reaches; then the father’s paternal uncles; then the ruler. (al-Mughni 9/355).

But if the wali repeatedly refuses the proposal of a compatible suitor, he is to be regarded as preventing the marriage of the female relative under his care, and his guardianship is thus rendered null and void, and that right is transferred to the next closest relative on the father’s side.


The compatibility that counts here is compatibility in religious commitment. There is no difference between an Arab and a non-Arab, or between black and white, except in terms of taqwa (piety). Some of the fuqaha’ listed other conditions of compatibility, such as lineage and so on. The fact that the suitor is a teacher and you are a (university) tutor does not mean that he is not compatible with you, so long as he is of good character and religiously committed, and he is comfortably off in material terms, as you mentioned.


What we think is that you should try to advise your father again, and seek help in doing so from someone who will be acceptable to him such as a relative or friend. If he agrees to give you in marriage to this suitor, this is what you want; otherwise you should refer to the matter to the guardian (wali) who comes after him, according to the order mentioned above. If he refuses to arrange your marriage, or there is a conflict among the guardians, then refer the matter to the qaadi and appoint him to arrange your marriage.


What this guardian and others like him do is very strange, when they turn their daughters into trade goods to be offered to the highest bidder, or to the one who is better off than others. Even stranger than that is when they claim that the daughter has no need to get married! What does this poor man understand about need? Doesn’t he know that people need comfort, love and compassion, and that they have natural needs that Allaah has created in them, by His wisdom, may He be glorified? The woman’s wali has to fear Allaah and understand that preventing his daughter or sister from getting married to a compatible suitor who is pleased with her is regarded as wrongdoing and transgression and implies that he is an evildoer (faasiq) whose good character is sullied and whose testimony is to be rejected.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

If the wali refused to let a woman marry a man whose religious commitment and character are good, then guardianship passes to the next closest male relative on the father’s side, then the next closest and so on. If they refuse to arrange her marriage, as usually happens, then guardianship passes to the qaadi, and the qaadi should arrange the woman’s marriage. If the matter is referred to him and he knows that her guardians have refused to arrange her marriage, then he should do that, because he is the wali in cases where there is no specific wali.

The fuqaha’ (may Allaah have mercy on them) stated that if the wali repeatedly refuses marriage proposals from suitable men, then he is a faasiq (evildoer) and is no longer regarded as being of good character or as being a wali, rather according to the best known view of the madhhab of Imam Ahmad, he also forfeits the right to lead prayers and it is not valid to offer any congregational prayer behind him. This is a serious matter.

Some people, as we have referred to above, refuse offers of marriage from compatible men, but the girl may feel too shy to come to the qaadi to ask for her marriage to be arranged. This is something that does happen. But she should weigh the pros and cons, and decide which has the more damaging consequences, staying without a husband and letting her wali control her life according to his mood or his whims and desires, and when she grows old and no longer wants to get married, then he will arrange her marriage, or going to the qaadi and asking him to arrange her marriage because that is her right according to sharee’ah.

Undoubtedly the second alternative is preferable, which is that she should go to the qaadi and ask him to arrange her marriage, because she has the right to that, and because her going to the qaadi and his arranging her marriage serves the interests of others too, because others will come just as she has, and her coming to the qaadi will serve as a deterrent to those who wrong those whom Allaah has put under their care and prevent them from marrying compatible men. In other words, this serves three purposes:

1.The woman’s own interests, so that she will not stay without a husband.

2.The interests of others, because it will open the door for women who are waiting for someone to set a precedent they can follow.

3.Preventing those oppressive walis who make decisions for their daughters or other women under their guardianship according to their own moods or what they themselves want.

This also serves the purpose of establishing the command of the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who said: “If there comes to you (to propose marriage to your daughter) one with whose religious commitment and character you are pleased, then marry (your daughter) to him, for if you do not do that, there will be fitnah (tribulation) on earth and widespread corruption.”

It also serves a specific interest, which is arranging marriages for those who are suitable in terms of religious commitment and character, thus protecting them from going astray and falling into haraam.

Quoted from Fataawa Islamiyyah, 3/148

We ask Allaah to help you to do that which in which is goodness and success.

And Allaah knows best.


This Fatwa was taken from Islam Q and A and answered by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid

Source :

6 Comments to Can a Woman Arrange Her Own Marriage? Do I Need a Walli?

  1. This is a good Article MashaAllah. However, I just wish to point out that in the U.K., our Nikah is legally acceptable under U.K. law as of 2008. I was surprised by this and did some research and found that it is entitled ‘THE NEW NIKAH MARRIAGE CONTRACT’ and in the preamble it states that the age old things of a woman having a wali and that the two witnesses must be men are false. I then read through the Nikah contract and it does not have a signature for the wali – only for the bridge and groom. Upon reading about this ‘New Contract’ I have found that ALL the Islamic Organisations have put their weight behind it. They all support it. Whilst it does help women who are wrongfully oppressed by their male guardians, how does it fit with the above article. The website that I was reading did mention the hadith that you have mentioned, but says that this applied to young women and since women do not get married under the age of 18 nowadays, those hadith don’t apply. Please could this issue be clarified. JazakAllah Khairen.

  2. Assalamu’alaikum wa rahmatullah,
    Is the explanation above for women who are divorced or widowed too?
    Or only for women who have not been married?
    Please, enlighten us.
    Jazakallah khayran.

  3. tawakalitu

    Pls I want 2 knw who a ‘qaadi* is as stated in ur explanation.also,wat if afta d lady has implored a family member 2 tlk 2 d father nd stil he insists?

  4. What if a girl get marreid without her wali and that time the wali was nt the same country and she came to knw that marraige with out wali in invalid and she cant tel her brother that she got married and she wants the man besides she is a student what is she suppose to do plz help

  5. My question is if two Muslims involve in a relationship and both did aqeeda and registry with both parent present without the proper Nikkai and no dowry and at the same time the man is not a practising Muslim; doesn’t pray, fast and do most thing Allah SWT has ordered us to do and the two couples travel down to UK then had twin and the marriage is not getting on well then along the line the sister meant a brother and due to the fact that the marriage is not going on well and the sister has decided to quit with the guy. In this aspect that the sisters parent are not around, can she go on with this brother without any wali. Ma Salam

  6. Asssalamu’alakium
    I have a few questions to ask.
    I am a revert muslim Alhamdulillah and i have been in a relationship now for the last 6 months with someone abroad who i have never meet. We want to be halal for each other and live together. I fear my past life may cause problems. We wish to marry each other but so many people are telling me it is wrong because… 1. He will only use me for Visa here in England which i dont wish to believe at all. 2. I will not be good enough for him because im revert and have a child from previous life as i like to call it (before i reverted to islam. 3. I can not arrange my own marriage. 4. His family will not accept me as he is from Pakistan.
    I really want to be with him and all i want to know is will he be doing wrong to be with me and can his family refuse me on these grounds? I became muslim before we meet online and my family are all christians. I follow my religion and believe it says that when ypu revert all past has been erased so do people have reason to object to our being together. Please help as im very confused why it is allowed for people to see me as a threat and not the same way as them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Check Out Our New Mobile App!!

Muslim Marriage Guide Mobile Application