Wali is an Arabic word that has two main meanings, one is “guardian” and the second is “Islamic saint”. A guardian however is referred to as someone responsible for a variety of things concerning a woman related to him by blood. One of the many things is her marriage.
A woman must have a wali involved in her marriage according to Islam. But some conditions must exist in a person who is referred to as a wali (guardian) of a woman.
- A wali must be a male. A woman cannot give another woman in marriage.
- He must be a ‘Mukallaf’ meaning that he must have reached the age of puberty.
- A wali must be ‘Aakil’ meaning that he must be wise.
- He cannot be a salve (under someone’s authority) and a wali at the same time
- He must be of the same deen (religion).
- A wali cannot give his daughter in a state of ‘Ahram’
- He must be of a good character meaning that he must not have any greed while dealing with the marriage nor should he have any ill will out of it. If he does, he is no longer eligible to be a wali.
Can a revert Muslim woman have a non-Muslim father as her wali?
A non-Muslim guardian is not eligible to be a wali of a Muslim woman. The point of being a wali is to be a fair decision-maker for a woman. It must involve a balanced notion of religion. For instance, if a non-Muslim person marries a Muslim woman but her father is a non-Muslim, the marriage is invalid not only because of the different religion of both candidates but the different religion of the wali with the exception that it was unknown at the time of marriage.
Is Wali a blood-related guardian?
A wali can be a bride’s father, her paternal grandfather, brother, paternal uncle, or cousin from the paternal side. A friend or anyone else cannot be a wali for a woman to give her hand in marriage.
Similarly, if she has no father or brother alive anymore and none of her paternal side uncles are willing to be her wali, she may consider the community imam as her wali.