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No Marriage is Valid Without a Wali

The representative of a woman in marriage is called the wali
(guardian). The Muslim woman is NOT allowed to give herself in
marriage by herself under ANY circumstances. The Prophet (SAW) is
reported to have said,

"No marriage is valid without a wali." (Ahmed and others )

He also is reported to have said,

"When a woman marries without the permission of her wali, then her
marriage is not valid, not valid, not valid." (Ahmad, Tirmidhi and

The Muslim persons most entitled to give a woman in marriage are her
father, her paternal grandfather, her son, and her son's sons or
grandsons, respectively. These are followed by her brother, paternal
half-brother, etc. in same order as those in the laws inheritance.
If the woman has none of these relatives available, then the Muslim
ruler can give her in marriage. The Prophet (SAW) said,

"If they dispute, then the ruler is the wali of those who have no
wali." (This is a continuation of the previous hadith)

If the woman resides in a non-Islamic country, then the leader of the
Islamic center in the area she resides in can give her in marriage.
The preconditions for the wali are that he be a sane, mature male of
a faith similar to the faith of the woman whom he is giving in
marriage. A kafir (non Muslim) male cannot have guardianship for a
Muslim woman because Allah (SWT) says,

"The believers, men and women, are Auliya (helpers, supporters,
friends, protectors) of one another..." (At-Taubah 9:71)

"...And never will Allah grant to the disbelievers a way (to triumph)
over the believers." (An-Nisa 4:141)

There is also no guardianship for a Muslim man over a kafir woman
because Allah (SWT) says,

"And those who disbelieve are allies of one another..." (Al-Anfal

In conclusion, if a woman has no mature Muslim relative and lives in
a non-Islamic country, then the leader of the Islamic center of that
area may give her in marriage. However, the scholars have stated that
the farthest wali cannot give the woman in marriage if there is
someone closer to the woman available, unless that person is a child,
insane, of a different faith than the woman's, has been away fro a
long time or someone who may give her in marriage to one not her
equal. Allah knows best. - Abdul Aziz Al-Fawzan (Head of the
Department of Islamic Studies at the Institute of Islamic and Arabic
Sciences in America, Virginia USA)

Fatawa Taken From Al Jumuah Magazine Volume 9 Issue 7 Rajab 1418 H

The wali does not not need to give permission regarding a non-
virgin's selection for a husband. Proof is: The Prophet (SAW) said:

"A guardian has no concern with a woman previously married and has no
husband, and an orphan girl (i.e. virgin) must be consulted, her
silence being her acceptance." [Sunan of Abu Dawud 2095, Narrated
Abdullah ibn Abbas]

This does not negate the saying of The Prophet (SAW),

"No marriage is valid without a wali." (Ahmed and others )

because the wali is still believed to be needed for the performing or
agreement of the actual marriage contract. He cannot, however, hold
up the marriage due to feeling he has to approve it first, in the
case of a non-virgin.

The wali is also not mandated to be needed for the seeking or
selecting of the husband for a woman who is not a virgin. The
proposal may be straight to the non-virgin. Proof is as follows:

Malik bin Anas (RA) told us from 'Abdallah bin yazid (RA)- freed
slave of al-aswad bin sufyan- from Abu Salma bin AbdalRahman from
Fatimah, daughter of Qays who said,: Her husband divorced her and the
Apostle of Allah ordered her to fullfil the 'Iddah in the house of
Ibn Umm Maktum before she could lawfully remarry, and told her to let
him know when she had become lawful for remarriage. When the time had
come, she told him that Mu'awiyah bin Abu Sufyan and Abu Jahm had
proposed to her...

Umm Salamah, a widowed woman, was proposed in marriage by Abu Bakr,
and refused. Then she was proposed to by Umar and she refused. Then
she was proposed to by Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and accepted. [source:
The Alim for Windows release 4.51, Biography of Umm Salamah (RA)]

The wali, is, however, highly recommended for new reverts, who some
argue are as innocent as virgins since all sins prior to accepting
Islam are forgiven.

This also does not negate or contradict the following: The Prophet
(SAW) also is reported to have said,

"When a woman marries without the permission of her wali, then her
marriage is not valid, not valid, not valid." (Ahmad, Tirmidhi and

Because a non-virgin does not even need a wali for the actual
selection of a husband, so this hadith is applying only to the

Once again, the wali is still needed for the actual marriage contract
and cannot stop it by not approving of the selection from a non-
virgin. The wali is also not needed for the actual proposal to non-
virgins. However, a third-party must still be present; the non-virgin
and a potential husband are NOT in any way exempt from the rule not
to be alone together.

The wali's role is different between representing a virgin and a non-
virgin. A virgin is not expected to know anything about men, and it
would be foolish to let her screen her own men prior to marriage.
Women who have previously been married have the benefit of knowing a
little something about men by this point, but she should not get too
strong-headed and think she knows men as well as other men do. There
is much benefit in having a wali; it is a RIGHT and PRIVILEDGE, not a
burden, to have a wali!

The question is not really whether a wali is needed, but to what
extent he is needed. For a non-virgin, he is not needed for the
selection process or to give approval. And some consider new
reverts "virgins" for all practical purposes, because their life is
starting with a clean slate upon accepting Islam.