Can a Woman get Married without a Wali (Guardian) ? – Imam Ibn Uthaymeen

Scholar: Allamah Imam Muhammad bin Salih bin Uthaymin
Source: ibnothaimeen.com/all/noor/article_6493.shtml
Video by: aFatwa.com (site is down)

Question: Is it permissible for the virgin woman who has no wali (guardian) or without his presence to marry herself off or not? And is there in this ruling a difference between a virgin or a previously married whether divorced or widowed?

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymin: It is not permissible for the woman to marry herself off or others whether she is a virgin or previously married.

And that is because Allâh, Glorified and Exalted, has made the contract of marriage in the hands of other than the woman as He said:

{And do not marry polytheistic women}
(The Qur’ân, interpretation of the meaning 2:221)

In men He said

{And do not let marry polytheistic men}
(The Qur’ân, interpretation of the meaning 2:221)

and He added that the marriage is for the husband himself but with the women He said:

{And do not let marry polytheistic men [to your women] until they believe.}
(The Qur’ân, interpretation of the meaning 2:221)

So He made the marriage in the hands of other than the woman and He, Glorified and Exalted, said:

{Do not prevent them from remarrying their [former] husbands if they agree among themselves on an acceptable basis.}
(The Qur’ân, interpretation of the meaning 2:232)

And from the narration of the Prophet, peace & blessings of Allâh be upon him:

There’s no marriage without a wali (guardian).” (Bukhâri)

So that is the proof of the narration that there’s no other option for the woman than with a guardian marrying her off.

As from the point of view then the woman is deficient in intellect and religion as she is limited in thinking and she is also weak in religion and I say this from the narration of the Messenger of Allâh, peace & blessings of Allâh be upon him:

I have not seen anyone more deficient in intellect and religion than you. A cautious sensible man can be led astray by some of you.” (Bukhâri)

And from the saying of Allâh Almighty:

{Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allâh has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth.}
(The Qur’ân, interpretation of the meaning 4:34)

And if it wasn’t for the deficiency of the woman then a man would not be in charge of her but rather in the âyah:

{by [right of] what Allâh has given one over the other}
(The Qur’ân, interpretation of the meaning 4:34)

So if the woman was in such description, as the Qur’ân and Sunnah indicated, from deficiency of intellect and religion then she is in need of a guiding guardian who knows the appropriate/capable and knows the interests of marriage and knows who the woman is for him until he decides to marry her off or refrain (from such). This is why there should be a guardian for the woman to marry her off within the known requirements to the people of knowledge.

And the woman shall not marry herself off whether she is a virgin or previously married. However, there is an issue that should be noted/addressed which is that a woman must be asked for permission and consent whether she was a virgin or previously married and whether the one who marries her off is her father or anyone else. And the most correct saying is that it is not permissible for the man to marry his daughter off or anyone else until she agrees upon that husband and gives permission.

However, if she is a virgin then her permission is enough by being silence and if she stated/uttered to agree then that is better/complete however being silent is enough. And if she is previously married then she must state (speak) to agree and says ‘Yes’ that she agrees to marry this man.

And as for the guardian whether it is the father or anyone else, he must describe the suitor to the woman with a description that will take her to know him (suitor). So he does not say ‘do you want me to marry you to such’ until he clarifies to her the situation of this man and his description because as much as the man wants in a woman in beauty and righteousness, a woman wants this too in a man in beauty and righteousness. Therefore the man must clarify to the woman whose permission is sought (for marriage) in a way which takes her to know him but vagueness will not lead to the goal. Of course if the woman trusts fully her guardian and will suffice with what her guardian sees and she asked for example ‘are you happy/convinced with him (the suitor)’ in regards to his religion and to his manners then this would suffice if she trusts him and she is pleased with what he (guardian) is pleased with.