Al Haadi Vol 12 Issue 2, www.alhaadi.org.za
Q) I am 18 years old. I am going out with a girl from my school for more than a year. We now desperately want to get married. Despite initial resistance from her parents they finally agreed and we are now proposed. Since we are in daily contact and fear that we may commit Haraam, we want to have the Nikah urgently. My parents are insisting that the Nikah will only take place in one or two year’s time. We now want to perform a secret Nikah so that we may not be involved in any sin. Later, when my parents decide to have the wedding, we will go through with the "public" Nikah. Will the secret Nikah be valid?
A) You state that you are "going out" with the girl you have met for more than a year. You now want to get married due to the fear of committing Haraam. It apparently seems that while you have understood that zina is Haraam, you have not acknowledged or you do not realize that your "going out" is also equally Haraam. You should therefore desist from this immediately and make tawbah (repent) for what has past. Provided that one repents sincerely, Allah Ta’ala’s forgiveness and Mercy will engulf one. Being "proposed" does not make any contact Halaal. In terms of Shariah you are both still strangers to each other. It is compulsory upon both of you to strictly observe the laws of Hijaab with each other. "Going out" and even unnecessary talk is not permitted.
There are two aspects to consider with regard to the "secret nikah." One is the validity of the Nikah. If a proposal and acceptance takes place in the presence of two adult male witnesses, the Nikah is valid. The couple will be legally married and any subsequent contact will be permissible. There is nevertheless another aspect to consider as well. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has greatly emphasized that the Nikah should be performed publicly and should be announced. Thus such a "secret" Nikah will be deprived of the barakah of being conducted according to the instructions of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Furthermore, for how long do you expect that the nikah will remain a secret. Some unforeseen circumstances could force you to reveal that the nikah has taken place.
The above question is one of many of this nature that are received on a regular basis. It is evident from the number of questions received that this is a very common situation — where youngsters who are already in some illicit relationship want to get married, but the parents for various reasons insist that the couple may marry "later, not now!" In the interim a Haraam relationship continues or some "secret Nikah" is being conducted — and it appears that numerous such Nikahs have taken place. In this regard some simple advice is offered to parents which will Insha-Allah help to reduce the number of such Haraam relationships.
The society that we are living in is by and large being stripped of all morality. Everything around young people stirs their passions. Free intermingling occurs at schools, universities and in the work place. This situation is a direct pathway to zina, which is where many people are tragically ending up.
REALITIES ON THE GROUND
Parents need to take heed of the realities on the ground. We have chosen to send our children into such environments. Many fall into sinful relationships and secretly continue with it without bothering about Nikah. Others have a Deeni conscience. While they have succumbed to their temptations, they are concerned that they should not be committing such sins. The solution is Nikah.
Yet many parents insist on delaying the Nikah for various reasons — some trivial and some supposedly valid. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has warned that if a child comes of age and his marriage is delayed despite a suitable match being found, any sin that he commits thereafter will be upon his father as well. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has encouraged that when a person intends to marry a girl he should first see her. If he then proposes and the same is accepted, the Nikah should not be delayed. Unnecessary lengthy delays will lead to great fitna. When the hearts of the couple have become inclined to each other, in the permissive society that we live in it will be a great challenge for them to remain completely apart until the marriage which is sometimes delayed for years.
Parents are either unaware that their sons/daughter have contracted "secret Nikahs" or choose to ignore it so that the official Nikah could take place in a grand style later. The youth in the interim are being forced to conduct Nikahs in a totally inappropriate manner. It is therefore necessary that parents face the realities. If their sons/daughters are already tangled in illicit actions, or they have already indicated that they want to marry, their Nikahs should not be delayed.
Among the more practical issues in some instances is that of a job and house. While this is something for the families to consider and decide upon, if the commitment seems genuine the Nikah should be performed and both the boy and girl can continue to officially live with their own parents. While they may live together whenever possible, each one’s families will continue to support them until such time that they can officially live together. This may sound strange. However, this is more or less what is taking place in the numerous "secret Nikahs." Besides, anything that can prevent a couple from falling into zina, especially in cases where an illicit relationship has already been struck, is not strange. Families should not feel awkward about such an arrangement if it saves their children from haraam.
It is reported that on various special occasions such as Friday nights, the fifteenth of Sha’baan, the month of Ramadhaan, etc., Allah Ta’al a showers his forgiveness on his servants. Yet some people due to their haraam relationships are deprived. Parents are often a silent party to such relationships or are the means for it continuing due to their insistence on delaying the nikah.
The above is merely a suggestion. If parents apply their minds and be realistic, they would be able to find practical solutions which overcome the real obstacles and make it possible to have the Nikah immediately. Availability of halls and wanting to conduct the Nikah in a "grand style" is a total non-issue. Such considerations do not feature in a Muslims Nikah. Just as a secret Nikah is devoid of barakah due to non-compliance with the Sunnah, extravagance also deprives the Nikah of barakah.
May Allah Ta’ala guide us to His pleasure.