Q: What is the ruling regarding marrying over the phone in a conference call type of setting? If it’s permissible then how should it be conducted?
A: As for Nikah (marriage) by phone, you must observe the following procedure for the Nikah to be valid:
Before the Nikah the parties should fax to each other copies of identity documents or passports so that both sides are aware of the identities of the parties getting married.
A speaker phone should be used on both sides of the conversation so that the two witnesses on either side can hear BOTH the offer and acceptance.
At the time of the offer and acceptance, the Mahr should also be clearly stipulated.
After the Nikah, arrangements should be made to have the Nikah recorded in a register by the local Imam. Copies of the certificate should be sent to both spouses.
Another method of telephonic Nikah, which is more preferable, is that the girl appoints a Wakeel (agent) in her town to marry her to the boy. She must mention his full name and address, as well as the Mahr she is asking. The Wakeel should be a responsible, elderly person in her family or in her community. This Wakeel will then telephone someone he knows in the country where the boy lives, or the Imam in the city where the boy lives, and inform that person that the girl has given permission for her Nikah to be made to a certain boy (with full details) for a fixed Mahr, which will be specified. This second Wakeel will then go ahead with the Nikah in the area where the boy lives, in the presence of two or more witnesses.
If these procedures are not found, then the Nikah will not be possible by phone.
And Allah Ta’aala knows best.
Mufti Siraj Desai