Witnesses not Understanding Marriage Ceremony

Q: I recently married a girl with 2 male mature Muslim witnesses present. I said to the girl: ‘Do you accept me in nikah?’ and she replied: ‘I have accepted you in nikah’. The two witnesses didn’t speak very good English. I asked them to be my witness and they said yes, but with all honesty I don’t think they knew what had happened. Is my nikah (marriage) valid?

A. It is necessary for the witnesses to understand what is being said and that a Nikah is being enacted. If they do not understand then the Nikah will not be valid. (Fataawa Hindiyyah V1 P268)

We advise that, as a safety measure, you repeat the Nikah in front of two witnesses who understand the language being spoken at the time of the Nikah.

Moulana Yusuf Laher
Checked by: Mufti Siraj Desai