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Religious scholars reject marriage by Skype

Date: 24/07/2012 A.D 05/09/1433 H

Traslated by: Manal Samhat

News… 

A story posted on a website said that someone concluded his marriage via Skype, and then he sent an official proxy to his father and the authorized religious scholar concluded the marriage contract…

The main question this story highlighted was: Had this groom not sent a proxy to his father to complete the marriage contract and just communicated with them audibly and visually on the internet, would the marriage contract have been valid? Are such marriage contracts valid?

The General Secretary of Al-Azhar Scholars' Front considers that as long as the conditions required for marriage are met, which are the witnesses, dowry, acceptance and the guardian, the marriage is deemed valid… He also highlighted the necessity of having the concerned parties actually present upon concluding the contract, noting that visibility through the internet is impermissible and confirming that it is necessary to be cautious in such cases…

A professor of comparative jurisprudence at the Faculty of Shariah and Law in Al-Azhar University said that many contemporary jurisprudents consider that upon concluding a marriage contract both parties, the wife and husband, should be present so as to preserve the rights of both of them, preferring not to resort to such marriages (Skype), for the youth and internet and chat addicts can exploit this marriage in a negative manner…

A religious scholar from Al-Azhar confirms the validity of this marriage for the husband has issued a proxy; had it not been for this proxy, this marriage in impermissible, for marriage a significant contract as confirmed in the Holy Quran…

Comment…

Marriage is an important contract that lays the foundation for a permanent relation between two persons aiming to build an aware and responsible Muslim family. Nowadays, we hear about many ways through which marriage is concluded as a result of the development of technology, which necessitates knowing the religious stance from such issues that affects everyone of us…

On this issue, His Eminence, the late Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra), says:

There is no need for the actual meeting of the contractual parties (in marriage) in the same place. The marriage contract is valid even of the two contractual parties are distant from each other, yet they should be able to hear each other, even if by yelling or through the phone, where the first party says that she weds herself to the man and he would answer that he accepts.

Moreover, a proxy made by both parties or one of them, if they are mature, or by their guardians, if they were minors, to conclude a marriage contract is accepted. The representative role is restricted to the issue of marriage he was charged with, even if they were against his interest…

[Fiqh Ash-Shariah, vol. 3, p: 449-452]

His Eminence (ra) was asked about the issue of acquaintance and marriage via internet, and he answered:

We do not recommend that, for it is necessary when it comes to taking such important decisions to study the matter thoroughly, away from the emotional and impulsive reactions. The decision of marriage should be made after inquiring about the person intended for marriage in the way that brings about reassurance, whether positively or negatively. However, this cannot be achieved through acquaintance via internet, not to mention that chatting is forbidden if it includes sexual or sensual insinuations, as often happens…

[… The Jurisprudential Issues, transactions, p: 327]

It is permissible to conclude a marriage contract through the means of communication, including Skype, as long as both parties involved in the contract can hear each other, and they express their consent and approval, provided that the other conditions required for the validity of the contract are met.

[The juristic office of the institution of His Eminence, the Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)]

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