•What is ni·kāh?
n. a Muslim wedding contract, signed by the couple in front of a group of witnesses.
Marriage (nikah) is a solemn and sacred social contract between the bride and groom. This contract is a strong covenant “mithaqun Ghalithun” as expressed in Quran 4:21). The marriage contract in Islam is not a sacrament. It is revocable, ie you can divorce!
Nikah is not only an agreement between two people. It has social and familial results. The traditions and rules of society play a role in marriage. Therefore, no nikah can be performed secretly.
Islamic and civil marriages are not two distinct concepts. Civil marriage is performed under the supervision of civil authorities. Islamic marriage similarly requires supervision, and the primary supervisor is sought to be the bride’s father. If the father and other male relatives renounce the duty of supervision or object to the marriage without an Islamic basis, the supervisor becomes the civil or other lawful authority.
Islamic marriage has the additional condition of “Mehr” which must be supervised while being determined and written down.
An Islamic marriage (nikah) can be performed under the following conditions:
1- Both sides must be free of obstacles to marry and have legal capacity.
2- Both sides or their guardians or representatives must be present at the same time during the proposal and acceptance.