Marriage (nikah) is a solemn and sacred social contract between 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.
The Muslim marriage is governed not by the Indian Majority Act, 1875 but by Muslim law itself. According to Muslim Law, Marriage / 'Nikah' is a contract underlying a permanent relationship based on mutual consent.
1. A Muslim marriage requires proposal (Ijab) from one party and acceptance (Qubul) from the other as is required for a contract.
2. There can be no marriage without free consent and such consent should not be obtained by means of coercion, fraud or undue influence.
3. Just as in case of contract, entered by a guardian, on attaining majority, so can a marriage contract in Muslim Law, be set aside by a minor on attaining the age of puberty.
4. The parties to a Muslim marriage may enter into any ante-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement which is enforceable by law provided it is reasonable and not opposed to the policy of Islam. Same is the case with a contract.
5. The terms of a marriage contract may also be altered within legal limits to suit individual cases. Although discouraged both by the holy Quran and Hadith, yet like any other contract, there is also provision for the breach of marriage contract.
Requirements Of Muslim Nikah
The solemnization of a Muslim marriage requires adherence to certain forms and formulas. They are called the essentials of a valid marriage. If any of these requirements is not fulfilled the marriage becomes either void or irregular, as the case may be. The essentials are as follows :
1. The proposal and acceptance must both be expressed at once meeting. The acceptance must be corresponding to what is being offered. The marriage must be effectively immediate. If the Wali says I will marry her to you after two months , there is no marriage.
2. The parties must be competent.
3. Neither writing nor any religious ceremony is needed.
For Registration of Marriages which have already been solemnized, following documents are required:
1. Application form duly signed by both husband and wife.
2. Documentary evidence of date of birth of parties (Matriculation Certificate / Passport / Birth Certificate). Minimum age of both parties is 21 years for male and 18 years for female, at the time of registration under the Special Marriage Act / Hindu Marriage Act.
3. Ration card of husband or wife, at least one should be resident of Delhi for 30 days.
4. In case of Special Marriage Act, documentary evidence regarding stay in Delhi of the parties for more than 30 days (ration card or report from the concerned SHO, Police Station). (NOTE: Delhi High Court in Vikram Aditya Singh & others Vs. UOI & others, CW15079/2006 held that this condition in Delhi Hindu Marriage Registration Rules, is ultra vires and solemnisation is sufficient for registration; see other case - Seema Vs Ashmin Kumar 2006 2SCC 578).
5. Affidavit by both the parties stating place and date of marriage, date of birth, marital status at the time of marriage and nationality.
6. Two passport size photographs of both the parties and one marriage photograph.
7. Marriage invitation card.
8. If marriage was solemnized in a religious place, a certificate from the priest is required who solemnized the marriage.
9. Affirmation that the parties are not related to each other within the prohibited degree of relationship as per Special Marriage Act. For details of such relationships please read below at end.
10. Attested copy of divorce decree/order in case of a divorcee and death certificate of spouse in case of widow/widower.
11. In case one of the parties belong to other than Hindu, Budhist, Jain and Sikh religions, a conversion certificate from the priest who solemnized the marriage (in case of Hindu Marriage Act).