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If the Quran states that believers are equal, whether men or women, why does only a woman need a wali to get married?

  • Salam and welcome to Islam SE the Q&A site about Islam. I strongly recommend you to take our tour and check our help center to make yourself familiar with our site and model. – Medi1Saif Jan 24 '17 at 13:37
  • What is the basis of your claim to set men and women equal in the Quran? The verses of the Quran such as (2:221) "And do not marry polytheistic women until they believe." (2:232) "do not prevent them from remarrying their [former] husbands", (24:32) "And marry the unmarried among you and the righteous among your male slaves and female slaves." already imply the accordance of a third party (the guardian or wali) for marriage. – Medi1Saif Jan 24 '17 at 13:46
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    @Medi1Saif Is "marry" in those verses to be read as "marry off", as in, "marry off the unmarried among you...", which would mean "give away in marriage the unmarried among you..."? The way it is translated, it seems more direct to read it as "these are the groups from which you should choose your spouses", not "if you are in charge of one of these, make sure you give their hand in marriage to someone proper". – G. Bach Jan 24 '17 at 16:19
  • @G.Bach at least (2:232) and (24:32) is emphasizing my claim. The first is clearly indicating that the former spouses need the agreement of a third party to remarry after divorce. The verse from surat an-Nur is an order addressed at the wali, meaning marry (give them the agreement to get married) them. Those verses were quoted as the evidences of imam a-Shafi'i and Malik from the Quran for the necessity of the guardian. – Medi1Saif Jan 25 '17 at 6:44
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The Qur'an in several verses clearly quote the necessity of a third party which gives permission for marriage, which is the wali:

... And do not marry polytheistic men [to your women] until they believe. ...(2:221)

which is an order to the guardian of a lady not to give permission to marriage between her and a disbeliever! In my comment I've posted the wrong part of the verse, but after consulting the tafsir of imam al-Qurtobi. Note that al-Qurtobi added that in all the verses the Quran (or Allah) has addressed only males (by using the masculine form) to order or prohibit them to give permission for a marriage of the women (girls) they are in charge of! Here the tafsir part explaining the senetence translated "And do not marry"

ولا تُنْكِحُوا أي لا تزوجوا المسلمة من المشرك

(My own translation take it with the necessary care)

And do not marry means don't give in marriage a Muslim women to a pagan (man)

Note that the verb nakaha نكح here is in passive form (تُنْكِحُوا instead of the active form تَنْكِحُوا) which implies the agreement of a third person to give the permission of marriage!

And when you divorce women and they have fulfilled their term, do not prevent them from remarrying their [former] husbands if they agree among themselves on an acceptable basis. ... (2:232)

After divorce the guardian is asked here not to hinder the former spouses to remarry if they both want to get back together!

...So marry them with the permission of their people and give them their due compensation according to what is acceptable. ... (4:25)

This verse is clearly saying that a permission is needed from the guardian of the woman!

And marry the unmarried among you and the righteous among your male slaves and female slaves. ... (24:32)

Here also the owner of the slaves or their guardian is ordered to give them permission to get married.

In the Quran you may also find a clear example of a wali (a father) marrying his daughter in the story about the encounter of Musa () and the people of Median (the prophet Sho'aib):

He said, "Indeed, I wish to wed you one of these, my two daughters, on [the condition] that you serve me for eight years; but if you complete ten, it will be [as a favor] from you. And I do not wish to put you in difficulty. You will find me, if Allah wills, from among the righteous." (28:27)

so if one is a Muslim and believes that the Qur'an is the word of Allah, one has to obey and accept this that's why this fact is (and was) never questioned!

Beside those evidences you may find enough other evidences in the Prophetic traditions.


The hanafi school of fiqh however differs a bit as it allows a former married woman to decide herself without the necessity of a wali based on this sahih hadith giving the previously married woman more rights to her person.

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    Maybe adding the opinion of the hanafi madhhab would be nice. – Kilise Feb 9 '17 at 11:09
  • I also thought (I might be wrong), that it wasn't necessary limited to a previously married woman in the hanafi fiqh: "Imam Abu Hanifa maintained that it is not obligatory for a sane, adult woman to have a guardian. Based on this, she is entitled to conduct her own marriage contract whether she was previously married or a virgin and restricted the wilaya exclusively to prepubescent females." See: dar-alifta.org/Foreign/ViewFatwa.aspx?ID=6018 – Kilise Feb 9 '17 at 11:30
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    @Kilise that needs to be checked! – Medi1Saif Feb 9 '17 at 11:39

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