One of the conditions for a nikah to be valid is to have witnesses. If the witnesses were Non-Muslims, will the nikah be valid?

  • The witnesses have to be Muslims. However, non-Muslim witenesses invalidate the "witnesses" condition, which is not a pillar of the marriage contract. Without more details, it will be difficult to say whether the nikah at large will be valid or not. Furthermore, this is typically a highly contextual matter, often to the extent of being a case-by-case basis. Scholarly opinion may be required to judge specific cases, as a general ruling may not be possible.
    – III-AK-III
    Apr 20, 2017 at 3:22
  • @III-AK-III What are "pillars of the marriage contract"? As far as I know, two male Muslim witnesses in good standing who are neither deaf nor blind and can understand the language being spoken are a necessary requirement for validity of the nikah at least according to shafii fiqh.
    – G. Bach
    Apr 20, 2017 at 10:01
  • @G.Bach - The pillars of the marriage contract are in the answer to question 39129. The absence of witnesses may be offset by a publicly-announced marriage (as an exception, and by some scholars, not a widely-accepted ruling).
    – III-AK-III
    Apr 20, 2017 at 10:09

1 Answer 1


According to the Hanafi school of thought, the witnesses of a Muslim marriage must be Muslim and otherwise the Nikah is not valid.

The exception is the nikah of a Muslim man with a Jewess or Christian subject of an Islamic state (Dhimmi), where there is a difference of opinion: The view recorded from Abu Hanifa and Abu Yusuf is that the Nikah will be valid even if the witnesses are Jewish\Christiah, however the opinion of Muhammad and Zufar is that it is not valid.

Quote From Hidayah:

The contract of nikah of Muslims is not concluded unless there are present two Muslim, free, major and sane male witnesses, or one male and two women.

If a Muslim marries a Dhimmi woman with the marriage witnessed by two Dhimmis, it is valid according to Abu Hanifah and Abu Yusuf (God bless them). Muhammad and Zufar (God bless them) said that it is not permitted.

The same is noted in Mukhtasar Al-Qudri.

The Shafis also require the witnesses to be Muslims, and my understanding is that they do not make an exception for Kitabee marriages.

Ibn Qudamah writes in Al-Mughni, translation from islamqa.info:

الفصل الثالث : أنه لا ينعقد إلا بشهادة مسلمين ، سواء كان الزوجان مسلمين ، أو الزوج وحده . نص عليه أحمد . وهو قول الشافعي . وقال أبو حنيفة : إذا كانت المرأة ذمية ، صح بشهادة ذميين

( 5140 )

Marriage cannot be done except with two Muslim witnesses, whether the couple are both Muslims, or only the husband is Muslim. This was stated by Ahmad, and it is the view of al-Shaafa’i [ my own translation after this ] Abu Hanifa said that if the woman was a Dhimmi it is valid for the witnesses to be Dhimmi

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