Islam Q&A write:

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

If the wali refused to let a woman marry a man whose religious commitment and character are good, then guardianship passes to the next closest male relative on the father’s side, then the next closest and so on.

I'm trying to understand how we would know if we are in a situation where this applies, as opposed to a situation where the woman should accept her wali's refusal and find another husband.

Question: How can we determine if a wali is refusing marriage to a man whose religious commitment and character are good?

  • I'd assume we can't, but let's say the wali refused many candidates before. We can doubt of his uprightness in accepting such a candidate and if these have good reputation, we would have proven the issue and here a court may interfere.
    – Medi1Saif
    May 31, 2017 at 10:35

1 Answer 1


The Reliance of the Traveller, The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law 'Umdat al-Salik, by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri (translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller), which describes Shafi'i fiqh, has a section entitled A Suitable Match (Section m4.0).

Suitable matches

The Reliance does not give a hard-and-fast definition of what a suitable match is. It states:

m4.1 Suitability concerns lineage, religiousness, profession, and being free of defects that permit annulling the marriage contract (def: m7). (N: As for color, it is of no consideration in suitability.)

Here "N:" indicates a "comment by Sheikh Nuh 'Ali Salman".

Unsuitable matches

It presents (in Section m4.2) some criteria for unsuitable matches:

  1. a non-Arab man for an Arab woman;

  2. a corrupt man for a virtuous woman, which is defined (in section o24.3) as someone who

    1. has committed an enormity (which are tabulated in Book P), or
    2. persists in a lesser sin;
  3. a man of a lowly profession for the daughter of someone with a higher profession; or

  4. someone with a defect that permits annulling the marriage for someone without such defects, which (in Section m7) includes

    1. insanity, elephantiasis, or leprosy; or
    2. impotence.

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