What is the difference between katb Al-kitab and aqdun-nikah

  • Salam and welcome to IslamSE the Q &A site. To learn more about our site and model consider taking the tour and checking our help center. I'd say one is a term known from the teaching of Islam and fiqh the other is a term commonly used in some countries.
    – Medi1Saif
    Jan 7, 2023 at 19:25

1 Answer 1


Katb Al-kitab or marriage contract is an official promise to marry. It allows the couple to be together without a maharam, to touch and kiss. It is meant to be a transitional period, lasting between one month and one year.

Major differences to aqdun-nikah are:

  • sexual intercourse is not allowed (as a consequence, it is an unwritten law that the couple has to organise aqdun-nikah immediately if the wife is pregnant!)
  • it's not necessary that the couple lives together; katb Al-kitab is often chosen by couples who would like to live together but still have reasons to live in different places.
  • separation from katb al-kitab must be declared but it doesn't need the full formalities of a divorce. There is no waiting period.
  • dowry may be part of the contract but it needn't.

It's often chosen in my country because stately laws prescribe that stately marriage has to precede religious marriage, whereas katb al-kitab is allowed before stately marriage.

P.S. It's also allowed to make a civil contract together with nikah. This is a different subject.

  • Please cite a source for your claims.
    – UmH
    Jan 9, 2023 at 17:02
  • I guess you are referring to the case where there is a delay between the 'contract of marriage' and the 'consummation of marriage'. In this case the answer has several inaccuracies. For example, it is not a 'promise to marry' rather the marriage has been done. It does not have a limit on the period. If the couple lives together and are alone, and have physical contact then there is a waiting period according to majority opinion, even if they don't have sex. Dowry (Mahr) can be omitted from the contract but it is implied and exists regardless and there are additional laws governing it.
    – UmH
    Jan 9, 2023 at 17:53

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