This is because the presence of

Q: I am a young man who proposed to a girl whose father died shortly before the date appointed for the conclusion of the marriage contract. Circumstances willed that I later joined the troops that would go for the liberation of Kuwait. However, before traveling I visited my fiancée at her family's home in the presence of her mother, elder sister, and brother-in-law. I asked my fiancée a question, "Do you agree to marry me?" My intention was to marry her in the Shar`y (Islamic legal) way. I thus offered and she accepted. Her brother-in-law, mother, and elder sister witnessed this. Moreover, a teacher was sitting in the next room teaching my fiancée's nephew and I said to him, "Do you bear witness that so and so is my wife?" Thereupon he said, "Yes, I bear witness to this." (Part No. 18; Page No. 173) My question is whether the contract of my marriage was concluded by doing what I have mentioned above? Were all the Shar`y conditions of such a contract met i.e. Offer and acceptance and the existence of two just witnesses?

A: If the matter is exactly as what is mentioned in the question, your marriage is invalid because of the non-existence of the Waliy (a legally accountable person acting for a woman regarding marriage). The foregoing is supported by a Hadith which is narrated by Abu Burdah ibn Abu Musa on the authority of his father who said that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, no marriage [is valid] without a Waliy. (Related by Ahmad and the Four Compilers of Hadith 'Imams Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhy, Al-Nasa'y and Ibn Majah' and graded as Sahih 'authentic' by Al-Tirmidhy and Ibn Al-Madiny). Besides, it is narrated by `Urwah on the authority of `Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) who said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, Any woman who gets married without the permission of her Waliy, her marriage contract is null and void. (Related by Al-Tirmidhy who commented: 'It is a Hadith Hasan 'good Hadith'.) Ibn Kathir commented on the same Hadith: "It is ranked as Sahih 'authentic' by Yahya ibn Ma`in and other Hadith scholars. On the other hand, you said in your question, "circumstances willed," which is an inappropriate expression. You should rather say "Allah willed;" for circumstances do not have any will. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.