Who is the waliy (a legally accountable

Q: I would like to inform Your Eminence that a person named Hasan Al-Tahhan, a member in the Muslim Beneficent Society of Barretos, asked me to conclude the marriage of his daughter according to the Shari`ah (Islamic law) in the named city on 29 June, 1992. When I arrived at the city, I noticed that (Part No. 18; Page No. 164) the father invited Brazilian officials and businessmen to the wedding. I also noticed that the bride was not Muslim because her mother was not and that the bridegroom was a non-Muslim Brazilian. I then knew that the marriage would be first concluded in the church by a monk, who had been summoned from outside the city for this purpose because of being related to the family. The marriage would be concluded for the second time by the judge of Barretos in the club - according to the Brazilian law - where the wedding ceremony would take place. I was asked to conclude the marriage for the third time according to the Shari`ah. I refrained from going into the marriage procedures and blamed the bride's father for inviting me to such an event. The father claimed that he was the only Muslim in the family and that he wanted to direct the attention of this large gathering to Islam. I told him that I would only make a speech in Portuguese about the virtues of Islam.Indeed, I ascended the pulpit, held the microphone, and gave a speech about Tawhid (belief in the Oneness of Allah) and some of the conditions and aspects of marriage in Islam and offered advice to the couple. The speech was met with loud applause; as it is the custom of Brazilian people. It marked an Islamic event in the club. Some members of the Muslim Beneficent Society in the city were present during the speech, and they suggested concluding the marriage according to the Shari`ah. One of them asked if there was any impediment to this, saying: (Part No. 18; Page No. 165) If a Muslim is asked by a Jew and a Christian to be their witness to a certain affair, is there any impediment to accepting their request? I thought of giving no answer until I had referred this question to Your Eminence. It is worth mentioning that the clubs in which wedding ceremonies are held serve Khamr (intoxicants) and unlawful food and give way to free intermixing of men and women, according to the prevailing customs in Brazil.Your Eminence, in Brazil, Du`ah (callers to Islam) face similar incidents in which they are required to join in marriage a daughter of a Muslim father and a Brazilian mother who knows nothing about Islam to a Brazilian young man who has embraced Islam just a few days before his marriage. The Du`ah are asked to conclude the marriage according to the Shari`ah, bearing in mind that religious marriage in Brazil is not legally recognized, whether it is an Islamic marriage or not, according to the Brazilian law unless a specialized Brazilian judge concludes it. This means that a marriage concluded by a Da`y (caller to Islam) in Brazil gives no rights to the parties included in the contract except after registering it in the Brazilian court, and the rights prescribed in Shari`ah are considered if they are admitted by the two parties.I hope Your Eminence would answer me. As-salamu `alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh (May Allah's Peace, Mercy, and Blessings be upon you!)

A: First, the bride is to be considered Muslim by what she believes in and embraces. (Part No. 18; Page No. 166) She has nothing to do with the religion of her mother. Accordingly, if she believes in Islam, she would be Muslim, even if her mother is non-Muslim. Her Muslim father will be her Waliy (a legally accountable person acting for a woman regarding marriage). Second, if the daughter is non-Muslim and her father is Muslim, the latter is not to be her Waliy because one of the conditions of the validity of a marriage is that the religion of the Waliy should be the same as that of his charge. Hence, a non-Muslim cannot be the Waliy for a Muslim woman and vice versa. Third, a Muslim being a witness to the contracts of non-Muslims is a detailed issue. If their contracts are Batil (null and void), such as the contracts of Riba (usury) and marriage between Mahrams (unmarriageable relatives), it is not permissible for a Muslim to be a witness to them. If they are valid contracts, then there is no problem if a Muslim is the witness to a valid marriage contract as well as to other contracts. Fourth, if Khamr is served and free intermixing between the sexes takes place in clubs where non-Islamic wedding ceremonies are held, it is not permissible for Muslims to attend these ceremonies to be witnesses to non-Muslims' contracts, unless their attendance would stop these prohibited acts. Fifth, the fact that the bride's mother knows nothing about Islam does not serve as an impediment to the marriage between the bride - whose father is Muslim - and the Brazilian bridegroom who has embraced Islam. Even if the mother is Muslim (Part No. 18; Page No. 167) but unobservant of the teachings of Islam or ignorant of its rulings or even if she is non-Muslim, this is not an impediment to the daughter's marriage. Sixth, if the marriage contract that is concluded according to the Shari`ah is not legally recognized and does not lead to any rights except after registering it in a court that does not follow the Shari`ah, this does not affect the validity of the marriage. There is nothing wrong in registering a marriage in such a court, as these are all systematic affairs. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.