Even an invalid marriage contract requires divorce to end it
Fatwa No: 243013

  • Fatwa Date:8-3-2014 - Jumaadaa Al-Oula 7, 1435
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Question

Assalamalkm I m 26, me and my girlfriend ran and married , my wife and me were hiding 4 month from our parents and one day we were caught by police and police handed over my wife to her parents. Nobody knows that we got married except me and my wife. Her families are very rich and powerful, they sent my wife abroad and I don't know where she is. Now it is 2 years completed I have not even seen my wife neither did I talk to her and don't know where is she. I have tried every step to find her but no avail. If I could meet her once I could have given her divorce. Am I in sin now? Can I marry another women? Tell me what to do please ..

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

It is impermissible for a Muslim man to have an emotional relationship with a woman other than his wife; such a relationship leads to many evils. Therefore, you are sinful for having a relationship with this girl and for escaping with her. Apparently, you married her without the permission of her Wali (legal guardian); if this is the case, then the marriage is null and void according to the opinion of the majority of Muslim scholars. For more benefit, please refer to Fatwa 83629.

However, if you had married her following the Hanafi School of Fiqh or your marriage has been declared valid by a judge in a Sharee'ah-court or someone with equivalent legal status, then the marriage is valid as underlined in Fatwa 89782.

In any case, you should not leave the matter as it is; if there is no possible way to persuade her family to bring her back to you (on the assumption that your marriage is considered valid) or to renew the marriage contract with the consent of her Wali (if your marriage contract is considered invalid), then you should divorce her and inform her family of the divorce in order that the girl could observe the ‘Iddah (waiting period). It is impermissible for her to get married to another man before the divorce and observing her ‘Iddah.

It should be noted that for the divorce to take place, there is no need that the husband says the words of divorce to the wife in person. However, it is recommended to have witnesses attest to the divorce. Please refer to Fataawa 92478 and 92639.

On the other hand, there is no problem with marrying another woman whether you divorce this woman or not. You should seek marriage in order to guard your chastity; however, if your first wife came back to you and you married another one, you should treat them equally; please refer to Fataawa 95416 and 81469 about the permissibility of polygyny in Islam and its conditions.

Allaah Knows best.

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