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Her Non-Muslim Sister Got Involved in an Invalid Marriage


Assalamu alaikum. My sister wants to remarry and we are trying to figure out if her previous marriage is valid. In 2013 she went to Italy and had some kind of a wedding with an Egyptian muslim man after a short courtship which included premarital sex. The Italian government was unable to do the Civil marriage because of some paperwork problems. The wali was her former boyfriend. Can he even be a valid wali? They went to the restaurant (already paid for) and there some kind of ceremony happened but she is unsure what it was. My sister is Catholic. I accepted Islam last year, and she wants to, but we are confused by this situation and hope you can help.


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

Firstly, we would like to congratulate you for the blessing that Allah bestowed upon you by guiding you to Islam, and we ask Him to bless you with steadfastness with the firm word in this worldly life and the Hereafter. We advise you to utilize all the means that would help you to maintain steadfastness, such as acquiring beneficial knowledge, performing good deeds, keeping the company of righteous women, and attending gatherings of goodness. We also ask Allah, The Exalted, to guide your sister to Islam so that she would attain happiness in this worldly life and the Hereafter.

If what you mentioned about your sister is true that she committed premarital sex with this man before marriage, then her marriage to him is invalid because one of the conditions for the validity of a Muslim man’s marriage to a Christian or Jewish woman is that she must be chaste, meaning that she has not committed Zina (fornication or adultery). Allah, The Exalted, Says in the Quran (what means): {…and chaste women from among those who were given the Scripture before you…} [Quran 5:5]

In addition to this, it is a marriage that was conducted without the consent (and presence) of the Wali (guardian) as it appears. Her former boyfriend is not valid to be her guardian in conducting the marriage of your sister, so it is an invalid marriage for many reasons and it must be invalidated. However, is every invalid marriage considered as if it did not exist, in a way that the woman is free from any impediments of marriage like a woman who has no husband and it is permissible for whoever wants to marry her to propose to her and conduct the marriage with her? There is a difference of opinion among the scholars about it and the view we adopt here at Islamweb is that this kind of marriage despite the fact that it is an obligation to invalidate it and it is forbidden to continue it, it must be invalidated first of all if the husband did not divorce her out of his own will before she undertakes to marry another man. This is because of the scholars who hold the view that such marriage is effective, and due to the disadvantages that may result from the new marriage before the end of the first marriage.

In conclusion, what happened to your sister in 2013 is considered a void marriage that does not have the effects of a valid marriage contract, such as the permissibility of enjoyment and the like. She must terminate it through the court or any entity that acts on its behalf, such as Islamic centers in non-Muslim countries; before this, it is not permissible for her to marry.

Allah Knows best.

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