A Boy Below the Age of Puberty Is Not a Valid Witness to the Marriage Contract
Fatwa No: 429124

Question

Assalamualaikum,I am sorry to say that I have not received answer of my question .You only give reference of an existing fatwa.My question is whether an immature boy of 12 years can act as witness of marriage.please reply it's very urgent.Do not give an existing fatwa.

Answer

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.

There are several conditions stipulated for the (validity of the testimony of the) two witnesses to a marriage contract. One of these conditions is reaching puberty. A young boy who has not reached puberty is not a valid witness to the marriage contract, and the supportive evidence to the condition of attaining puberty is the Saying of Allah, The Exalted, (what means): {And bring to witness two witnesses from among your men.} [Quran 2:282] The word ‘men’ here indicates that a witness must be an adult; therefore, young boys are excluded. Further evidence is the following Hadeeth of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: "The pen is lifted from (writing the deeds of) three people (i.e. they are excused by Allah and will not be held accountable for their actions) … a child till he becomes adult …" [Ibn Maajah and others] Moreover, a young boy is not entrusted to guard his own wealth (being a minor), so he should not be entrusted with preserving the rights of other people with greater reason.

Bearing this in mind, and in light of the mentioned information that this marriage was not conducted with the permission of the woman’s Wali (guardian), then that indicates that this marriage is invalid. It falls under the category of the marriage upon whose validity scholars held different views. A weak view was reported regarding the validity of a marriage contract conducted without (fulfilling the conditions of) the Wali and witnesses, contrary to the opinion of the majority of the scholars in this regard. There is also a narration reported on the authority of Imaam Ahmad that the testimony of a young boy is valid if he reaches ten or twelve years of age.

A marriage whose invalidity is subject to different scholarly opinions requires a divorce. Ibn Qudaamah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “If a woman marries a man with a defective marriage contract, it is not permissible to marry her off to someone else until the first one divorces her or annuls her marriage contract...” [End of quote]

Allah Knows best.

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