A woman is normally sought as a wife for her wealth, beauty, nobility, or religiousness, but choose a religious woman and you will prosper.
- Sahih al-Bukhari 5090, Book 67, Hadith 28 (Book of Wedlock, Marriage (Nikaah)).
One of the most important institutions in Islam is that of marriage. Being a highly-organized religion that caters to every aspect of human existence, Islam has well-outlined procedures for marriage in Islam. Marriage in Islam is seen as not just a religious obligation but also an important social agreement and contract recognized by law. Before any marriage in Islam can be said to be valid, it has to meet certain conditions or have the following procedures fulfilled.
Forceful marriages are not valid in Islam. Before any marriage contract can be valid in the faith, both parties must give their consent in written form or in words. This can be achieved via what is called an ijab or a proper proposal of marriage which is then followed by the qabul (acceptance of the marriage proposal).
Sometimes called dowry, mahr is actually a gift for the bride. The gift is from her groom and it is for no one else but the bride. Not even a divorce can retrieve the gift from her. Mahr can come in various forms but authentic hadith narrations encourage grooms to give mahr based on what they can afford. It can be material, teaching of knowledge, or any other substance acceptable by the bride. The bride can forgive her dowry otherwise it has to be paid by the groom in way agreed upon by both parties.
Presence of Witness
At least two mature and adult witnesses have to be present before a marriage contract can be considered to be Islamic ally valid. Unmarried woman requires consent from her father or Wali (father like figure). Father cannot appose marriage for any reason other than religious value and responsibility.
Once all the conditions are fulfilled, both parties are free to sign the marriage contract and they are deemed married legitimately under the rulings of Islam. In some parts of the world, this is celebrated with lovely wedding events known as Walimah.