Essential Requirements for a Valid Muslim Marriage under Muslim Law

1. A marriage is valid (Sahih) if the courts recognize it as legal. A valid Muslim marriage must meet the following requirements:
2. The husband and wife, as well as the parties to the marriage, must be competent.
3. The parties’ consent, or the consent of their guardians, must be freely given.
4. The required formalities have been completed, and the contracting process should not be hindered in any way.
5. There must be no restrictions or impediments to entering into a marriage contract.
Competence of the Parties:
Both the boy and the girl must be competent to enter into the marriage contract at the time of the ceremony. The parties are competent if they are :-
(a) The age of puberty
(b) sound mind
a) Age of Puberty:
Under Muslim law, the age of majority for marriage, dower, and divorce is not eighteen years. In these cases, the age of majority is taken to be the same as the age of puberty. A person’s sexual competency is supposed to be acquired at the age of puberty.
Minor’s Marriage:
A person who has not reached puberty (the age of fifteen) is considered a minor in Muslim law. As a result, he (or she) lacks the legal capacity to consent to marriage. The marriage of a minor without the consent of his or her guardian is void. The marriage is legal if the minor’s guardian gives consent on his or her behalf. As a result, a minor’s marriage is only valid with the consent of the guardian. Under Muslim law, following persons are recognised as guardians for contracting the marriage of minors:
(1) Father,
(2) Paternal grandfather, how high so ever,
(3) Brother or other male members of the father’s family,
(4) Mother,
(5) Maternal uncle, aunt or other maternal relations
It is important to note that the father is given the right of guardianship in marriage. This right passes to the next guardian in the order of priority if the father is not present. In the absence of any of the above-mentioned guardians, Kazi or a government authority may contract a minor’s marriage.
It’s important to distinguish between “guardians for marriage” and “guardians appointed by the court.” Without the permission of the court, a guardian appointed by the court to protect the minor’s person or property has no right to contract the minor’s marriage. A ‘guardian for marriage,’ on the other hand, does not need such permission; he can contract the marriage without the court’s permission.
Another important point to remember about guardianship in marriage is that if a closer guardian is present, the distant guardian has no right to contract the minor’s marriage. Marriage between a distant guardian and a nearer available guardian is void (unless the nearer guardian is insane or missing).
Shia Law:
The only guardians for marriage under Shia law are
(1) the father and
(2) the paternal grand father, no matter how high.
When the minor reaches puberty, any marriage contracted by another guardian must be expressly confirmed by the minor.
The Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929 (as amended in 1978)
Marriage between minors, as discussed in the preceding lines, is, however, subject to the Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929. (as amended in 1978). The purpose of this law is to prevent marriages between people who are under a certain age limit.
The Act applies to all citizens of India, including Muslims. Males must be 21 years old and females must be 18 years old to marry, according to Section 2 of the amended Act. A “child marriage” is one in which one of the parties is under the legal age of marriage. It is illegal for a guardian or anyone else to perform or conduct a “child marriage.” The 1978 Amending Act includes provisions for the Act’s strict implementation.
Section 7 of the Act now states that violations of the Act are cognizable offenses, and that a police officer may investigate them in the same way that cognizable offenses under the Criminal Procedure Code are investigated. However, without a warrant or a Magistrate’s order, no arrest can be made under this Act. The following are some of the effects of this legislation on minor marriages (including Muslim marriages):
(1) A marriage is not void if it is a “child-marriage” within the meaning of this Act. The union exists and is completely legal.
(2) A person who contracts, directs, conducts, or performs a minor’s marriage, on the other hand, commits a cognizable offence and is subject to the Act’s penalties.
(3) A ‘child-marriage’ can be prevented under Section 12 of the Act by obtaining an injunction from the Court before the marriage takes place. The violation of such a restraining order is also punishable.
(b) Soundness of Mind:
Both parties must be of sound mind at the time of the wedding. Persons of unsound mind lack the legal capacity to enter into a marriage contract because their own consent is not considered consent in the eyes of the law.
Idiocy and lunacy are two types of mental illness. Idiocy is an abnormal state of mind in which a person is completely unaware of the legal implications of his actions. These people are referred to as idiots and are unable to marry.
Lunacy is a mental disease which may be cured. Such persons are called lunatics and they also have no understanding but sometimes they may behave like sane persons. The period during which a lunatic behaves like a sane person with normal understanding, is called ‘lucid interval’. Marriage by a lunatic during ‘lucid interval’ is a valid marriage.
Marriage of Insane Persons:
An idiot’s marriage is null and void. Except during a “lucid interval,” a lunatic’s marriage is null and void. A ‘marriage guardian’, on the other hand, may contract a lawful marriage with a person of unsound mind. The same rules of “option of puberty” apply to the marriage of an insane person by a guardian as they do to the marriage of a minor. An insane person whose marriage was contracted by a guardian other than his or her father or grandfather has the right to repudiate the marriage once he or she regains consciousness.

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