Q. I live in the UAE, and my parents are considering conducting my nikah online via video conferencing to a girl who is currently in the US. If all the guardians (wakeels) are present, is the nikah on video conferencing permissible? If yes, how would we sign the nikah document? Can it be signed later via a courier service?
A. Nikah (marriage) cannot take place on telephone, or via video conference where both the contracting parties and the necessary witnesses are not at the actual/physical location of the contract, because it is a necessary condition for a valid contract of marriage that at least two witnesses should be present at the time of marriage and should witness both offer and acceptance by the respective spouses or their representative. This necessary condition cannot be fulfilled in a telephone conversation or via video conference etc.
However, if A wants to marry B without both being present at one place, he can authorize anyone of his friends or relatives living at the place where B is to contract his marriage and appoint him his agent to pronounce offer or acceptance on his behalf. If, for example he selects C to be his agent for this purpose, he should authorize him in the following words:
"I authorize you to contract my marriage with B, daughter of D, on a sum of .... as dower."
Then, at the time of marriage ceremony in presence of at least two male witnesses, the girl may pronounce her offer saying, "I married A, son of E on a sum of .... as dower."
If there is a Qadi or a Nikah Khwan duly authorized by the girl, he can also pronounce offer in the following words:
"I gave B, daughter of D in marriage with A on the sum of .... as dower. "
C, the agent of A, will say in reply, "I accepted this marriage on behalf of A.”
The offer can also be initiated by C as an agent of A. In this case he will address B in the following words:
"Being a duly authorized agent of A, I marry A, son of G, to you on a sum of .... as dower.”
In this case B will reply, "I accepted this marriage."
In both cases, it will be a valid contract between A and B, where after they will be treated as husband and wife duly wedded to each other according to Shariah. (adapted from Contemporary Fatawa - Mufti Taqi Uthmaani)
And Allah Ta'ala Knows Best
Shafiq Jakhura (Mufti) and M D Mangera (Mufti)