A verbal marriage contract

Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta

A verbal marriage contract


When I was married, I did all that was normally done for a marriage contract except that no documents, papers, etc. were signed or exchanged. It was all conducted verbally in the presence of witnesses with the dowry payable upon demand. This was then usual in my country. How does it affect the validity of my marriage?


The marriage contract is the same as any other contract. It is valid when conducted verbally in the presence of witnesses. In fact, the majority of contracts in everyday life are verbal, particularly in business transactions. They are no less valid for this reason. As long as the two parties to a contract are making their commitment seriously, the contract is valid.

A marriage contract is also conducted verbally. But parties express their offer and acceptance verbally. They do this in the presence of witnesses, who must not be less than two. The bride’s father or guardian acts on her behalf on the basis of a power of attorney she gives him, also verbally, and in front of witnesses. He expresses his offer on her behalf and the groom accepts it. The marriage is valid on this basis.

Whatever documentation is made on paper is merely to confirm and document that the marriage has already taken place by the verbal contract. This means that the verbal action is the basis and the written one is merely for the sake of documentation. I reassure my reader of the validity of his marriage. However, he needs to have it registered and documented so that he may not run into the trouble of proving a marriage of which the authorities in his country have no record.

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