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Nikah is based on several conditions. When these conditions are fulfilled, then a man and a woman are proclaimed as husband and wife and can live together and carry on their marital duties. These are some of the conditions that must be fulfilled:
  • Giving free consent to the marriage personally or through a close relative like father (called Wali). A man and woman say in clear voice three times that they accept (name of the person and his/her father name is called) as their husband/wife.
  • The amount of Haq-e-Mahr (similar to the biblical mohar) is agreed upon, announced, and paid to the bride at the spot or paid in the near future. Haq-e-Mahr is money given to the bride from the groom as a form of insurance should unfortunate circumstances arise.
  • Two adult free muslim men witness the ceremony.
  • The nikah is publicised or advertised widely.
  • The nikah contract requires the consent of both parties very strictly if they are adults. There is a tradition in some Muslim countries, to pre-arrange a marriage for young children. However, the marriage still requires consent of the concerned man and woman when they reach adulthood when the wedding actually goes ahead. Islam does allow divorce (talaq) so this contract is revocable. Marriage is seen as a necessity in Islam and is seen as helpful in avoiding zina (extramarital sex/adultery) or cruelty. A marriage which is carried out unofficially without informing the public is called nikah urfi.
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