|I wanted to know if a man proposes to a woman in front of 2 witnesses and the woman says she has accepted, does this make their nikah valid? and if it does, does a contract need to be made and does dowry need to be given?
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful.
For marriage to be valid the condition is that there should be at least two male witnesses or one male and two female witnesses who are required to listen to the words of proposal (Ijab) and acceptance (qabul) clearly. (Hidaya, Vol 2, P306)
If during the proposal and acceptance no mahr (dowry) was stipulated then the wife will be entitled to the mahr (dowry) of the women of like status with herself. (i.e. which is customarily fixed for the females of her family) (Hidaya, Vol 2, P324)
A written contract may be written, in fact it is recommended (i.e. marriage certificate), however, proclamation amongst the public is of more importance.
Aisha (radi allahu anha) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (sallal lahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “Make this marriage publicly known, solemnize it in the mosques, and play tambourines in honour of it.” (Tirmidhi: 938)
And Allah knows best.
Darul Ifta Birmingham