Fatwa ID: 05322
Answered by: Mufti Maruf Ahmed
Salaam, I wanted to ask if a male and female do a nikah proposal that is valid but not with a serious intention i.e. how the proposal was said/worded, answered, and where they are more than 2 male Muslim witnesses present, which would normally make the nikah valid. But it is understood as a joke (not with serious intention) by everyone even the male who proposed and the female replied. Is that nikah valid? Or do the male and female be fully aware that the nikah is taking place officially?
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Nikah is a great sunnah of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) and a very sacred agreement. It should most certainly not be taken as a joke. The contract of nikah is complete by the simple utterance of words denoting proposal and acceptance, in the presence of two witnesses.
As such, uttering words of nikah even as a joke will result in an actual marriage in the eyes of the Shari’ah. Therefore, having a serious intention is not a prerequisite. This is based on the hadith of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam): “There are three things which if done in earnest they are valid and if done in jest they are also valid: marriage (nikah), divorce (talaq) and taking back one’s wife after divorce (raj’ah).”
And Only Allah knows best.
Written by Mufti Maruf Ahmed
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham
 Narrated on the authority of Abu Hurairah (ra) by Abu Dawud (Hadith 2196) and Tirmidhi (Hadith 1221)