Can a Lady’s Step-Father or Maternal Uncle Act as a Walee (Legal Representative) for her Marriage?

The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Legal Verdicts, headed by Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez ibn Baaz [d.1420] (may Allaah have Mercy on him), was asked about the step-father and maternal uncle of a young lady – Can they take the position of the walee (legal guardian or representative) in a valid marriage?

They replied:

The step-father is not a (valid) walee for his step-daughter, and nor is the maternal uncle (from her mother’s side).  Instead, only the male inheriting blood relatives can be legal representatives (for marriage), the closest of them in relation having the priority – the father being first, then the grandfather, and then the son, and then her brother (from both parents), and then her half-brother (from her father’s side), etc.

And through Allaah (alone) is succes.  May Allaah raise the rank of our Prophet Muhammad, and grant him, his family, and his companions peace.

[Shaykh] ‘Abdul-‘Azeez ibn ‘Abdillaah ibn Baaz

[Shaykh] ‘Abdur-Razzaaq al-‘Afeefee

[Shaykh] ‘Abdullaah ibn Ghudayyaan

Source: Fataawaa al-Lajnah ad-Daa’imah (18/174)

Translated by : Moosaa Richardson

26 thoughts on “Can a Lady’s Step-Father or Maternal Uncle Act as a Walee (Legal Representative) for her Marriage?

  1. is he sufficient if none of these people are present and or muslim or do we refer her to the masjid
    barakallahu fik

    • When none of her male family members are alive or suitable* then the scholars differ over which action is to be taken, as taught to me by Shaykh Muhammad ‘Umar Baazmool. Some say she returns to the Muslim authorities to appoint a wakeel for her. Others say that she may choose someone herself.

      Obviously, when choosing someone who is not a blood relative, the step-father who raised her is a great choice, since he is already mahram for her and can interact with her closely, as opposed to a non-mahram man. And Allaah knows best.

      *Lack of suitability is determined by a Muslim judge after an investigation of claims of insuitability. Its not a light affair as many take it in the West. The right of wilaayah is a basic right of a man over his female family members, and it is not taken from him except with clarity and authority.

  2. I was recently told that if a woman has no male relatives on her father’s side, then she is to be turned over to the haakim rather than any relatives on her mothers side, such as a brother or uncle. Have the ulema spoken about this?

    baarak allahu feek

    • Shaykh Muhammad Baazmool mentioned to me that some scholars say she must go to the Muslim ruler for him to appoint a walee, and others said that she chooses a suitable walee for herself in such a case. He said that either is acceptable.

  3. Assalaamu Aleeykum, I am a bit confused. I don’t know whether you’ve mentioned her uncle (from dad’s side) Would they come after her grandfather, if both her father and grandfather are no longer around?

  4. Asalaam alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu

    I see you mentioned (unsuitable) which I would like to inquire further about. Does a father who has been… [mention of various acts of neglect and disobedience removed by admin]

    Is he able to represent his daughters when it comes to marriage? Is he able to be her Walee?

    • Individual cases are to be presented to a Muslim judge or authority. Disqualifying a man from wilaayah and giving his right to someone else is a judgment which requires investigation, not something which can be obtained from a question posed from one of the familty members.

  5. Bismillah Walhamdulillah Wa Salaah Wa Sallam ala Rasulillah Amma Ba du

    As Salaamu Alaikum Baarak Allahu feekum for this and all your efforts and beneficial website. I am one of the responsible brothers […] who handle the sisters affairs,
    Recently I married one of the sisters off who has a muslim stepfather, I attempted to reach out to the brother to cross our T’s and dot my I’s. I left him a voicemail but he never responded.
    After approxiametely a month went by I stood in as her walee . After five days had passed it came to light that I was lied to by the sister. Her stepfather finally contacted me with a bit of rage and anger. Some of it was misplaced at the manhaj As Salafi.
    He deemed the nikkah to be null and void, however based on a fatwa of Shaikh Fawzan I went ahead and stood in as her guardian. What is the correct position in this affair?

    • Wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. If you took a man’s position as walee away from him without investigation, only based on one person’s claims, then you have taken a man’s right without due process. This is an act of oppression which you would need to repent from. Furthermore, a marriage without the rightful walee or his representative is invalid. Also, if you have not been appointed to make such judgments in cases like this, then you have far overstepped your limit, so fear Allaah, repent, rectify, and avoid such behavior in the future. Please read this: And Allaah knows best.

      • Baaraka Allahu feekum for your timely response and much needed naseehah. For clarity I am one of the responsible individuals at the masjid who handles the marriage disputes and divorces. I want to make sure I understand that the issue of guardianship extends to a step father. If so then tayyib if not then how can a step father lose a right that he originally didn’t have? I may have misunderstood the post about the position of the step father. Jazaakum Allahu Khairan

  6. What if the female lives in America and her entire paternal family (including her dad) lives in Somalia, and she never met them (accept when she was very very very young) and she doesn’t know them nor have any means to contact them, and all she has in America with her, is her mother, her step father since young and her brothers from her step father and mother?

    • She has the obligation to get in touch with her parents, and her mother has the obligation upon her to assist her daughter in contacting and staying in touch with her father. This is not something swept aside. Many people who claim they have no way to contact their fathers are simply not taking the issue seriously enough. Family ties and dutifulness to one’s parents are extremely important in Islaam. May Allaah aid her and give her success in reconnecting with her father. If she needs to get married before then, a recognized Muslim judge or authority can look into her case and make a judgment about how she should get married. And Allaah knows best.

  7. Assalaamu alaykum can a woman [when appearing in front of a potential spouse] … wear very subtle makeup (eg just to conceal under-eye bags/blemishes on face) ? [message truncated by admin]

    • wa ‘alayk as-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. Wearing makeup in such a case is not permissible AND it goes against the very point of the meeting. Let the man see the blemishes and make an informed decision. Neither spouse may hide defects, rather honesty and transparency are a must. And Allaah knows best.

  8. I am a muslim sister living in the west my father i dont live with my father but i have his contact details will it be possible for me to ask him to give the wilayaa to my maternal uncle who is practicing and would be a suitable wali for me

    • Dear sister, do not be pleased with yourself if you do not have a relationship with your father. Saying that you “have his contact details” indicates that, and Allaah knows best. Rebuild your relationship with your father, intending to earn the pleasure of Allaah. How else will you fulfil the Quranic orders to be dutiful to your parents, those orders which come right after the order to worship Allaah alone? See Quran: 4:36, 6:151, and 17:23. Please review these Verses and rebuild ties with him. Giving this matter a high priority will lead to great things, in shaa’ Allaah, like a truly blessed marriage for yourself, and may Allaah bless you and grant you success! And yes, any person (fit for wilaayah) whom your father deputizes to be a walee in his place is the valid walee. And Allaah knows best.

      • As salaamu alaikum I have a question? I know we are to honor our parents!!! So my questions is does this apply if our father is a nonbeliever?

        • Wa ‘alayk as-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. May Allaah bless you and increase you in goodness. Yes, we still respect our parents, remain in their company, and behave dutifully to them, even if they call us away from our Religion, see Quran 31:15. Just do not obey them when they order you to ascribe partners or disobey Allaah. NOTE: Legally, the wilaayah (for the validity of a marriage contract) of a non-Muslim father over a Muslim daughter is not valid. And Allaah knows best.

  9. As salaamu alaykium wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu I live in the west and my father severed ties when I was 18 due to the court system. He was never really around growing up, I’ve tried to reach out to rebuild a relationship numerous times but he denied me. What should I do?

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