Praise be to Allaah.
In order for a marriage to
be valid, it is essential to have two Muslim witnesses of good character,
because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“There is no marriage except with a wali and two witnesses of good
character.” Narrated by al-Bayhaqi from the hadeeth of ‘Imraan and
‘Aa’ishah; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’,
Ibn Qudaamah (may Allaah
have mercy on him) said: Marriage cannot be done except with two Muslim
witnesses, whether the couple are both Muslims, or only the husband is
Muslim. This was stated by Ahmad, and it is the view of al-Shaafa’i, because
the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There is
no marriage except with a wali and two witnesses of good character.” End
quote from al-Mughni (7/7).
The majority of scholars
are of the view that having witnesses is essential to the validity of the
marriage, except the Maalikis who say that it is permissible to delay the
witnessing of the marriage until before consummation, and it is not
necessary for it to be at the time the marriage contact is done. Based on
this, if two Muslim witnesses testify to your marriage now, before
consummation, it is valid. See Haashiyat al-Dasooqi (2/216).
Some of the scholars are of
the view that having the marriage witnessed is not an essential condition,
rather it is sufficient to announce the marriage; if the marriage is
proclaimed and announced, it is valid. This is the view of al-Zuhri and Imam
This view was favoured by
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah and was regarded as more correct by Shaykh Ibn
‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him). See: al-Sharh al-Mumti’,
Shaykh al-Islam (may Allaah
have mercy on him) said: Undoubtedly a marriage that is announced is valid
even if it is not witnessed by two witnesses. But if it is concealed and
witnessed that is subject to further discussion.
If it is both witnessed and
announced, there is no dispute as to its validity.
If it is neither witnessed
nor announced, then it is invalid according to most scholars; even if some
held a different view, they are very few. End quote from al-Ikhtiyaaraat
al-Fiqhiyyah, p. 177.
Based on this, if the
marriage was announced and became known, then it is valid, but it is better
to repeat the marriage contract in the presence of the wali and two witnesses of good character who are Muslims, based on the view of the majority.
And Allaah knows best.