In Islam, marriage is a spiritual, social, and legal relationship intended to strengthen and extend family relationships. Islamic marriage begins with a search for an appropriate partner and is solemnized with an agreement of marriage, the contract, and the wedding party. Islam is a strong advocate of marriage, and the act of marriage is considered a religious duty through which the social unit—the family—is established. Islamic marriage is the only permissible way for men and women to engage in intimacy.

We, at Islamic Society of Northeast Ohio (ISNEO), not only that we recognize the importance of marriage, but we also encourage Muslims to get married, and as such, we would like to make sure that, for those who would like to have their nikah solemnized at our center, do so smoothly and without any hassle.

As mentioned above, marriage is a legal relationship (both in the laws of Islam and the State) and one of our duties here at ISNEO is to make sure that both laws are fulfilled, short of which we would unfortunately be unable to provide that service. The burden of the proof falls into the marrying parties and it is their obligation to make sure that the requirements are fulfilled. We will outline the requirements with a brief explanation so that you are aware before you call or come in.

1. Ijaab and Qubool for the marrying parties. Normally, this is the easiest. This is the acceptance of the bride and groom that they agree to get married to each other out of their own free will.

2. Dowry (Mahr). This is a marital gift from the groom to the bride. It can be anything that the bride accepts as her gift. The bride has a say upon what kind of bridal gift she wants.

3. Minimum of two sane adult Muslim male witnesses. It is upon the bride and groom to find and bring two witnesses. This is not ISNEO responsibility to find them for you.4. Guardian (Wali) for the bride. Wali is the closest available male relative on the father’s side (father, parternal grandfather, paternal brother, paternal uncle or cousin. All mentioned must be biological). It is the responsibility of the bride to provide a guardian. If the bride is a Muslim the guardian must be a Muslim and if she doesn’t have a Muslim guardian as mentioned such as because the bride is a Muslimah convert and all of the mentioned family members are non-Muslim, then you can request ISNEO to represent you (bride) as your guardian. Please do so by emailing If the bride is an Ahlil kitab (Christian or of Jewish religion) then the guardian must be any of the mentioned family members for the Muslim bride but on the side of the religion the bride is from. Email to ask for further information on your situation. It is the responsibility of the bride to provide the guardian. ISNEO will not solemnize the marriage where there is no guardian. At ISNEO, we recognize the differences of opinion (especially that of the Hanafi school) about the requirement of the guardian for the bride, our view however is that a guardian is the requirement for a valid nikah and that is where we stand. If you do not agree with our view, we are pretty sure that you will find other places that goes with your view.

5. Marriage license- In the State of Ohio, by law, the State provides conditions to and limitations of the marriage contract. The probate Court is the sole agency, under the law of the State of Ohio that is vested with the authority to issue marriage licenses. Please contact them directly to get your marriage license. At ISNEO, we understand that an Islamic Nikah can be valid without the (state) court issued marriage license if above four Islamic requirements are met (such Nikah as Nikah Urfi or katb el kitab). However, because as mentioned earlier, marriage is a binding legal contract, and, to make sure that the legal aspect will be fulfilled, marriage license becomes a requirement. We are aware that, for reasons best known to themselves, some couples are not interested in having their nikah registered by the State but at the same time they want their nikah to be solemnized at our center. It should be known that the primary role of ISNEO marriage officiant is to make your wedding official by fulfilling the requirements set forth by the marriage laws in the State of Ohio which includes witnessing the couple deliberately giving their consent to the marriage and signing the marriage license. We would like to caution that our observations shows that most “train wreck” marriages are those that has not been registered. If there is no marriage license, then the marriage officiant has no use and technically not required, and we will not provide one.

Marrying parties should be aware that, our wedding officiant cannot make the marriage valid by few verses of the Quran they will be reciting and by how good the marriage speech and supplications will be, but what makes the nikah valid is the fulfillment of the requirements. Imam, Kadhi or Mawlana is not a requirement for the marriage to be valid. For that reason, therefore, if any of the five mentioned requirements are not fulfilled, then we won’t be able to officiate your marriage. So, for those interested in doing nikah but without the marriage license, because the actual wedding is going to be done later in the months or years to come or for any other reason, that you can do your nikah at other places and involves us only when you are ready for the actual wedding.

If the above five requirements are fulfilled and you would like ISNEO to officiate your Nikah, please print and fill the Nikah Application form and return it to ISNEO either by email or in person not less than three days before the Nikah or call to see the Imam's availability.

Jazakallah khayr.