Generally, the Muslim marriage law requires that marriage contract must be in the form of an offer and acceptance expressed in a single meeting. Different countries have coded different laws following different jurists which are acceptable to the local community. In Hanfi law, the presence of witnesses is must for a valid marriage. A major portion of the Muslim world considers presence of witnesses important.
Majority of Muslim rely upon a hadith quoted by Muslim in his collection. Prophet (PBUH) said,
“Announce Your Marriages”.
Qualifications of Witnesses
The Muslim marriage law requires that the witnesses must be sane, of full age and Muslims.
According to Hanfi marriage law they must include at least one male and two females so that if the female witness forgets details of marriage the other female witness may remind her. They inference to Quran,
“O ye who believe! When ye deal with each other, in transactions involving future obligations in a fixed period of time, reduce them to writing Let a scribe write down faithfully as between the parties: let not the scribe refuse to write: as Allah Has taught him, so let him write. Let him who incurs the liability dictate, but let him fear His Lord Allah, and not diminish aught of what he owes.
If the party liable is mentally deficient, or weak, or unable Himself to dictate, Let his guardian dictate faithfully, and get two witnesses, out of your own men, and if there are not two men, then a man and two women, such as ye choose, for witnesses, so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her. The witnesses should not refuse when they are called on (For evidence).”
However, the verse is not applicable on marriage for two grounds. First, it is for financial transactions and second the transaction is to be for a fixed period of time. While marriage conducted for a fixed period of time is considered void by most of the Hanfi jurists.
Muslim Marriage Law in Pakistan:
The Muslim marriage law in Pakistan does not specify any number and qualification of witnesses. Generally, the witnesses should be Muslims.
Marriage is primarily a social contract in Islam and two reliable individuals should witness it. The purpose of this is to serve as an attestation of the marriage contract as well as to help publicize it, as it should be distinguished from secret affairs or liaisons which are unlawful in Islam.