First of all, we would like to welcome you among your Muslim brothers and sisters. You are welcome to the fold of Islam where everyone enjoys the Divine light given to humanity. Welcome to the Path of Righteousness. Welcome to purity and chastity. Welcome to nobleness. Welcome to virtue and morality. May Allah guide you to the best of deeds and shower His Mercy on you both in this world and in the Hereafter.
Islam stipulates that in order to conclude her marriage, the Muslim bride must have a guardian or wali, who is usually her father. Since the woman – despite her Islamically granted independence – was always subject to the desires of the ill-hearted and evil opportunists; Islam decreed certain legislations which would maintain her rights and deter those whom carry ill-aims and desires.
Therefore, Islam gave great importance to the approval of the woman’s guardian in a manner, which reflects the significance of the marriage contract. Islam’s insistence on the guardian’s involvement in the selection process is to ensure that the woman exercises her choice correctly.
But if the bride’s father is a non-Muslim, while she is a Muslim, he cannot act as a guardian for her, for Muslims are not to take non-Muslims for patronage or make them their representatives especially in a serious matter like marriage in which the guardian should be aware of the Islamic standards in choosing a proper marriage candidate. Almighty Allah says: “Your Protector (or Lord and Master) can be only Allah; and His Messenger and those who believe…” (Al-Ma’idah: 55). Almighty Allah also says: “And those who disbelieve are protectors one of another…” (Al-Anfal: 73)
These verses indicate that non-Muslims are not to act as guardians for Muslims. But this does not mean that the paternal rights of the non-Muslim fathers of Muslim women are disregarded; Muslim women in this case are to continue to
owe their fathers all due respect. The point is that non-Muslim fathers cannot be guardians for their Muslim daughters, for by believing in Islam, the daughters’ loyalty to Islam (the true religion) is to have priority over their loyalty to their non-Muslim fathers.
The eminent Muslim scholar, Sheikh Muhammad `Ali Al-Hanooti, member of the North American Fiqh Council, states: The only recommendation for any (converted) woman is to consult some reliable Muslim man or men in order to learn what is needed about the fiancée. The Imam who is documenting the marriage could be the replacement of what is needed in a wali or guardian.
In general, the Qur’an, when addressing a female’s marriage, refers to society. That means she is not supposed to make her decision for marriage unless that society or community would have no (valid) objection to her marriage. The Qur’an in addressing a male’s marriage speaks to him as the direct contractor. When he speaks to a female, the Quran makes her an indirect contractor.
Sheikh M. S. Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Muslim lecturer and author, adds: When a woman converts to Islam, none of her non-Muslim family members can act as a guardian (wali) of her interests; no disbeliever can act in this capacity over a Muslim. If there is a Muslim with some authority in your area over the affairs of the Muslim community, then he can act in this capacity, based on the Prophet’s (peace and blessings be upon him) hadith: “No marriage contract can be concluded without the presence of a wali. A Sultan (authority figure) can act as a wali for those without one.” (Reported by Ibn Majah and Imam Ahmad)
If there is no authoritative Muslim person, then one should refer to the community Muslim leader or any Muslim who is just, respected, and of high character, such as the director of the Islamic center or its imam, to conclude the marriage contract of this sister, with her consent.