Marriage in Islam is a solemn contract for which the Shari`ah lays down rules and arrangements to guarantee its stability. In order for marriage to be recognized as valid it must fulfill the following minimum requirements:

1. The marriage must be expressed in clear and unequivocal terms signifying the full of consent of both male and female either in words or in writing.
2. It should be witnessed by two reliable Muslim witnesses.
3. In the case of females, their guardian’s consent has been considered essential for the validity of marriage according to the majority of scholars. Imam Abu Hanafah , however, is of the view that a mature woman is fully capable of contracting her own marriage.

4. It should also be publicized.

Sheikh M. S. Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Muslim lecturer and author, who states: 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 be upon him) said: “ There is no marriage except with a wali and two witnesses of good character. ” (Reported by Al-Bayhaqi from the hadith of `Imran and `A’ishah; classed as sahih by Al-Albani in Sahih Al-Jami`, No. 7557)

Ibn Qudamah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “Marriage cannot be done except with two Muslim witnesses, whether the man and woman are both Muslims, or only the husband is Muslim. This was stated by Ahmad, and it is the view of ash- Shafi`i . The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: ‘There is no marriage except with a wali and two witnesses of good character.’” (Al-Mughni, vol. 7, p. 7).

The majority of scholars are of the view that having witnesses is essential for the validity of a marriage, except the Malikis 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 of the marriage contact. Based on this opinion, if two Muslim witnesses testify to your marriage now, before consummation, it is valid. See Hashiyat Ad-Dasuqi, vol. 2, p. 216.

Some 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 Az-Zuhri and Imam Malik.

This view was favored by Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah and was regarded as more correct by Sheikh ibn `Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him). See: Ash-Sharh Al-Mumti`, vol. 12, p. 94.

Ibn Taymiyah
(may Allah have mercy on him) said: “Undoubtedly a marriage that is announced is valid even if it is not witnessed by two witnesses. However, 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.” (Al-Ikhtiyarat 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. This is based on the view of the majority.