Do I need a wali? A discussion on female agency and wilayah in Islamic law.

One of the main differences in our nikahnama text options is the option to have a wali's signature or to skip it. We provide both options as there is a difference of opinion within the major schools of Islamic thought.

Namely, the Hanafi school made space for female agency, and for a woman to marry without the presence of a male representative, or wali, although they still maintained that it was better to use a wali whenever possible.

The Alim Nihal Ahmad Khan discusses how and why the Hanafi school opened up a space for female agency in marriage on The Maydan blog: Female Agency in Marriage in the Ḥanafī School of Law: Between Damascus and Transoxiana.

"While many Islamic jurists contended that wilāyah and the aṣabāt are a male-restricted arena, it was the Ḥanafīs who claimed otherwise. Though the reasons are many, the trailblazing nature of such a shift may be rooted in the non-Arab historical features of the Ḥanafī school of law, its politics and poetics, which began in a theological dialogue during the Umayyad Dynasty and eventually spread throughout Transoxiana under the Sassanian Empire, and later served as the dominant school in the golden eras of the Ottoman and Mughal Empires."

Read the full article on The Maydan.

Photo credit: Fariha Wajid Photography