Al-Hāfidh Ibn Hajr (rahimahullāh) said:
989: Narrated al-Hasan from Samurah from Allāh’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) who said:
“Any woman who is given away in marriage by two guardians, then she is considered married to the first of the two men she was given away to [in marriage].“
Ibn Hajr said: Reported by Ahmad and the four, and At-Tirmidhī graded it hasan.
Shaikh Fawzaan (footnote): Ahmad, no. 20085. Abu Dawud, no. 2088. At-Tirmidhī, no. 1110. An-Nasā’ī, 7/314. Not reported by Ibn Mājah.
Shaikh Sālih al-Fawzān (hafidhahullāh) said:
This hadeeth is narrated by Al-Hasan from Samurah. Al-Hasan refers to Al-Hasan al-Basrī (d. 110H), the noble tābi`ī, (i.e. a successor of the Companions), may Allāh have mercy upon him. He narrated from Samurah Ibn Jundub (radiyallāhu ‘anhu). The scholars have differed into two positions as to whether Al-Hasan heard directly from Samurah. Some have said that he heard from Samurah so the hadeeth has a fully connected chain of narration. Others have said that he did not hear from Samurah so the hadeeth is considered to have a disconnected chain of narration.
“Any woman who is given away in marriage by two guardians” – There has already preceded the fact that a marriage is not sound except with the permission of the guardian. However, if the woman has two guardians of equal standing, such as two blood brothers. So one of them marries her off to a man, and the other one marries her off to another man. Then in this situation, she is considered married only to the first – the one who made the contract first. As for the second contract, then it is invalid because there was already a marriage contract in place. And that is meaning of the saying: “Then she is considered married to the first of the two.” And that is the case if it is known that which one preceded the other – in which case, the first is given precedence, and the second is invalidated. This is because there was already a marriage contract in place and a woman who is already married cannot be married again. And that is the consensus (ijmā’) of the Scholars.
If it is not known which of the contracts was established first, then both are invalidated, since one is not able to distinguish which one preceded the other. And this is proven by the saying of Allāh, the Most High: “Prohibited for you in marriage are already married women.” (An-Nisaa: 24) Referring to the forbiddance of marriage to women who are already in the bonds of marriage. It is not allowed for a married woman to marry another husband.
Adapted from volume 4, no. 989 (Eng. 842): Kitābun-Nikāh (The Book of Marriage) from Shaikh Sālih al-Fawzān’s explanation of Bulūgh Al-Marām min Adillatil-Ahkām of Al-Hāfidh Ahmad Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Hajr Al-Asqalāni (born 773H, died 852H), entitled Tas-heel al-Ilmām bi-fiqhil-Ahādeeth min Bulūghil-Marām and is printed in seven volumes.