A question to Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymīn: To who does the guardianship for marriage transfer after the death of the father?
Answer: The one who has the most right [of guardianship] with respect to marriage is the father. After him, it is the grandfather, and so on (upwards). So [after the father’s death], if her grandfather from her father’s side of the family is alive, then he has the greater right [to be her guardian for marriage]. So if she does not have a father or a grandfather from her father’s side [who are alive], then the guardianship transfers to the woman’s own sons, if she has sons.
If she does not have any sons, then her guardianship transfers to her own full blood-brothers, then to her blood-brothers from her father’s other wives, then to the sons of her full blood-brothers, then to the sons of her blood-brothers from her father’s other wives, then to her paternal uncles, then to the paternal uncles of her father, then to the sons of her paternal uncles, then to the sons of her father’s paternal uncles.
If no relatives can be found for her, or her relatives live in a place far away from her, where they cannot be contacted, or that these relatives forbid her from getting married to a man who is suitable, then in that situation, the judge of a court (qādi) marries her to the man.
Question: Which of the blood-brothers has the greater right of guardianship for her marriage?
Answer: All of them have the right to guardianship. However, from good manners and correct etiquette, he is given to the eldest of them.
Summary of the levels of guardianship:
- Grandfather (then the great grandfather, etc.) from father’s side.
- Her sons.
- Full blood-brothers (from the same mother and father).
- Blood-brothers from her father’s other wives.
- The sons of her full blood-brothers.
- The sons of her blood-brothers from her father’s other wives.
- Her paternal uncles.
- Paternal uncles of her father.
- The sons of her paternal uncles.
- The sons of her father’s paternal uncles.
- The Qādi of an Islamic court.
Guardianship of Revert Women
Another benefit: Shaikh Sālih Al-Fawzān states that in the non-Muslim countries, guardianship in the absence of male Muslim relatives is handled by those who take the place of the ruler in this affair, such as the Islamic centres. So the guardian would be the head of an Islamic centre. He takes on the role of the guardian because he has the position of religious responsibility, and takes on specific duties.
So this would be the case also for a woman who reverts (converts) to Islam and has no male Muslim relatives from her father’s side of the family.
Based on this, the guardianship of a revert (convert) woman to Islam cannot be given to one who has no religious authority in a community. I would add that guardianship of a revert woman should be handled by a Salafi Islamic Centre or Mosque (not Ahlul-Bid’ah) that has appointed a person who is responsible for the marriage of these women to suitable men. This person should have certain qualities which include:
- He should already be comfortably married.
- He should be an elder in the community and respected for his piety.
- He should not seek to marry any woman he is guardian over.
- He is trustworthy and truthful.
All marriages conducted by a Salafi Islamic Centre should be documented and certified (with signatures and an official stamp), copies made, and all concerned parties (bride, groom and guardian) should produce identification documents without which the marriage should not be conducted.
السؤال: ولاية نكاح المرأة بعد وفاة والدها إلى من تنتقل؟
الإجابة: أولى الناس بالتزويج الأب ثم الجد من قبل الأب وإن علا، إن كان لها جد من قبل أبيها فهو أولى، فإن لم يكن لها أب ولا جد من أبيها انتقلت الولاية إلى أبنائها إن كان لها أبناء، وإلا فإلى إخوتها الأشقاء، ثم الإخوة لأب، ثم أبناء الإخوة الأشقاء، ثم أبناء الإخوة لأب، ثم للأعمام الأشقاء، ثم الأعمام لأب، ثم أبناء الأعمام الأشقاء، ثم أبناء الأعمام لأب. فإذا لم يوجد لها عصبة أو كان عصبتها في مكان بعيد لا يمكن الاتصال بهم، أو كان عصبتها قد امتنعوا من تزويجها بمن هو كفء، زوجها قاضي المحكمة.
السائل: وأي الإخوة الأشقاء يتولى ذلك؟
الشيخ: كلهم له ولاية، لكن من الأدب أن يجعلوا الذي يتولى ذلك الأكبر منهم.