What are the schools of Muslim law?

There are various schools of Muslim law. The law on Muslim marriages comes from the interpretation of the Quran by scholars. Thus, most Muslim marriages are guided by customs derived from interpretations followed through generations. The laws and customs that apply to each person following Islam differ based on the sect of the person. Further, different branches of customs have emerged within sects. These branches have specific laws known as “Schools of Law”.1 


In India,2 parts of Muslim personal law were written down in 1937 as the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 as well as the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act,1939. These two laws in many ways have led the reforms in family laws. However, Muslim marriages are guided by the Islamic religious precepts. In Islam, there are two sects- Sunni and Shia. Each sect practices different schools of law. This means that depending on the sect, the marriage procedure differs for a bride and a groom.1

  1. Mulla, D. F., Sir. (n.d.). Principles of Mahomedan Law (20th ed.) p.28.[][]
  2. Consultation Paper on Reform of Family Law, Law Commission, available at https://lawcommissionofindia.nic.in/reports/CPonReformFamilyLaw.pdf.[]

Is Muslim marriage a contract?

Marriage is a contract under Muslim law.1 The contract can be entered into by fulfilling the following conditions:

  • Both the bride and groom must give free consent for the marriage.
  • The couple getting married should be of sound mind and should have attained puberty (usually 15 years).2 
  • A guardian like a parent or sibling can consent on behalf of a minor or someone not of sound mind.
  1. Hasina Bano v. Alam Noor A.I.R 2007 Raj 49.[]
  2. Shoukat Hussian and another v. State of Punjab and others [CRWP No.733 of 2021 (O&M)].[]

What is the proposal and acceptance requirement for Muslim marriage?

There should be a proposal of marriage made by or on behalf of one of the parties and the other party has to accept this proposal. Both the bride and groom have to say Ejab e Qubool (Qubool hai), which means “I agree”.


This has to be said out of their own will and explicitly during the ceremony. The proposal and the acceptance should be made at one meeting, meaning, a proposal made at one meeting and an acceptance made at another meeting will not constitute a valid marriage.1

  1. Mulla, D. F., Sir. (n.d.). Principles of Mahomedan Law (20th ed.) p.331.[]