Is it permissible for me to get married informally?

Details of the Question
I have converted to Islam recently. Earlier, I was a Hindu, and I am still married to a Hindu woman. Also, because my parents are old, I do not want to cause them hearth attack and I have not disclosed that I have become a Muslim. Now, I want to get marry with a Shia girl. But at the moment I dont want to publicise this marriage. Can I marry with her informally?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

It is religiously permissible to get married in the presence of witnesses. However, we do not regard it suitable to marry without civil marriage. We regard it necessary to perform civil marriage along with religious marriage ceremony, especially in order to protect the religious and worldly rights of a woman.

In the ordinance of Ottoman family law, there was a law stating that it was mandatory to register the marriages and that unregistered marriages would be invalid.

If a man and woman get married in the presence of witnesses without civil marriage, they will be regarded as husband and wife; the woman cannot marry another man unless the man divorces her. Therefore, it is very risky. As a matter of fact, we are asked many questions regarding the issue. We come across with many questions like “I got married to a man with a religious marriage ceremony. He does not divorce me, what can I do?” “I got married to a man without getting divorced religiously from the man I had a religious marriage contract. Is it regarded adultery?”  In this respect, although it is religiously permissible to marry in the presence of witnesses, in the end you can be hurt badly. For this reason, we do not regard it suitable to get married without civil marriage.

The marriage is a contract, a pact, and an agreement. It has some conditions. If one of those conditions cannot be done properly, the marriage will be invalid.

1. Presence of the persons who get married or their proxies.
2. Both persons’ declaration of intention. Persons who will get married should say “I accepted”.
3. The parent of the girl must allow that marriage. This rule is according to all sects except Hanafis.
4. The presence of witnesses. These witnesses must be two men or a man and two women who are baligh (of age) and sane. It means that it is mandatory for at least a man to be present.

There is one more condition apart from those mentioned above. It is the announcement of the marriage. It is according to Maliki School.

However, in the ordinance of Ottoman family law, there was a law stating that it was mandatory to register the marriages and that unregistered marriages would be invalid.

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