Scholars have maintained that a ruler is entitled to conduct a marriage in place of bride's wali (guardian) if the latter is absent or dead. Some have even said that the ruler is the wali for the one has no wali. It is known that a ma`zun is one who is authorized by the ruler-the authorities or judge-to act in his stead in conducting marriage contracts.
Therefore, the ma`zun's job is not only confined to registering the contract but in some instances it extends to some of the duties of a wali.
Fiqh of Abu Hanifa
Egypt follows the juristic school of Imam Abu Hanifa al-Nu'man (may Allah be pleased with him) in matters of family law. It is established in Hanafi jurisprudence that it is permissible for a woman of sound judgment to conclude her own marriage (without a wali), act as a wali for a close relative or be commissioned to effect the marriage agreement of another. Just as a woman is entitled to manage her financial affairs, she has exclusive right in matters concerning marriage.
Evidence from the Qur`an
As evidenced by the following verses, Allah the Almighty attributes the right to conduct marriage to women, thereby demonstrating the validity of undertaking and executing their own marriages.
There is no blame on you if they dispose of themselves in a just and reasonable manner. [Al-Baqarah, 234]
Do not prevent them from marrying their (former) husbands, if they mutually agree on equitable terms. [Al-Baqarah, 232]
So if a husband divorces his wife (irrevocably), He cannot, after that, re-marry her until after she has married another husband and He has divorced her. [Al-Baqarah, 230]
The Prophet said, "An unmarried woman [a virgin or a previously married woman] has more right over herself than her wali."
Khansa` bint Khidham was given away in marriage by her father against her wishes so the Prophet nullified the contract [Bukhari].
A woman gave her daughter away in marriage with the latter's consent. The bride's guardians objected to the marriage so they brought the case before 'Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) who approved of the marriage.
'A`isha (may Allah be pleased with her) acted as the wali of her niece, the daughter of Abdul- Rahman, in her marriage to Mundhir Ibn Zubair.
If a woman, in Hanafi jurisprudence, is entitled to act as a wali for herself and others, then it is permissible to invest her with the authority to conduct a marriage contract. If this is so, then it is a greater priority to grant her permission to register the marriage.
This is because registration is based on justice and knowledge both of which are existent in an upright woman of knowledge.
The above is the legal ruling concerning this issue. A ruler, who wishes to issue a law to this effect, must ensure that it conforms to the different aspects of the reality of the times and takes into consideration any ensuing benefits and harm.