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The Meaning of Nikah
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This page references and quotes numerous scholarly and/or reliable sources that define or describe the Arabic term nikah (or the root n-k-h) as meaning "sexual intercourse", or the contract of sexual intercourse, or marriage as a contract for sexual intercourse.

"NIKAH:

Literally the act of sexual intercourse, nikah is the term by which marriage is referred to in the Qur'an. Islamic law defines nikah as a civil contract whose main function is to render sexual relations between a man and woman licit. Any sexual relations outside the nikah contract constitute the crime of zina (illicit sexual relations) and are subject to punishment." (read more)