Nikkah This is a topic I am dealing with daily as a family lawyer. Let’s talk about what a Nikkah is, well it’s an Islamic marriage contract between two people under Sharia law (Islamic Law).
In Islam, marriage holds a high value and is a Sunnah. Marriage is the only legitimate or the halal way to live with someone, so to cohabit one must enter into a Nikkah as living together as a couple outside the (Nikkah) contract is not permissible under sharia law or haram. There are 3 elements that form the Nikkah contract which are: (a) Consent of both parties (b) An offer (the groom offers) (c) An acceptance (by bride). It is absolutely vital that these three things are present to form the Nikkah contract. Below are some questions, answered that I am frequently asked.
My Nikkah was in the UK we have been married for 10 years, I have heard my Nikkah is automatically registered? This is one of many myths. The short answers is NO your Nikkah marriage is not recognised in the UK and therefore in the eyes of the law you are not husband and wife, you are merely cohabitees. To assure that the marriage is recognised in the UK, a civil ceremony is an absolute must, this will then give the married couple matrimonial rights and also put them in a position to make applications to the family courts and obtain financial remedies in an event of a divorce. A couple with just a Nikkah ceremony at home, venue or a mosque that is not registered will be classed as unmarried under UK law. Such a marriage while will satisfy the religious side it will not constitute as a legal marriage. Unfortunately there are a very few mosques in the UK
that are registered under the Marriage Act 1984, saying that the reality is that majority of Nikkah marriages take place at the brides house or at the venue the marriage is celebrated.
I had a Nikkah in Pakistan, will my Nikkah be recognised in the UK? Short answer is yes it will be recognised. The Nikkah is between the couple (bride and groom) and this is a binding contract in countries that operate the Sharia Law (Muslim countries) such as Iran, Morroco, Saudi Arab and Pakistan. So, a Nikkah will be recognised if the marriage took place in a country that recognises sharia law (therefore recognises the marriage) for example if a Nikkah took place in Pakistan then that Nikkah would be
recognised as a marriage within the UK, as the country in which the Nikkah took place
recognised the Nikkah as a valid marriage.
What are the disadvantages of not having a recognised marriage? If your relationship breaks down and you only have a Nikkah contract you are living together in the eyes of (English) law as cohabitees and therefore will not be in a position to make an application to the family courts for financial relief. The law surrounding cohabitees is complex and can be very expensive. As the couple are not married under the eyes of law if one party decides to remarry, they would not be committing an offence of bigamy or even polygamy, as no marriage was ever registered in the first place.
It is important to protect your rights, circumstances can change at any point in your life, for example if your partner died you would not be the next of kin. When you register your child’s birth you cannot be named on the birth certificate as married, and also an unmarried father who is not registered on the birth certificate has no parental rights.
Where can I get more information about this? To find out where your marriage stands under English law or if your planning on getting married and wish to obtain advice contact Sabeena Din at Milson Legal Solicitors today for free initial consultation on 0113 8730032.