In the News: Muslim Marriages in the UK

Last week, an English High Court judge ruled in favor of a Muslim woman seeking a divorce from her husband, despite the fact that their marriage was never formally registered in the UK. The couple performed an Islamic nikāh ceremony 20 years ago, which recognized the marriage on religious terms. However, the judge found that the marriage actually fell within the scope of English law, stating: “Those who have religiously married and have lived here for many years, raised families and been treated by the family community and state authorities as married, should not have the term ‘non-marriage’ applied to them.”

SHARIAsource has a large collection of U.S. court cases dealing with Islamic family law issues, including:

Islam v. Islam (N. Mar. I. Sup. Ct. 2009) – The Court recognized a marriage performed in a country where the law permitted Islamic marriages without the subsequent need to obtain a civil marriage contract.

Ahmed v. Ahmed (Tex. App. 2008) – The Court refused to recognize an Islamic marriage contract as a “premarital contract” because the religious ceremony (and thus the signing of the Islamic marriage contract) took place after the civil ceremony.

In re: The Marriage of Awatef and Nabil Dajani (Cal. Ct. App. 1988) – The Court refused to enforce an Islamic marriage contract, finding that the concept of mahr (deferred dowry, due to the wife upon divorce) was against public policy.

Aleem v. Aleem (Md. Ct. App. 2008) and Tarikonda v. Pinjari (Mich. Ct. App. 2009) – The Courts refused to accept the validity of “triple ṭalāq” divorce (performed unilaterally by the husband) because it violated the wives’ due process rights.