The Islamic Post Blog

England Adopts Marriage Contract Said to Guarantee Islamic Rights for Women by Khalida
October 3, 2008, 7:35 pm
Filed under: International, Sept/Oct Volume - 2008, World | Tags:

A Growing Trend
Endless volumes of texts dealing with Islamic law have been derived from the Holy Qur’an and the practice of the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family), in an effort to guide Muslims in the principles of just and fair living, social networking amongst themselves, and dealings with non-Muslims as well.
Sharia, the law of the Almighty Creator, was being practiced in the Middle Ages by Muslims, while the rest of the world suffered through feudalism, a tiered system of oppression. Lawmakers today, around the world, are recognizing the wisdom of Islamic law as they implement modern day democratic legislation. (See also “Under Congressman Ellison, Minnesota Initiates Financing Without Usury”)
The following is excerpted from an article in the UK Guardian by author Samia Rahman.

The Muslim Institute of London recently launched a marriage contract it hopes will change the face of British Muslim family life.
The contract is the culmination of a four-year consultation process to guarantee theological rights in Muslim marriages across the UK, rights which have sometimes been hampered by cultural practices.
That the rights accorded by the contract are rooted in sharia, or Islamic law, ignites the debate over whether aspects of sharia may be incorporated into UK law. [This debate strays wide from the point of the contract, which symbolizes the acceptance of Muslim culture and religious law in the UK and also due regard by Muslims for the laws of the state.]
Currently, the Islamic marriage ceremony (nikaah), performed by an imam in the presence of two witnesses, is not recognized by British law and often involves little or no paperwork. If things go awry and the couple divorce, the woman experiences great difficulty securing the financial rights guaranteed to her under sharia law. The terms and conditions of this new contract, signed at the nikaah, clarify both husband and wife’s rights and obligations in all eventualities.
If more mosques apply to become sites registered for the solemnization of marriage, Muslim couples will be able to make their civil ceremony coincide with the nikaah.
The contract is not just about divorce, though. It seeks to establish healthy relationships by highlighting difficult scenarios the couple may encounter in the future. “By laying out the terms and conditions of the marriage, it encourages both parties to establish consensus on issues such as where they will live,” said Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui of the Muslim Institute, an organization which helped draw up the contract.
The architect of the contract, Mufti Barkatulla, has spent the past 25 years presiding over divorce cases at the Islamic Sharia Council. “Problems arise when couples don’t know what to expect. The lack of respect for each other’s personality and choices is shocking,” he says.


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