In February of this year, the Home Office conducted an independent review of the Sharia Law that Muslims follow and its application of it in England and Wales.
One factor that stands out is that they recommend that Muslim couples should get married both in the religious way, and the civil way to give them full legal protection in the United Kingdom.
This is because in the United Kingdom, a Islamic Marriage, also known as the Nikah, isn’t a recognised legal marriage in English Law. This basically then means that if you just have the Nikah and no civil marriage certificate, you will not be protected legally in the way other married couples are, should the worst happen. Married couples living together with just the Nikah certificate will be seen to be cohabiting in the English Courts of Law.
A brief introduction to Islamic Divorce according to Sharia Law:
The Muslim divorce is known as Talaq (or Khula if initiated by a woman) Sharia or Muslim divorce is generally not recognised in English Law, if it is obtained in Britain. Nikah or marriage under Sharia law, performed in England and Wales, is considered valid by Muslims but will not be valid under English Law unless it is undertaken in a registered Mosque and a marriage certificate issued.
In the legal cases we deal with, where the couple has both a Nikah and a Civil Ceremony, we work to obtain a civil divorce and in parallel seek an Islamic divorce to ensure compliance with their duty before God.
If the mosque completes the Nikah and it is not registered to complete civil marriages too, the couple are merely cohabitees under English law and do not have the same rights as legally married couples will have under the civil marriage; the problem here is many Muslims married under Sharia law in close-knit communities may not be aware of this.
Can you be legally divorced simply by saying the Sharia Law method of uttering ‘talaq’ three times?
The talaq is the traditional Muslim method of the divorce process and the ‘triple talaq’ is one form, where the husband basically states, ‘I divorce you’ three times. If done in in this country, it wouldn’t be enough for a legally lawful divorce. The English courts do not recognise a unilateral divorce by a husband of his wife.
As we are bi-lingual family lawyers, we can also help you if your first language is not English.
We have solicitors and lawyers in the office who can speak to you in Urdu and Punjabi if you wish.