Reaction from a British Imam
Muhammad Amin-Evans, a British Muslim convert, and a very popular imam in Birmingham, said, “This has always been the situation in the UK, as I discovered over 20 years ago, and was the reason I removed the word ‘marriage’ from nikah certificates that I used.
“It is also my practice to advise couples requesting a nikah only and their families that nikah is not a marriage in the eyes of UK law.
“Marriage or Civil Partnership is not compulsory and adult couples are free to live together under whatever terms or none they think are appropriate. Marriage, in itself, does not protect anyone from exploitation or abuse within an intimate relationship but its dissolution does provide a substantial income to divorce specialists.”
From the example and teachings of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, the very objective of a nikah is to codify the legal rights of Muslim men and women in marriage.
A valid nikah protects women (and men) from injustices during or after marriage, or in the case of death, impacting inheritance laws. If a nikah does not comply with delivering the legal rights to the marrying couple, then it fails to deliver the objective of a nikah.
It can, therefore, be argued, that in England, for a nikah to be valid, it must go hand in hand with a civil ceremony so that in the eyes of the law, the rights of women and men are protected and guaranteed.
That, in 2020, we still have religious preachers comfortable to perform a nikah ceremony without providing the legal framework the nikah is meant to offer –delivered by a civil ceremony here in the UK — is shameful.
We often speak of Islam liberating women, granting them rights which they did not have prior to Islam in Arabia. By not insisting on the fact that rights are protected with a civil ceremony, any spiritual leader performing a nikah ceremony demonstrates how unfit they are to be in a position of leadership in the Muslim community. They fail both society and the faith in whose name they behave.
And in the absence of decency and dignity from these spiritual leaders, it is certainly right for the Courts to reject the validity of nikah alone.Pages: 1 2