How does the UK view Islamic Marriages?

Whether an Islamic marriage is recognised in law within the United Kingdom largely depends on the circumstances of where the marriage took place.

Let us consider two different scenarios:

  1. The Islamic Marriage took place in the UK

If a couple has undertaken the Sharia marriage ceremony, usually called “Nikah”, in the UK, but did not have a civil marriage, the marriage will not be legally recognised in the UK. Although Islam considers it to be a valid marriage, the UK Courts will only consider it to be a religious ceremony and therefore it will not carry any legal weight.

In these circumstances, the relationship will be viewed under English Law as a common law partnership. Cohabiting couples do not have the same legal rights that married couples have. They have fewer rights over their spouse’s pension and other benefits. If there is a divorce or in the unfortunate event that one party dies, the surviving partner cannot make any claims that a married partner can generally make.

If the couple wants to get divorced, they can get a ‘Talaq’ and there is no need for a civil divorce.

Note: If the couple, for whatever reason, do not want a civil marriage, they can still have some sort of financial security in the event of separation or death of one of the partners. How? By simply having a cohabitation agreement in place. Talk to one of our solicitors to discuss cohabitation agreements.

  1. The Islamic Marriage took place in another country

If the ‘Nikah’ took place in a country where such a marriage is legally recognised and then the couple moved to the UK, the UK courts will also recognise it as a legal marriage.

If such a couple wants to get divorced, a ‘Talaq’ will not be sufficient. The court will consider them divorced only if they obtain a civil divorce. If one of them remarries after only a ‘talaq’, it will be considered as bigamy which is a punishable crime under the UK Law.

To summarise, if a couple wants to have financial security and other benefits that married couples have in the UK, they should have done the Sharia marriage ceremony in a country where it is recognised as legal or they must partake in a civil marriage in the UK in addition to the ‘Nikah’.

How Aristone Solicitors can help

It is important that couples who are married under Sharia Law ensure that they their marriage is recognised in the UK. If the marriage is not valid in the UK, it could create difficulties in the event of a divorce or the untimely death of one of the partners. At Aristone Solicitors, we can not only help you confirm the legal status of your marriage but also guide you through any difficult situation you are facing related to your Islamic marriage and/or divorce.

Get in touch with aristone solicitors today


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