The court of appeal said that “Nikaah” is a non-legal ceremony in the UK.
The high court ruled in 2018 that the “nikah” marriage ceremony is legal within English marriage law.
However, the Court of Appeal has reversed the judgment.
Judges said that the fact they intended to organize a further civil ceremony meant that they must be aware their Islamic marriage had no legal impact in the UK.
Attorney General had appealed against the previous court decision.
A case was heard related to the divorce of Nasreen Akhter and Mohammad Shabaz Khan. Both have four children.
Both had a wedding in 1998 as per Islamic rituals in the presence of an Imam and 150 guests. But no civil ceremony happened even though Nasreen Akhter repeatedly raising the issue.
They both separated in 2016. Mohammad Shabaz Khan had worked to block his wife’s divorce petition two years ago on the basis they had not been legally married in the first place.
Mrs. Akhter said that their marriage and divorce application was valid. She also claimed that she was entitled to the same legal protection and settlement the UK offers to legally married couples.
High Court Family Division analyzed her application of divorce during the trial. Mr. Justice Williams delivered a written judgment in 2018.
He said that Mrs. Akhter was correct since both held themselves out to the world at large as spouses. He also ruled that their union should be recognized as their vows had the same expectations as that of a British marriage contract.
He also said that the marriage fell under the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1973 even though Mrs. Khan said that marriage was under Sharia law only.
Mrs. Akhter and Justice Williams were entitled to a decree of nullity.
It says that the wedding was not carried out in a building registered for weddings. The wedding was considered “a non-qualifying ceremony.” No certificates were issued and no registrar was present.
The Appeal judges said, “The parties were not marrying under the provisions of English law”,
Mrs. Akhter and Mr. Khan did not involve in the proceedings.
Pragna Patel, director at Southall Black Sisters, a not-for-profit organization, said, “Today’s judgment will force Muslim and other women to turn to Sharia ‘courts’ that already cause significant harm to women and children for remedies because they are now locked out of the civil justice system.”