Seems entirely reasonable

Almost two thirds of Muslim women who marry in the UK are not legally wed because their Sharia ceremonies are not registered in law. The percentage is rising, with estimates suggesting there are as many as 100,000 people in unregistered marriages among the 2.7 million Muslims in the UK.

Civil registration — as with all other marriages in Britain — would provide couples, particularly women, with the protections and rights of family laws, ensuring that they face fewer “discriminatory practices,” a recent report commissioned by the government has concluded.

All marriages in England (at least) which are legal marriages are civil registered. Sure, often enough it’s the priest, vicar or rabbi doing the paperwork but that’s what is happening.

So, why not?

Note that this isn’t to try and have special rules for Muslims. This is to afford them the same rules as everyone else.

21 thoughts on “Seems entirely reasonable”

  1. Their marriages must be equal under UK law and the divorce and bigamy laws must apply to all equally. One wife in this country or jail–or leave.

  2. So Much For Subtlety

    Presumably if they are not registered it is because 1. Muslim clerics are too stupid to follow the procedure, or 2. Muslims actively prefer not to be involved with the British state and its insane divorce laws. I suspect it is the latter.

    For once I am entirely sympathetic with the Muslims. The Churches should flatly refuse to register marriages with the state. Then divorce laws would not apply and it would be clear to everyone that anyone breaking up a marriage is doing something contrary to the Christian tradition.

  3. @Fecks,

    You can legally only have one wife in the UK, and yes people do go to prison for having more than one. You are, however, free like everyone else to cohabit or enter in to other forms of polyamorous relationship (I am sure Tim N can tell us more about this); but you can only get legal recognition of either zero or one of those partnerships.

    Most of the unregistered marriages will be because the couple can’t be bothered and are satisfied with the religious ceremony only. Most imams, unlike (some) priests, and (almost all) vicars and rabbis, are not registrars so simply aren’t able to do the legal paperwork. So it doesn’t get done.

    Quite apart from SMFS’ observation that doing the paperwork is these days an extremely foolish thing to do (at least for the men), polygamy is not widely practiced by British Muslims.

  4. Biggie–The RoP has a form of marriage does it not? Or are we to believe that those who want women to look like a post box just allow casual shacking up and care nothing for bloodlines etc? Unlikely in view of acid splashings etc.

    Therefore those with four wives will have undergone four ceremonies. What I am saying is RoP marriages to be regarded as the same in law–no more to be classed as shacking up–and more than one equals jail or rapid departure.

    Those who don’t bother with official paperwork of any sort in this country are usually buying themselves a world of trouble. If religious types don’t do their legal duty then the place of worship needs to be closed.

    And of course benefits should be paid only for one woman and two children regardless of religion or martial status. BluLabour are supposedly on that last point but being what they are I suspect there will be so many exemptions and special circs that it will amount to nothing.

  5. The rop marriage rites are not recognised legal so you can do as many as you want.

    Only cofe ceremonies are legally revognised. As a cat lick I can tell you from experience you still have to do the civil bit. The priest may well be a registrar but the ceremony out front is of zero legal value. You go in the back afterwards and have to go through the entire minimum legal civil marriage contract. It takes about 3 minutes.

  6. What Ecks said, plus…

    Why would Muslim men get involved in an ‘official’ civil marriage when they have a system which allows four wives and to treat them as property?

    As for the women, many will be browbeaten, or just beaten into acceptance by their families or will be a 2nd cousin imported, illiterate and confused from the home village.

  7. “anyone breaking up a marriage is doing something contrary to the Christian tradition”

    Not an Anglican then?

  8. polygamy is not widely practiced by British Muslims

    They were practising a fair bit in Rotherham, Oxford, Rochdale, Derby, Bristol but not with marriageable material, obviously.

  9. Can have as many women (or men) living with you as you want. Marriage is limited to only one person at a time but nothing stopping you having 6 wives living in 6 different houses so long as on the legal paperwork you are only married to as many as one. Or can be none.

    It is possible for a Muslim woman to leave a Muslim marriage that is not registered. Not as easy as seeing a solicitor and starting court proceedings but it can be done.


    The UK recognises overseas polygamous marriages. Until the introduction of the Universal Credit, it appears benefits were slightly less generous for the polygamous. They estimate around 20,000 such marriages.

  11. “They were practising a fair bit in Rotherham, Oxford, Rochdale, Derby, Bristol but not with marriageable material, obviously.”

    Fornication is illegal under Sharia, too. The penalty is to be scourged 100 stripes. (Qura’an 24:2)

    The [unmarried] woman or [unmarried] man found guilty of sexual intercourse – lash each one of them with a hundred lashes, and do not be taken by pity for them in the religion of Allah, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a group of the believers witness their punishment.

    As is sorcery, fleeing from combat in Jihad, believing in astrologers, not washing your hands after pissing, women wearing wigs, men wearing silk or gold, and, yes indeed, collecting taxes.

    He who imposes taxes resembles a highwayman, and is worse than a thief. But one who burdens the people, imposing over new levies on them, is more tyrannous and oppressive than someone more equitable therein who treats those under him more kindly. Those who gather taxes, who do the clerical work, or who accept the proceeds, such as a soldier, sheikh, or head of a Sufi center (zawiya)-all bear the sin, and are eating of I ill-gotten wealth

    Umdat Al Salik, p32.3

    Sharia law, eh?

  12. Over here they have a concept of “de facto” marriage. Basically if you are living together as man and wife then the State and the law treats you as if you are man and wife even if you haven’t got the relevant paperwork.

    I quite like the idea as I don’t think that the State holding a register of relationships is a good idea. My ideal would have been for a religious ceremony without any paperwork; but with legal rights for both parties should the relationship break up.

    It seems like something similar to this in the UK may be necessary; although I guess that it could be open to abuse due to you guys having an inheritance tax.

  13. tomsmith – really?
    So what is the real figure and where do you get it from?

    The census is a pretty good guide to who is where at a particular time – so 2.7 million in 2011 according to the people filling in the forms themselves.
    Is the rest of the data collected considered accurate for that timeslot?

  14. @ Martin – I suggest that tomsmith might have in mind that there are people in the UK who have not been accounted for on any official census.

  15. So Much For Subtlety

    NiV – “Fornication is illegal under Sharia, too. The penalty is to be scourged 100 stripes. (Qura’an 24:2)”

    But the rape of unbelieving women is not. And it also needs four adult male eyewitnesses of good character who saw the act of penetration. So it is a little hard to prosecute.

    Also, and more importantly, this is one of those interesting cases when the Sunnah and the opinion of the jurists over-rides the actual letter of the Quran. Something Muslims usually deny happens. The penalty is stoning of course.

  16. James in NZ

    Over here they have a concept of “de facto” marriage. Basically if you are living together as man and wife then the State and the law treats you as if you are man and wife even if you haven’t got the relevant paperwork.

    It seems like something similar to this in the UK may be necessary

    In a free society, if two people quite freely (and of sound mind) decide not to marry – the purpose being quite specifically not to be subjected to the foibles of said state wrt to marriage – why on earth would anyone believe that the state should none the less be able to impose itself / dictate to that relationship as if they were married?

  17. LTAHAW (living together as husband and wife) is in the tax book as well. Had to check as my wife and I live apart when filling her tax return. The definition isn’t marriage dependant so we don’t count as LTAHAW.

    Muslim polygamy will count if sleeping together and running house together but does raise the question of how many LTAHAW relationships you can have at once.

  18. “But the rape of unbelieving women is not.”

    The rape of one’s own slaves captured during Jihad is not, but Islam is otherwise extremely prudish and sexually repressed. The rules on sex-outside-marriage apply equally to Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Muslim men are not even allowed to look at women, lest it lead to sinful thoughts.

    While women generally and non-Muslims especially are not as trusted to tell the truth about it, relationships between Muslims and non-Muslims are even more frowned upon than those between Muslims.

    It’s a conflict of cultural standards leading to misunderstanding. In a society where men and women have no contact, men and women never learn how to talk to one another and form mature relationships. And without ever having so much as a conversation with one of them, the other sex becomes objectified, either put on a pedestal or treated like a sex doll. They’re like horny teenagers with a strict no-talking-to-girls upbringing being let off the leash for the first time. They’re looking for any girl that’s willing, and by the standards of their culture, women who wear immodest clothing can only be doing so to attract men for sex. Chaste and virtuous girls wouldn’t dress like that. So they assume.

    Every society has a distinctive range of subtle signals people use to signal sexual availability and interest. In a sexually repressed society with modest dress, a glimpse of ankle can be enough. In a society where exposure of lots of skin is normal, you have to go to deeper extremes to signal your intent. But when someone from a repressed society enters one where everyone is broadcasting what they would see as sexual availability signals at a Megawatt level, and when they have the sexual maturity and experience with relationships of a sexually-deprived 14 year old, the result is predictable.

    It is a consequence of Islam’s approach to sex, but it is certainly not permitted in Islam. All the business about women wearing sacks is the extreme measures they take to try to *prevent* precisely this sort of thing ever happening. The Mullah’s would say “We told you so”, and regard it as the inevitable consequence of Western decadence and permissiveness.

    Repression always leads to a backlash.

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