NOTES ON ISLAMIC MARRIAGE © JS 2013



NOTES ON ISLAMIC MARRIAGE

1. Under the Islamic Shari’a, marriage is a contract (not a sacrament) and it can be revoked.
2. Marriages are usually arranged by the families of the spouses. There is no such thing as courtship, for, according to a saying of Muhammad: “When a man and a woman are together alone, the third partner is the devil”.
3. A dowry (mahr) must be given by the bridegroom to the bride at their wedding.
4. A man can marry up to four wives (apart from concubines), but has to treat them all equally.
5. Child brides can be given in marriage because Muhammad himself (who had c. 12 wives) married a nine- year old girl when he was in his fifties.
6. It is rare to find a Muslim (whether male or female) who is not married, and preferably with lots of children. This was encouraged by Muhammad who said: “There is no celibacy in Islam”.
7. A woman has obligations, while a man has rights. For example, a woman may never refuse her husband sexual intercourse, unless she is very ill. Blind obedience is also expected from a wife by her husband, who is even permitted to beat her into submission (cf. Qur’an 4:34)
8. A man can divorce his wife simply by saying “You are divorced” three times in front of witnesses. A woman, however, cannot divorce her husband, but (if necessary) can leave him and return to her parents’ house.
9. A Muslim man can marry a non-Muslim woman and even allow her to keep her faith. In practice, however, great pressure is applied in order that she converts.
10. A Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man unless he converts to Islam first.
11. The children always follow their father’s religion (i.e., Islam).
12. In case of divorce, the father always has custody of the children. If too young, the mother can nurse them for a few years and then hand them over to the father.
13. A woman must dress modestly at all times, according to the Qur’an, the Hadith and the Shari’a, but there is no specific mention of hijab, niqab, burka or jilbab. Hence these are wrongly described as “Islamic” rather than cultural dresses.
14. A woman cannot associate with unrelated males without her husband’s permission or that of a male member of her family. She cannot leave the house, go shopping, etc. without such permission and without the company of another member of her family.
15. A woman’s testimony in court is worth only half a man’s, and the same with her inheritance.
16. If a woman is raped, there must be at least four male witnesses who can testify; otherwise she will be guilty of adultery and punished accordingly.





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