Is Your UK Islamic Marriage Legally Valid?



The simple answer is NO.

If you're planning to have an Islamic marriage in the UK, also known as a Nikah ceremony, you should know that it won't be recognised as a legally valid marriage.

The rules are different and more complex for Islamic marriages that take place outside of the UK.


Why Does It Matter?

Having a legally valid marriage means that you and your partner will have legal rights and protections that you would not otherwise have as cohabitees. This can have far reaching implications on things like inheritance rights, financial obligations, parental responsibility, immigration, tax and so much more.

Did you know that as a father, unless you are married to the mother, you don't automatically have parental responsibility once your child is born? Did you also know that as a legally married couple, you both have the right to live in the matrimonial home regardless of who owns the home or whose name is on the tenancy agreement?

Without a legally recognised marriage, you may also face considerable difficulties if the relationship breaks down of if your partner passes away.


Why is my Islamic Marriage Not Recognised in the UK?

In the UK, legislations sets out what conditions have to be met to have a legally valid marriage. At present, Islamic marriages don't satisfy all of these conditions, such as the requirement to give notice to your local registery office before the marriage ceremony takes place.

How Can we Ensure Our Marriage is Recognised as a Legally Valid Marriage?

You simply need to have a civil marriage in addition to your Islamic marriage. A civil marriage is affordable and easy to organise and can take place either before or after your Islamic marriage.

What if we Don't Want to Have a Civil Marriage?

Some couples prefer not to have a civil marriage and instead opt into a cohabitation agreement.

A cohabitation agreement can outline what should happen if your relationship breaks down and you no longer live together. It's important to note that this will be legally binding; seek professional legal advice before you sign anything.


Additional Reading

Citizens Advice Bureau – Living together, marriage and civil partnership

Learn More

The Guardian: Islamic faith marriages not valid in English law, appeal court rules

Learn More




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