Pretoria Court 'Recognizes' Islamic Marriage

A South African court has implicitly recognized Islamic marriages by endorsing the right of a woman married under Shari`ah.

Pretoria Court 'Recognizes' Islamic Marriage

Yasmin Casim has filed a lawsuit, asking the Pretoria High Court to recognize that a woman in an Islamic marriage had the right to be maintained by her spouse, a legal duty under the Maintenance Act of 1998.

The judge ruled in her favor, obliging her husband, Mohamed, to maintain her under the law.

Cassim said she feared that her husband, the sole breadwinner of the household, would stop spending on her after taking a second wife.

Parliament has given rights to polygamy in the Recognition of the Customary Marriages Act of 1998.

In her court papers, Cassim, who married under Shari`ah in 1995, lashed out at the un-recognition of Muslim marriages in South Africa.

"This persisting invalidity of Muslim marriages is a constitutional anachronism. It belongs to our past," she wrote.

"It originates from deep-rooted prejudice on matters of race, religion and culture."

Judge Dikgang Moseneke has ruled in a similar case that "the exclusion of people married under Muslim rites from the protection of the Acts in question is clearly a remnant from the apartheid era, unjustifiably discriminatory."

Muslims constitute around two percent of South Africa 43 million people.


Cassim, a former acting school principal, wondered why the state did not recognize Islamic marriages while almost the same rights given to wives by Shari`ah were found in relevant South African laws.

According to Islam, the husband is responsible to spend on his wife and to support her financially according to the best of his abilities.

Therefore, the basic needs must be provided by the husband. This includes food, shelter, clothing, education, etc.

The quality of these items depends on the financial situation of the husband. If there is a sort of negligence on part of the husband, then the wife should resort to mediation or legal authorities to get her rights.

Vice-president of the Jamiat-ul-Ulama (Council of Muslim Scholars) Mufti Ebrahim Salejee described the ruling as historic.

"We are very pleased with the order because it makes it easier for Muslims of this country to practice the teachings of the holy Qur'an for both the spouses," he said.

"This means Muslims do not have to fear practicing their religion with regard to personal law."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16