// How I gave up on a modern Muslim marriage
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jannah
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« on: Oct 13, 2011 05:12 PM »



Hmm I think we heard of this contract vaguely when they were putting it together. Has anyone seen it? Perhaps the Islamic organizations behind it should create a website along with the evidences and scholars behind the things in the contract. When anyone is confronted with something different I think it's fine for them to question it, but true religious scholars know to go back and study the opinions on these issues. Like a certain school does allow a woman to marry herself and actually allows no witnesses required if the marriage is public and so on!! --J.



How I gave up on a modern Muslim marriage


I swore I'd marry under the new Muslim marriage contract. But it was such hard work convincing other people that I broke my vow

        Huma Qureshi
        guardian.co.uk, Thursday 13 October 2011 04.00 EDT
       

A Muslim bejeweled bride makes an entry on a paper during a mass marriage ceremony in Ahmedabad


The Muslim marriage contract 'has been endorsed by the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain, the Muslim Law Council, the Imam & Mosques Council and the Muslim Women’s Network'. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

Three years ago, I read on Comment is free about the launch of a new Muslim marriage contract. The contract would "change the face of British Muslim family life"; it would confirm and re-establish the Islamic rights for women upon entering marriage that some cultures had blurred along the way.

The contract, which was relaunched this summer, does away with a lot of old cultural baggage. It stresses loyalty, mutuality and equality between husband and wife, protects the wife's financial rights and points out that there is no obligation for a bride to live with her in-laws.

It goes further. As someone who is determinedly independent, it baffled me why I should need a wali, a male guardian, to grant his official permission for me to marry before my consent was asked. I'd come to accept that was just the way it was. But the new contract confirms that in Islam, a woman of adult age doesn't need a wali; she can declare her own intention to marry without someone else's official permission being given first.

Like most Muslims, I'd also assumed that witnesses to the nikah (the Muslim marriage) always had to be men, but the new contract states that Islamic law only says a witness to marriage should be a sane, responsible adult, with no conditions on gender or faith – meaning women and non-Muslims can be witnesses too.

To me, this new marriage contract was symbolic: it gave recognition and respect to British Muslim women of my generation and to British Muslim couples too. So, reading about the contract in 2008, I vowed that the day I would get married, I would marry under this contract and sign my name to the rights my religion afforded me.

Fast forward three years, and my wedding day is nearly here. In three weeks' time, I will be signing my civil ceremony papers, as well as my nikah contract.

My fiance and I read the contract through online. Since my father had passed away and a wali wasn't necessary anyway, we wanted my mother to be a witness for the nikah. I felt it was meaningful, respectful and reflective of our close relationship for her to play a key part in our marriage proceedings, and hoped to set a positive precedence among our family and friends (we don't know anyone who has married under this new contract). My fiance in particular felt strongly about setting an example by including a female witness. We also thought that it would be nice to include one of my fiance's parents (he's a convert to Islam) as the second witness, so that they'd be involved in the Muslim ceremony too.

But it hasn't turned out that way. We asked the imam at our mosque in Regent's Park for his thoughts. He hadn't heard of the contract; I emailed him a copy, along with links to the Comment is free pieces, explaining the changes and the Islamic basis for them. He said that it was "probably best" if my mother wasn't a witness and concluded without providing any religious basis for it, that it was "better" if both witnesses were Muslim.

My mum, who felt touched to be a witness, asked family friends for their opinion – the overwhelming majority said my marriage contract would be void if I a) didn't have a wali and b) had my mother as a witness. They said we should do it the way it's done. The doctor who is conducting our Islamic marriage (it doesn't have to be overseen by an imam) says my fiance's father can be a witness, but that my mum probably shouldn't be. He also says I need a wali. No one we have talked to has even heard of the new Muslim marriage contract.

The Muslim Institute took four years of extensive and careful Islamic research to come up with the marriage contract, seeking clarification between cultural assumptions and religious facts. It's been endorsed by the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain, the Muslim Law Council, the Imam & Mosques Council and the Muslim Women's Network – so surely, if the contract wasn't Islamically valid, then none of these bodies would have put their weight behind it.

But the Muslim Institute's good and hard work seems to have achieved little. Despite investing in a website and relaunch this summer, it's astonishing and disappointing that so few people appear to have even heard of the new contract.

Those my mum, my fiance and I have spoken to seem reluctant, nervous and wary to embrace something which isn't in line with what has always been. It's in turn made my mum now feel anxious over signing the new contract too, which means she's decided not to follow through.

Some people will think my fiance and I have been fussing over nothing; that a signature is just a signature (if that's the case, if it's really not that big a deal, then why not just let my mum sign the papers?). My future father-in-law will be my fiance's witness. My fiance feels frustrated that we've given up trying to prove a point; that things will never change if no one takes the first step; that it's the principle of it. As for including my mum – well, there's still the civil ceremony, where at least UK law will validate her gender as a witness without it being subjected to debate.
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« Reply #1 on: Oct 13, 2011 07:08 PM »

I am not sure of any types of contracts, new or old, modern or dated, so I am not sure about the concept of a wali or having a male versus female witness or religious barriers.

I am more on the side of the "new" contract, if there really is no Islamic restrictions to their ideals. I dont see the need to complicate things by having rigidity in life.

There needs to be clear cut evidence and support for either case.
moderatesufi
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« Reply #2 on: Oct 13, 2011 07:43 PM »

Isn't the sunnah of the Prophet enough for you?

Why would you want the invention of a new contract, that tries to exemplify the cultures and norms of the white master race, finding excuses from the shariya to claim that it is lawful?

People should look to our Prophet and the marriages he preformed to find inspiration.
And that is enough for us. We have no need of so people to invent new contracts which is one small part of their new modern western Islam, created to please their white masters.


I came online to post this in the sisters bit. But I think it is very relevant to this here:
http://onislam.net/english/family/your-society/gender-and-society/454241-to-me-its-westernized-marriage-tradition-.html
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« Reply #3 on: Oct 13, 2011 11:39 PM »

salam


I've never heard of female witnesses being forbideen for marriage contracts before!




Wassalaam

And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright. Surah 2  Verse 186
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« Reply #4 on: Oct 14, 2011 12:36 AM »

Isn't the sunnah of the Prophet enough for you?

Why would you want the invention of a new contract, that tries to exemplify the cultures and norms of the white master race, finding excuses from the shariya to claim that it is lawful?



The white master race. Really?

The unity of all, perceptible to even bystanders, is the Oneness that inspired it, a sea without shores, subject me to this sea.
moderatesufi
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« Reply #5 on: Oct 14, 2011 01:09 AM »

Yes, lots of Darker people in general and Muslims in particular still believe in the superiority of the white race over all other races.
And judge actions, and even the laws of Islam on whether they are pleasing to white people.
So, they will judge elements of Muslim practice as un-Islamic and cultural if they contradict with white norms.

They will judge the value of Islam and each of its rules, laws and beliefs by how close they are and how pleasing they are to white people.

Jannah before you repeat here what you said on the other thread.
This isn't an attack on whites.
It is an attack on the defeatist mentality adopted by Muslims and darker skinned peoples during colonialism and slavery.
And a lot of people still hold firm to these ideas.

MALCOLM X: THE HOUSE NEGRO AND THE FIELD NEGRO


What really gets me. Is they will say, practices of Muslims are cultural so should be rejected. And then the replacement they bring for it is western culture!
White culture.
Something they do not regard as cultural, but they regard as universal.
Meaning, what is white is intrinsically right!

If this ladies hatred of the way Muslims did Nikah was based on her belief that it wasn't Islamic. Wouldn't she practice a little Islam herself?
For example, her hair, and how Un-Islamic it is to reveal it the way she does in that article she posted in the Guardian?

And it always seems to be the likes of that, that we need a new Islam. A western Islam. And Islam based on White culture and white norms, which they claim doesn't contradict with the true Islam.
But when ever we take a look at these people, they don't really practice Islam!

And when they condemn aspects as cultural, they never really attack cultural aspects that whites don't have a problem with.
No matter how un-Islamic.
You wont see her condemning free mixing in weddings.
Or any other blatantly Harram aspects of culture common amongst Muslim weddings.

Abdur Raheem Green rips into Pakistan and India!!
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« Reply #6 on: Oct 14, 2011 03:50 AM »

 salam

Fair enough (pun not intended). 

I get it, Muslims should stay away from unIslamic influences and should stand up for what is right.

The pre-Hajj Malcolm X mentality 'by any means necessary' seems far from the author of the article's intentions for a different contract. The author wanted to raise the point of dismissing cultural assumptions for religious facts, not 'lets imitate white people and let Mum play witness'

However, the Indian/Pakistani Muslims that let Hindu practices in is a stronger and more relevant argument since it happens more frequently in the name of culture, according to the social norms in Southeast Asia.

While it is important to maintain Islamic identity and observe unwavering faith in Islam, there will always be a fine line between:

a)  doing something different (read: that isn't against the Qur'an / sunnah but foreign to Imams from back home)

b)  just leave what is doubtful for that which is not doubtful (read: don't rock the boat)

Allahu alam ~











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« Reply #7 on: Oct 14, 2011 05:51 AM »

wsalam,
Quote
Isn't the sunnah of the Prophet enough for you?


This is what is so FASCINATING here. People who are actually knowledgeable will tell you that the things they put in that contract have an Islamic basis. As I mentioned to you, there are well known opinions about a woman marrying herself and needing no witnesses (hence anyone can be a witness). This IS THE SUNNAH. The problem is that people want THEIR Sunnah to be the only Sunnah.


Quote
Why would you want the invention of a new contract, that tries to exemplify the cultures and norms of the white master race, finding excuses from the shariya to claim that it is lawful?


Finding "excuses from the sharia", hmm if that is shariah, that is shariah, it is LAWFUL. The end. Again when it's YOUR VERSION it's ok, but when it's someone else's it's wrong?


Quote
People should look to our Prophet and the marriages he preformed to find inspiration.

Where do you think scholars derive the Sunnah and Shariah from??


Quote
And that is enough for us. We have no need of so people to invent new contracts which is one small part of their new modern western Islam, created to please their white masters.


There was a need, and there is a need obviously because these organizations got together to draw one up. Living in a Western non-Muslim society is nothing like living in a "back home" country. A woman does not have the same protections here as she does there. Nor are any of the laws or culture the same. People keep harping on about how we're living in a "kaffir" country. Yes you're right we are, things are different here and that will be reflected in the Islamic laws here. Did you know that culture is one of the sources of Islamic Shariah Law?
 
Quote
I came online to post this in the sisters bit. But I think it is very relevant to this here:
http://onislam.net/english/family/your-society/gender-and-society/454241-to-me-its-westernized-marriage-tradition-.html


You know, for an article claiming to be 'against westernization and for the sunnah' it had surprising complete lack of scholarly evidence in it. Basically it's one person ranting against "bachelor/henna parties", "wedding rings", and "wedding cakes" and "wedding gowns". How ridiculous! These are all things that are cultural and as long as they do not include anything Haram there is nothign wrong with them, which is what every scholar in the world will tell you. 

We keep telling ppl to not confuse Islam with culture, yet here ppl are trying to accuse culture of being Islam!
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« Reply #8 on: Oct 14, 2011 11:36 AM »

Why would you want the invention of a new contract, that tries to exemplify the cultures and norms of the white master race, finding excuses from the shariya to claim that it is lawful?

People should look to our Prophet and the marriages he preformed to find inspiration.
And that is enough for us. We have no need of so people to invent new contracts which is one small part of their new modern western Islam, created to please their white masters.


Since when is using Sharia an excuse to show something can be lawful? That statement is in itself very contradictory.

There is no "white master race" mentality in this, I dont understand your stance. It seems you are so determined to hate "white culture" that you are taking an extreme stance against things simply for the sake of being against "white masters".
Islam was revolutionary in changing culture and giving women rights, giving slaves rights, abolishing racism, removing stigmas against poor. That was very progressive and modernizing for the time, as it took many other cultures years before they gave these rights to their citizens. I dont see how after women were given so many rights years before

I dont agree with you that because of western "white culture" ppl decide how they should live. I think that after the Prophet   saw passed, a lot of the forward progressive movements were reverted back (esp due to cultural beleifs), and people have been trying to regain them since, especially in places like India where its culture severly dictates "Islamic" behavior, which is not right.

Also, take Saudi Arabia for example. Women here are not allowed to drive, due to the concept that women cannot go out without their mahram, but it is ok for them to go with a driver to where they need to go. Honestly. You cant use Islam to prevent one thing, but ignore the fact that going with an unknown driver cannot be the right way to act.

I am going off topic, but my point if something is "sharia" then its not an "excuse to justify". You cant have it both ways.
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