Wedding trouble as UK Muslim marriages not recognised
A growing number of young Muslims in the UK are entering marriages that are not legally recognised, BBC Asian Network has found. This is because couples are having an Islamic wedding without the civil ceremony needed for the marriage to be recognised under British law.
Shaheeda Khan married her fiance in a traditional Islamic religious ceremony, the nikah, at her home in Birmingham.
After the wedding the couple moved to London where they started to build a life and home together but, 13 months into the marriage, Shaheeda realised that her nikah was not legally valid.
In the leafy grounds of Cairo University there are many dating couples among the crowds of students. Some sit close together in shady corners and hold hands.
Religious customs and ideas of social propriety in Egypt do not permit them to take their relationships much further.
However there is a way of bending the rules - urfi marriage.
Young Egyptians are said to be opting for these informal marriages in record numbers, often as a way of getting around religious strictures against premarital sex.
"It's a secret marriage between a boy and girl which even their parents don't know about," explains a 20-year-old archaeology student. "They don't announce it publicly."
By Shaykh Muhammad Salim Ghisa
Marriage is a sacred bond between a man and woman, which makes each other permissible for them to enjoy and live happily. Allah has described, in the most moving and eloquent terms, this eternal, natural relationship between man and woman, which is filled with security, love, understanding and compassion:
And among His signs is this that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your hearts: Verily in that are signs for those who reflect. (Quran 30:21)