She launched her campaign “Register Our Marriage” in 2014 to lobby for a change in the law, and to spread awareness of lack of rights.“The Marriage Act 1949 must be updated to require all faiths to register their marriages.This civil divorce can be simply mirrored by an Islamic divorce from a sharia council within a few weeks and at low cost.This is already being done by my Islamic Department, which does not charge a client for an Islamic divorce if they have already obtained a civil one, and the fee of the Sharia Council is £100.“In contrast, if there has not been a civil marriage, the fee of the Sharia Council is £300-£400 because of the extra work needed to investigate the divorce application.Plus I am increasingly hearing complaints of one year-plus delays and misogyny, which causes deep distress to women who are already suffering.”Khan has her proposals ready: “If there has been no civil ceremony and the wife does apply to a sharia council, the divorce should become a paper process as in English law and there should be no requirement to attend before a panel of scholars and discuss private matters, unless the divorce is defended.Surely his lack of financial contributions to their children and her household proved that he has ended his relationship with her.Despite struggling to obtain her divorce, my friend’s friend persisted, for in her mind she was a Muslim woman who had entered into a religious marriage contract with this man.
Yet it was a path she insisted on because of her faith.
They tied the knot with an Islamic ceremony, the Nikah, and didn’t bother with a civil one.
They were happy until the pressures of married life and children brought a whole different reality to their lives. She forgave and tried to adjust her life, her views, and her tolerance levels over and over again. She became more spiritual and, in doing so, reached the conclusion that she did not have to tolerate his behaviour.
The civil law courts under which she should have been protected could not grant it because she had been naïve, foolish, ignorant, or bullied out of her rights, depending on your perspective.
Not undergoing a civil ceremony had been one of the biggest mistakes of her life. She fully understood how she had allowed herself to become a victim, but she still wanted a religious end to her religious wedding.