Modern Traditions in Muslim Marriage Practices, Exploring English Narratives
Marriages formed by religious ceremonies which are not legally recognized are often cited as synonymous with unregistered Muslim marriages. The conceived illegitimacy of such unions and the need for legal interventions has been raised in political discourse in the UK, as such marriages are deemed to counter women’s rights and wider legal and cultural norms. The recent independent review into the application of sharia law in England and Wales in particular brought the issue of legal reform to the fore. This article uses the concept of liminality to argue that these relationships may in fact indicate signs of integration, not isolation. Liminality is employed here to signify a process of transition from one set of cultural norms to another, and unregistered religious-only marriages in this theoretical framework represent a transition from state recognized unions, towards the widely accepted cultural norm of cohabitation. This new cultural practice remains in flux. This article draws on empirical research seeking to explore ‘English narratives’ where Muslim marriage practices are concerned. Focus group discussions and discourse analysis methodology are utilized to explore marriage practices in order to ascertain emerging norms and the perceived need or otherwise to register marriages with the state. These narratives are key to understanding the trend towards unregistered marriages. This article explores two key thematic areas which emerged in this research, namely, (i) integration: to register or not to register; and (ii) categories of Nikah.
Open access article
Citation : Akhtar, R.C. (2018) Modern Traditions in Muslim Marriage Practices, Exploring English Narratives. Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, 7 (3), pp. 427-454
Research Institute : Institute for Evidence-Based Law Reform (IELR)
Peer Reviewed : Yes
- Department of Law