Many women who are about to enter a new phase of life with their life partner often get hindered by their family to read their Nikkah Namaa. Whilst some brides don’t find it essential to go through it and read it exhaustively. Every bride should get the opportunity to read the paper she will be signing and the rights she has. Asking to read your Nikkah Namaa shouldn’t be perceived as something weird or inconsiderate. According to some female lawyers we should normalize and promote the concept of reading your Nikkah Nama in the same way we do with the Civil contract.
We feel weary to sign documents such as pay slips, checks, employment contracts and forms without reading the terms & conditions are mentioned in them. We should have the same thought before signing the contract which religiously and legally binds us together with our partner. Giving the bride the opportunity to read her Nikkah Namaa can save her from tons of afflictions. God forbid, when her marriage isn’t taking the right turn and she wishes to leave it, she can easily do that without having to worry about her Haq Mehr, nor will there be any hinder on her claim to any kind of allowance and maintenance.
Before we dig into the main topic let us all pause and take a moment to understand what a Nikkah Namaa specifically is. According to the definition of CERP PK, it is described as following: “The Nikah Nama is the document that records the contents of a Nikah. It records the personal details of the parties to the marriage, amount of dower, conditions of the Nikah settled between the parties, and the names and addresses of the witnesses to the marriage. After being registered it serves as a proof of marriage and being a public document is acknowledged in a Court of law as a piece of evidence in any dispute about the marriage. The Nikah Nama records those facts and conditions of the Nikah which have been settled between the parties as is evident from the language of its columns, distinguished by numerical numbers”.
As explained above, the Nikkah Namaa signifies that two Muslim partners entering into a civil union must put their signature on in order to legalize their marriage under the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance 1961. The contract consists 25 sections with different clauses.
– Clause 1 – 5: this section includes background information of the bride & groom such as their full name, date of birth, house address, etc.
– Clause 6: in this section the bride’s age is being asked to make sure it’s not a case of child marriage. In 2019 a Bill was passed which mentions the legal age of both men and women should be 18 years old. This Bill got passed according to the Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929.
– Clause 7-12: contains the names of the witnesses of both parties.
– Clause 13-16: contains all the information about the dower (Mahr). A Haq-Mehr is a gift which is compulsory for the groom to give to his bride. The Mahr is meant to be a bride’s financial support in times of sudden death of her spouse, divorce, etc. This clause consists information in which form the Mahr is being given: the amount of cash or gold. We can speak about two kinds of Mahr, namely: muqaddam which means that the Mahr is supposed to be given before the couple consummates their marriage or at the time of the Nikkah. On the other hand we speak about mu’akhar which means the Mahr will be paid later when the wife requests for it. In this case the Mahr can also be seen as a debt if the groom doesn’t pay it within the timeframe the wife demands him to give it. The groom must pay the Mahr as soon as possible to the wife in order to avoid any kind of internal conflicts. Also note that the bride has the right to step to court in case her Mahr isn’t paid.
– Clause 17: this is an important section for women who wish to work after their marriage and discusses practical matters such as the monthly allowance, the childbearing plight and the right on a separate house. This section demands all the conditions that a bride and a groom may have to make their marriage successful. Any kind of condition is allowed to be mentioned as long as the Sharia Law is not being refuted.
– Clause 18-19: this section conforms the right to divorce for the wife. It is the bride’s legal right to file a divorce. This is an important section to highlight because if it’s eradicated from the contract, a woman will have to ask for khulla in which the consent of her husband is not needed and equally relinquishes her Mahr.
A fact to be noted and kept in mind: when a woman files a divorce, she undergoes a normal legal procedure in the court which is more efficient. In this way she does not need to sacrifice her Mahr in any way.
– Clause 20: contains information about the groom’s financial situation in terms of documents. The bride has the right to ask for a monthly allowance which can even continue after the dissolution of a marriage.
– Clause 21: verifying the groom’s marital status. This section implies the groom’s statement in which it is being said that he must ask for his wife’s permission if he wishes to do a second marriage. The bride has the right to restrict her husband to enter a second marriage as long as they are married.
– Clause 22-25: contains the signatures of both parties and their witnesses.
Author’s note: The above information is purely based on factual research and should not be your sole source to use when entering a marriage. This article is to stimulate women to raise their voices when they have any concerns regarding their marriage. We strongly recommend women to get in touch with scholars or experts to gain more insights.