How does UAE law deal with customary marriage (illumination and analysis) - FHS Law Firm

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How does UAE law deal with customary marriage (illumination and analysis)

What is the definition of customary marriage?

It is a marriage in which the two parties to the marriage agree to the marriage and witnesses, an authorized person or a sheik are present, and it takes place by verbal agreement or by writing a paper, and it is not registered in the official court, and this is what causes many problems and the loss of women’s rights, just as girls are getting married without the knowledge of the guardian, and it is not hidden from one of the negative results that may result from a girl’s marriage without the knowledge of her family and without officially registering the marriage to preserve her rights and the rights of her. Her child if children result from this marriage

There are several types of customary marriage according to the way in which it takes place

●      Customary marriage with the provision of publicity requirement.

●      This marriage is similar to the legal marriage in terms of providing the pillars of marriage namely

●      Acceptance of both parties.

●      Publicity

●      legal representative

●      Witnesses

●      Guardian consent

Where the spouses agree to marry and attend the authorized person and invite people and witnesses, but they do not document their marriage in court or in the Personal Status Department.

Undeclared customary marriage.

Where a man and a woman enjoy a complete marital relationship by writing a paper between them, or marrying themselves off to each other verbally and in the presence of two witnesses, but without announcing this marriage as it remains secret and without entailing marital alimony for the woman and usually the family does not know about that.

Neither the law nor the Sharia accepts such a marriage, about the validity of which there are many discussions, as most Sharia and religious scholars believe that it is forbidden and invalid, and it must be publicized at the very least in order for it to be permissible and absolve both parties from sin.

How did the Personal Status Law of the United Arab Emirates deal with the issue of customary marriage?

●      Article 39 of Federal Decree-Law No. (29) 2020, which stipulates that the signature of the girl’s guardian is required for the contract to be valid, with the consent of the wife, and the presence of the official marriage officer

●      Paragraph (2) of Federal Law No. (29) referred to the invalidity. The marriage contract without a guardian, and even after the husband and the wife entered into marriage, the law stipulates that they should be separated, because the marriage contract without the consent of the guardian was considered invalid

●      Article (40) and Article (41) clarified the conditions of marriage. The second paragraph: (A marriage that is conditional on an unfulfilled condition, nor a marriage added to the future, nor a temporary marriage, nor a temporary marriage, does not take place with the necessity of pronouncing acceptance explicitly or implicitly, with (the two contracting parties) remaining on their eligibility until the completion of the contract.

●      Thus, we can say that the UAE law did not recognize marriage. Customary because it does not fulfill the required conditions for marriage, whether legal or legal, and it is known that UAE law derives its provisions from Islamic law

Do religious scholars accept customary marriage?

The law considers customary marriage by fulfilling the conditions of marriage, preserving rights and lineage, and avoiding the occurrence of social problems. Therefore, the law does not accept any contract unless it is documented and registered in state departments. Religious scholars also see this as they look at the matter from their point of view.

They consider that the fulfillment of all the conditions of marriage, such as an agreement, dowry, acceptance, publicity, the presence of a guardian and an authorized person without registering this marriage in court, is sufficient for the validity of the marriage unless other factors spoil its validity, such as:

●      That the woman is unmarried.

●      She does not have several divorces or the death of the husband.

●      The absence of an impediment to breast-feeding: that is, if the wife was breastfed by the husband’s mother, and this prevents marriage, because they become brothers through breast-feeding.

If there are no impediments and the marriage takes place with all its conditions fulfilled, some religious scholars have considered that the marriage is valid, and documenting it in court is just a legal procedure as long as the wife’s guardian agrees, although they believe that rights will not be fully safeguarded, according to the provisions and laws followed in each country according to its laws.


Some scholars believe that customary marriage, if it was concluded secretly without the permission of a guardian, and without witnesses, then it is invalid according to the agreement of the scholars, and if a contract with a guardian and witnesses and everyone agreed to keep it confidential, then it is void according to Imam Malik, and it is correct according to the rest of the imams, and if a contract with a guardian without witnesses is invalid according to the majority of imams, unlike Imam Malik who did not require the presence of witnesses for the contract and stipulated instead an announcement .. And acceptance, publicity, and witnesses


Every guardian who loves his daughter and fears for her, and every self-respecting girl, must not accept surrender to the illusion, and fall into the trap of some weak-minded people who exploit girls or women, with the illusion of a fake and secret marriage, then deny it and the children that result from it.


Therefore, legal advisors are advised to avoid falling into the trap of customary marriage and to make sure that the marriage is registered with the Civil Status Department, announce the marriage and ensure that all its conditions are applied, which preserves rights, lineages and protects from many problems and issues that have filled the courts, when a female files a case to confirm a marriage while she is pregnant and the man evades, in this case the wife raises a civil legal case, and presents the customary marriage contract as evidence and weakens her position and makes it more difficult that the wife does not own the contract where she accepted customary marriage without writing a contract, or that the husband maliciously concealed it from her Or he gave her the customary marriage paper and then stole it, or tore it up.

How does UAE law view customary marriage issues?

●      UAE law respects women and the privacy of these issues. Court sessions are closed, and only the two parties to the case are allowed to attend the sessions with their respective attorneys.

●      Access to the case details and information is limited to both parties. The dispute and the lawyer for each party and the parties to the court

●      The court requests the testimony of witnesses, and the court considers their statements. They witnessed the occurrence of the marriage and its convening

●      Sadly, some couples pay witnesses to mislead the court. And denying that they were present during the marriage contract and this causes pain to the woman who is in a state of shock and shame.

●      Her position and that of her family is sensitive due to the sensitivity of the issue, and the low methods that some men follow to evade their responsibilities towards this marriage.

●      Parents are advised by the legal advisors at the FHS office. Women avoid customary marriage, and the marriage must be registered with the Civil Status Department. We are pleased to provide our legal advice in any case in various legal aspects. We will follow up the cases with great interest, and we will provide you with all legal advice, and follow up the cases in the courts until the moment of pronouncement of the verdict and collection Rights.

●      : Frequently Asked Questions

Q- Where is marriage contracted in the United Arab Emirates? What is a marriage contract outside the court?

UAE courts accept marriage in two ways The first is the marriage contract inside the court, where the spouses attend And the guardian and perform the marriage contract and prove it directly The second: the marriage contract outside the court:

Where the spouses write the marriage contract outside the court and then officially register it at the Civil Status Department and the court ratifies it


Q-Is it permissible to marry without a guardian or witnesses?

Marriage without a guardian or witnesses is not valid, because marriage has specific conditions, which are acceptance, publicity, witnesses, and the presence of a guardian. The Messenger of God, may God’s prayers and peace be upon him, said: There is no marriage without a guardian.

Q – Is it permissible for a previously married woman (who was previously married) to say to a man, “Your wife is my soul” and they consider that they are married?

Many fall into the illusion that if a man meets a woman who is freed and says to her, “Marry yourself to me,” and your wife says to him, “Myself,” and they wrote a paper between them without a guardian or witnesses, and they lived with her as husbands, as they think that they are married in a customary marriage

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