By: Urooj Bashir
Few days back, while surfing on the internet, I came across some websites and Facebook pages on which lawyers across Pakistan offer their services for arranging the “court marriages” to the interested people. Some of them even offered to keep it “secret from general public”. They discussed the ages, documents, expenses and other related information in a detailed – and highly-provoking – way, which is a shame.
In a blind race to ape the developed and modernized societies, we have lost regard for our culture, ethics, values, and above all, have ignored the basics of our religion which is so liberalized and modern. It came for the guidance of the people at a time when the Arab society had become highly conservative and it declared that preference would be given to girl’s wishes at the time of her marriage. This is the religion that opens its folds for non-Muslim females to enter in wedlock with Muslim males while observing their own religion.
But, unfortunately, as a nation we have become lethargic and reluctant on doing research and learning about the basics of our religious values, rights and duties; rather we depend on the views of and researches done by the so-called Ulema who impose their concocted views on us with false statements on religion. Resultantly, owing to the sheer lack of knowledge and awareness, we have adopted the customs and cultures of other nations of the subcontinent as our religious values. It is absolutely wrong and depicts the decay of ethical values of our society.
Marriage is such a beautiful and purposeful institution in all societies that not even a single religion allows to keep it secret; rather around the world, either customarily or religiously or for the need of law of the society, it should be declared and announced to the public so as to avoid complications of legitimacy, inheritance and succession. Same is the case in Islam as it ordains that marriage should be announced and declared to the vicinity. Amidst all these facts, these people are openly offering to keep their marriage secret and it is bound to attract complications in future.
The word “Court Marriage” has not been defined in any Act, Ordinance, Rule(s), or Schedule(s) in Pakistani law. Such marriages are solemnized with the help of a lawyer and recognized and ratified by the court of law. The Nikah Namma (Marriage Certificate) in this regard is registered and issued by the Nikah Registrar of the locality, and not by the court.
The concept of such marriages came into the Subcontinent from the English law. Initially, this concept was based on social customs and religion of parties to the marriage contract. But, now it is codified not only in Pakistan but also in India and other countries of the world. India, the United Kingdom, the United States and many other counties have their separate “Court Marriages Acts” which define the procedure of solemnizing a marriage under the supervision of court.
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