Islam Nikkah marriage now recognised by law

By Patience Nyagato

THE Islamic community in Zimbabwe has commended the government for acknowledging their Ministers of Religion as Marriage Officers who can solemnise unions in accordance with the country’s  laws.

Tackling issues which include sharing insurance and health benefits for a married Islamic couple as well as dealing with inheritance and pension of a deceased partner among other processes were an impediment for Muslims as the ‘Nikkah’ or Islamic marriage rite was not acknowledged as a marriage in the Zimbabwean  constitution.

All this will however be a thing of the past for Jonathan Chedisi and wife Maria who are among the first ever 14 couples who tied the knot in Nikkah style this Saturday and were given certificates of marriage, something which was not possible in the past.

“I am so happy that I have married my wife and will be given a certificate that shows that i am legally married. In the country our type of marriage was not recognised,” he said.

But how different is the Nikkah from the ordinary customary marriage?

“Nikkah is a marriage ceremony which was prescribed to us by our God. Unlike the other marriages, whatever the bridegroom pays goes to the bride herself as a token,” explained Sheikh Juma Maganga.

President of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs in Zimbabwe, Sheik Ishmael Duwa commended government for the milestone in recognising their religion.

“Under Act 5 of the Marriage Act, the Islamic marriage will be recognised. So we are very much thankful that the government has considered us the Islamic community. We will have our ministers trained in accordance with what is required by law,” he said.

According to the Marriages Act, Ministers of Religion including those from the Islamic and Hindu communities will be designated as Marriage Officers for solemnising marriages.