I am a Muslim man and I want to marry a Muslim woman. My question is, according to Sharia law, what are the requirements for marriage? And do I have the right, legally and according to Sharia, to put special conditions in the marriage contract, such as: (1) In the event that the wife requests for (Khul), should I specify a certain amount in exchange for my consent to divorce? (2) Do I also have the right to stipulate the wife’s waiver of custody of the children in exchange for (Khul)?
I would advise the following:
(1) Key legal requirements for Muslim marriages are:
• Approval of the bride.
• In Dubai, at least one party to the marriage contract (husband, wife or wife’s guardian) should have a residence visa in the UAE. In other emirates, both bride and groom must be UAE residents.
• A positive pre-marital screening certificate for the couple issued from the concerned public healthcare facilities in the UAE
• Marriage contract needs to be registered in a Sharia court in the UAE.
• Legal age for marriage is 18 Hijri years; otherwise, the judge's approval is required.
• A spouse's age should not be twice the other; otherwise, the judge's approval is sought.
• Attendance of the couple is required.
• Attendance of the bride's father or his proxy and two male Muslim witnesses are required.
• For a woman to get married, she needs the consent of her guardian.
• In case of father's death, the presence of the next closest male guardian i.e. closest kin such as elder brother is required.
• Divorced and widowed women must produce a proof of the status.
If the bride is Muslim and her father is not, she needs a 'No Objection' letter from her embassy or consulate.
(2) You have the right to put special conditions in the marriage contract, such as specifying a certain amount in exchange for (Khul) but it is not allowed to agree on forfeiture of the children’s alimony or their fostering. As per Article 110 of the UAE personal Status law regarding Divorce by Agreement (Khul’):
(a) Divorce for consideration is a contract between the spouses whereby they agree to terminate the contract of marriage against consideration to be paid by the wife or by another person.
(b) The amount to be paid as a consideration shall be governed by the same rules as dowry, but it is not allowed to agree on forfeiture of the children’s alimony or their fostering.
(c) Should the consideration to be paid in case of divorce by agreement be not validly determined, divorce shall occur and the husband shall be entitled to the dowry.
(d) Khul’ is a rescission.
(e) By exception to the provisions of clause 1 of this Article, where the husband is unduly obstinate in his rejection and it was feared not to observe God’s will, the judge shall decide the “Mukhala’a” (divorce) against an adequate consideration.