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What is the difference between Nikah and Civil marriage?


About 1.9 billion Muslims follow the beautiful tradition of Nikah for marriage. However, some prefer to conduct civil marriage because it is far easier for everyone even if you are marrying non-Muslims. 

We will discuss in this article, what is the difference between Nikkah and civil marriage and why expats are inclined more toward civil weddings.

Conditions to follow for Nikah Marriage in Dubai:

In Dubai, a Muslim couple’s marriage is governed by Sharia Law. Couples that wish to get married in Islam conduct the Nikah ceremony according to Sharia provisions. Some are as follows:

  • Both partners are Muslims
  • Muslim men are also permitted to marry a non-Muslim woman, belonging to the Ahl- Al-Kitaab or the People of the Book. Muslim women, however, cannot marry non-Muslims. Proof of the groom’s conversion to Islam is required in such a scenario. 
  • Polygamy is legal in the UAE.

Conditions to follow for Civil Marriage in Dubai:

A Muslim couple must meet the following legal requirements for marriage:

  • In the UAE, marriage contracts must be registered with a Sharia Court
  • The bride and groom must be at least 18 years old for marriage.
  • The judge’s approval is required if one spouse’s age is twice that of the other. 
  • Require a premarital screening certificate 
  • The bride’s father must attend or his representative, as well as two male Muslim witnesses, must attend the wedding
  • For the marriage to take place, the woman needs the consent of her father or legal guardian
  • As a prerequisite for the bride’s marriage, the presence of the bride’s next-closest male guardian, i.e., the elder brother is required in the event, in case of her father’s death.
  • Women who are divorced or widowed must provide proof of their marital status
  • An embassy or consulate needs to write her a ‘No Objection’ letter if the bride is Muslim and her father is not
  • It is required to have the Dubai court wedding certificate attested by MOFA (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Final thoughts on the difference between Nikah and Civil marriage:

Muslim people who love to hold religious ceremonies in Islamic states exchange their vows through Nikah. However, some wish to go abroad for settlement, they need to register their marriages. To get the legally binding document, Muslim expats can do a civil wedding than nikah. Muslim couples can also opt to marry in both ways, if they wish.

Let us help you decide whether a civil ceremony or nikah is the best option for your international marriage to be authorized.

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