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It is a huge deception to convey that Muslims are aggrieved because of non-recognition of their marriages, says A Elias.

Durban - The Mercury article of April 16, “Recognise my Muslim marriage”, refers.

It is a huge deception to convey the canard that Muslims are aggrieved because of non-recognition of their sacred marriages. Muslim marriages not being recognised is not an act of discrimination by the government. It is a happy and a volitional act by Muslims themselves.

Muslims, the vast majority – almost 100% – want to be married, and do marry, according to the laws of the Shariah, not according to the rules of the secular Marriage Act.

What is the “best interest” in terms of secular law can be in the worst interests according to the Shariah, and as such not permissible for Muslims.

This Durban woman and the Women’s Legal Centre who are fighting to have Muslim marriages legally recognised must realise that the courts have the obligation of promoting the ethos and objectives of the constitution.

To achieve this objective, they will mutilate the Shariah beyond recognition. The end product will be termed “muslim” personal law. With the wide differences, the chasm between Shariah and secular law is unbridgeable. Therefore Shariah law under the domination of secular law is a total impossibility.

While the Women’s Legal Centre contends that Islam discriminates against Muslim women, they are ominously silent about the position of Jewish women, Hindu women and other women in terms of their respective religions. Yet they (Women’s Legal Centre) claim in their papers that their applications are in the interests of “public good”.

Does their concept of “public” exclude women of other religions?

This Durban woman and the Women’s Legal Centre must not delude themselves that they are the “authority” to represent the entire Muslim community of South Africa, more specifically, the entire female population of Islam in this country.

The Shariah does not condone injustice nor does it render women destitute. If husbands are unjust to their wives, it is not the effect of Islamic patriarchy. It is the effect of westernisation. Western secular education has cultivated animality in the Muslim lifestyle.

Islam has its own elaborate, wonderful system of benevolence to see to all the needs of women who are widowed or divorced.

This Durban woman should have availed herself to the Marriage Act. She would have then been favoured with the type of un-Islamic consequences she is now clamouring for.

She must not contend to be Muslim and demand un-Islamic laws.

The Marriage Act has uniform application for all, and by registering one’s marriage according to this act there will be no need for the enactment of special legislation which will open up a Pandora box and create considerable offence to Muslims.

It is hoped that the government will be able to see through the ploys of this application – which are calculated to create numerous problems while solving none.

A Elias


* The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

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