Sharia (Islamic) law states that after marriage, a woman keeps the money and property she owns.
This was a startling concept when Islam introduced it 1400 years ago – until the 19th century, women could not even own property in the UK!
It belonged either to her male relatives or to her husband.
For Muslims, it is a husband’s primary duty to financially maintain his wife and children, with any contribution the wife makes being voluntary.
Further, to avoid disputes later on, the wife is given a set financial sum at the time of the marriage, which is written down as a term of the ‘Nikah’ or marriage contract.
This sum is known as ‘Haq Mehr’, and is intended to give the wife enough to survive on in the event of divorce or widowhood.
Often, a husband refuses to pay the ‘Haq Mehr’, which we then enforce in English law as a contractual right.
Also, the use of prenuptial agreements is becoming more common in the UK.
The ‘Nikah Nama’, or Islamic marriage certificate, can be viewed as such an agreement, since it addresses the issue of the financial settlement and is signed before witnesses.