The Need for a Shariah Council

A civil marriage in Britain requires a man and a woman to accept each other in the presence of two witnesses in the Registrar's Office, whether they have conducted an Islamic marriage (Nikah) is immaterial. Similarly, a civil divorce requires the petitioner (husband OR wife) to file a divorce petition at court with the Judge finalizing the divorce with a decree absolute.

It is worth noting that the laws of civil marriage and divorce are applicable to all residents of the United Kingdom, irrespective of their sex, colour, race or religious persuasion. Islamic Shariah requires a man or woman to accept each other as husband and wife in front of two sane, mature men or one man and two women. 

However, unlike British civil law, Islam has granted the right of divorce solely to the man with the woman being granted the right to seek Khula. Furthermore, in the event of the rights of the woman being abused, she is being subjected to both physical and psychological abuse, domestic life becomes unbearable, and in the words of the Qur'an, 'her life hangs in the balance' (i.e. she is neither able to continue as a wife happily, nor is she able to break away and remarry), then a Qadhi (Islamic Judge), can consider the plea from a woman, and decide according to the Shariah upon separation. However, in Non-Muslim countries, the judgment of a Non-Muslim judge is often not binding according to Islamic Shariah law and the woman still requires the judgement of a Qadhi to declare her marriage annulled, clearing the way for her to legally remarry.

In this instance, the Scholars have recommended the establishment of Shariah Councils presided by Islamically qualified Qadhis to consider the fate of unhappy marriages and to declare them annulled if necessary after careful consideration in the light of Islamic Shariah, thereby enabling the woman to remarry and continue with her life.