South African Legislation May Recognize Islamic Marriage

July 22, 2003


On July 22, 2003 reported that "South Africans married under Islamic law came one step closer on Tuesday to having their unions legalised, with the release of proposed draft legislation to this effect...Muslims have been trying for decades to have their unions legally recognised. Islamic marriages were regarded as null and void by South African courts until a 1999 Supreme Court of Appeal ruling recognised monogamous Islamic marriages for the sole purpose of support. This ruling did not deal with issues such as polygyny (the practice of marrying more than one wife), the status of respective spouses, maintenance obligations, and marriage termination. The commission said in a statement gross inequities and hardships still arise from the non-recognition of Islamic marriages."