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My husband and I recently got married. He is a Muslim, I am Catholic Christian.

We had a nikah ceremony in the presence of friends and family, which was officiated by an imam. Three weeks after our wedding, my husband called me and said the American Muslim Society doesn't recognize our marriage and that it's deemed invalid. How can this be?

We performed the nikah correctly. I thought it was permissible for a Muslim man to get married to non-Muslim woman. Is that correct?

He hasn't given me my mehr, as was discussed before the marriage and said we were not going to do, was this right? As far as I have researched it is said to be right as long as we agreed beforehand. He left me and our home after three weeks.

  • Why don't you call/visit the institute and clear your doubts, I'm sure they will clear your doubts. This is the only institute I could find which closely matched American Muslim Society. – Bleeding Fingers Nov 23 '13 at 17:58
  • I'm sorry you're going through this. This is a complex question and I encourage you to approach an imam at your local Islamic Center to clarify it. In short, there is no such thing as an "American Muslim Society" that decides whether marriages are official or not. You have a right to your mahr, especially if the marriage was consummated and he was the one who initiated a divorce process. – Ansari Nov 24 '13 at 3:09
  • Sorry about what you are facing. Mehr is a token that a man takes full responsibility of financial burdon of the wife and the family. If a person does not give mehr, or try to get away without giving it, it shows that he is not ready or willing to take the actual responsibility. – goto Nov 25 '13 at 10:10
  • go to the authority , the Imam which completed your nikah , if he can prove he was right when he did so , then you get your point proven – Hussain Akhtar Wahid 'Ghouri' Nov 25 '13 at 11:43
  • related question: islam.stackexchange.com/questions/10441/… – Battle of Karbala Dec 23 '13 at 12:13
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I cannot speak to why your marriage was nullified, but this statement caught my attention:

He hasn't given me my mehr, as was discussed before the marriage and said we were not going to do, was this right?

In my opinion this is not right, because mehr is not optional 4:4:

4:4

And give the women [upon marriage] their [bridal] gifts graciously. But if they give up willingly to you anything of it, then take it in satisfaction and ease.

It must be given and is a right of the woman; now if the woman chooses in her good will to give you (the husband) anything from it, you (the husband) should accept it without hesitation.

In marriage contracts it is clearly written the amount of mehr, and how is it disbursed (for example is it in the form of cash, property in the wife's name, jewelry, etc.) and it is typically given at the time of signing of the contract. It is also clearly announced when the contract is being signed and is witnessed.

In some cases it it deferred - by that I mean, not paid at the time of the contract signature, but this is again clearly mentioned in the contract the amount and type; and it is considered a debt on the husband till paid.

Mehr is not something that is given "at the time of divorce", but it is a condition of marriage.

He left me and our home after three weeks. I think it was a way for him to end a marriage which he nor his family wanted from day one.

This is more of a personal issue with you and your husband and should be taken up between you and the elders in your families as is the custom in Islam.

  • Hello and welcome to Islam. Could you please elaborate "It must be given and is a right of the woman; now if the woman chooses in her good will to give you (the husband) anything from it, you (the husband) should accept it without hesitation." And should "marriage is permissible" be derived from the first statement "I am not sure why your marriage was considered invalid" as is asked in the question "Is that correct?" – Bleeding Fingers Mar 16 '14 at 13:10
  • I mean to say, that the bridal gift (mehr) is not optional for the husband to give. Even if its a token amount, it must be given - and it is stated on the marriage contract on which all parties sign; and once given, the husband has no right over the amount (or goods, or property). The wife may choose to give from this amount to her husband as a gift (this is not required), and if she does, the husband should not hesitate to take from it. – Burhan Khalid Mar 16 '14 at 14:31
  • I have edited my answer to clearly reflect what I meant; thanks for the question @BleedingFingers – Burhan Khalid Mar 16 '14 at 14:35
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For Your second question , yes , Muslim men are allowed to marry christian women, but is the Marriage done according to Islamic rules, where you and your parents approved it, or in case non of your parents exist a Muslim judge?

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What is American Muslim Society? Never heard about this in USA. The largest Islamic organizations in USA are ISNA and ICNA. They don't have time to go after each marriage to investigate if it is valid or not.

Regarding Mahr, it is a bride's right and the groom must pay it at the earliest, preferably at the time of Nikah. In some countries, it a custom that there are two types of Mahr, one is paid at the time of Nikah and the other (which is normally more than the first one) if the couple is getting divorced.

I am not sure about the ruling if the amount of Mahr is not decided at the time of Nikah. What I have seen is that the Imam does mention this when he is officiating Nikah, so I doubt this issue has slipped everyone's mind who were present.

As other have mentioned, you should clarify this with that Imam and ask your husband to reconcile. Even if Mahr wasn't mentioned or given at the time of Nikah, it can be done later.

The primary condition of Nikah is that a man and a woman should agree upon it and there are some people as witnesses.

May Allah helps you.

  • The primary conditions of the nikah are clearly stated, and includes a lot more than agreement and witnesses (for example, it should be officiated by a Muslim), etc. etc. – Burhan Khalid Mar 16 '14 at 14:38
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Temporary marriage, not permanent (which I think yours was intended to be), can only be contracted with the people of the Book (in Shi'i Islam). Which Christians (Catholics) are.

He is not supposed to give mehr because the marriage is invalid in the first place.

Living with be woman who is not your mahram and with whom you have not contracted a valid marriage is not permissible and that could have been the most likely and valid reason for his leaving the home, provided the home didn't belong to him.

  • He told me one of the reasons our marriage was not valid was because he did not give me mehr at nikah? Could this be true? Him and I discussed beforehand that he would not give me mehr and we were both fine with that – Lexi Nov 23 '13 at 16:08
  • Well, see now it depends, schools of Islamic beliefs vary in their principles, and I don't have the complete knowledge of all the possible ones plus you haven't mentioned the sect to which the your intended husband belongs. But I think -- I may be totally wrong depending on the above mentioned -- it is an invalid reason. – Bleeding Fingers Nov 23 '13 at 17:15

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