What You Need to Know Before Signing Your Nikahnama

Nikahnama is an Islamic contract just like any other legal contract. It is signed by both the husband and the wife at the time of nikah, in the presence of witnesses. It declares the couple as lawful husband and wife. In Pakistan the document is based on the 1961 Muslim Family Ordinance

Every clause in the nikahnama is of extreme importance. Since it is an extremely important and delicate matter of the couple’s lives, the nikahnama fulfills the duty of protecting the rights of both the partners. It is of utmost importance for them to understand the meaning and implications of all the clauses. But due to lack of knowledge, the importance of understanding nikahnama is mostly overlooked. 

But… Shadiyana is here to give answers to all your nikahnama related questions. Let’s begin!

Clause 1 to 6

In Nikah Nama, Clauses 1 to 6 encompass essential and basic details about the bride and groom. This includes the venue of the marriage ceremony, the names of the bride and groom, along with their fathers' names and addresses, and their respective ages.

1: Includes address of the place where the marriage ceremony is taking place

2: Name of the bridegroom & his father, with their respective residence

3: Date of birth/Age of the Bridegroom

4: Name of the Bride & her father, with their respective residence

5: Whether the Bride is Virgin/widow or divorced

6: Date of Birth/ Age of the Bride

Significance of Clauses 3 & 6

It's crucial to pay close attention to Clauses 3 and 6, as they specify the ages of the groom and bride, respectively. These clauses serve as a safeguard against underage or child marriages, which are illegal in Pakistan. Generally, the legal minimum age for marriage is 16 for brides and 18 for grooms. Except in Sindh where the minimum age for marriage is 18 for both according to the Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929, applicable nationwide.

Clause 7 to 12

This section, from clause 7 to 11, consists of the information regarding attorneys and witnesses from each side. The names of the appointed attorneys and witnesses, their fathers’ names, addresses, along with the relationship with the groom and bride, everything is noted in these clauses.

7. The Bride’s attorney, if appointed, along with his father’s name and residence

8. Names of witnesses to the appointment of the Bride’s attorney along with their father’s name and their residence and their relationship with the Bride

9. The Bridegroom’s attorney, if appointed, along with his father’s name and residence

10. Names of witnesses to the appointment of the Bridegroom’s attorney along with their father’s names and residences

11. The name of the witnesses to the marriage along with their father’s names and residences

12. The date when the marriage was celebrated

And then comes clause 12 which is Date of the Marriage. It is a self explanatory part entailing the date that the wedding or nikah took place.

Clause 13 to 16

Understanding clauses 13-16 reveals the standing of mehr in the nikahnama. Essentially, mehr or Haq Mehr is a gift from husband to wife, showing respect and financial security in hard times. According to Islamic Shariaah, this gift or wife’s haq, once given, cannot be taken back. And it can include anything including but not limited to money, jewelry, or land.

Types of Mehr

Mehr is a significant aspect of Islamic marriage contracts, representing financial security and respect for the bride. There are two main types: 

  • Prompt (mu'ajjal) 
  • Deferred (muwajjal). 

Prompt mehr is provided upfront, either before or during the marriage or nikah ceremony. This immediate gift ensures that the wife receives financial support from the husband.

Deferred mehr, on the other hand, is disbursed at a later time, often based on predetermined conditions or events. This type of mehr allows for flexibility in timing, ensuring that the wife has ongoing financial support as needed.

Both types of mehr serve to protect the wife's financial interests within the marriage, providing her with a form of financial security and ensuring her well-being in case of divorce or the husband's death.

13. The amount of Mehr

14. The amount of Mahar Moajjal and the amount of Mahar non Moajjal

15. Was any part of the amount of the Mahar paid at the time of the marriage? If paid, how much?

16. If a property is given for full amount or part of the amount of the Mahar, if so give the price of the property which was fixed among the parties

Clause 17

Clause 17 allows both individuals to outline specific terms and conditions according to their preferences. For instance, if the woman requires financial support from her husband on a monthly basis, such as Rs 10,000, mention it here. Or add any other provisions, like prohibiting any form of violence with specified compensation in case of violation. This clause offers flexibility, allowing both the parties to establish conditions within legal limits. Additionally, custody arrangements for children in case of separation or divorce can also be specified here. 

Both spouses are free to insert any other conditions here, for example the number of children they wish to have or where they shall reside after the marriage.

17. If any other condition is laid

Clause 18 - 22

In Islamic law, the husband holds the authority to dissolve the marriage unilaterally. However, he can delegate this power to his wife or another individual, either temporarily or permanently. It's crucial for Muslim women to secure this right in the marriage contract, as they lack the autonomy to initiate divorce themselves otherwise. 

Divorce (Talaq) vs Khula

Delegated divorce empowers women to dissolve the marriage swiftly, without court involvement. Thus, shielding them from any potential abuse or delay tactics by their husbands. Clause 19 addresses any restrictions on this delegated authority.

Source: https://fempowermovement.com/know-your-rights-a-guide-into-nikkah-nama/ 

Alternatively, a woman can seek khula, which means she will have to give up on her Mehar, maintenance, and alimony. The court then decides on granting khula. Delegated talaq offers a similar pathway. After drafting a divorce deed, submit it to the union council. Reconciliation efforts span three months, and if unsuccessful, a certificate is issued.

Clauses 20 - 21 safeguard women from polygamy. While Muslim men may have up to four wives, they must ensure fairness in financial matters to comply with the principle of equality. In Pakistan, if a man is already married and wants to marry again, he needs a permission certificate from the local Arbitration Council. This certificate is easily obtainable. So, if a bride is unsure about the groom's marital status, she should check with the Union Council where the groom lives.

18. Whether the bridegroom has given the right of Divorce to the Bride. If yes, then on what conditions

19. Is there any restriction on the right of Divorce on the Bridegroom

Is there any document drawn up at the time of marriage relating to dower, maintenance etc.? If so, the contents thereof in brief

21. Does the Bridegroom already have a wife? If so, has he obtained the permission to have a 2nd wife according to the Rule No. 8, 10 of the Muslim Family Law Ordinance of 1961?

(a) Is the Bridegroom a widower or a divorcee? (b) Does the Bridegroom have any existing wife/wives? If the husband is a widower or divorcee, how many children does he have & what are their names? 

22. No and date of the certificate according to which the Council has permitted the 2nd marriage

Clause 23 - 25

This part contains details about the Nikkah Khawan, who officiated the Nikkah, along with the date of registration and the registration fee paid.

Signatures

Below clause 25, there's a section for signatures including those of the bride, groom, witnesses, Nikkah Khawan, and registrar.

Note: According to the Muslim Family Law Ordinance 1961, it's mandatory to register your Nikah Nama with the union council and obtain a Marriage Registration Certificate (MRC). 

You can also get a Family Registration Certificate (FRC) from NADRA, enabling access to various public services and visa processes. Visit a nearby NADRA office or apply online via the Pak-ID website.

23. The name of the Nikah Reader with his father’s name and residence
24. The date when the marriage is registered
25. The fees of the registration paid

Know your nikahnama before you sign it!

Computerized Marriage Certificate

After your Nikah, you can get a computerized Marriage Certificate from the Union Council. This certificate makes it easier to change your CNIC status. However, it's only available once you have your Nikah Nama. Unlike the Nikah Nama, the Computerized Marriage Registration Certificate is recognized internationally. It is a necessity for visa applications.

Authorities for Issuing the Certificate

You can get the computerized Marriage Certificate from:

  • Union Council
  • Cantonment Board Office
  • Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA)
  • Arbitration Council Office

Documents Required

To obtain the certificate, you need:

  • Copy of the Nikah Nama (bring the original too)
  • CNIC of the Bride and Groom
  • CNIC of the Nikkah Khawan
  • Passport copies (if either spouse is a foreigner)

Updating CNIC After Marriage

Visit a nearby NADRA center with your Computerized Marriage Registration Certificate and spouse to update your CNIC record.

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