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Urfi Marriage

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Definition: Urfi marriages are unregistered/undocumented marriages in Egypt.

Requirements for an Urfi Marriage:

  • It must take place before a Muslim cleric.

  • The couple must say "We got marriage" and pledge their commitment before God.

  • They must have two witnesses.

  • A document must be written that the two are married and must be signed by the witnesses. Having two copies of the contract/document is recommended -- one for the bride and one for the groom.

Reasons for Urfi Popularity in Egypt:

  • Sex before marriage is forbidden in conservative Egyptian society.

  • Couples view an urfi marriage as a way to legitmise their sexual relationship.

  • A husband is not financially responsible for his wife.

Urfi Marriage Issues:

  • Under Egyptian Law 1/2000, if a woman can produce proof of an urfi marriage in court, she can ask for a divorce without alimony or child support.

  • If a husband hides or destroys the urfi marriage document, a woman can't prove she was married. This prevents her from getting a divorce or remarrying.

  • If conducted in secret without the consent of their families, a couple's urfi marriage is not sanctioned by Islam.

Also Known As: secret marriage

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