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.