Nikah Nama, is an Islamic Marriage Contract, which is signed by both partners at the time of their marriage. This document is fundamental in officiating the marriage in Islam and helps in determining the rights and duties of both partners in a marriage (Husband and Wife). In Pakistan, the Nikah Nama for Muslim couple is designed under the 1961 Muslim Family Ordinance, which determines different particularities of a marriage. The Nikah Nama can be later registered with the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), after which the status of the bride and the groom can be updated on their Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC).
In this article, we will discuss different clauses of a Nikah Nama and how they can be filled to ensure the provision and protection of the rights of both parties that are involved.
Clause by Clause Breakdown of the Nikah Nama
The clause-by-clause breakdown of Nikah Nama is as below:
Clause 1 to 6 – Basic Information of the Bride and Groom
Clause 1-6 of the Nikah Nama include basic information. Like the address of the place where the marriage ceremony is taking place, name of the bride and groom, name of their fathers and their addresses including their age.
Note: Clause no. 3 and clause no. 6 are very important because the age of the groom and the bride are stated in these clauses respectively. This clause is important to identify child marriages, which are illegal in Pakistan. However, in most parts of the country the minimum age of the bride is 16 and the age of the groom is 18, with the exception of the Sindh province, where the minimum legal age of marriage for both the bride and the groom is 18 years. Apart from the Sindh province, the Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929 is currently applicable across Pakistan, which states:
"child" means a person who, if a male, is under eighteen years of age, and if a female, is under sixteen years of age.
In Sindh, the Sindh Child Marriages Restraint Act, 2013 is applicable, which defines a child as following:
"child” means a person male or female who is under eighteen years of age.
Clause 7 to 11 – Information of Attorneys and Witnesses
These clauses include the information of the attorneys and witnesses that are assigned by the bride and the groom.
Clause 12 – Date of the Marriage
Clause 12 is about the date of the marriage.
Clause 13 to 17 – Particularities related to Haq Mehr
Section 13 to 17 are very important part of the Nikah Nama for bride as the amount of her Haq Mehr is stated in this section. Haq Mehr (the terminologies used for Haq Mehr in English version of the Nikah Nama are ‘Dowery and ‘Guarantee for marriage’) is not only a gift that a woman gets at the time of the wedding, but it also guarantees her financial protection in case of a divorce. It is legally binding on the groom to pay the woman her Haq Mehr. It can be waived off by the will of the bride.
Haq Mehr can be in any form like cash, property, or jewelry (that is valuable).
- Muajjal, (معجل) the kind of Haq Mehr that is paid upfront at the time of the marriage.
- Muwajjal, (موجل) the kind of which is deferred and can be paid later depending on the timeframe decided in the agreement or whenever the wife demands.
Clause 15 of the Nikah Nama states whether a part of the Haq Mehr is being paid up front and if it is what is the amount.
Clause 16 discusses whether the bride has been given any property as dowry. If so, the value of the property and the specification that both parties have mutually agreed on.
Clause 17 talks about any special conditions tied to Haq Mehr.
Clause 18 and 19 – The Right to Divorce
This is one of the most important clauses in the Nikkah Nama, which guarantees the bride a right to divorce. Unfortunately, in many cases in Pakistan these sections are cut off at the time of the Nikkah without consultation from the bride.
Clause 18 asks whether the husband has granted his wife the right to divorce and if so, what are the terms decided for it? While clause 19 asks if the husband’s right to divorce has been curtailed in any way.
Note: If the wife is granted the right to divorce, she can divorce her husband and keep her Haq Mehr. If the right to divorce is not granted, the wife must file for Khula from court. Khula is conditional, it is granted by the court and the wife must forego her Haq Mehr in Khula cases.
Clause 20 – Guarantees and Allowances
Clause 20 asks the parties if there is any agreement among them related to the monthly allowance and guarantees while they are together as a married couple. If they do, they can state the particularities of it.
Though it is generally interpreted to be about the wife’s monthly allowance from her husband, but experts say that this section can include the division of responsibilities and chores among the couple, guarantee the wife the right to pursue her professional career or education. This section is important in sense that it can help set tone for the marriage and can be helpful in avoiding any conflict that arises later in context of roles and responsibilities of the husband and wife.
Clause 21 and 22 – Marital Status of the Groom
This is another important section of the Nikah Nama. It asks whether the groom is already married or has another wife. If so, has he taken the permission of his first wife to enter another marriage and submitted the proofs of permission for second marriage.
Note: Though second marriage is not annulled if husband has not obtained his first wife’s permission for the marriage but under the law it is a criminal offense punishable by payment
Clause 23 to 25 – Information of the Nikkah Khawan, Date and Fee of Registration
This part includes the information of the Nikkah Khawan, the person who performed or solemnized the Nikkah, the date the Nikkah was registered and the fee that was paid for registration.
Underneath clause 25, there is a section that include the signatures of the bride, groom, their witnesses, Nikkah Khawan and the Nikkah-registrar.
Note: Under the Muslim Family Law Ordinance 1961 it is obligatory to register your Nikah Nama with your union council and obtain a Marriage Registration Certificate (MRC).
You can also obtain a Family Registration Certificate (FRC) from NADRA which will grant you access to different public services as family as well as visa processes for any intended travel.
You can get your FRC by visiting any NADRA office nearby or online through NADRA’s Pak-ID website.
Overview of Clauses of the Nikah Nama
Acquiring a Computerized Marriage Certificate
After Nikah, a computerized Marriage Certificate or the Computerized Marriage Registration Certificate can also be acquired from Union Council. This Marriage Certificate can also make it easier for couples to get the status on their CNIC changed. A computerized Marriage Certificate can only be provided once the Nikah Nama is available. The Computerized Marriage Registration Certificate, unlike the Nikah Nama is internationally recognized and is also a prerequisite for visa applications.
Authorities that Issue the Computerized Marriage Registration Certificate
You can acquire the computerized version for your Computerized Marriage Certificate from the following authorities:
- Union Council
- Cantonment Board Office
- Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA)
- Arbitration Council Office
Documents required for Computerized Marriage Registration Certificate
Following are the documents required for acquiring a Computerized Marriage Registration Certificate:
Copy of the Nikah Nama (Take the original Nikah Nama along with you).
Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) of the Bride and Groom.
Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) of the Bride and Groom.
Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) of the Nikkah Khawan.
Copies of Passport (if the spouse is a foreigner).
Updating Your Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) Record After Marriage
You can update your CNIC record after marriage by going to your nearby NADRA registration center with your Computerized Marriage Registration Certificate and spouse to get your record updated and the issuance of your updated CNIC.
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