Parisians are used now to seeing a decorated motorcade carrying a young Muslim groom and his bride to a mosque for marriage under Shari’ah terms as many Muslims are keen on striking a balance between civil and Islamic marriages.
French law stipulates that whoever wants to get married must register his/her marriage contract at the City Hall. But French Muslims see the move insufficient religion wise, and flock afterwards to mosques to comply with the Shari’ah requirements. Shari’ah stipulates certain requirements for the marriage to be valid such as announcement, the payment of the dowry, the consent of both parties, the permission of the wali (woman’s guardian), and the presence of two witnesses. The civil marriage also requires the presence of two witnesses. The Shari’ah-compliant marriages are usually conducted verbally. But more recently some mosques have issued Shari’ah-based contracts to register the marriages. The contracts are sealed by the mosque and signed by the imam, witnesses and the couple. Estimates show that 268,100 civil marriages were registered in France in the first half of this year.
France is home to around six million Muslims, the largest Muslim minority in Europe.