Saturday, November 21, 2009

Marriage Contracts

Dear Readers,
I need your input. I've been hearing bits n' pieces in Salalah about the idea of 'marriage contracts' (completely independent of the legal marriage document that is issued by the court). I've heard of women saying they will demand a marriage contract where for example the man will agree never to force his wife to stop working or driving, that he will never touch her income, that he will never divorce her without her consent, that he will never take on a second wife, etc. Do you know anyone who has done this in Oman? Did they do it through a lawyer's office?
PS (kindly note that I am asking out of curiosity. I did NOT say I support contracts before marriage, nor did I say I was against them. And yes I heard of a man from Salalah who requested a contract, and he insisted on swearing against polygamy)


  1. I geuss it depends on the family of the wife.. for example if she is from the royal family she might have something like that, the other cases for sure are hiden...

  2. Haven't hear of any marriage contract, but it honestly doesn't sound like a bad idea.

    Oman is a chauvinistic society where men generally have more say and power than women do.

    It would be nice to live in a society where this wouldn't be necessary, but I suppose this is a way to keep men in check. (Btw, I'm a dude).

  3. العَقد شريعة المتعاقدين

    القاعدة موجودة سلفا

    ولكن إن كانت هناك حالات سابقة ..

    دعيني أسأل القانونيين

    عسى أن أرجع بفيد باك جيد

  4. please contact me about such marriage contract if you a comment and willing to talk to the english number is 99355965. i am omani and based in muscat

  5. Okay here i am surprised dont know what to say nevertheless i should cast at leat something,according to what have read and heard about such conditions that some people do to scure their future life incase of something goes wrong in their mariage.
    This sort of new cotracts doesnt go with Islamic learnings because we are a consrvative society that follows Islamic learnings and principles.
    for instance this will not help because it is built on business matter between a hasband and a wife not on true love among them.
    so i think we shouldnt follow westeren people and establish their ways of life.
    Contract mariage is done by Imam with the presence of fathers of both sides bride and groom as well two witnesses.
    Not lawcourt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!my regards Ahmed

  6. Ahmed, what I meant by court was the marriage 'license' or certificate that the witnesses sign, etc. That is a legal marriage certificate/contract.

    As for following Islamic rules, I met a Muslim couple who had a marriage contract. It stated that the dowry (mahar) would be X amount of money, and she would receive X amount of gold, and he would not marry another wife, etc. I know Muslims all over the world who do this through the mosque too. I was wondering if it reaches Oman, that's all.

  7. I also know that they included another interesting rule in the contract and that would be that he had to take her on the Hajj within five years of their marriage.

  8. I know that when my sister wanted to get married she requested a contrat. Not sure if my dad totally ignored her or not.

    I am pro marriage contract and I believe the law allows you to have it.

  9. Reality, that's interesting indeed. If you had a marriage contract, what would be your conditions?

    And to the guys who are so angry about me bringing up the topic of contracts, I need to remind you that no man is FORCED into a contract. Hell no. A contract is something that both the man and woman agree on. Obviously she's not going to write 'you will not take a second wife' unless he totally agrees. Right? Chill guys, chill.

  10. Nadia, I (for one) wish that men are FORCED into a contract. I mean, a contract may include as much or as little as the couple want. However, I do think that it is necessary to have one.

    I know many women that used to work and their husbands pulled them out of it even though it was agreed that he wouldn't before marriage. A woman cannot do anything because there is no contract, and many men say "whatever, she will do what we say after marriage!".

    For me, well... I wanna know that if i am married to someone, and that marriage ends, that I do not come out of it broke or with debt. So, I would request that if anything happens then I get half of what BOTH of us had worked for.

  11. In general, (in Oman) if a girl is educated and working/driving, etc, then it's better to have a contract I guess because men here believe they have the full right to make their wives' decisions regarding work or niqab or whatever. SO MANY TIMES I have seen men who changed their minds after marriage and force their wives to stay home, or wear niqab, or take hijab off, or not drive, or marry another wife, etc. SO MANY TIMES. And yes, men are jerks like that. They think 'she is my wife, I can do whatever I want', right guys? They think it's Islamic that they have full authority. Well, if they studied a little more, that is not what Islamic marriage is about.

    I think in Yemen they write contracts stating that if the man divorces his wife, then he has to pay her another dowry.

  12. In Oman, everyone has a marriage contract (issued by the Ministry of Justice). That's the only way to get married. You need it to register a marriage with ROP (again a requirement) which in turn is required to register a birth later on (as evidence that the union was legal). What you're all discussing is not whether or not someone should "get" a marriage contract, you HAVE to have one; it's whether you should state conditions in it such as the examples mentioned (the husband will allow the wife to work, study...etc).

    From my understanding most Omanis don't state conditions, and in my opinion they should. But do note that not all these conditions can be upheld later; only those that are not in violation with Sharia law.

  13. What Oman needs is stronger sense of Women's rights, so that they are truly equal to men in every sense of the way.

    Men should not be able to force women into wearing a hijab/niqab, stay at home and be a housewife or whatnot.

    If that means getting rid of Sharia/Islamic law, so be it. I prefer a secular way of life.

  14. Diva, what you're talking about is the marriage 'license'. If you wish to consider that a contract then let it be. The license is a piece of paper issued by the Ministry of Justice saying that X married Y with these witnesses. End of subject. No details. No condition. It's a TINY paper.

    We're talking about a contract that a lawyer draws up with conditions like the ones we're discussing. Otherwise, the woman has no protection, especially in our society where the divorce rate is growing everyday. Once you're divorced, you have no security because it's hard to remarry. So what is a woman supposed to do? Unless she has a job, it's really hard to totally relax knowing that if your husband divorces you, you have nothing. and yes in Oman, I've known many men who divorced their wives FOR NO REASON WHATSOEVER. Stupid silly silly silly pathetic reasons.

  15. If you’re considering a marriage contract, discuss the idea with your spouse or future spouse, and then discuss it with a lawyer. A marriage contract usually deals with financial issues. If trouble comes and your spouse breaks the agreement, you can sue, just like any other contract. The bonus is that a marriage contract may help the two of you respect each other’s rights so that you avoid disputes that lead to trouble.

  16. i believe women must think over and over about thier future husbands without such conditions which only bring bad effects to the family.
    where are talking about family life not business contracts.
    if we are only think that if we secured fanicially we would live happy we are wrong.
    we must think about how to build a happy family? Ahmed

  17. Well, this is interesting. I can not talk about Oman, since I have never been there. However, in many other Islamic based societies there are marriage contracts. They are NOT un-islamic, as they are set up to provide a moral and legal frame work for the future marriage. Most couples are not familiar with eachother's person so the contract is decided upon (not one sided.) How is this un-islamic? A women has the right to make her demands for allowing a man to take from her her greatest treasure. So don't give me any bs about it being against God.

    Most cultures are familiar with the "gold" part of contracts. A women and her family sets a beginning price of the contract. This money is to be paid to the bride (not her family). It is her money, a gift to start her new life as a married woman. And then there is an end price. This is usually a large amount of money that would be paid to the bride if the groom were to divorce her for reasons other than her fault. Divorce is allowed, but it is not encouraged. Nor is it unlikely. So, yes, this price is set in the beginning of the marriage to protect the bride from being "used" sexually, and then released from her new husband without support.

    The only people that I see that would think these contracts shouldn't happen are men... I wonder why?

  18. I'm female and fail to grasp the significance of a marriage contract- just choose a reasonable guy, and if he's a jerk divorce him.
    A piece of paper won't make someone less of an asshole


  19. ADG .. as if divorce is so easy for a woman!

  20. ADG... reality is different and much more difficult than what you make it seem, and you wouldn't know how difficult divorce is unless you go through it.

    The thing is, marriage contract is important. What if a girl does choose a reasonable guy, trusts him with all her heart, then he ends up being a jerk. Most working married women in Oman help out with their money to build a life for them and their children. They sometimes take debts too build a house, or buy a car for the husband... etc.

    A piece of paper does not make someone less of an asshole, but accountable. There are many women today who are broke and with a huge debt. It is important.

  21. Nadia, maybe I should've stated at the start that I'm a lawyer. Now I don't wanna regurgitate what Omani laws say cuz everyone can look them up for themselves and if I did I'll probably end up writing a 5,000 word essay (don't wanna bore you guys) but here are the most basic points:

    Marriage is defined in the Omani Personal Status Law (the law that deals with marriage, divorce, custody, inheritance...etc) as a "legal contract between a man and a woman...". Therefore EVERY marriage in Oman is a contract. Article 5 of the Law allows for conditions to be made in the contract, except for a condition that would defeat the purpose of the marriage. The third paragraph of that article actually states that NO CONDITIONS TO THE MARRIAGE WILL BE CONSIDERED AS SO UNLESS THEY ARE EXPLICITLY STATED IN THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT (excuse the ALL CAPS but didn't know how else to highlight that point). The fourth paragraph even goes on to state that breaching any of these conditions entitles the spouse affected by the breach to ask for a divorce.

    I'm gonna stop here on that issue but have a couple more comments on some of the other comments made here. I advise anyone claiming that women in Oman don't have enough rights to actually look up the laws and pinpoint where the flaws are as making a general statement without any hard examples doesn't make for a good argument, specially with someone like me who feels we have plenty of rights and (dare I say it) in some instances even favours Omani women to Omani men (I'm willing to debate that with ANYONE who disagrees). And Nadia, you mentioned examples of men who divorce their wives for the silliest reasons (in my line of work I've heard my fair share of such stories) but I just wanna point out that the law also allows women to "divorce" their husbands for any reason whatsoever, ranging from "he's so last season" to "I just don't like him anymore"!!

  22. :S
    awal mara asma3 something like this happening in Oman!!

  23. I would like read more information about this, is very interesting this post, is very interesting!