Temporary Marriages Revived In UK Shia Muslim Community

13 May 2013

 

The BBC reports that an Islamic practice, nikah mut’ah (temporary marriage), is gaining in popularity amongst young Shia Muslims in the UK. Described as “basically a contract,” temporary marriages allow young Muslims to meet and get to know each other before entering a permanent marriage and without breaking Islamic law. These informal marriages are the subject of a recent BBC Radio Asian Network special report entitled, “Married for a Minute.”

 

Sara, a Muslim woman who entered into a temporary marriage and spoke to the BBC about her experience, said that she entered into the arrangement because “It allowed us to meet without breaking the bounds of Sharia [Islamic law]. We both wanted to date, to go out for dinner or go shopping and just get to know each other better before getting married, which we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.” Though statistics are not gathered on these informal arrangements, Muslim leaders interviewed by the BBC claim that the practice is experiencing a revival amongst Shia university students in the UK.

 

Temporary marriages are not universally accepted in the Muslim community. The practice is largely confined to the Shia community, with Sunnis considering these informal marriages haram (forbidden). A Sunni spokesperson for the UK Islamic Sharia Council said that “There is no difference between mut’ah marriages and prostitution” and that she has never come across a Sunni scholar who has declared such practices halal (permissible).

Muslim Student Groups Protesting Against Prospective Alcohol Ban at London Metropolitan University

30 Apr 2012

London Metropolitan University is one of the most Muslim populated universities in Britain.  Around 20 per cent of the students of the university are Muslims, thus it has an important place in debates surrounding British Muslims. The university attracted considerable public attention in 2006 when the police raided portable buildings used by the Islamic Society in search of terrorist activities.

Last week, the university was again in the headlines when Muslim students of the university protested the university’s plan to ban the sale of alcohol from parts of their campus. LMU Islamic Society and Shia Muslim Society issued a joint statement to claim that the decision of the university is “divisive”, “irresponsible” and based on a “gross generalisation” as it would lead other students to blame Muslims for the decision.

Greater Toronto Area to open first cemetery catering to all Muslims this summer

News Agencies – March 7, 2012

The province of Ontario has granted a license to the Toronto Muslim Cemetery
Corporation, allowing it to operate the site in Richmond Hill. The corporation says the
cemetery is a joint project between Sunni and Shia Muslim communities and will open in
June. The group plans to open the 14-hectare cemetery officially in June. It’s expected to
serve the needs of the estimated 300,000-strong Muslim community for at least 25 years.
He says the cemetery will be the first in the area which manages services according to
Muslim custom, operates on weekends and will have all graves correctly aligned toward
Mecca.

The 14-hectare land for the cemetery was bought for $6.8-million from a Jewish
company – Beth Olam Cemetery Corporation – which provided the Muslim corporation
with an interest-free mortgage. A Muslim cemetery to meet the needs of residents in
Ottawa and Gatineau, Que, is expected to open in June as well.

Shia Muslims say that they met Iranian president

Members of the Rome-based Shia Muslim organization ‘Imam Mahdi’ released a statement saying that they met with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad was visiting Rome to attend the global food summit organized by the UN. The statement said that the meeting took place, even though the Italian media insulted Ahmadinejad’s presence at the FAO summit with the usual lies and distortions. During the meeting, Shia Italian Muslims felt that they had a duty to differentiate themselves between their community and the noise of other groups.