CSO holds roundtable on Muslim marriage registration

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• Sheikh Armiyawo Shaibu (right) of the Office of the National Chief Imam interacting with Dr Cyril Fayose, General Secretary of the Christian Council. With them is Ben Abdallah Banda (left), Chairman of the National Hajj Board

A civil society organisation, Ta’lim Ghana, has held a consultative workshop to discuss ways to push the proposed Muslim Marriage and Divorce Bill into law.

The bill seeks to regulate the recognition, requirements, solemnisation, registration, proprietary and other consequences, dissolution and consequences of dissolution of Muslim marriages, and to provide for matters connected to the bill.

The workshop was dubbed: “Working together for a better society”.

An Islamic marriage is celebrated in accordance with Islamic law, and can only be recognised and, therefore, validated under the law as an

Islamic marriage if registered under the Marriage of Mohammedans Ordinance, CAP 129.

It is provided that registration of the marriage should be done within one week of the celebration.

The bridegroom, the bride’s guardian, two witnesses to the marriage, and a licensed Muslim priest must go to the relevant district assembly where the marriage was celebrated to register the marriage.


The Executive Secretary of Ta’lim Ghana, Muhammad Hussaini Bagnya, said several civil society organisations (CSOs) had worked on the bill, and that it was their turn to “pick it up from where they left off and try to look at it again and assist in the passing it into an Act of

Parliament where Muslims can register marriages in the court of law”.

“We need to begin to learn to build a healthy and strong society, and this ought to start from our point of marriages.

When we get strong from that level, I believe society will become better,” he stated.

He noted that Muslim marriage was recognised through the traditional act as it was the only route they could take in the Constitution.


A representative from the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Berry Quist, said the bill was an important step towards ensuring that the rights of Muslim women were protected and their voices heard in matters of marriage and divorce.

He noted that marriage was a fundamental institution that provided a stable and supportive environment for families and children to thrive.

“However, when marriages break down, the effects can be devastating, particularly for women and children.

That is why it is crucial to have laws and regulations in place that protect the rights of women in marriage and divorce,” he stated.

The bill, he said, recognised that Muslim marriages were unique and required special attention and provide a legal framework for Muslim marriages and divorces that was consistent with Islamic principles and traditions.

“Culture cannot be used to justify and perpetuate harmful practices, nor does it make child marriage a good practice,” he added.

Mr Quist noted that the conditions of a valid Muslim marriage required proposal from one party and acceptance from the other as required for a contract, and that there should be no marriage without free consent, and it should not be obtained by means of coercion, fraud, or undue influence.

He explained that the bill also recognised the right of a woman to initiate divorce as an important step to give women the power to end a marriage that is not working for them, and provide a mechanism for resolving disputes that may arise during the divorce process.

“Hence, achieving gender equality and recognising women’s rights are critical for promoting social justice and creating a more inclusive and equitable society,” he added.

He urged traditional authorities, faith-based leaders, state agencies and CSOs to be development agents and advocates of behavioral change, acceptable values and positive socio-cultural heritage to ensure the continued well-being of their people.


A spokesperson of the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Armiyawo Shaibu, said the bill was of interest to the office of the Chief Imam.

He said the business of marriage registration was unfinished, and that attempts had been made to ensure full regularisation and recognition of Muslim marriages in the country.

“Marriage on one side is religious, has certain divine dimension, but on the other side it has certain contractual dimension also, and in matters of contract, issues of rights and responsibilities are there.

And once you do not regularise them, you have a problem that also affects the stability of society,” he stated.





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