In another aspect, civil marriage, usually rejected by religious institutions, can become acceptable in Islam, as says the controversial Shiite Cleric sheikh Mohammad Al Amin.
Supporting his opinion, the Shiite cleric said that a marriage should commit to the Shari’ah conditions and if these conditions are present, the marriage contract can be arranged by a religious or civil authority.
“The religious institutions should focus on complying the civil marriage conditions with the conditions of marriage in Islam instead of rejecting this civil marriage,” he said.
“Couples can set their mutual conditions in the marriage contract, and the religious institutions should push for matching the items related to inheritance and children custody with the rules of the Islamic Shari’ah,” he added.
The Shiite cleric added that since women are more engaged in the social and professional life now, women can ask for keeping the right to divorce themselves from their husbands.
“This would solve the dilemma that women has no say about the marriage contract and end claims that women are futile in this regard,” he explained.
He said that “marriage in Islam is different from marriage in Christianity, it is not a divine secret but rather a regular contract like other contracts that have terms and agreements.”
Al Amin also criticized the Lebanese legislation that allows civil marriage outside the country but prevents it inside Lebanon.
“It is not logical,” he said.
Lebanon youth have long been calling for the endorsement of civil marriage in Lebanon. NGOs and the civil society’s associations have recently held their freshest demonstration to pressure for this demand. Earlier this month, standing in front the Interior Ministry near the Sanayeh public park, protesters shouted slogans calling for secularism and civil rights.
While the majority of Lebanese citizens are married under religious auspices, some opt for civil, secular services. While the country officially acknowledges civil marriages between Lebanese citizens performed abroad, the government has said there is currently no legal mechanism to recognize unions performed on Lebanese soil.
The Interior Ministry had issued a statement last month saying that the 1936 law that legalizes civil marriage also stipulates the need for an official process regulating the practice. This process must be decreed by the Cabinet before the law can be implemented, the statement said.
But last year, the High Committee for Consultations in the Justice Ministry approved the civil marriage of Nidal Darwish and Kholoud Succariyeh, which took place after the couple removed their sects from their official documents.
Since then, more than 50 couples have been wed in civil ceremonies held in Lebanon. Most of the wedding contracts, however, still lack formal recognition by the government