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Report No. 211

Chapter IV

Registration of Muslim Marriages

A. Certification by the Kazis

A system of private registration of marriages with the kazis has always prevailed among the Indian Muslims.

Though in principle Islamic law does not require a ritual solemnization of marriage, among the Muslims of India marriages are invariably solemnized by religious officials known as the "kazi". The short ceremony performed by the kazi, known as "nikah", begins with formally obtaining consent of the parties - first of the bride and then of the groom - and ends with recitation from the Holy Quran followed by prayers. Before, or immediately after, the ceremony the kazi prepares a nikah-nama (marriage certificate) which gives full details of the parties and is signed by both of them, and by two witnesses. The kazi authenticates the nikahnama by putting his signatures and seal on it.

Printed forms of standard nikah-nama in Urdu and Hindi are stocked by all kazis who fill in it the details of the marriages they solemnize, issue copies to both parties, and always preserve a copy in their records. Under the law of India the nikah-namas issued by the kazis are admissible in evidence.

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