Marh/Mahr or Islamic Marriage Contract

Date: 16 Nov, 2015| Author: Fred Streiman

Thumbnail-LogoIn an interesting decision in January 2015, Justice Walters refused to recognize a Marh/Mahr written entirely in Arabic.  The Husband and Wife were born in Afghanistan and Iran respectively.  They were married in a Muslim ceremony in Germany, where the Marh/Mahr was signed.  However, neither party spoke, wrote or read Arabic.  Neither party received independent legal advice before signing the Marh/Mahr.  The court found that the husband did not understand the nature of what he was signing, it was unclear in which currency the Marh/Mahr was to be paid in and it could not be said that the parties knew what they were agreeing to and indeed that they were agreeing to be bound by the terms of the agreement.  The Marh/Mahr was set aside and is not enforceable in Ontario. To the contrary, there is a long running series of cases that people who (especially those that are educated and sophisticated) sign documents without ever bothering to read them or get any advice as to their effect, do so at that their own peril.  This decision is contrary to that stream of cases.

Clearly, the enforceability of Marh/Mahr is not a clear or simple task and requires a fine legal hand in steering the client through this legal minefield.