Marriage is considered to be a contract in most parts of the world. Apart from its varying significance in different cultures, marriage is nothing short of a legal process in most countries. However, Qatar, with its unique rules and regulations pertaining to marriage, provides for a streamlined, hassle free practice of getting married. One is not required to do much besides carrying his/her certificates, resident permit, passport etc. and showing them to the relevant authorities.
General Practices for marriages in Qatar
There are instances of cousins marrying between themselves in archaic days. Such marriages helped to reduce conflicts and bring families together in the form of a close knit tribal community. Overtime, the conventions changed and now the process of getting married is typically initiated by the groom. There are negotiations concerning dowry between male elders of both the families. Sometimes, the boy and girl are allowed to meet and have a short conversation. Once an agreement is reached, the actual marriage takes place when both the bride and groom give their consent individually to the Maulana. The groom and his father-in-law shake hands and the marriage gets legal sanction in present of two witnesses.
What is Sharia Law?
It is to be noted that Muslim marriages take place as per the Sharia Law in Qatar. Sharia Law gives the Muslim man freedom to marry four times if he can cater to the financial needs of all of his wives. But with mounting financial burden on small families, it is a rare practice these days. Besides, women are becoming financially independent and hence more assertive about their existence both within and outside the domestic realm. This has also led to changes in the law itself. It is now legal for a Muslim woman to restrain her husband from marrying again by inserting a restrictive clause in the marriage contract.
The Sharia Court of Qatar is located on Al Rayyan Road, near Mannai Ra in Musheirib area. Marriages between Muslim men and Christian women are prohibited by this court although it is allowed in some other countries abiding by Sharia law. The state of Qatar gives a Marriage Fund to the married couples but they are required to understand the obligations of marriage and educate themselves in this regard before receiving the fund. To briefly mention about divorce, the Qatari man can easily divorce his wife by verbally stating it thrice however the woman is required to seek help from the court. If the divorce is granted the man is bound to provide maintenance to his divorced wife and their children if any.
Laws regarding Separation
Marriage is not a grueling process even for expatriates in Qatar. They can get married easily if they fulfill the general requirements laid down by religion and civil society. Similarly, they can get divorce by consent which is hardly a matter of few months. Divorce provisions are governed by Qatari Family Law No. 22 of 2006. The only non-muslim marriages recognized by the State of Qatar are Christian marriages, which take place inside a church and get registered under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There’s a somewhat lengthy process to obtain the marriage certificate, get it translated in Arabic and register it with the Ministry of Justice. Living in together without getting married is strictly prohibited by the state of Qatar.
Marriages of Expats in Qatar
Expats workers can be married in Qatar if they meet the civil and religious requirements of Qatar. Many a times, the Embassy and consulate staffs also perform civil marriages here if the conditions are met. The religious ceremonies can be held only at churches, or similar non-muslim places of worship. The embassy is best equipped to provide more information regarding that.
The Qatar government grants Christian marriages official recognition in the non-muslim marriages category. It is performed in the churches which have been registered with Ministry of Foreign affairs a notified by Ministry to perform such marriages. For non-muslims, Christian weddings can be a way to get legal recognition. The catholic and Anglican churches have been licensed to carry out such weddings though they have their own rules and charge a fee as well. The documents include marriage preparation course certificate, copy of your passport and visa, certificate of capacity to marry, your baptismal certificate, your confirmation certificate, and your ‘capacity to marry’ certificate issued by the Catholic Church.
You need to register the marriage certificate and Arabic translation certificate with the office of Land Registration and Legalization at the Ministry of Justice, West Bay. The Ministry will keep the copy of the marriage certificate and Arabic translation for its records.
For more detail, visit the website https://portal.www.gov.qa/wps/portal/topics/Religion+and+Community/Marriage+and+Family
Here are the contact numbers of some recognized churches in Qatar:
- Anglican Church – 4416 5726
- Catholic Church – 4490 1907
- Greek Orthodox – 4487 2032
- Coptic Church – 5584 0395
- IDDCC – 4431 919
Before getting married in Qatar
Before getting married in Qatar, one should take care of the following aspects –
- Living together before marriage is prohibited in Qatar with imprisonment.
- Couples who want to get married must undergo a pre-marital medical screening. This is done to combat genetic risk following the marriage.