Muslim Doctor ordered to pay wife despite sharia argument
A Muslim hospital consultant has been ordered by a British court to pay his ex-wife’s maintenance, despite the man arguing that by Sharia (Islamic) law he should not have to.
Dr. Zaid al-Saffar was told by a judge that he must pay £60,000 ($94,249) to his former wife, academic Hanan al-Saffar and follow the “rule in this country,” according to a report by the Daily Mail on Wednesday.
In some Muslim societies there is often no expectation that ex-husbands pay maintenance to ex-wives, while others agree that maintenance has to be paid if the woman does not re-marry and has children. Saffar, a consultant rheumatologist who is also the head of the Islamic Society in the resort town, was married for eight years, and the couple had two children.
According to the report, their marriage was formalized following the Islamic tradition of Mahr, under which the groom pays a gift to his bride. “Dr. Al-Saffar also assumed he had no obligation to make maintenance payments, and that, following Islamic practice, his former wife’s family would support her,” the Daily Mail reported.
The case highlighted the clash of Muslim and UK matrimonial law, as the judge at the Court of Appeal told him that he had to make the maintenance payment. Lord Justice Ward told Saffar: ‘The rule in this country is that you share and the starting point is equal division. “You came out of the marriage without having made your wife any substantial capital payment.” He added: “Life is sometimes hard; do not be consumed with bitterness.” Representing himself, the doctor told the court: “I’m hard working. I pay my taxes and look after my community.
I have nothing but respect for the court’s order, but I only stopped paying because all her family were telling me she’s got millions. She doesn’t need it.” After the case, Saffar told the Daily Mail: “By playing the system and pretending to be a victim she got everything, which I think is totally unfair. “Family law in this country is biased against Muslim people,” Saffar added.