Civil marriage

Civil marriage implies a non-religious social contract that is to be carried out through state institutions and governed by its rules that may be in contradiction to some religious laws. For example, such a marriage may allow a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim man, prohibiting polygamy, giving men and women equal rights in inheritance, or legalising divorce for reasons other than adultery. Currently, the Coptic Church allows divorce only in case of adultery.

Supporters of civil marriage say that it falls under the basic human right to freedom of choice, providing equal treatment to all citizens under common civil laws, ensuring equality between males and females in choice and inheritance, and would finally provide an exit from the current crisis for Christians seeking divorce. They argue that civil marriage is a cornerstone in the establishment of a civil state.

Opponents say that Egyptian culture rejects ideas that contradict sacred religions. Thus, religious rules governing marriage, divorce, inheritance and so on cannot be ignored. They see civil marriage as an encroachment upon religious laws, and a secular imposition violating the current constitutional provision stating that Islam is the official religion of the state, and Sharia is the primary source of legislation.


Al-Zawag Al-Madani [Civil Marriage], Dr. Kabara Abdel-Fattah, p. 141.
Talaaq El-Aqbaat [Copts’ Divorce], Karima Kamal, Merit Publishing House, Cairo.