Divorce in this country occurs in all cultures and religions and Islamic couples are not immune from divorce. A divorce in Florida reportedly raises unusual issues because of a traditional Islamic custom called a Sadaq. A Sadaq is a marriage contract in which it is traditional for the groom to promise a marriage gift to the bride.
In the divorcebetween Farah Shamsi and her husband Abdul, the gift was a $20,000.00 dowry which at the time of the divorce had not been paid. The wife claimed that it had to be paid at the time of the divorce.
In Massachusetts, a Sadaq will be treated the same as any other pre-nuptial agreement. Massachusetts requires that pre-nuptial agreements must be fair at the time of contract and fair at the time of enforcement or they are invalid. The court will examine the entire contract to determine validity. Clauses that prohibit divorce will not be enforced and may render the entire contract invalid. The court will look at the intentions of the parties when they signed the contract. The court will examine the financial disclosures provided at the at the time of the execution of the contract. The court will also look at the total circumstances at the time of the divorce. The enforceability of the Sadaq will be determined by Massachusetts law and not by Islamic law as part of the diovrce proceeding.
The same approach will be taken with other traditional marriage contracts such as a Jewish Ketubah. They will all be enforced according to Massachusetts law.