Only imam-khatibs (the leaders of prayers in the Friday and central mosques) have the right to perform a nikah (Islamic marriage) and mullahs performing a nikah will undergo an administrative action, Jumakhon Ghiyosov, the deputy head of the Committee on Religious Affairs (CRA) under the Government of Tajikistan, told reporters in Dushanbe on January 10.  

“Two years ago, the Committee ordered all imam-khatibs to get a notebook to write down names of persons for whom they performed a nikah,” Ghiyosov said.

“This is done in order to prevent repeated nikah by men or child marriages,” the CRA official said.

Imam-khatibs should perform a nikah only in the presence of document from the registry office (marriage certificate).  

For his part, Husein Shokirov, an official with the CRA, noted that they were currently working on how to institute administrative proceedings against mullahs illegally performing a nikah.  

In Islam, marriage is a legal contract between two people.  Both the groom and the bride are to consent to the marriage of their own free wills.  A formal, binding contract is considered integral to a religiously valid Islamic marriage, and outlines the rights and responsibilities of the groom and bride.  There must be two Muslim witnesses of the marriage contract.

Nikah (the term for Islamic marriage) literally means “sexual intercourse.”  Islam is totally opposed to monasticism and celibacy.  Marriage is an act of Sunnah in Islam and is strongly recommended.