By Martin Robinson, Chief Reporter For Mailonline
Published: 11:21 GMT, 14 February 2020 | Updated: 13:59 GMT, 14 February 2020
A Muslim woman's Sharia marriage to a property developer in a London restaurant 22 years ago was not valid under English law and she only has a 'limited' claim to his cash, property and pensions and is not entitled to any maintenance, senior judges ruled today.
Nasreen Akhter wanted a divorce from her husband Mohammed Shabaz Khan who she married in a religious 'nikah' ceremony carried out by an imam in 1998.
But in a landmark ruling in London today three family judges said the English courts did not recognise their Sharia marriage saying it 'had no legal effect'.
The judgment means Mrs Akhtar is powerless to claim significant sums of money or property from Mr Khan in the same way a legally married woman can because they did not also have a legal civil ceremony as well.
Mrs Akhter is expected to appeal to the Supreme Court in a case that has major implications for people of other faiths including Hindus and Sikhs.
Leading family law barrister Camini Kumar told MailOnline even though they have four children and lived together for almost two decades she will have 'limited' claims to his assets.
She said: 'The judgment confirms that when their relationship breaks down these women cannot make the financial claims against their husband that they would be entitled to if they had married in a qualifying ceremony. They are to be treated as any other cohabiting couple in the eyes of the family court.'
Nasreen Akhter wanted a divorce from her husband Mohammed Shabaz Khan (both pictured in 2018) who she married in a religious 'nikah' ceremony in 1998 - today the Court of Appeal ruled they can't divorce because they were never legally married
She added: 'There are some women who are married in Islamic ceremonies who believe they are