Marriages entered into under Muslim religious law will now have the same legal standing as other marriages.

The Constitutional Court has ruled that placing them in a different legal category amounts to unfair discrimination.

Women and children involved in Sharia marriages are now entitled to the same protections and rights as those who traditionally fall within South Africa’s Marriage Act.

And this protection will be retroactive to the date the case was first brought to the courts’ attention.

In effect, the parties who are contracted by any Muslim marriage conducted from the 15th of December 2014 are protected.

The Women’s Legal Centre Trust went to court over the matter specifically to ensure the rights of women to property and inheritance in the event of divorce or death.