A judge told Dr Zaid Al-Saffar (pictured top right) that he must follow ‘the rule in this country’ and share his money.
The Appeal Court decision means Dr Al-Saffar must pay £60,000 to his former wife, academic Hanan Al-Saffar.
The ruling sounded a warning to Muslim couples who believe their marriages are ordered according to sharia law and agree to be bound by Islamic courts.
Lord Justice Ward (pictured top left) told Dr Al-Saffar: ‘The rule in this country is that you share and the starting point is equal division.
‘You came out of the marriage without having made your wife any substantial capital payment.’
He added: ‘Life is sometimes hard; do not be consumed with bitterness.’
But Dr Al-Saffar said after the case: ‘By playing the system and pretending to be a victim she got everything, which I think is totally unfair.
‘Family law in this country is biased against Muslim people.’
The consultant rheumatologist at Scarborough Hospital in North Yorkshire, who is also the head of the Islamic Society in the resort town, was married for eight years, and the couple had two children.
The marriage was formalised following the Islamic tradition of Mahr, under which the groom pays a gift to his bride.
Because of this, his wife had signed away her share of the couple’s home in Belvedere Road, in Scarborough.
Dr Al-Saffar also assumed he had no obligation to make maintenance payments, and that, following Islamic practice, his former wife’s family would support her.
However, after the marriage fell apart in 2008, a county court judge ordered him to pay £60,000 to his wife in a hearing to settle the legal terms of their break-up.
Dr Al-Saffar made payments for only four months but then contested the decision.
In the Appeal Court, he told Lord Justice Ward that he had stopped paying because he had heard his former wife had inherited £250,000 from her father and had become ‘very, very well off’.
Dr Al-Saffar, who represented himself, told the court: ‘I have nothing but respect for the court’s order, but I only stopped paying because all her family were telling me she’s got millions. She doesn’t need it.’
But the judge said the doctor had been determined not to pay because ‘he felt the payments were illegitimate or illegal according to Islamic culture’.
Lord Justice Ward said: ‘The husband has kept the whole of the capital in the marital home and the wife has not received any of it.
‘In those circumstances the order for spousal maintenance was a perfectly proper and fair order to make.’
The judge added: ‘The husband has to try to understand that inherited wealth is not available for distribution, especially when it comes in after or shortly before the breakdown of the marriage.
‘That would not reduce the husband’s obligation to make a proper contribution to his wife.’
‘I must dismiss this application,’ Lord Justice Ward said.
An unknown number of Muslim couples take their family disputes to sharia tribunals, usually run under the umbrella of local mosques. There are said to be around 85 operating in Britain.
They operate voluntarily, but critics say women may be disadvantaged if they agree to accept Islamic rules.
At present, if a sharia court settles a marriage dispute, an official law court has to approve the arrangement before the divorce is finalised.
The judge must decide whether it is reasonable and ensure neither party is disadvantaged.
But agreements are submitted to the family court on a form just two pages long. The couple do not need to attend court.
The great majority are approved and critics say this process can amount to no more than rubber-stamping.
Four years ago Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams caused controversy when he said that full acceptance of sharia courts ‘seems unavoidable’.