Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Child Marriage and Islam

There is a very interesting post at Buzzvines having a picture in which an elderly Afghan is being shown as a groom to a supposedly 11 year old bride. The discussion based on this picture covers the area of child marriage and Islam. Whether child marriages are allowed in Islam, prohibited or condoned.

Child marriage as a phenomenon does exist in Muslim countries unfortunately. And more unfortunately it is traced back to Prophet Muhammad whom we muslims love to make a 'scapegoat'. Yes I am using this term because from this issue to an other where he is supposedly explaining motion of planets with a very poor knowledge of astronomy or where he is supposedly telling about various herbs to cure an ill - we muslims lovingly put the esteemed person's life in every possible difficult situation to which he had not even a remote connection.

Quran deals with variety of people and situations - marriage being one of them. Quran does not state specifically whether one can marry a child or that it is prohibited. Islam does consider marriage a sacred bond and requires parties to be 'aware' of what they are doing.

Consider the following verse..

4:24 - .... And those of whom ye seek content (by marrying them), give unto them their portions as a duty. And there is no sin for you in what ye do by mutual agreement after the duty (hath been done). Lo! Allah is ever Knower, Wise.

This verse talks about commencement of marriage and giving of dowry by the groom to the bride. This verse is stating that if bride and groom want - they can 'mutualy' agree on dowry. Now mutual agreement requires that both parties are mature enough to know what they are doing. Can a child possess this maturity? Does a girl 11 years old knows what she is doing? The answer is a 'No'. The 'mature' aspect of parties is not restricted to marriage only but also to Divorce (2:232) and matters related to Orphans (4:06).

Now the question is.. who is a 'mature' person? Or what is the age of 'majority'? Of course Islam does not mention it anywhere. Usually a person is called a 'major' if he/ she is 18 years of age or older - below than that is a 'minor'. This is the legal definition in most of the countries.

In Pakistan, law requires that bond of marriage be registered ('nikah nama' is the proof). Although there is no age restriction for getting married, the groom and the bride 'are supposed' to be aware of what they are signing on. It states conditionalities and rights including matters related to divorce. Only a mature person would know what he/ she is dealing with. All the discussion above is indicative of the fact that marriage is not a childs play.

That being said, how can we counter the phenomenon of Child Marriage. For one we can inform people not to put religion as a basis to child marriage because this is not the case. Two, we can impress upon people to use their common sense! How on earth can you make a child become party to marriage?! This is sheer injustice! If the society condones it then make sure that norms change! Even go for regulations in Law to stop child marriages!

Child marriage is an abominable act. Do not do it.

Update (19th November 2008)

A visitor dropped a very useful link here, it basically debunks the myth that Prophet Muhammad married Ayesha at the age of 9. Do read it. Thank you Saadia.

Also Check My Posts On:
1 - Divorce in Islam - The Quranic Perspective
2 - Polygamy In Islam- The Quranic Perspective


Saadia said...

I think people who propose that child marriages are allowed in Islam, are the ones on whom lies the onus of proof; not on you or me. And more often than not, when you ask them, they cite the Prophet(pbuh)'s marriage with Aisha (ra). In response, here is proof that Aisha (ra) was NOT a child-bride and that she was a mature, adult woman at the time that this bond was solemnized:

PostMan said...

Well Saadia, the onus of proof lies on us too! You, I and they - all are representative of our faith. We have to portray the correct version - this, not only for ourselves as muslims to stop such acts but also to nullify the negative representation.

Thanks for visiting :)

Anonymous said...

This is HORRIBLE. No man on the earth should married a child not even for religion. That is so digusting and pervert. I will pray for those inocents little girls that have no guilt to be born in that horrible society.

Fiza said...

Thank you for your posts - I really enjoy all of them. I noticed you on one of the blogs about Dr. Afia i think its on mundanities something. I completely agreed with all ur opinions so thought id drop a thumbs up that someone's talking sense there. Do check out my blogs where i am doing a campaign on all the prisoners and currently Dr. Afia and the other blog Thanks again.

PostMan said...

Thank you Fiza :)

romance said...

Several lies have been invented recently against Islam regarding Prophet Muhammad’s marriage to Aisha. .well saadia thats a very good job you have done.I am giving a link too.If one want proof that Aisha (ra) was NOT a child-bride and that she was a mature,can visit.

muhibb said...

asslamualakum, iam student in islamic jurisprudence, the qouestion of child marriage and ayisha's marriage was making me puzzled for years thanx for u guys and may Allah reward jannah for yr eagerness to defend islam.

Nasir said...

Well if i had asked the same question from you people in the 19th century you would have affirmed his child marriage and defended it by force. Times change, opinions change and now that in new times things do no seem quite good you have to change the narrative.

As pope recently said "In the 1970s, pedophilia was theorized as something fully in conformity with man and even with children." and that pedophilia wasn't considered an “absolute evil” as recently as the 1970s For which he was criticized but well he may have got his dates a bit wrong but he has a valid point. The religious apologists here are doing the same with Muhammad.

For example although the article mentioned as "proof" talks about the birth of Ayesha and points out to many inconsistencies and then goes on to say that there is no proof; it conveniently ignores the death of Ayesha and her age at the time of her death and does not go into that. This is because at the time of death she was a known figure unlike at the time of her birth and it is difficult to criticize the "proof" which sort of mounts when you also talk about all the historical anecdotes which relate to the her age at the time of her death.

Changing history is a dangerous business specially if it was the accepted one just 50 years earlier! You should ask yourself where will you stop? You can start ignoring the haddess, next target is Quran. When will you start cherry picking in Quran? I for one will welcome that time. For me it will be great if you follow in the footsteps of Christianity and become a sane religion to some degree.

On another note and this message is to the author of the article and not to the commentators! Do you still believe in the miracle of 19 thing? Are you still following Rashid Khalifa?

PostMan said...

Thanks Nasir.

Regarding your last paragraph, is this what you call an Ad Hominem?

Nasir said...

No actually i am really interested in knowing if the situation has changed?

PostMan said...

The only thing consistent is I being straight :p Thank God for that.

Nasir said...

At this time i am not sure about myself :P Sometimes i wonder at night specially because of my new found interest in shemales :)

Barooq said...

I'd not comment on the topic as unlike you, my opinion on Islamic history here would render me wajib-ul-qatal :)

Me and Mahwash ( have actually met the photographer who took the photo (rest assured it was original and not western propaganda :P).

We were so impressed with Stephanie and her husband who, when we met them , were trying to secure funding to create a program to ease Gitmo detainees back to normal life once they are released. Two thirty-something atheists miles away from their home in Newyork in a godforsaken land, trying to help people because they felt like it. She was also revisiting the topic of child marriages, which are big here in Yemen (the godforsaken place that has somehow become the source of hope: There are places a lot worse than my country after all :P )

We often remember the couple with fondness and awe: People who actually devoted their lives for what the wanted to do.

PostMan said...

Thanks Barooq for the comment :) You can state your version on this issue .. it is ok. I am wajib ul qatl for all intents and purposes as well so two would be a company I'd say :)

It indeed is amazing that people care for others although there would be no connection whatsoever visible apart from humanity. And thats where I guess we pakistani muslims fail. We classify things on religious basis.

I hear that Atheists will have a bamboo abode in hell :| not sure whether 2-bed or 3.

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