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Children’s marriage in Islam: some comments

with 5 comments

I wrote some days ago about a social movement, very little at first but growing, taking place in Yemen against the practice to marry children, specially little girls. DJKonservo comments about an Islamic scholar’s post on the subject, who seems to think that this is in no way related to Islam:

The three reasons given in the study are (i) fear of poverty, (ii) cultural attribution of a young bride as being the most malleable and therefore desirable, and (iii) fear that the daughter will be kidnapped and forced to marry someone else.

(i) is obviously not related to the shari’a, clearly fear of poverty is an economic issue, I don’t want to be poor is not a statement derived from doctrine. (ii) is clearly not doctrinal either–you could argue that Islam requires women to be obedient to their husbands, but even then the conclusion that a nine year old is going to provide that level of obedience is a cultural one or at most a sociological one, not a religious one.

As for (iii) it’s a pretty gross violation of the shari’a. While you can say that a woman’s consent to marriage is not sufficiently respected in Islam, while that argument can be made, the idea that a father’s consent is not respected is under pure doctrine (whatever that is) just plain stupid. It’s all about the father, even when he cannot force the marriage, he can stop it, the shari’a almost never allows a woman to contract a marriage without the father’s consent, all Shi’a and Sunni schools I think accept this (at least for a woman never previously married, that is). So the idea that strangers can just walk in, kidnap the daughter, marry her to someone else and not have that marriage immediately declared invalid (fasid) without the father’s consent is well beyond what doctrine has to say.

Well, that piece about kidnapping the daughters is not as rare as this man says. It’s even used to convert Coptic girls in Egypt. And they don’t ask for the girls’ parents’s consent. So technically their marriage is invalid.

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Written by Claudia

July 10, 2008 at 8:10 pm

5 Responses

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  1. […] KIDDIE-WEDDING in Islam: some comments …. […]

  2. Plus, as I say in my comments on that post, it doesn’t matter if the girl’s “marriage” is valid or not, it’s still used as justification by Muslims as to why they sell their young daughters into marriage. Since Islamic Law allows for this, it doesn’t matter that it doesn’t approve of kidnapping girls for marriage (even though this happens anyway).

    If a father marries his young daughter off because he thinks she might be kidnapped this is perfectly fine under Islam.


    July 12, 2008 at 4:30 pm

  3. […] Children’s marriage in Islam: some comments. […]

  4. I know what you mean. It’s terrible because it’s recognising that the free will of women to get married is just non-existent. Terrible and very sad.


    July 12, 2008 at 6:49 pm

  5. […] Children’s marriage in Islam: some comments. More violence against Copts in Egypt. […]

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