THE DAILY ISLAMIC REMINDERS. Yaum Ath-thalaatha, 10th Jumaadal Uulaa. (Tuesday, 14th of December 2021). *_The Role of Religious Leaders and the so-called Child Marriage_*. BismilLah.
Firstly, I would like to state that there is nothing like Child Marriage in Islam. Islam has its rules. Our Religious leaderss must educate and keep reminding fellow Muslims, especially parents, the rules pertaining to Marriage.
In shariah, the minimum condition is to ensure the female reaches her age of puberty. Reaching the age of puberty should not be considered as the only criteria for deciding on an appropriate age for marriage. Other factors such as the overall maturity of a person, and his or her ability to discern between what is good or bad, such that his personal approval or disapproval in important decisions of life become valid, must also to be taken into consideration.
What is the Meaning of ‘Maturity’?
Like all other living beings, the human being too goes through a process of constant change and growth. This natural overall process can be seen distinctly through changes in height, weight, habits, skills, and social, economic and emotional behaviourr. All these patterns have been widely studied and discussed through psychology and other related sciences. Maturity implies the powerful presence of mind and intelligence in one’s dealings, one’s ability to safeguard one’s possessions from being squandered away and one’s prudence in spending in a judicious manner.’
For girls, maturity may be defined as follows: ‘A girl’s ability to manage a good life, her level of acceptance of the responsibility of motherhood and child-rearing, as well as her appropriateness in social behavior.’
From the above definitions, we can see that although one may have reached the age of puberty and according to Islamic practical laws, Salat (prayer) and Sawm (fasting) are now obligatory on him/her, but if he/she is not socially active and economically productive, then he/she may be termed as an adolescent, but not as ‘mature’.
The prime age of marriage for girls, would also depend on their mental and psychological maturity. It may be possible that in some cases by the age of 14, a girl may be mature enough to shoulder the responsibility of family-life and motherhood, but a woman of 30 may not yet be mature enough to do so in other areas! Therefore, what is important in determining the ripe age for marriage is one’s own level of maturity and readiness, whether one has reached the legal age for marriage or not! It would be very naive to ignore geographical and regional conditions and norms, as well as the needs of the youth of the day, and such negligence could lead to many problems.
In the present world, with the greater intermingling between sexes, better nutrition, educational facilities and more awareness due to advanced mass media, children are reaching “maturity” much earlier than ever before; and considering these factors, raising the legal age for marriage for boys and girls is quite unjustifiable.
Considering the underline factors above, its important for our Religious Leaders to broaden their understanding and organize workshops, regularly lectures etc to educate the youth and the parents as to why its important for their daughters in particular to make their own choice in regards to their marriage whenever they feel ready for it.
*_May ALLAH keeps guiding us all and protects us from any satanic influences_*. Aameen.