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Islam and Child-Marriage in 2011

July 29, 2011

One of the more controversial, at least to non-muslims, aspects of Islam is the practice of arranged marriages and the marrying off of young girls.  To us in America, arranging the marriage of our pre-teen daughters to whomever is rather abhorrent.  And, while this seems like some unsavory practice of days-gone-by, think again.

Muhammad Al-‘Arifi: “There is no agreed-upon minimum age for the marriage of a boy or a girl. It depends upon their maturity.

[…]

For example, how old was ‘Aisha when the Prophet Muhammad married her? I will give you a hint.” 

Member of panel of Saudi youth: “She was seven years old.”   

Muhammad Al-‘Arifi: “And how old was she when he had sex with her?”  

Member of panel: “Fourteen.”  

Muhammad Al-‘Arifi: “Fourteen?! No way, she was nine. You are getting married tonight and you still can’t count…   

That was Mohammed, right?  He lived in the early 7th Century A.D.  That couldn’t apply now, could it?  Let’s see…

Muhammad Al-‘Arifi: “If a girl’s physical and mental build allows her to get married, it is okay for her to get married. There is no minimum age for a girl’s marriage set by Islam.”

Who decides if a girl’s physical and mental build is mature enough? 

The girl?  Surely not. 

The girl’s mother, then?  Nope.

In Islam, the male family members decide when and who a girl will marry.  Usually, a marriage contract comes with a dowry, which motivates the potential bride’s father to agree to a marriage.  Some may wave this off as the rambling opinion of some off-the-wall muslim cleric.  This show aired on Iqra TV, which is piped all over the world, but originates in Saudi Arabia.  If it is shown on Saudi television, it is endorsed by the Saudi Government.

So, the question is, at what age is it best to sell your daughter into marriage?  Islam has no age limit.

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