Thursday, 13 March 2014

Islam and child-brides

Over the last few days I have had my attention drawn to four reports of Islamic countries and child-brides.

1. The Nation in Pakistan reports:
ISLAMABAD- The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) ruled today that Pakistani laws prohibiting marriage of underage children are un-Islamic. At the end of its two-day session today, the CII said there is no minimum age of marriage according to Islam.
“Islam does not forbid marriage of young children,” the council said. “However, the consummation of marriage is only allowed when both husband and wife have reached puberty.”

2. Reuters reports from Iraq:
BAGHDAD (Reuters) – About two dozen Iraqi women demonstrated on Saturday in Baghdad against a draft law approved by the Iraqi cabinet that would permit the marriage of nine-year-old girls and automatically give child custody to fathers.
The group’s protest was on International Women’s Day and a week after the cabinet voted for the legislation, based on Shi’ite Islamic jurisprudence, allowing clergy to preside over marriages, divorces and inheritances. The draft now goes to parliament.
“On this day of women, women of Iraq are in mourning,” the protesters shouted.
“We believe that this is a crime against humanity,” said Hanaa Eduar, a prominent Iraqi human rights activist. “It would deprive a girl of her right to live a normal childhood.”
The UN’s representative to Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, also condemned the legislation. Mladenov wrote on Twitter the bill “risks constitutionally protected rights for women and international commitment”.
The legislation goes to the heart of the divisions in Iraq since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003, as Shi’ite Islamists have come to lead the government and look to impose their religious values on society at large.
It describes girls as reaching puberty at nine, making them fit for marriage, makes the father sole guardian of his children at two and condones a husband’s right to insist on sexual intercourse with his wife whenever he wishes.

Iraq’s current personal status law enshrines women’s rights regarding marriage, inheritance, and child custody, and has often been held up as the most progressive in the Middle East.
The proposed new law’s defenders argue that the current personal status law violates sharia religious law.

3. In April 2011, the Bangladesh Mufti Fazlul Haque Amini declared that those trying to pass a law banning child marriage in that country were putting Muhammad in a bad light:
“Banning child marriage will cause challenging the marriage of the holy prophet of Islam, [putting] the moral character of the prophet into controversy and challenge... Islam permits child marriage and it will not be tolerated if any ruler will ever try to touch this issue in the name of giving more rights to women.”

4. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, Article 1041 of the Civil Code states that girls can be engaged before the age of nine, and married at nine:
“Marriage before puberty (nine full lunar years for girls) is prohibited. Marriage contracted before reaching puberty with the permission of the guardian is valid provided that the interests of the ward are duly observed.”
Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini married a ten-year-old girl when he was twenty-eight. Khomeini called marriage to a prepubescent girl “a divine blessing,” and advised the faithful to give their own daughters away accordingly: “Do your best to ensure that your daughters do not see their first blood in your house.” When he took power in Iran, he lowered the legal marriageable age of girls to nine, in accord with Muhammad’s example.

And it's that last part that explains the issue, we can turn to the influential Islamic website from December 2010 which justified child marriage by invoking not only Muhammad’s example, but the Qur’an as well:
The Noble Qur’an has also mentioned the waiting period [i.e. for a divorced wife to remarry] for the wife who has not yet menstruated, saying: “And those who no longer expect menstruation among your women, if you doubt, then their period is three months, and [also for] those who have not menstruated” [Qur"an 65:4]. Since this is not negated later, we can take from this verse that it is permissible to have sexual intercourse with a prepubescent girl. The Qur”an is not like the books of jurisprudence which mention what the implications of things are, even if they are prohibited. It is true that the prophet entered into a marriage contract with A’isha when she was six years old, however he did not have sex with her until she was nine years old, according to al-Bukhari.

Islam and child-brides, for which you can read child-sex, is allowed, indeed encouraged because it's following the Islamic Prophet Muhammed's example:
“The Prophet wrote the (marriage contract) with Aisha while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years old and she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death)” (Bukhari 7.62.88).
As, in Islam, Muhammad is the supreme example of conduct (cf. Qur’an 33:21), he is considered exemplary in even until today, so who can argue with the practice?

What shocks me is that the radical feminists who find anti-female discrimination in so much of Western society, can't seem to see it in the matter of child-brides in Islam, why?

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