Early and forced marriages is a negative vice that erodes the sanctity of marriage in our societies, this got me pondering on the legal age for marriage in Islam, so I conducted extensive research and read the Quran to find out the legal requirements surrounding the Issue.
So, when can Muslims get married? A Muslim can get married at the age of 18 and above. Majority of Islamic cultures around the world have developed laws that allow marriage to be conducted at the age of 18 and above. Islamic law is inherently resistant to codification as it is always keen in pursuing what is beneficial to the believers and is more equivocal and flexible on the matter.
When the Quran refers to the age of marriage it does not specify any age in particular but rather identifies it with the attainment of “reason”. Many jurists argue that Islamic law has two realms: the realm of historical contingent social interactions and the unchanging realm of worship. Marriage law falls under the first category. Therefore Muslim marriage is a contractual relationship and is not a sacrament.
Because marriage in Islam is treated as contract, validity is key; without consent, the contract is considered null and void. To this end, there exists a prophetic hadith insisting on Muslim girls, non-virgin and virgin, must be consulted and must agree before commencing the marriage. A child, having no legal capacity, has no consent to give. If a child is not in a position to give proper consent, then surely a child cannot get married.
Issues arising from this matter originate from some legal schools considering marriage guardians, acting on the behalf of the bride to an essential part of the marriage contract.
The guardian is required to obtain the consent of the bride before contracting. In some cases, if the father is the guardian, he can compel his prepubescent female of male child to marry, and the contract stands. This is unacceptable.
Part of the reason this is happening is based on the story of the prophet marrying his best friend’s girl, a daughter called Aisha, when she was nine years old. Some jurists have disputed the report stating that it had not been included in the early legal compendia and doubt the reliability of the narrators.
The questioned if the agreement would have been contended had she protested. Many historians have questioned Aisha’s age, many asserting that she was 18 years old. Also, older jurists chose this report rather than the previous hadith because it fatefully affirmed paternal power.
Legally there is a requirement that the groom should be suitable. If the husband to be is considered unsuitable, the contract is dissolved. Suitability can be identified to be the marriage age and is always defined by the social setting of a given Muslim public.
Some jurists’ sentiments on who was inappropriate for a reputable girl included Persians, slaves, and cuppers, medical professionals who were tasked with the extraction of blood. None of these aspects are applicable today, yet the suitability requirements stand; legal codes in most countries in Saudi Arabia retain the language but have not attempted to redefine the concept. Today, it is surely the tie to attempt such a redefinition.
Considering the issue practically, the best possible approach for addressing forced marriage from within the Islamic legal tradition is to demand that a spouse be of suitable age. The preeminent job of the Muslim community should be to help girls understand their basic rights.
The girls must understand their legal right to resist a father’s contract through arguing or suitability. The community as a whole must demand in the modern context, age must be a component.
But why are children compelled to marry? It is a serious over simplification to put forward that refraining from premarital sex is the sole reason dads marry off their offspring. More tenacious are the issues of ignorance and poverty.
In numerous ways, child marriage still functions as it did in the antique world- it was a way in which Muslim fathers used to relieve themselves of another mouth to feed. Child marriage is at its highest in some of the world’s poorest communities.
One of the worst alarming outcomes of the recent is the refugee crisis that recorded high incidences of child marriages within the camps. Where poverty is made even more complex through violence and war, it is the responsibility of the international community to style refugees in regions where they can work and live with honor.
The other issue is ignorance. The health effects of marrying off a child are catastrophic. The social consequences of girls dropping out of schools are far reaching. The Muslim society ought to focus on inspiring basic Islamic lawful literacy surrounding consent, litigation and suitability but should offer the benefits of engaging in marriage when one has attained the legal requirement.
It is important to keep in mind that the age of 18 may indeed have emerged from a context of cultural privilege that characterizes the western educational systems. Numerous conservative religious leaders engage in identity politics by framing what is Muslim as anything non-western.
To oppose this, sensitive arguments for a higher marriage age should anchored in Muslim sources as well as data- drive health facts that has led to wide raging benefits for the Muslim community.
If the grassroots faith-inspired and community groups engage with progressive vibrant activists and Muslim scholars vocabulary will emerge that respects the law’s flexibility and its ability to allow even the newest believers.
Is it Mandatory to Marry in Islam?
Marriage, in the Islamic world view, is an essential part of building protective and healthy relationships, societies and families. Marriage is considered fard if an individual is tormented by sexual desire that he or she fears falling into sin of fornication. Because staying away from fornication is obligatory, and because marriage is one of the avenues for legitimate sexual satisfaction, it becomes obligatory on such an individual to get married.
The above is based on the code of jurisprudence that states that if a mandatory thing cannot be satisfied except by satisfying another, then satisfying the latter converts to be equally obligatory.
However, if he or she is not tormented by sexual desire, and therefore has no fear of falling into immorality, then it is extremely recommended to get wedded if one has the means to do so. By doing so, one will be fulfilling one of the great Sunnah’s of the prophet.
If an individual knows for sure that he or she is not in a position to fulfill the responsibilities that are required in matrimony, and there is no dread of him or her being tempted to engage in sin, then it is considered haram for such an individual to get married. Islam prohibits us from doing the wrong thing to another individual; this would be definitely be the circumstance if one were to overlook his or her spouse.
If the individual has no means to marry and is therefore not in a position of fulfilling his spouse duties, but has a strong desire, it is permitted for him to get married provided that he tries earnestly to seek an honest source of living. Allah has promised to help such an individual. The Muslim community at large is tasked with a duty to assist such individuals until such a time they become self-reliant.
Muslim men and women are required to understand the high status in which marriage has n Islam so that they can be keener to marry. In the Quran, Allah says that men can marry women of their choice with a maximum of four, it instructs all Muslims to marry from those who are single. It also highlights some of the benefits of marriage.
They include protecting of Islam religion and helping individuals to adhere to it. It also helps in protecting women and producing offspring thus increasing the ranks of ummah hence achieving the teachings of the prophet.
The Quran frames marriage as a contract that promotes procreation, modesty, enjoyment and love. The marriage of a man and a woman is pleasing to God and is described in the Quran as: “And among his sins is this that he created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and he put mercy and love between your hearts…”
In Islam marriage is a solemn covenant. It is one of the most significant forms of agreement in Islam that serves a purpose in establishing a successful relationship for attaining positive outcomes for all the parties. Marriage has numerous functions that help shape the society.
One main importance of marriage is to help preserve mankind by making sure that tranquility and harmony is created. It helps to provide physical and emotional fulfillment as well as promoting respect and mutual love. It enables sharing, assistance as well as caring thus helping in promoting rights and protecting benefits of marriage.
All Muslims are encouraged to create a successful union that promotes tranquility, love as well as mercy between parties involved. An unhealthy marriage is unlikely to fulfill this purpose. The Quran sets out the basic requirements for marriage. For instance it should be an agreement conducted by two legally capable parties and serves as the basis for certain duties and rights between spouses.
The categorization of marriage to as meethaqan ghaleezan, the most earnest form of contract in Islam means that the free and deemed consent of both probable parties is needed. Mutual consent is as well required among other conditions which includes the determination of mutual attraction as well as compatibility, ascertaining similar beliefs like faith.
There is the agreement on dower (mahr) to be paid by the groom directly to the bride. The agreement on other terms of marriage. The marriage contract should be understood as well including the responsibilities, rights of each party.
The capability of the male to provide for the family as women are prohibited from working or being the sole breadwinner. The husband is given the fundamental obligation to financially support the children and his spouse, also known as nafaqah.
Post-puberty, physical maturity and sound judgment known as rushd particularly when it comes to money and how to handle it is needed in order to make sure that the individual can conduct own affairs. The Quran does not provide a definition at which the rush can be attained as it can vary from one individual to another but both parties ought to reach it before they get married.
Marriage as outlined by Islamic law is always consensual. The prohibition of forced marriage and promotion of consensual relationships is supported throughout the Quran as well as other Islamic texts.
The Quran explicitly states that it is not lawful for any individual to come into women by force nor one is allowed to treat them harshly so that they can make off with part of what they have given them, unless they commit an act of flagrant indecency.
Forced marriage has no validity in Islam. Nobody can be forced into marriage against his or her will. There is no basis in the Quran that this is being practiced. During the ties of Prophet Mohammed, one of his companions, Ibn Abbas consulted him on a female who reported that her dad had forced her to marry without her consent, the prophet gave her the freedom of accepting the marriage or invalidating it.
In a different narration, the women accepted the marriage and pointed out that she wanted to let parents know that they have no right to force a husband on them.
Agreement in marriage contract falls within a broader Islamic background of protection of women that grants them the right to freely exercise choice when it comes to matters affecting their life. According to a hadith that was recorded by Abu Huraira, the prophet stated clearly that a virgin should not be married until her consent has been obtained.
However, while a consent is required for females, a few would challenge the Sharia positions on this. Some communities argue that the issue in confounded with local understandings on how consent has to be obtained and who is supposed to give the consent on behalf of the bride. Muslim communities all over the world provide different perspectives on what constitute a perfect behavior on the part of the bride, in light of their distinct social norms.
Guardians and parents are responsible for the wellbeing of the children placed in their trust and in emphasizing the importance of this role are the directives and warnings provided in the Quran. Prophet Mohamed insisted that parents are shepherds.
And everyone is responsible for whatsoever falls under his accountability. A man is considered a shepherd of his own family and he is always responsible for them.
The rights of children in Islam include good nutrition and health, psychological and emotional wellbeing, a dignified and secure life, gender equity and the protection from violation. Parents have a responsibility to make sure that these rights are not violated in any manner especially when it comes to marriage.
In Islam the permissibility of marriage is contingent upon the fact that females and males reach maturity and the wali giving their consent. A wali is a relative with the sole responsibility of protecting the rights and interests of the bride including making sure that her consent is in line with the aspirations and goals of the bride.
When the wali fails in his responsibility, injustices such as early child marriages as well as forced marriages occur. The failure could be as a result of ignorance of their obligations in Islamic law as well as the contextual pressures brought about by culture and poverty. Poverty in some cases is problematic because the wali can be tempted to not act in the child or female’s best interests.
There exists numerous principles that make a case against early child marriage including the protection of health and life should guide every decision during the marriage process. Sharia law sets strong standards of protection of girls and women and the evidence of the injury caused by early marriage breaks the Islamic duty to protect human health and life.
The prophet pointed out explicitly that no harm and no reciprocating of harm as Allah will punish the wrong doers. All Muslims are entrusted to follow the rules of the land whether they live in Muslim or non-Muslim regions and it includes the minimum legal age for marriage. Therefore engaging in forced marriages without consent is illegal.
There exists no minimum age set out in the Quran or any hadith but there exists numerous references that call for individuals to reach the age of mental maturity and responsibility- which is at some point beyond the age of puberty.
Before entering into a serious contractual agreement, sound judgment is necessary in order for the parties to manage their life’s affairs and responsibilities well. Early marriages violate the inalienable human rights when seeking development and fulfilling their potential. It normally cuts short women’s or girls’ right to educational, social and economic opportunities.