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Assala Mu Alaikum Oa Rahmatullah, I would like to share a global issue named “child marriage”. According to UNCRC (United Nations convention on the rights of the child) it is prohibited to give our children’s marriage under 18 years of age. But regarding the issue what is the position of Islam? Child marriage is a really a pathetic matter to a country, especially for third world. But are there any bindings to arrange a child marriage in Islamic philosophy...?
Introduction: In Islam, a marriage contract can be agreed by parents for their children. Two families may make a marriage contract that their children will be each other's partners when they are mature for the rights of marriage. Why is this done? - To cement relations between two families, or - To agree to marriage early before someone else proposes to that family. (This was done by Kings in the past to secure relations between two kingdoms.) This type of marriage DOES NOT imply that these children will have marriage relations (sexual intercourse) while being children. Rather, this marriage has produced a connection between two families. Once these children Physically mature (Baaligh) - they will be able to live with each other and have marriage relations if they are wanting to. NOTE: Even though this type of marriage is recognised in Islam, when the children become mature - they have the choice of annulling/cancelling the marriage (through a Judge) if they are not happy with it. This then refutes the concept of forcing them into marriage if they aren't happy. 2 Types of Maturity for young Women in Islam: 1- Menstrual Maturity. 2- Buloogh Physical Maturity. It is critical to know the difference between these 2 types of Maturity, to understand the ayah; ..and for those who have no courses [(i.e. they are still not menstruating) their 'Iddah (prescribed divorce period) is 3 months.. [Quran Talaq 65:4] -1- Menstrual Maturity Menstrual Maturity involves the girl going through her monthly cycles, in which her monthly periods take place. What does this signify? According to Islamic teachings, it implies that; - She is now responsible for her deeds (good & bad) in the sight of Allah, and is responsible for Prayers/Fasting etc. [see: IslamQA #70425] - It DOES NOT necessarily imply that she is ready for marriage relations (sexual intercourse). This is because her body may not have matured for that. Therefore the rule of ‘Prevention of harm’* in Islam will automatically prevent her husband from having marriage relations with her. * the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam , said: “There is to be no harming, nor reciprocating of harm. [An excellent hadith which Ibn Majah, Al-Daraqutni and others related as of sound isnad , but which Malik related in his Muwatta' as of broken isnad , from 'Amr bin Yahya, from his father, from the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam , but dropping (the name of) Abu Sa'id. This hadith has lines of transmission which strengthen one another (so that it may be regarded as of sound isnad ).]î) -2- Buloogh – Developmental Physical Maturity This Maturity involves the girl having Physical growth take place, so that her women features (breasts mature, pubic hairs grow etc.) become apparent in her physical appearance. This is the puberty which signifies that a young woman is fit for marriage relations with her husband, EVEN if she has not had her menses. Mufti Maulana Husain Kadodia explained: realty, puberty has two usages. The first usage is with regards to physical development, whereas the second usage is with regards to menses. For (sexual) intercourse, developmental puberty (Buloogh) is a precondition.* Whereas for other rulings—such as being ordered to pray—the menses usage applies. (Maulana Mufti Husain Kadodia, Ask Imam.com with Mufti Ebrahim Desai) *The puberty being referred to is the puberty of physical growth – so that a person is capable for sexual relations – without any harm coming to them. A Comparison: Readers may be surprised by the difference between Menstrual Maturity and Buloogh. Below are 2 examples; Yemen: Women in the Hot climated country of Yemen mature both in the Menstrual and Buloogh level near the age of 9. So they can be married and have marriage relations at such an age if they are fit for it, according to Islam. Antarctica: Women in the Cold climated contintent of Antarctica - in some cases may mature physically in every way [buloogh] but only have her menses when she reaches the age of 20. So she can get married before 20 (because she has reached Buloogh, but not Menses) and therefore can have marriage relations with her husband if she won't get harmed by it - according to Islam. RESEARCH: LiveScience.com says: There is a range, and this has been part of the problem of establishing the “normal” age of puberty. Girls might enter full-blown puberty anytime between ages 9 and 15. (LiveScience.com, The Truth Behind Early Puberty | LiveScience) Young women will differ in Buloogh (physical maturity) depending on a range of factors, especially depending on Where they Live and their Biological makeup; The average temperature of the country or province is considered the chief factor here, not only with regard to menstruation but as regards the whole of sexual development at puberty. Reference: (Herman H. Ploss, Max Bartels and Paul Bartels; Women: An Historical, Gynecological, and Anthropological Compendium,Volume I, Lord & Bransby, 1988, p.563; Woman. An historical, gynaecological and anthropological compendium. Volume 3 only by PLOSS, Herman Heinrich, BARTELS, Max & BARTELS, Paul Find or Buy Book Now!) The book Women and Health Psychology says: Many factors have been reported to affect age at menarche and/or the regularity of menstruation—[such as] climate, altitude, race, height, weight, hereditary, stress/psychological factors, light, and nutrition. (Women and Health Psychology p.74, Women and Health Psychology … – Google Book Search) Albrecht von Haller (1775), for example, claimed that girls in the southerly regions of Asia, where the climate was warm, were marriageable in their eighth year and gave birth in their ninth or tenth year; conversely, women in Arctic regions did not menstruate until age 23 or 24. This view was shared by other eighteenth-century writers, most notably J.F. Freind (1738), Herman Boerhaave (1744), and Montesquieu (1751). (The Cambridge World History of Food, p.1455, http://books.google.com/books?id=tAnsCn0A3rcC&pg=PA1455&lpg=PA1455&dq=aver age+age+of+puberty+climate&source=web&ots=MQwdFaB1 iY&sig=GwJ-pPjE3b0hrx8KYYNRKTuVxE#PPA1454,M1) It is allowable to infer that early marriage in oriental [eastern] countries (which has generally, but without any proof, been ascribed to precocious Puberty) . (The Southern Medical and Surgical Journal, p.41, The Southern Medical and Surgical … – Google Book Search) Mental & Emotional Maturity Girls and boys reach mental maturity quicker in close climate nations because they are brought up this way by their culture and upbringing. This usually makes them mature more emotionally too. I.e. If the norms in a culture are to marry early, then the upbringing by the parents will ensure that the child is brought up to mature and prepare for marriage at an earlier age. If a young adult can handle it well, then what's the problem? In Islam, if someone is capable of being married and is mature in a way to handle its responsibilities, it is permitted in Islam for that person to get married, male or female. But if there will be any harm that could come to them through such a marriage, then the marriage should not go ahead, and may be annulled by the Islamic judge if there is harm in it. Marriage may be done earlier in Muslim nations because having any intimate relations outside of marriage is not permitted. Instead, it is to be done through a secure and safe relationship of marriage. This is why marriage is encouraged, because if a person is capable of having a relationship with someone else, then why not through a trustworthy relationship which both parties agree to? (TO BE CONTINUED)