Justice for a childbride

26 10 2008

Waw! There is hope for the world after all! In KSA, a judge nullified the forced marriage of a 14 year old girl to an old pedophile geezer of over 70! (read article here)

he girl went to the court with her divorced mother and told the judge to save her life as her father had forced her to marry a man who was older than her grandfather.

She also complained that her stepmother asked her father to get rid of her in any way possible, Al-Riyadh newspaper reported yesterday.

The girl, whose name was not published, is a student of the first standard at an intermediate school in Qatif. She has not been attending the school for some time fearing her father would take her home by force. The girl is staying with her mother now.

The judge said in the judgment that the marriage was illegal even though it had been registered because the girl did not agree to the marriage.

“After examining the documents of the case, I am convinced that the petitioner was forced by her father to get married.

“The girl did not publicly express her unwillingness to the marriage because her father had threatened to punish her severely if she objected to the marriage. It is under this situation that the girl ran away from her father’s house to her mother and sought the court’s protection,” the judge said in his ruling.

The judge added that he was handing down the verdict in the spirit of the Shariah law.

For those visiting my blog who are not muslim, (and for those who are, but know nothing about it (which is often so but not amongst visitors to this blog)) Islam is not inherently ”female-unfriendly”: One of the conditions for a valid marriage is the presence and approval of both partners.
It’s just that too many ”Islamic” countries choose to ignore the many rights women have in Islam. Saudi Arabia being a good example. Childbrides are often sold off for a dowry. Which is also incorrect, as the dowry should be the property of the wife, not the guardian. Therefore it is very good to read that for once the courts have upheld the rights of a girl trapped into an unequal marriage by an irresponsible father.

Actually there is even a hadith stating; that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “A single woman has more right over herself (for marriage) than has her guardian.” (Sunan Abî Dâwûd, Sunan al-Tirmidhî, and Musnad Ahmad)

From the fatwa archive of Islam today:

Sheikh Salman al-Oadah
It is a woman’s right to choose her life partner. It is unlawful for her guardian – regardless of who he is – or for anyone else to deny her this right or to force her into an unwanted marriage. Likewise, it is unlawful for him to prevent her from marrying a suitor of equal status or to prevent her form marriage altogether in order to take her money or to use her for housework, or due to some cultural notion of honor.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “A virgin cannot be married to someone without first seeking her consent.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

This is the correct opinion expressed by the jurists and it is the opinion that accords with the explicit dictates of the sacred texts.

It is the duty of the political authority to legislate punishments for any violation of these rights and also to revoke the guardianship of such men.

I call upon women to show courage and strength, and to stand up for their rights. They should not allow anyone to prohibit them altogether from their right to marriage. They should not let anyone force them into an unwanted marriage.

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18 responses

26 10 2008
Achelois

Surely there is hope then. Thanks for sharing this!

I was reading on PeacefulMuslimah’s blog that men who are above 65 marry young girls giving the Prophet’s example of marriage to Aisha. Judges and imams are tired of this ‘excuse’ and will not hear it anymore. They respond by saying be as great as him and then you can marry a child. On another blog there was a lengthy discussion on how Aisha was too young to agree or disagree to her marriage and didn’t even properly know she was getting married so a child’s expressed approval is not necessary. I don’t even want to go into those arguments but just wanted to share what is being discussed elsewhere on similar topics.

But in this case the girl is old enough to say she doesn’t want to marry the old chap. Good for her!

26 10 2008
Aafke

Achelois, thanks for pointing all this out! I’ll have a look!
Hè hè *Be as great as him and then you can marry a child* LOL!
Anyway, there are good reasons to claim Aïscha was quite a bit older anyway.
And there is also a hadith where Mohammed gives a girl the choice of annulling her marriage when she came to him complaining of being forced into it.

Good for her, good for her mother who backed her up, and good for the judge!
I thought this was quite a refreshing bit of news!

26 10 2008
tulip

I wonder why the father did not just give the mother custody of the girl if the stepmother had said she didn’t want her in the home. It seems like that would be a lot easier than setting up a marriage. Maybe he was getting a lot of money from the old perv from such an arrangement.

I also wonder why a man would even want to marry a 14 year old. I just really don’t understand the desire for such a match up. Wouldn’t you want someone on the same maturity level as yourself who could provide you with more than what seems to boil down to just sex?

26 10 2008
Aafke

Tulip, let’s face it: 80 year old women are not as HOT as 14 year old girls… Besides, pedophelia is much more common as geriatrophelia.

What? Daddy going to forgo his ”ownership rights” and give her back to her mother? And forgo the substantial payment he got for selling his daughter to the perv.??? (I refuse to call it ”dowry” as she’s never going to see a riyal of it)

27 10 2008
HishMaj

There is going to be a legal move too to ban children from getting married to older men:

Saudi Gazette / 27 October, 2008
http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentID=2008102720339

Move to ban underage marriages
By Muhammad Odhaib
DAMMAM – The Shoura Council is studying a new law to prevent marriages between aged Saudi men and young girls.
The law is expected to produce guidelines to protect young girls from marriages with Saudi men of a significantly higher age, a phenomenon that has spread in parts of the Kingdom and abroad, resulting in numerous problems for wives and Saudi children abroad.
The new law also deals with marriages to non-Saudi women in which the Saudi husbands admit fathering the children, with new legal procedures expected to be in place soon to enable their children to be brought to the Kingdom.
The law secondly addresses cases where fathers refuse to recognize their children, in which case proof of the marriage will be required from the wife through relevant authorities. If she fails to provide the documents, the matter will be referred to the courts to conduct DNA tests.
The Ministry of Justice and other government departments are also preparing regulations to prevent the marriage of girls under the age of 14.
The regulations are expected to be issued before the end of the year. Studies into child marriage show that it has caused an increase in divorce rates and women becoming widows at an early age, in addition to a range of health and psychological problems.
Recent cases of child marriage to elderly men have caught the attention of both the public and the authorities.
S.A. was married at the age of 13, to become a divorcee only two months later. “I was forced into the marriage and I had to leave school,” she says. “I did not know the meaning of living with a man under one roof. I was terrified and couldn’t continue so I was divorced after two months.”
Some marriages occur without the consent of the bride. One girl was taken aback to find out she had become the third wife of a man 60 years her elder. The marriage took place without her knowledge to the unknown septuagenarian when she was barely 10 years old.
It is difficult for a girl to accept an elderly man as a husband, with stark incompatibilities in terms of age, culture and education, and the elderly husband being unable to understand or meet the emotional needs of a young wife, leading regularly and rapidly to divorce.
In Jizan, tribal sheikhs say marriage between young girls and elderly men has become an increasing scourge, with Saudi men marrying non-Saudi girls in border regions or from neighboring countries to escape scrutiny. They have called for the age of marriage to be set in law in order to protect the rights of girls. Although the Kingdom currently has no law setting the age for marriage, Zuhair Al-Harithi, a board member of the Saudi government-run Human Rights Commission, told Associated Press in June of this year: “These marriages violate international agreements the Kingdom has signed.”
Dr. Suhaila Zein Al-Abideen agrees a national law is needed to define marriageable age. A member of the Studies and Consultations Committee in the National Society for Human Rights, she has appealed to the Ministry of Justice to ban aged men from marrying young girls and called for a minimum age for marriage to suit the needs of the times. She also said that whoever is involved in forcing a girl into marriage should be punished.
Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Talhi, a marriage official, said there were clear instructions from the Ministry of Justice to marriage officials that they must hear the girl’s consent clearly while officiating a marriage without an intermediary. In other words, the girl must be veiled and must answer the marriage official’s question clearly. However, he admitted that some guardians deceive officials by bringing another girl to pronounce consent to the marriage. “It is the father or guardian who bears the sin for such an act,” he said.
Dr. Abdullah Al-Humaid, Director General of the Asir Region branch of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance, said that there were no official directives for marriage officials saying the girl must be of a certain age. This, he said, depended upon the consent of the girl’s guardian, the girl herself and the husband-to-be, requiring also the presence of witnesses and an authenticated medical report on the suitability of the man and woman for marriage.
Sheikh Sa’eed Muhammad Aal-Makhfour, another marriage official, said Allah legislated marriage for sublime wisdom and noble ends and benefits. He cited the Qur’anic verse: “And if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphan-girls then marry (other) women of your choice, two or three, or four; …” (Surah An-Nisaa, verse 3). He also quoted the Prophet (peace be upon him) as saying that a woman is married for four reasons – for her financial status, noble descent, beauty and piety. The Prophet (peace be upon him) regarded piety as the most important factor.
Sheikh Aal-Makhfour said an aged man marrying a young girl was rare, and that it was not clear that all such marriages were harmful. He gave the example of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) marrying Aesha, describing it as a very happy and successful marriage despite the great age difference.
Controversy over child marriage has become the focus of media attention recently in Yemen with two cases of child brides, under ten years of age, seeking refuge from unwanted marriages, while Dr. Ahmad Al-Mu’bi, a Saudi marriage official, told Lebanese television in June:
“There is no minimal age for entering marriage. You can have a marriage contract even with a one-year-old girl, not to mention a girl of nine, seven, or eight. This is merely a contract consent. The guardian in such a case must be the father, because the father’s opinion is obligatory. Thus, the girl becomes a wife… But is the girl ready for the marriage or not?
What is the appropriate age for having sex for the first time? This varies according to environment and traditions. In Yemen, girls are married off at nine, ten, eleven, or thirteen, while in other countries, they are married off at 16. Some countries have legislated laws forbidding consummation of the marriage before the girl is eighteen. – Okaz

27 10 2008
Aafke

HisMaj, Thank you for sharing this, about time too!
But then They’re only ”studying” That can mean anything…
And really, 14 is still too young, apart from the psycological implications, these children are not up to pregnancy, resulting in serious damage to mother and child!

27 10 2008
Mezba

I wonder if an argument could be made then that old men (70+) are not senile if they want to marry an underage child and therefore cannot consent to the marriage!

27 10 2008
Aafke

Damn, Mezba! That’s my kind of thinking! Why didn’t I think of that one???
You have a serious argument here: Isn’t an over seventy year old, decrepid geezer, who wants to ”marry” a little schoolgirl, automatically too senile too make any decisions at all???
Of course he isn’t!
Put them in mental homes!

27 10 2008
susieofarabia

Saudi Arabia definitely needs laws in this area, so I am happy to see that it appears that something will finally be done about it. Thanks for bringing this information out and also a big thanks to HishMaj for the Gazette article too.

27 10 2008
HishMaj

Well, yes, they are just studying it. But that itself is a really huge progress in this country. There is also a line that reads “The regulations are expected to be issued before the end of the year.”

I guess that says it all.

Its all about being optimistic and thinking about how WE can bring a change rather than whining about the current situation.

I am more a fan of what we can do to improve and become constructive. It’s true that it is easier said than done but things wont change unless someone really steps up.

Thanks alot for bringing out the topic….afterall, there is a light at the end of every tunnel ;-D

27 10 2008
HishMaj

you are welcome, susie!

27 10 2008
Aafke

HishMaj, It is defenitely a step forward, actually the fact that these practises are under discussion is a step towards ending them.
Bringing light to the end of the tunnel…
Did I say welcome to my blog yet?
Welcome to my blog HishMaj!

Susie, I don’t see why there can’t be a more comprehensive law-code. But I think times are changing.

27 10 2008
HishMaj

I was going thru the older posts, and i just cant stop reading them!!!
Thanks a lot…

27 10 2008
Aafke

😀

28 10 2008
Lat

Such marriages is just sickening! should ban them outright.I can’t even stand a 60 yr old man marrying a 30 yr old woman( which exist in my relative circle) leave alone a 14 yr old girl! I simply have no respect for such people.I wish more judges like that KSA guy would sprout out more all through the Islamic land and stop this atrocity!

28 10 2008
Aafke

Lat, it’s disgusting, nd nothing but blatant pedophelia, There is now a court-case pending against a scholar in Indonesia who has just married a 12 year old girl, which is against the law in Indonesia, but that apparently is not enough to protect little children from getting halal-ly raped by pedophiles!
And this bastard has two more lined up: he also plans to marry a 9 and 7 year old!!!!!!!
Not only should these bastards be taken to law, but also the parents whose gross deriliction of duty towards their children makes these crimes possible in the first place!

And isn’t it funny that none of the lecherous senile losers never refers to the fact that the prophet’s most beloved wife Khadijja was 25 years older, and his only wife until she died? That except for Aïscha all his wives were widows or divorcees???? Apparently that part of sunnah isn’t worthwhile following!

29 10 2008
Smiley Amal !

Yeah know what I have never understood this , how can any parent do that to their daughter ? I have a daughter of my own I could never do that to her I Just can not get it round my head how any parent can do that .

29 10 2008
Aafke

I don’t understand it either, and contemplating how many parents are willing to submit their daughters to suffering and abuse makes me really sick, and hopeless of humanity.

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