Home Latest News CII Claims Child Marriage is Compatible With Shariah

CII Claims Child Marriage is Compatible With Shariah

by AFP
CII member Tahir Ashrafi. Photograph by Minhaj Ahmed Rafi for Newsweek

CII member Tahir Ashrafi. Photograph by Minhaj Ahmed Rafi for Newsweek

Top religious body says onset of puberty determines marriageable age, claims a man does not need to get his first wife’s permission to contract a second marriage.

Pakistan’s top religious body has declared the prohibition of child marriage incompatible with Islam and demanded that the government amend its laws, prompting outrage from human rights activists.

The Council of Islamic Ideology, which was formed in 1962 to advise Parliament on the compatibility of laws with shariah, also ruled that a man does not need permission from his wife if he wants to marry another woman.

Tahir Ashrafi, a member of the body, said on Wednesday that Pakistan’s Prohibition of Child Marriages Act, which stipulates the age of marriage at 16 for women and 18 for men, was not in accordance with Islamic teachings. “There is no specific age limit for marriage in shariah,” he said.

“Shariah says an individual can marry when he or she reaches puberty and puberty cannot be defined by age,” he said, adding: “Family members can marry a child if they think he or she has reached puberty.”

He added that the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, which requires a wife to give her consent before her husband takes a second spouse, was also illegitimate. “Islam allows to marry four women so there is no question of asking the consent of first wife if a man wants to marry a second time,” he said.

Activists have called on Parliament to ignore both recommendations, terming them a violation of women’s fundamental rights.

Zohra Yusuf, chairperson of the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said the rulings were “against the spirit of the religion.” She questioned why laws against child marriage, which have been in place since the country was created, were being reviewed now.

The council “wishes to open a new front against women and to reinforce the militants’ siege of the state,” she said, referring to the Pakistani Taliban.

The council has drawn widespread criticism in the past for other rulings. Last November, it declared DNA inadmissible evidence in rape cases, supporting instead the revival of an Islamic law that makes it mandatory for an alleged rape victim to provide four witnesses to back their claims. Parliament did not act on the ruling.

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b_v March 13, 2014 - 11:43 am

you left out the part where it said that marriage is permissible but the ‘rukhsati’ can only take place after puberty…

adeem March 13, 2014 - 2:39 pm

Pakistan is going through a very difficult times. We are fighting a WAR & our so called scholars are discussing second marriage & child marriage? Are they insane…..

farmerdr March 15, 2014 - 11:44 pm

“Marriage” without informed consent is sexual slavery and in the case of a minor it is pedophilia. By stating that the ideology of Islam is in favour of these two crimes the Ulema do this religion a disservice.
Any doubt about the evil in the hearts of these men is removed when they do not even pay lip service to the need for laws to safeguard rights of women in polygamous marriages or deterrents to rape of pre-pubertal “married” infants.


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