The Bible and Society

How God’s Word is True

Saudi Islamic cleric: 10-year-olds are ready for marriage

Posted by Mats on 22/01/2009

And why not? Muhammad, the “excellent example” of conduct (Qur’an 33:21), consummated his marriage with Aisha when she was nine.

Sharia Alert: “It’s an injustice to NOT marry girls aged 10, says Saudi cleric,” from the Daily Mail, January 14 (thanks to all who sent this in):

Ten-year-old girls are ready for marriage, according to Saudi Arabia’s most senior cleric.Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Al Sheikh, the country’s grand mufti, told Al Hayat newspaper that those saying ten or 12-year-old girls are too young to marry are being ‘unfair’ to them.

Al Sheikh’s comments come at a time when Saudi human rights groups have been pushing the government to put an end to marriages involving the very young and to define a minimum age for marriage.

In the past few months, Saudi newspapers have highlighted several cases in which young girls were married off to much older men or very young boys.

Though the mufti’s pronouncements are respected and provide guidance, the government is not legally bound by them.

On Sunday, the government-run Human Rights Commission condemned marriages of minor girls, saying such marriages are an ‘inhumane violation’ and rob children of their rights.

The commission’s statement followed a ruling by a court in Oneiza in central Saudi Arabia last month that dismissed a divorce petition by the mother of an eight-year-old girl whose father married her off to a man in his 50s.

Newspaper reports said the court argued that the mother did not have the right to file such a case on behalf of her daughter and said that the petition should be filed by the girl when she reaches puberty.

Responding to a question about parents who force their underage daughters to marry, the mufti said: ‘We hear a lot about the marriage of underage girls in the media, and we should know that Islamic law has not brought injustice to women.’

The mufti said a good upbringing will make a girl capable of carrying out her duties as a wife and that those who say women should not marry before the age of 25 are following a ‘bad path’.

‘Our mothers and before them, our grandmothers, married when they were barely 12,’ said Al Sheikh, according to the Al-Hayat newpaper.

There are no statistics to show how many marriages involving children are performed in Saudi Arabia every year….

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