Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) sees NOTHING WRONG in child marriage.
Jakim stressed that the practice or child marriage was now widely accepted and considered “reasonable”.
Jakim director-general, Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz (right), said child marriage should not cause any problem, especially if the wedding was bound "by the love between couples”.
"The public may have objected to this idea at first, but now it (child marriage) is already widely accepted as a reasonable move," he said.
He said that given the growing social problems among Muslims, such type of marriage should be ENCOURAGED
According to news reports, 14 year old schoolgirl Siti Maryam Mahmod married 23-year-old schoolteacher Abdul Manan Othman last Saturday, after being given permission in a Syariah Court.
Sisters-in-Islam (SIS) Opposes Child Marriages
Civil rights groups have described such practice as “unacceptable” and have continuously called for restraint by religious courts empowered to approve underage marriage.
Activist group, Sisters in Islam (SIS), which disagreed with underage marriage, proposed that the government raise the minimum age of marriage to 18 years for all Malaysians.
SIS spokesperson Yasmin Masidi said in a statement yesterday that the onset of puberty did not mean that the person has attained sufficient maturity for marriage.
"While the Quran does not state a specific age as the age of marriage, Surah an-Nisa' 4:6 requires that when orphans reach the 'age of marriage' or a 'marriageable age', they can be tested for 'sound judgment' or maturity of mind'.The marriage of the 14-year-old child is only the tip of the iceberg as many more cases of child marriage go unreported.
This indicates that a marriageable age is linked to soundness of judgement and maturity, where a child below 18 could not be said to have the life experience necessary to assume marital responsibilities.
There is no sound reason why her family and her intended groom cannot wait until she reaches the age of majority before asking for her consent to marry.
Malaysia should emulate other Muslim-majority countries which are already taking steps to address child marriage as a problem.
A man was jailed in Indonesia for sexually abusing a minor after he married a 12-year-old girl, and even Saudi Arabia is mulling over a ban on child marriage.
Studies on child marriage point to harm suffered by children, particularly girls: the loss of childhood and adolescence, denial of freedom and personal development, difficulty in accessing education, health problems due to early pregnancies and abuse."
According to Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Heng Seai Kie last October, 16,000 girls aged below 15 in the country tied the knots.
Malaysia Minister REJECTS Call to End Child Marriage
From AFP Newswire. Read here for more
Malaysia’s law minister on Wednesday shot down calls to ban underage marriage, despite an uproar over the recent wedding of a 14-year-old Muslim school girl.
Siti Maryam Mahmod wed 23-year-old teacher Abdul Manan Othman last weekend in a mass wedding at a major mosque, after being given permission in an Islamic Sharia court.
Malaysian Muslims below the age of 16 are allowed to marry as long as they obtain the permission of the religious courts. Sharia law runs in parallel with civil law in the multi-ethnic country.
Nazri Aziz, a minister in the premier’s department in charge of legal affairs, said the government has no plan to review laws allowing for underage marriages because the practice is permitted under Islam.
“If the religion allows it, then we can’t legislate against it,” he told a press conference.
“Islam allows it as long as the girl is considered to have reached her pubescent stage, once she has her menstruation,” he added.
However, Siti Maryam’s marriage has sparked criticism including from Women, Family and Community Development Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, who insisted the government did not condone the practice.
Activist groups have also called for the laws that allow underage marriage to be repealed, saying that the practice is widespread with some 16,000 Malaysian girls aged below 15 already married.
“The onset of puberty is no indication of sufficient maturity for marriage,” pressure group Sisters in Islam said this week, citing a passage in the Koran which also requires “maturity of mind”.
“No marriage of a minor child can be deemed acceptable,” said the group’s spokeswoman Yasmin Masidi.
Muslim Malays make up about 60 percent of the country’s 28 million population and on certain issues, including family law, they are subject to Islamic justice.
Raja Petra Kamarudin
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The Jakim director-general,Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz has decreed that child marriages are kosher.
Imagine children of the age of 14 can get married but they are not old enough to vote. You can trust them to have children and raise a family but you can’t trust them to vote.
And they say we are insulting Islam.
Is Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz now going to defend slavery? Slavery is LEGAL in Islam and has never been banned.
Ask any ulamak and he or she can tell you that Islam never banned slavery. Therefore, you can legally keep slaves.
The hadith also says that a man can have sex with his female slaves. According to the hadith, a slave is a man’s property and you can do whatever you like with your property. You can therefore have sex with your slave.
(But) sex outside marriage is illegal in Islam. In fact, all you need to do is to be alone with a woman or girl who is not your wife and that is enough to get you arrested -- even if you did not lay a finger on her.
Let’s hear what Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz has to say about this since he feels marriage with a minor is ALLOWED in Islam.
In the old days kids of 10 or 11 went to war and at 14 or 15 they were veteran soldiers and at 18 were considered old (by 40 many were already dead). That was more than 1,000 years ago. So at 14 they got married, even in the west.
Times, however, have changed.
Today, although slavery has never been banned in Islam, no one keeps slaves any longer.
Should a marriage of a 14 year old therefore also be allowed?
If the answer is yes then slavery should also be allowed in Malaysia and the slave owners can have sex with their property, the slaves.
Aiyah, when I talk like this they make police reports against me and detain me without trial. But how not to talk like this when those songkok-clad people keep making silly statements?
-Raja Petra Kamarudin
Marriage Is Not about Legalising Sex
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WHEN a mainstream newspaper puts a front-page photo of a 14-year-old bride with no comment at all, then there is something seriously sick with our society.
Despite signing on to the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) we are still allowing child marriages to happen with the pretext that religion allows it.
What has child marriage got to do with discrimination against women? When child marriages occur, it is almost always girls who are the ones married off, rarely ever boys.
And in almost all cases, they are married to much older men, sometimes old enough to be their grandfathers. Child marriage is therefore never one of equality because how can a child ever be an equal partner to her adult husband?
One might argue about the presumption of equality in marriage; that wives should be, by default, inferior to their husbands. Even if this is a valid belief (and it is not), doesn’t a girl child have even more odds stacked against her than an adult wife?
A child bride is even more dependent on her husband than most adult wives, being less educated and unable to earn her own income. Her entire future is in his hands, to be decided as he wills.
I have to ask, what sort of parents match-make their underage daughter to an older man, albeit one who is a family friend? Do they have so little ambition for their child?
I know how parents, especially mothers, fall “in love” with young men they think would be ideal for their daughters, but is it so important to grab a man as a husband for such a young daughter instead of waiting for her to grow up and, who knows, find a better one herself later?
Or is the idea to control your child’s life to such a degree that you dictate her future before she can even acquire the means to decide on her own?
It is entirely sick that there are religious officials who view child marriage as the answer to “social problems”.
What problems are they talking about?
Is sex outside marriage the greatest evil there is? Is not child marriage with its virtual enslavement of girls, its proven physical damage to girls’ bodies and the utter lack of preparedness for a life of responsibility not a bigger social evil?
Every day in the papers we see endless horrifying results of irresponsibility in marriage; abandoned wives and children, domestic violence, child abuse.
Aren’t those greater issues?
Has anyone even noticed that in cases of child abuse, the parent perpetrators are invariably young and saddled with several young children who they obviously view as a hindrance to their enjoyment of life?
Go visit an orphanage and see the many children there who are not orphans but have been either discarded by their parents or have been placed there by the courts because of abuse by their own parents.
Is marriage only about legalising sex? And therefore if anyone is in “danger” of having illegal sex they should be married off regardless of age?
Indeed, when we think of child marriages as a way of fending off “social evils”, who do we think is the would-be perpetrator of that evil? Is it not the groom? So, if he does legally what in all other cases would be called rape, he is all right?
In other countries, society is moving towards banning child marriages altogether. Even in super-conservative Saudi Arabia, a member of the Senior Council of Ulema said that the Prophet Mohammed’s marriage to a nine-year-old girl some 14 centuries ago cannot be used to justify child marriages today.
Sheikh Abdullah Al-Manie said that circumstances today are different from the days when the Prophet married Aisha. (Other scholars have also argued that Aisha was not nine but 19, which seems to indicate some defensiveness about this issue.)
In Indonesia, a Muslim cleric who married a 12-year-old girl was jailed four years for sexual abuse of a minor.
He said he was not going to sleep with her until she reached puberty, but few in the predominantly Muslim nation of 237 million were mollified, especially when he went on to say he also intended to marry two other girls, aged seven and nine.
Paedophilia is paedophilia no matter what the garb.
But of course we in Malaysia have to be different. Once upon a time we talked about how our grandmothers married very young but we also dismissed this as an old-fashioned practice.
In the 21st century when we’re trying to become a modern nation, why are we not ashamed that we find excuses to allow child marriages?
It is now time to just ban this outright and become civilised.