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CII decision on marriage

By M. Ali Siddiqui

The Council of Islamic Ideology’s ruling on minimum age for marriage raises several questions.

The Holy Quran and Sunnah do not mandate any minimum age requirement for marriage. I wonder what prohibits us from making such laws. To call any act un-Islamic, we must have a clear proof from the Quran and Sunnah. I checked the CII website for the meeting notes but it is not updated.

Puberty is defined as the age during which the process of physical changes take place in the bodies of adolescent boys and girls, turning them into adult men and women capable of reproduction. At this point the human brain becomes mature enough to send hormonal signals from the brain to tenable reproduction.

This can happen as early as age 10 to 11 for girls and 11 to 12 for boys. These physical changes are by no means indicative of the capability of a boy or a girl to take the responsibilities which come with marriage.

The Pakistani Child Marriage Restraint Act (XIX of 1929) states, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context, a ‘child’ means a person who, if a male, is under 18 years of age, and, if a female, is under 16 years of age.

The marriageable age differs in different countries based on their social and economic condition. Most Muslim countries, including Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya and Morocco, have 18 for boys and 16 for girls as the minimum age for marriage.

Algeria requires age 22 for boys and 18 for girls. None of these countries has issues with the Quran and Sunnah.

I ask the CII to provide the basis for its rulings.