Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Ok To Marry 10 Year Old Girls – Saudi Arabia

This is just sad. I’m sorry, a ten year old girl is that – a girl. Any father knows that. She is precious and innocent, and still playing dolls and make believe. Few girls are even menstruating at 10. No girl, at 10, has the emotional and physical maturity to enter into a marriage. And this is the SENIOR Saudi Arabian cleric speaking? I’m sorry, this makes me sick to my stomach. It’s just wrong.

You don’t leave a ten year old alone – you get a babysitter. A ten year old belongs in school, a ten year old belongs with her mother.

This is from today’s Al Watan, right on the front page.

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia”s most senior cleric was quoted Wednesday as saying it is permissible for 10ـyearـold girls to marry and those who think they’re too young are doing the girls an injustice.

The mufti”s comments showed the conservative clergy’s opposition to a drive by Saudi rights groups, including government ones, to define the age of marriage and put an end to the phenomenon of child marriages.

“It is wrong to say it’s not permitted to marry off girls who are 15 and younger,” Sheik AbdulـAziz AlـSheikh, the country”s grand mufti, was quoted as saying.

“A female who is 10 or 12 is marriageable and those who think she’s too young are wrong and are being unfair to her,” he said during a Monday lecture, according to the panـArab AlـHayat newspaper.

AlـSheikh”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 governmentـrun 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 eightـyearـold 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 AlـSheikh, according to AlـHayat.

There are no statistics to show how many marriages involving children are performed in Saudi Arabia every year. And it’s also not clear whether these unions are on the rise or whether people are hearing about them more now because of the prevalence of media outlets and easy access to the Internet.

Activists say the girls are given away in return for hefty dowries or as a result of longـstanding custom in which a father promises his infant daughters and sons to cousins out of a belief that marriage will protect them from illicit relationships. ـAP

Last updated on Thursday 15/1/2009

I have a friend who says the mufti needs to come back in his next life as a young girl in Saudi Arabia. I think it might give his thought processes some clarity.

January 15, 2009 - Posted by | Community, Crime, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Health Issues, Interconnected, Kuwait, Leadership, Living Conditions, Marriage, Mating Behavior, News, Social Issues, Women's Issues

27 Comments »

  1. Ok, this is kind of touchy but I will tell you what I think and how I feel about it

    If I had a 10 years old girl, hell no to marrying her off. I would like her to be fully matured, done with education and has formed her personality so she’d have a normal family – and that is according to my standards, set of thoughts and my upbringing. You are right when it comes to emotional and intellectual growth with those young girls and the arguable notion of them being able to raise their own kids, since they are kids still but in Islam, a woman is ready to get married once she hits puberty and can bare children. Our prophet Mohammed PBUH was called a pedophile for that exact reason actually but people do not consider the times these people were in. I am pretty sure that minus all the comfortable commodities and the easy life style, women were “trained” or let’s say prepared for a marital life at young ages.. that was their lives. Now, my only objection is that muftis – some people tend to override these circumstances and apply those legislations and rules when in fact they are not fit for our modern time without some modifications. Islam is all about flexibility and ease for Muslims and it’s never meant to be tough to abide by and at the end because I slam is flexible and God gave us brains, we are allowed to do what we want regardless if we care about the consequences or not = forgiveness is another one of Allah’s 99 traits and in this case that applies (sins and repentance.

    I really do not know what the guy had in mind when he passed that but it also may apply to the way those people live there, closed society where women are isolated (I don’t mean the bad sense here) because we don’t read much about that in Kuwait or Dubai for instance yet again if there are some communities that are still living up to their traditions, for sure you’d find those type of unequal marriage available and doable.

    One last thing, Arabs – Muslims expect their daughters to be married at a certain age and at modern and highly educated countries that doesn’t apply anymore because life made an education and careers a necessity thus the whole view on women differs..

    Comment by chika | January 15, 2009 | Reply

  2. Thank you, Chika, for your intelligent and thoughtful response. As you know, I have a high respect for Islam. That said, I stand by the facts – a 10 year old girl is not prepared to be a wife. And the thought of an old man having sex with a ten year old girl makes me physically ill. She would be terrified.

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 15, 2009 | Reply

  3. I find the idea of a 10 year old having sex with a much older man disgusting and criminal.

    Comment by momcat | January 15, 2009 | Reply

  4. Women and men who are well into their years have major difficulties deciding to get married and commit themselves to a marriage. A 10 year old girl is in no way a woman, even if she were menstruating! A 10 year old boy is in no way a man either! A 10 year is a 10 year old. A child. This is a call for legislating pedophilia!!!

    “A female who is 10 or 12 is marriageable and those who think she’s too young are wrong and are being unfair to her,” he said during a Monday lecture, according to the panـArab AlـHayat newspaper. Is he SERIOUS?!!! How is protecting innocence and children’s right to a CHILDHOOD is unfair?!

    This is outrageous and backward!

    Comment by kinano | January 15, 2009 | Reply

  5. ‘I stand by the facts – a 10 year old girl is not prepared to be a wife’

    Does that apply to EVERY 10 year old girl throughout time?

    As with many other rules/guidelines, they may slip out of and become misaligned with ‘reality’ not because they are inherently bad, but because the ‘reality’ of the environment has slipped/misaligned.

    Paying a little more attention to the “mufti”‘s (translated) words (not that I am necessarily defending this man or support him), we can perhaps identify his justifications:
    1- “a good upbringing will make a girl capable of carrying out her duties as a wife”
    2- “Our mothers and before them, our grandmothers, married when they were barely 12”

    The problem with #1 of course is: does our reality today reflect an environment of ‘good upbringing’?
    I feel (the translation of) his statements can appear overgeneralized and misaligned, especially given western influences on the matter and views on the basic purpose, function and position of marriage in the society.
    Having said that, I think given the basic view of Islam about Marriage and its purpose in the society and its benefits to both the husband and the wife, and not withstanding the western view on this, then this regulation about the age of marriage may not be bad in and of itself. The problem is with the actual practice as the responsibility of making the ‘right’ decision on whether or not to approve the marriage of a young daughter lies solely with the care taker (the father in normal circumstances). The assumption is, the father will be looking for the best interest of his daughter; which in a well governed society would be the normal case, one would hope.

    For #2, indeed my grandmother and her late sister were married very young; her sister was married at 13 I believe. Of course, that was a different time.

    So in summary, I think we can present the following situations for not blocking such marriages or viewing them negatively:

    1- Should our society goes back to such ‘times’ where the conditions are more aligned, then it wouldn’t be so bad.
    2- If the conditions for a particular case even in our time today are aligned with the assumed conditions, then also it wouldn’t be a bad thing.

    Thank you.

    Comment by abuhilal | January 15, 2009 | Reply

  6. I think the cleric might be a pedophile.
    That is really sad. 10 year old girls are YOUNG! Even 15 year old girls are still young. Thats just sad.

    Comment by Chirp | January 15, 2009 | Reply

  7. Chirp,

    Check with your mother/grandmother about your great grandmothers and how young where they when they married.

    Unless you take what I wrote above into consideration, maybe you’ll find out one of your (great)grandfather’s was a ‘pedophile’ too!!! ;p

    Comment by abuhilal | January 15, 2009 | Reply

  8. abuhilal,

    Times change. You are going back two or three generations in time, that’s between 60-90 years right there. People back then did not even know what the moon was made of! Like everything else, our perception of what reality is evolves. Scientific evidence from child psychology and child development studies confirm that young children who fall victim to pedophiles suffer for the span of their lives. It’s a traumatic experience. You mentioned upbringing and preparing girls for wifehood, but at the age of 10 or 12 or even 16 the frontal lobe in the brain hasn’t completely developed yet. People at that age are still not mentally mature.
    My grandmother got married when she was 16, but that does not necessarily mean that just because people did it in the past we have to do it ourselves. People in the past drilled holes in the skulls of people with headache to release their demons. Should we do that as well?! It’s the 21st century, we know much more today than what we knew yesterday. And tomorrow we will know even more.

    Comment by kinano | January 16, 2009 | Reply

  9. Honestly I don’t even know where and how to start about this so I rather keep my thoughts to myself because I know what I’ll would lead to my assassination by those extremists. Just know that I’m furiously against it.

    Comment by MacaholiQ8 | January 16, 2009 | Reply

  10. Interesting discussion you-all had while I was sleeping!

    AbuHilal is actually right. In every country, just a few generations ago, women married earlier, and so did men. Life was – for the majority – “nasty, short and brutal.” Women at 15 died in childbirth, children died of ear infections and typhoid (do people even get typhoid shots any more?) and at 40, most women were widows, sitting in the rocking chair, rocking their grandchildren while daughter or daughter-in-law fixed dinner. . . or they were dead.

    Even in the most primitive societies, most do not “marry-off” their daughters until they have begun menstruating.

    Literature and research is full of the histories of women “married-off” to older men – women write of their smell, their greyness, their wrinkles – it’s almost an invitation to cheat, which is what happens – here, there and everywhere.

    Don’t you just hate that phrase “married-off?” Like “No-longer-my-responsibility?” Things are not perfect today, but getting better, where women are educated, given skills, and trained to take care of themselves, so that they don’t need a protector? My Kuwaiti friends tell me they have – at the very least – the right to say “no” to any proposal. Some have even found their own husbands (I don’t know a single young girl who has found a 50 year old husband, and some very happy divorcees who have).

    A ten year old girl is a child. A 12 year old girl still needs maturing. I have actually seen a 15 year old girl married – and happy, but she married into an educated family where she continued getting her education, and she was cherished and loved. 10 years old? NO WAY.

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 16, 2009 | Reply

  11. @Kinano:
    I fear you are mixing things here. This has nothing to do with ‘scientific’ discoveries and what not. What does the moon or ancient ‘medical’ practices have to do with our topic?

    I do not disagree with you on ‘times change’. That’s the whole point of my argument in fact. But in this particular issue, we need to look at what was it that changed exactly? My argument was that the act itself is not necessarily intrinsically bad/evil; rather the environment (time/situation, etc..) may affect the act and its circumstances and consequences. Thus, if ‘times’ change back to how these circumstances were back then, then this ‘act’ of marrying at such a young age may become the norm again.

    Lastly, one point I strongly disagree with you is when you tried to apply the ‘scientific evidence from child psychology’ and development on ‘pedophile’ victims to the topic at hand which is marriage. That’s almost like trying to apply ‘scientific evidence from RAPE victims psychology’ and use them to ban marriage/sex !!! Come on! Big difference between the first being a violent crime and the second being a legal marriage with rights and responsibilities.

    Also, regarding some other comments about leaving a ten year old alone or that she belongs in school… So? That doesn’t necessarily conflict with marriage as she doesn’t have to be left alone in a house or be banned from school just because she’s married?

    “A 12 year old girl still needs maturing”
    So? Just because she gets married does not mean she must stop maturing!

    As for those who argue with questions like “Would the mufti himself do it to his own daughters?” Well, he didn’t say EVERY one with a 12 year old daughter needs to marry her off immediately!!! Eating apples is permissible and allowed, but you can’t force everyone to eat apples if their situation or taste do not allow for it! The problem is when you try to ban people from eating apples at all and in all circumstances!

    Comment by abuhilal | January 16, 2009 | Reply

  12. I love the reincarnation idea…………love it, bring it on.

    Comment by teachthemasses | January 16, 2009 | Reply

  13. Abuhilal – eating unripened apples will give you a bad stomach ache. Marrying off unripened girls is a bad idea. And he wasn’t talking about 12 y/o, he was talking about TEN y/o. I understand this is a problem scripturally. Mary was probably 14 or 15 when she conceived, so she was also young, and – lo, these many many years ago, maybe women at that age were ready for marriage, how do we know? But now – ten years old is a child. Ten years old is not sexually mature. Ten years old is certainly not ready for marriage. They don’t even have a clue what the responsibilities of marriage are.

    Teach – 🙂 We have to protect our daughters.

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 16, 2009 | Reply

  14. ‘They don’t even have a clue what the responsibilities of marriage are.’
    So all we have to do is explain to them what the responsibility of marriages are? How about ‘Marriage Education’ as a school subject rather than just ‘Sex-Ed’!! lool.

    About ‘unripened apples’ and ‘Marrying off unripened girls is a bad idea’… well, what’s the similarity you are drawing here?

    You can still get an unripened apple, but you don’t have to eat it right away… you can wait for it to ripen to go all the way with it ;p.
    This somewhat applies to marriage in general you know (that is, when the woman did not engage in premarital sex and thus has no experience, so there is a period of preparation)

    ‘And he wasn’t talking about 12 y/o, he was talking about TEN y/o’
    Actually, he was commenting on the number that is being pushed as a limit which is fiften+ and then it appears he started with what he thinks is an acceptable minimum when he said ‘A 10 or 12 year old is marriagable”. So, all this says is that to him, it is not inconceivable for a 10/12 year old to be prepped for marriage. That’s all.

    In a perhaps related note, you know what really gets on my nerve though… I think in some laws in the west/U.S. when an 18 (21?)year old boy has ‘sex’ with a 14 or 16 yo girl it’s ‘statutory rape’ but if the boy is not yet 18, then it is not a crime?!!!

    You say: just a child and not sexually mature, yet we see incidents of teen pregnancies in the west (not all a consequence of rape or ‘pedophiles’)… that doesn’t mean that they can’t be prepped and made aware at that early age.

    I think part of the confusion is the ‘idea’ of marriage and what it entails and the differences in perceptions. No doubt, a marriage to someone that young will have differences in responsibilities, attitudes, expectations and demands from a marriage to an older woman. So, if that is kept under consideration, the shock and awe attitude of the ‘west’ (and those influenced) to this matter can be seen as over exaggerated and perhaps hypocritical.

    I don’t think I was as calm/clear headed as I try to be when I wrote the above (watching Gaza news at the same time), so excuse that please.
    Thanks.

    Comment by abuhilal | January 16, 2009 | Reply

  15. AbuHilal – We have more areas of agreement than you might imagine. I think a class in marriage responsibilities is a great idea – for men and for women. I think every woman should understand financial management, for example, and how to compare prices in the grocery store, and how to invest her money to make the most profit. I think classes in relationship building and maintaining are a good idea, and I think men and women should know how to sew on a button, hem a skirt and make a basic omelette. I also think included in this area should be some fundamental instruction on the mechanics of sex, and also on identifying STDs in case your mate brings one home and forgets to mention it to you.

    OK. I buy that you can wait for the apple to ripen. You tell me – is that what is happening in Saudi Arabia? Are they waiting for the apple to ripen?

    If you and I were talking face to face (of course, in a public place, so the devil would not also be present 🙂 ) we could probably agree to disagree on parts of this discussion, but I am betting in person, you would agree that 15 is probably the earliest age at which most women should marry. I would agree that some women might be ready at 14, and – you are right, marriage trumps an illegitimate baby any day. Better to have a husband if you are going to have sex, better to have a husband if you are going to have a baby. We agree.

    Can we also agree better to be 15 than 10? Better to be 15 than 12? Of course my preference is that a women have enough self-knowledge to make her own informed choice, that she is educated, and has some fundamental tools for self-reliance, but I can be flexible – it does not have to be 18.

    My model for the ideal Islamic marriage would be Mohammed (PBUH) and Khadija, two grown-ups who can love one another on a more equal basis, help one another like partners, not Mohammed and Aisha.

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 17, 2009 | Reply

  16. ‘My model for the ideal Islamic marriage’

    ‘Ideal’ in not pragmatic in this world.

    And I can’t really differentiate between the two marriages… each had its own circumstances.

    ‘You tell me – is that what is happening in Saudi Arabia? Are they waiting for the apple to ripen?’

    That depends on what you mean by “ripen”, I’m not sure we are on the same page… but generally speaking, I don’t think what you are worrying about is happening.

    Anyway, that is not important for the purpose of this discussion. We are discussing laws. Laws are set in general and not for exceptions. Otherwise we wouldn’t issue driving licenses to people since a few wreak havoc on the streets. In our case which we are discussing, there is a responsibility on the father to do what is best for his particular daughter. If misuse occurs, we don’t deny others from this lawful right.

    Other than that, I think we are in agreement.

    Regarding face to face (devil? Are you male or female? Your about page doesn’t specify… might want to update that), again I’m not saying every 10 or 12 year old today is automatically marriagable! And I would probably agree that 15 sounds appropriate in practice, but I wouldn’t enforce it by law to ban lower ages. What I’m saying is with proper prepping, and with the realistic expectations of the husband of what he’s getting in to, there is no real problem. I mean, she would just be living with another man and treated like a daughter in general practical aspects according to her age, with the only difference is that it is lawful for the husband to engage in appropriate/permitted sexual acts. That’s all.

    Comment by abuhilal | January 17, 2009 | Reply

  17. OOps, AbuHilal – I disagree. The partnership marriage works well throughout the centuries, which, to me, qualifies both as ideal and pragmatic.

    Here is what I mean by my question – Are the fathers who marry-off a 10 – 12 year old girl to an older man – over 35 – are they looking out for their daughter’s best interests? Are they receiving money? I understand dowries; at what point does a 12 year old manager her own dowry, have rights to what was given for her?

    It is disgusting to me to even ask why a grown man would make a proposal for a girl barely into puberty. Do you honestly believe this man is going to put off having sex with her until she is ready, physically, emotionally, spiritually? Wait like 3 – 5 years?

    The one girl I saw married at an early age was 15, and her husband wanted a “pure” girl. I understand that. She also continued to live with her own family for a full year, and dated her husband until everyone was convinced she was ready for the sexual and emotional responsibilities of marriage. While at first, I was horrified, I accepted that the process worked in this case, which is very very different from an older (35+) man taking a girl away from her family at a very early age and having sex with her.

    Laws are set in general – agreed. Don’t we want girls protected from the weakness of greedy “protectors” until they are at least 15? I know I do. Fathers, unfortunately, do NOT always look after the best interests of the daughter, not when they are willing to sell them off at such a young age. Girls need to be in school, they need to be using the brains and talents that our great God created them to use. We consider NOT using the gifts God gives us a sort of sin, the sin of poor stewardship.

    LOL – how many men talk about their husbands on their blogs, AbuHilal? I am very female. Married to one man all my adult life.

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 18, 2009 | Reply

  18. Most of the comments here don’t accurately reflect the reported situation. A Saudi man arranged a marriage between his 8-year-old daughter and a 47-year-old man to whom he owed money. So, he was basically selling a child into slavery. The mother, God bless her, was against the marriage and tried desperately to stop it. We all know that she’ll pay a heavy personal price for standing up to her husband.

    There are no logical arguments to support this behavior. While it’s true that people married younger in the last few centuries and that arranged marriages were not all that uncommon, it is not true that pre-pubescent children were routinely given away in this manner. And, the real point here is that this is a Muslim cleric saying it’s OK to do something like this. Historically speaking, the human family continues to do a lot of strange things, many of which are repugnant and primitive. Just because these things occur does not make them acceptable. Many marriages are “arranged” out of economic necessity for the family. This is, if nothing else, tragic not only for the family, but also for the young girl whose life is essentially over when it happens. Her ability to choose the kind of life she wants to live and marry out of love is taken away forever. What kind of person would argue in favor of THAT?

    Comment by johnrj08 | January 18, 2009 | Reply

  19. ‘I disagree. The partnership marriage works well throughout the centuries, which, to me, qualifies both as ideal and pragmatic’

    Let me clarify what I meant to object to: Why would you look more positively to Khadeeja’s marriage than to Aisha’s? It’s like your insinuating (perhaps unintentionally) that Aisha’s marriage was somehow inherently evil.

    I understand that from your point of view of the ‘ideal’ marriage, Khadeeja’s marriage fits your model better. I’m just objecting to the way that the marriage to Aisha was (implicitly) negatively portrayed.

    While I would submit that ‘weakness’ and ‘greed’ may well be factors today, neither the end result nor the means are necessarily evil. The end result is a legal and documented relationship and the means is a legal marriage contract.

    Again, I’m not disagreeing that today, most cases would probably result in ‘incompatibilities’, but my argument is that it is not the fault of the law/permission, rather the result of the decay of other factors in society in general.

    As a final note, I don’t know if there are any reliable statistics about this today, but I would think that it is not that wide spread today at all in most countries.

    ‘they need to be using the brains and talents that our great God created them to use’
    Well, as someone who’s been around and studied ‘abroad’, I was very ‘open minded’ about the whole ’emancipation’ of women as it pertains to education and freedom within what I saw as acceptable Islamic guidelines and limits. However, after seeing the effects this has had on so many moral, social and economical aspects in society, I started to have serious doubts and thus my impression starting changing. I began to practically understand more the importance of Islam’s emphasis on placing the responsibility on men more:
    “Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath men the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women).” (4:34)

    I realize a comment is not a place to expand on this topic, but I’ll just say that in general I see the wisdom in the general meanings and guidelines in the verse above as it pertains to the status of men and women in societies today. It’s such a mess… just take a stroll out in the malls! Decay after decay that needs to be brought in line (decay of both men and women, but guess which one brought the other out like this?)

    Comment by abuhilal | January 19, 2009 | Reply

  20. John, I never thought I would see the day when I would step up in defense of arranged marriages, but here I go. You are confusing two issues – too-young girls being married, and arranged marriages.

    I’ve lived in arranged-marriage cultures long enough to see how they work – and they work. The arranged marriages have about the same degree of success that our love marriages do – about as many end in divorce. Young women and young men trust their parents to seek out a mate who will be the best match for them, in a large context, someone whose family and family values are similar to their child’s. When it works, it works very well. I have seen many, many happy marriages. MOST parents want only the best for their children, and out of love, seek the best mate possible. Their belief is that love grows after marriage, and I have seen for myself, it works powerfully.

    Selling a daughter to settle a debt – especially an 8 year old – that is just repugnant. And yet, AbuHilal also has a point – not all these marriages are arranged because some goaty old man wants a child-bride. Some of them are sealing relationships between families, and the child may grow to be a woman without any sexual activity at all until she is ready. It is possible.

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 19, 2009 | Reply

  21. I understand your concern, AbuHilal. You must know that one major obstacle to those of us who try to understand Islam is Mohammed’s marriage to Aisha. I also struggle with some of the hadiths which follow, and seem inconsistent with earlier revelations. So let us just say that this marriage, and the aftermath, are problematic to many of us.

    I totally understand what you are saying about the negative effects of emancipation. Now that women are more free to make all the same foolish mistakes that men make, we all suffer. I also understand that when women bear children, they are unable to protect themselves, unable to earn while focused on child rearing, and need protection.

    Do you REALLY think that women lead men into decay, AbuHilal? Do you really think that? I think we all make our own choices, and men are every bit as capable of bad judgement as women, and they don’t need any help from women to fall into decay. We do not put the thoughts into your head or your heart; those come from your own devils.

    In a good marriage, the partners help one another to fight temptations. Not one forbidding the other, but each helping the other. 🙂 I am willing to bet that my marriage is not that far from your own.

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 19, 2009 | Reply

  22. John, you are trying to enforce your (western) idea of how a marriage relationship should be: “tragic not only for the family, but also for the young girl whose life is essentially over when it happens. Her ability to choose the kind of life she wants to live and marry out of love is taken away forever”

    What’s tragic is ascribing “life is essentially over” to a marriage regardless of the circumstances. Further your saying “marry out of love is taken away forever”… lol.. like that is the bona fide way for a healthy and successfull marriage? And I wonder how you propose to force girls into falling in love before allowing them to get married?

    I may be a bit sarcastic here although I try not to be; it’s just that I’m baffled by the hypocracy I see in the ‘western’ ‘modern’ ‘values’ and ideas of what relationships and marriges should be without regards for the social/economic/ethical impacts of such views, then they turn around and start criticizing the conservative approach which looks at marriage more pragmatically rather than centered on a ‘hollywoodic’ love-affair. Pffft. ;p

    Comment by abuhilal | January 19, 2009 | Reply

  23. intlxpatr,
    I would be interested in learning your qualms about sayida Aisha’s (raa) marriage? I’ve been attending some classes lately in Foundations of Islamic Jurisprudence (which deals with the rules and methodology set by the leading scholars of thought for extracting verdicts from scripture) and it provided a lot of insight into the process (particularly about dealing with any apparent inconsistencies and the reasons).

    ‘Do you REALLY think that women lead men into decay, AbuHilal?’

    Let me clarify: I think it is not a matter of who leads who, it is just a matter of basic biology 101.
    This is my own basic take on it (without checking with sources on this matter):

    1- This life is a phase, passing by, where Allah, The One and Only Creator of all things, willed for some to go to Heaven and others to Hell (He has no judge), thus they will go through tests in this life to reflect that.
    2- Tests are of two types: 1- Creedal (belief) and 2- Behavioral (worship vs. whims, vanity, etc…).

    3- Heaven and Hell are different levels, thus the need to differentiate. If the test was only Creedal in nature, then those who believed correctly what then? They are still tested by the 2nd type of tests.

    4- For people to procreate, a basic double-edged instinct (deisre) was instilled which one does not have %100 control over (i.e, mostly involuntary, otherwise, NO young man in his right mind would subject himself to the responsibilities and hardships that come with marriage ;p a bit exagerated I know, but you get the idea; plus other supporting desires like wanting offspring, otherwise we’d all always use protection after the first child or two! loool, etc…)

    5- As with other desires, this sexual desire is subjected to the 2nd type of tests.

    6- This desire (as per biology 101), is ignited/activated/fed by certain motivators on different levels. The resistance of such motivators depends on the persons current state (more or less like immunity; if you eat good and healthy, you have better immunity, if not you are more suseptiple). Thus, we cannot generalize and expect everyone out on the street to have the same level of immunity (that’s not to say that they are not blamed for not eating good, but when they do get sick, the ramifications affect the whole society in terms of medical costs, disease spread/infections, etc…)

    7- These motivators (on the biological level) are general and not tied to a particular person; in other words, a man or a woman are not wired to be ‘turned on’ only by their future spouse! Hence, then can be ‘good’ motivators when expressed in their lawful setting (marriage) or ‘bad’ motivators (leading to harmful results/side effects) otherwise.

    8- Fortunately though, these motivators are of different levels, some stronger than others. Thus, the stronger they are the more resistance/immunity they require. The higher level motivators need to have a stronger effect, because otherwise spouses would develop resistance to each other too fast ;p (thus procreation would suffer)

    9- Since we’ve established that not everyone on the street has the same immunity level, it becomes the responsiblity of the society (by extension the responsiblity of the government which is charged with protecting the welfare of the society) to protect the general public at least from the most severe types of infections/disease (motivators).
    Perhaps one of the wisdoms here is that tests can also be for the whole society to adhere to the regulations communally (by enjoyning the good and forbidding evil). In the famous hadeeth where the Prophet warned of the impending evil and destruction to befall the Arabs from Gog and Magog, his wife asked “Shall we perish while still there will be righteous people among us?” He replied, “Yes, when wickedness prevails”. (Incidently, the word used in arabic for wickedness is ‘khabath’ which is said to point to vice in general, but in particular to fornication and the spread of bastard children.

    10- The way to minimize the effects of these ‘bad’ motivators out in public is by covering/curbing the highest ones (thus the Islamic men/women behavior/interaction/dress code for example). Thus, Islam stresses this and reinforces it by assigning reward and punishment (sin) for adherence vs violations (although technically speaking, the verdict generally supercedes the intended (known or unknown) wisdom behind the commandment; e.g. even if a woman is bald, she is still required to adhere to covering her head as part of the ongoing test to the adherence)

    11- Thus violations of the ‘code’ result in what we see today. That’s with regards to the public display of decay; inner circle matters are more complex/inter-related with other factors than simple clothing of course; that is why adherence to the dress code in public does not necessarily mean the person is pious, but nonetheless required for the resons given above reagrding public welfare.

    Today it is even worse when we extend it to the media, the internet, etc… No matter how one is trying to guard ones self, one will almost certainly be exposed in one way or another; The Prophet pointed to this when he described the state of times to come to his companions: The likeness of one who is trying to adhere/cling to the religion, is like that holding a burning coal/stone. Thus it is said that the reward for the steadfast will be 50 times that of the reward at the time of the Prophet.

    So, while I would not disagree that both men and women make their own ‘choices’, still when a woman publicly strips out of the dress/behavior code, that is active participation in the decay and the sins are piling up just by that violation itself regardless of whether any men happened to be around to see her or not and regardless of wether a negative effect occured or not. I once heard an argument:”How many women would a publicly decadent man decay? Compare that with how many men a publicly decadent women would decay?”

    Comment by abuhilal | January 19, 2009 | Reply

  24. AbuHilal, I read every word, but some of it I just don’t understand. it may be that you are focused on outward compliance, as defined by a group with whom I am neither familiar, nor agree. I notice, for example, in #9 you refer to

    “Perhaps one of the wisdoms here is that tests can also be for the whole society to adhere to the regulations communally (by enjoyning the good and forbidding evil)”

    Which sound suspiciously like the Saudi muttawa committee to promote virtue and prevent vice, and if you have read any of our other discussions, you will know that I have serious qualms about WHO determines what is proper and on what basis. For example, even in Saudi Arabia, the LAW does not require a non-Moslem woman to wear a head covering, but the muttaween will make life very uncomfortable for women whose hair is not covered.

    (Our embassy instructed us to have a scarf, cover if confronted, and remove the scarf as soon as possible, differentiating between the law of the land and the more arbitrary rules imposed by the Committee.)

    Both our religions stress that God sees what is in our hearts. Both Jesus and Mohammed, for example, were amazingly kind to prostitutes. Jesus, a good fundamentalist Jewish boy, took water from a woman at a well who “had seven husbands,” and told her to go and sin no more. Mohammed told of a prostitute who gave a thirsty dog a drink of water from her shoe, and said she would go to paradise for that one act of kindness.

    Both men were surrounded by people who misunderstood much of what they said, even while they were here on earth giving instruction. Both men were exasperated by cruelty, by hypocrisy, and by adherence to the letter of the law, and not to the spirit. Both men had compassion on women, and respect for women. Both talked of a God whose capacity for mercy and forgiveness was unlimited. As you point out in #11, many who appear to comply are not in compliance in their hearts – but of course, compliance is ultimately a very personal thing, isn’t it, between each individual and God/Allah?

    Does your last sentence imply that women are the stronger sex spiritually? That we are more resistant to decay? (Sigh) I don’t think so. We have our own weaknesses, which, in the end of times, may be every big as damming as the male licentiousness and entitlement – backbiting, envy, self-absorption, selfishness, vanity . . . to these we are particularly susceptive.

    We all struggle to be acceptable to God. Part of that, as I see it, is speaking out against what we see as unacceptable. I refer to the original topic – a grown man marrying a pre-pubescent girl is, under almost every circumstance, repugnant and unacceptable. But I leave that now between your conscience and your Allah.

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 19, 2009 | Reply

  25. Speaking as a muslim woman, I dont believe in a child being married off..meaning a child being expected to perform as a married woman. If a contract is done and she is given the time to mature, either in her own household or his, this I have no issue with. What I have issue with is the fears and trauma that potentially can be inflicted on a young girl or woman. To me, that goes against what marriage is intended to be, both personally and for society. You do not build strong marriages on traumatic or abusive beginnings.

    But, I do see where the Saudi cleric is coming from. It is difficult to place an age on marriage, something that in our religion we do not do. There are different forms of marriage, as in they are not necessarily as a westerner would know the word marriage to be. Marriage means your life is joined with another, but it doesnt mean the marriage is consummated. Not in Islam. That has to do with conditions within the contract, etc etc.

    People often go to the letter of the law, within Islam. To me, this is a clear-cut area that says one has to go to the heart of the religion. Look at all the characteristics of our prophet pbuh. Look at how he treated women, treated his wives. Look to the sahaba and their treatment of their children and their families. We do not see evidence of abuse, of fear, of trauma, in these examples. What we do see is love, understanding, we see obedience to Allah subhana wa ta ala.
    If you are a muslim father, and you are arranging a marriage for your daughter, you should want her happiness. Her stability. Her honor must be protected. You want a strong family, you want longevity insha Allah. Her successes will be yours as well, insha Allah. When we look at Aisha r.a. we see that she was married at a young age…but we also see that she was nurtured, she did not go to a stranger, but to the best friend of her father. She was encouraged to play with her dolls, to continue being a child for some years. She was not frightened, and we see that her marriage was a blessed one. She was a woman of spirit, of courage, and over time became a beloved wife. It is this example that we are given, that is to be followed.

    I am inclined to agree with Abu Hilal; we see a decay running through society that has people taking what they desire from the religion, and discarding the rest. Islam is not just a bunch of laws and halal or haram; it is a faith of submission to Allah.

    Nowhere do I find in Islam that it is permissible to harm a child, but I do find that it is a parents responsibility to raise a child, to love that child, and to protect that child.

    Time to define what age is considered to still be a child, and what is not. And that can be very difficult, because you are dealing with people who have strong traditions, which often reach further than their Islam does.

    Comment by Huda | January 25, 2009 | Reply

  26. Lets face facts, doesnt matter if it is the old testement, new, or the koran , doent matter at all., religion has played a huge part in the mistreatment of women, and this will go onto the ends of time., praise the loose women of the world ., if anyone believes that if all women behaved in the purest way and it wouldnt matter where, and that men would be better……oh boy …..rape would be yet even more …you see ., it is not that women make men loose control, if men worried more about self control themselves instead of inventing ways to suppress women and control them what a beautiful world.,
    if men believe women should stay covered from head to toe as not to entice , dishonor etc etc., I suggest they look a little deeper within and put thereselves in check., instead of blaming and punishing women for there lack of ., just the way all the good books so often have, all religions that make women responsible for just about everything, why? answer: just because you can …..makes you wonder who is the weaker sex?
    btw: not into womens lib [only human treatment and without suppression] dont particulary care for the womens lib , just like all groups , what once might had some merit, became petty and stupid]
    btw: I do not hate men at all ., think it is high time some take a little more responsibility of there lack of
    btw: I do believe in god , but nothing man kind has wrote
    btw: I am neither a whore or loose, I do not dress provocatively, or behave look or act in any way a man who already shows self control would think else wise., I am pretty , act like a lady , I neither would wear daisy dukes walking down the road being extreme and pushing the envelope, anymore then I would want to cover from head to toe being extreme? because a man has absolutley no self control?…that man whomever he would be has issues.,
    like the issue of a 9, 10 , 11, 12, 13, 14 , 15 year old girl [ not a women ] being pimped out., it isnt right , there is no way in hell a normal person thinks so [ even with all the surgar coating- comparing things- being analytcal about it etc] no , no , no …its just certain people, groups of people [men] who want it to be so., and lets use once again religion , etc to seal the deal, sell the bull#&%@
    in short , just a way to make a older mans lust legal .,
    anyone listening to car sellman here selling anything here to rationalize this ,
    shame on you ., and esp. living in the 21st century., [EDUCATION is in order of the sheeple people!!!!!!
    sheeple people = the sheep asked the wolf , where shall we follow you ?
    as far as girls married to the old farts and adapting [Dah!] all people adapt when they have no choice!!! its called survival!

    Comment by KittenMate | April 28, 2009 | Reply

  27. Pretty great post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your weblog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I am hoping you write once more very soon!

    Comment by Visit These Guys | April 28, 2013 | Reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: