May 5, 2014 By Neha Mahamood

How early is early marriage?

Does everyone understand the word “early” here to be of the same caliber? The minimum legally approved age of marriage is less than 15 in some countries. Such laws are neither limited to developing countries, nor to state religion. In Europe, for example, Catholic canon law sets 14 as the minimum age for the marriage of girls, as does Spain with a legal guardian’s permission. In North America, girls can be legally married at age 15 in Mexico. Canada and many states in the USA permit child marriage, with court’s permission.Islam highly recommends early marriage.(?)

Islam does not impose a specific age for eligibility for marriage and leaves it to the legal authoritiesbelievers to decide the proper age for marriage in order to maintain interests of both parties involved. This, of course, changes varies from one country or community to another depending on various considerable factors. One important factor being, the age when a child be taken as mature. It has been indicated that real maturity is not tied up with any particular count of years. Rather, it depends on particular indicators and signs experienced by adults entering the threshold of adulthood. When, in terms of these indicators and signs, they would be regarded fit to marry, they would be considered mature. But should it be that such signs of maturity just do not show up in a child, they shall be considered mature in terms of age. Some fix 18 years for boys and 17 for girls, while others have fixed 15 years for both. In the eyes of the Islamic law, a boy or a girl, shall both be considered mature after they have completed their fifteenth year, irrespective of whether or not the signs the maturity are found.

However, in Islamic nations, many countries do not allow child marriage of girls under their civil code of law. But, the state recognized Shar’ia religious laws and courts in all these nations have the power to override the civil code, and often do. UNICEF reports that the top five nations in the world with highest observed child marriage rates are Niger (75%), Chad (72%), Mali (71%), Bangladesh (64%), Guinea (63%) – all of which are Islamic majority countries. Africa having the monopoly here with 4/5 nations.

The age of early marriage is clearly debatable and can be discussed and differed to great depths. But to conclude I would say when one reaches the mental and physical maturity to maintain and enjoy a family, they can start the beautiful journey that Allah has bestowed upon them.

Posted in: Debate