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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Yemen Women oppose raising marriage age to 17

Good afternoon,

Last night I was watching the 9:00 pm news in mbc TV. channel and I saw how women in Yemen were demonstrating due to raising marriage age to 17 years old.

Personally, I do not believe in very young marriages, for "getting married" is not only about romance and having kids, it is much much more than that and it requires both husband and wife to be completely mature and responsible.

Bellow, is the news as it was published:

Yemen Women oppose raising marriage age to 17

Yemen Women oppose raising marriage age to 17

SANAA - Thousands of Yemeni women, their faces covered in religious veils, demonstrated outside the parliament on Sunday to oppose proposed legislation banning the marriage of girls under 17.

The protesters held up banners proclaiming "don't ban what Allah made permissible," or "stop violating Islamic sharia law in the name of rights and freedoms," an AFP correspondent said.

Answering calls by Muslim clerics who oppose the proposal on grounds it goes against Islamic sharia law, the protesters arrived in organised buses.

Proposed amendments to the civil status law stalled in parliament last August after severe opposition to a government proposal that would ban girls females 17 and males under 18 from marrying.

Child marriages are common in impoverished Yemen, especially in rural areas, where girls as young as eight are known to have been married off by desperately poor parents.

Last year a child marriage case in Yemen made international headlines after a 12-year-old girl died in childbirth, together with the baby.

"Where will this... new law take us?" asked Umm Abdulaziz, a protester clad in black from head-to-toe.

"Most rights groups have women who are over 40 and still not married," she added in an apparent taunt at unmarried activists in Yemen, whose largely traditional tribal society looks down on single women past a certain age.

"There is a significant spinstership among female students in Yemen universities," she added.

A handful of women's rights activists outside the parliament were seen leaving after being outnumbered by the demonstrators.

"It is unreasonable to marry our daughters at the age of eight or nine. This is a serious problem," said Houriya Mashhour, deputy director of Yemen's Women National Committee.

A delegation from the protesters met MP Sheikh Humaid al-Ahmar, the deputy speaker of the parliament, along with several Islamist MPs from Al-Islah, a powerful opposition party leading the campaign against the proposed amendments.

"We consider those who call for limiting marriage age by law as enemies of Allah, his prophet and us," said one of the women delegates.

Rights activist Ahmed al-Qorashi warned last September that a huge proportion of girls in rural Yemen are married off under age 15, mainly due to financial reasons.

He was speaking after Fawziya Abdullah Youssef, a 12-year-old Yemeni girl who was forced into marriage, died during a difficult delivery together with the baby.

In 2008, a Yemeni court granted a divorce to an eight-year-old girl whose unemployed father forced her into an arranged marriage with a man 20 years her senior.

I would like to point out that most young marriages in rural Yemen happens due to financial reasons. Also, many people think that it is possible to marry a very young girl, or let's say a CHILD because our Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him)married his wife Sayida Aisha when she was around 9 years old.

The truth is most people do not know the difference and do not know the reasons behind our Prophet's marriages. We should not take Prophet Mohammed's marriage to Sayida Aisha as an excuse to let our children get married at a very very very young age.

Aisha (which means "she who lives") converted to Islam when she was six years old. Our Prophet mohammed (pbuh)got ingaged to her when she was in Mecca(which is now in Saudi Arabia)and married her in Medina (also a city in Saudi Arabia now)when she was about nine years old. She was the only virgin wife among the wives of Prophet Mohammed (Pbuh) and she was the daughter of Abu Bakr Al Siddiq or Abdullah bin Abi Quhafah, one of the closest companions and adviser to Prophet mohammed (Pbuh).

Aisha stayed in her parents' home for several years until she joined Muhammad and the marriage was consummated. Most of the sources indicate that she was nine years old at the time. The marriage was delayed until after the Hijra (which means "migration") to Medina, in 622; Aisha and her older sister Asma bint Abi Bakr only moved to Medina after Muhammad had already migrated there. After this, the wedding was celebrated very simply. The sources do not offer much more information about Aisha's childhood years, but mention that after the wedding, she continued to play with her toys, and that Muhammad entered into the spirit of these games.

The issue of Aisha's age at the time she was married to Muhammad has been of interest since the earliest days of Islam.[citation needed] Early Muslims regarded Aisha's youth as demonstrating her virginity and therefore her suitability as a bride of the Prophet. During modern times, however, critics of Islam have taken up the issue, regarding it as reflecting poorly on Muhammad's character.

References to Aisha's age by early historians are frequent. According to Spellberg, historians who supported the Abbasid Caliphate against Shi'a claims considered Aisha's youth, and therefore her purity, to be of paramount importance. They thus specifically emphasized it, implying that as Muhammad's only virgin wife, Aisha was divinely intended for him, and therefore the most credible regarding the debate over the succession to Muhammad.

Child marriages such as this were relatively common in Bedouin societies at the time, and remain common in some modern societies worldwide. American scholar Colin Turner suggests that such marriages were not seen as improper in historical context, and that individuals in such societies matured at an earlier age than in the modern West. In modern times, however, the issue of Muhammad marrying and having sexual relations with a girl so young has been used to criticize him, particularly in the West, where there is heightened concern about child sexual abuse and related issues. In response some modern Muslims have argued that adding up other dates given in the traditional sources may indicate that Aisha was older.

There is a religious reason behind Aisha's marriage in an early age. We say "Getting education while being young is like engraving on stone". What I want to say is that the young age of Aisha when she got married to Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) helped her support Islam's journey and build the Islamic community. She quoted as source for many hadith, sacred traditions about Muhammad's life, with Muhammad's personal life being the topic of most narrations. She narrated 2210 hadiths out of which 316 hadiths are mentioned in both Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim.

To read more about Aisha, here is the link:

To read more about Abu Bakr Al Siddiq, here is the link:

1 comment:

  1. Assalam alaikum

    I agree with you and I'm too surprised to see so many women protesting.

    I hope the situation will change in the future- more women will have access to education and start working, poverty will decrease and then inshallah they will not have to marry their children off. 8 or 12 or even 15 years old that's too early in our times