15.8.06

A Gift

I was given a book called A Gift For Women by my fiance on the day of our Islamic marriage. When thinking of gifts for me, a lot of people tend to opt for books so I thought, "Great. He’s on the right track.” The book is a sort of one-stop reference of what is Islamically right and wrong for a woman. The first thing I noticed was that it was a man who had written the book, which isn’t really here nor there but it was something that I mentally noted.
















A week or so later, I decided to glance through it. The first page that I came across was the following one (click image to zoom in).

















Needless to say I was far from impressed. I discussed the book with a friend who said that whilst the way in which these ideas are presented in the book are a bit consternating, the core ideas hold true in Islam. As the conversation progressed my friend stated that, “Islam is based on common sense. Is there any one part of it that doesn’t make sense or that you can disagree with?”
In reply to my friend’s question I said, “There is a part that doesn’t sit well with me; being able to marry off a 12-year-old girl to a grown man.” This was followed by a brief silence in which my friend was probably distancing himself from me since I was surely going to drag him into the hellfire along with me. “Is that something you are totally ok with?” I ask.
“I believe everything Islam says.”
“I understand that but do you think that is it ok for a grown man to marry and have sex with a 12-year-old girl?” I ask.
“It may not be acceptable in Western countries but it happens in places like Bangladesh and Pakistan,” he replies.
“Yes, but do you think it is ok for a grown man to marry and have sex with a 12-year-old girl?”
“I wouldn’t marry my daughter off that young,” he says.
“So you agree that is ok or you disagree?”
“Well, if you want to make it as black and white as that then yes, if that is what Islam says is right, then I agree.”
“So you agree that it is ok for a grown man to marry and have sex with a 12-year-old girl?”
“Yes,” he replies.
“Ok. That is all I wanted to know,” I say.
I’m not going to launch into a diatribe because obviously everyone has their own opinions but this just reminded me of what I said in a previous entry about drawing a line between believing stuff you believe and believing stuff only because you’re meant to believe it.
There are tons of stuff about the whole marriage-straight-after-puberty thing on the internet (bearing in mind that a lot of the stuff on the internet is unreliable) and there is stuff telling me I am an infidel and a hypocrite for not embracing this ruling. I understand that a girl who has started menstruating is old enough to bear a child and God made women this way for a reason but if someone was to press me on the subject as hard as I did with my friend, I would really have to say, No, I don’t think it’s right. If that makes me an infidel and a hypocrite, so be it.

3 comments:

  1. I highly recommend you visit this Website:
    www.sunnipath.com
    For realible (and Women friendly) information from relaible scholars who understand the time and context we live in without being comprimising or apologetic. You can search topics,questions and answers.

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  2. Thanks Reema. I will definitely check it out. Coincidentally, I'm writing a piece about questioning faith right now so this is quite timely. Thanks.

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  3. Men do not need to attain an education either! The statement there is vacuous since it applies to both sexes equally - there is no NEED to acquire these arbitrary "values" of education.


    The next one - re marrying off a 12 year old; whilst "allowed" in Islam - isn't the status quo in the majority of cases all over the world. There is no "time limit" ascribed to marrying off your children, it siply boils down to "if you find the right someone then why not agree to the marriage."


    As for age limits - the "18 and up" marriage view (and "16 or up" sexual intercourse view) is a society imposed view that has no merit scientifically (emotionally, physically, etc.) It's just come to be what is generally accepted by us, but why is that the case?


    Whilst I personally won't agree to marrying off my children that young - are there barriers to raising a successful family if a woman is younger rather than older? Do young mothers make worse mothers in your opinion?

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