REACTION TO THE PROPOSED CHILD MARRIAGE BILL IN NIGERIA
All praise is due to Allah, the Creator of heavens and earth. May His peace and blessings be upon the noble prophet Muhammad (SAW), his household members, his companions and all Muslims till the day of judgement, amin.
The Muslim Congress (TMC) joins other Islamic organizations in Nigerian to educate, sermonize and redirect the energy of our lawmakers by issuing a press release on Child marriage from Islamic Perspective. It is clear from the tempo of the discussion on this contentious issue that Nigerian lawmakers have lost focus in the discharge of the statutory responsibilities entrusted on them by the citizenry.
At present they chase shadows rather than improve the well-being of the masses. At the moment they should be counselling the executive arm of government to live up to the expectations of Nigerians. The lawmakers are also voted into the National Assembly to make sensible laws for collective good after wide consultation based on decorum and respect.
Without doubt, it is desirable to come up with legislation that would safeguard the child’s rights in Nigeria, as other focused nations have done, but bringing up the issue of child marriage at this moment is diversionary and idiotic, when there are serious issues of insecurity, extreme poverty, unemployment and joylessness in the country. Be that as it may, keeping mute on sensitive issue of this nature, which is purposely design to provoke Muslims during the month of Ramadan, ridicule our cherished religious values and throw tantrums at Islam, would amount to stupidity and intellectual docility
Islam is a comprehensive religion. Its foundation is moral rectitude and building of an ethical sound society devoid of fornication, adultery and other sexual indiscipline like Homosexualism, beastilism and lesbianism, which are new diseases that have pervaded western societies, and gaining popularity in Nigeria.
For the Muslims, Allah has made marriage a sacred obligation for males and females who have attained puberty. Islamic law does not view a matured girl as a child once she commences are menstrual cycle. In traditional Muslim societies, when a girl matures it is desirable to let her marry as instructed by the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) if there is nothing cogent to the contrary.
During the classical era, once young girls are emotionally, psychologically and physiologically ready for marriage, the parents with the support of the society prepare her adequately, religiously, morally and pragmatically through mentoring to cope with obligations of marriage. Then, there was no societal engagement to keep her too long in her parent’s house, as we have created for girls in the contemporary times. The best that could be done then was to give her away in marriage following the Islamic laws of proposal and acceptance because women have the right to accept or reject marriage proposals. A girl’s consent is a prerequisite and precondition for the validity of the Islamic marriage contract. This fact is evident in the marriages of the Prophet and his companions to matured and young girls.
This good and enduring practice was not limited to Islamic society; it exists in Yorubaland, Igbo land, Hausaland, Chinese society and even in Elizabethan Europe. Why the hair-splitting debates and controversies? It was good, impactful and acceptable then and now for parents and girls who desire the model.
Let our lawmakers go back home to their villages and ask their mothers when they got married; they would be shocked that many of their mothers were given out in marriage at 14, 15, 16 and 17 years. Yet heavens did not fall! The world started having problems with this age-long practise because of modernity, loss of ethics of child marriage, resurgence of feminism and anti-religious postures of contemporary intellectuals.
It is appropriate to remark that that marriage in Islam is regulated by certain rules, namely, girls (whether matured women or children as the west often tagged it) must be carried along, must have attained reach puberty and should maturity emotionally to get married. There are ethics laid down by Islamic jurisprudence to be followed by those who desire this marriage model. There are several other models. Islam is a pragmatic religion not modern creeds that thrive on hypocrisy and double-standards.
We therefore align our views with the well-researched postures of our illustrious Professor Ishaq Lakin Akintola. May Allah put Baraka in his pen and voice, Amin.
The Muslim Congress