Marriage To Minor, The Pendulum Swings Between Two Perspectives

What I use to know is that every law has its source and factors that influence it emergence, include the Constitution of Nigeria. I salute the courage of many that want freedom and protection for child in Nigeria and the world at large. It is a courageous course they have chosen. A hint for them is that Al'Quran has prepared floor for their advocacy as far back as 1,423 years ago when Allah says:

“And kill not your children for fear of poverty. We shall provide for you as well as for them. Surely, the killing of them is a great sin.” Israi ch 31

The book called Quran is not just a book to over 4 billion Muslims all over the world; it is what rules their affairs, the guidance from Allah. It remains the source of law of many countries around world today, Islamic Republic of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Yemen, Tunisia, Libya, Iraq, Malaysia, Sudan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and many other. We are of the believe that man cannot know it all, therefore, God is the best law giver and that is why Sen. Sanni Yerima stood to protect the law of Allah in the senate and not to undermine the rights of non Muslims. He stood against the amendment of section 29(1) of the constitution of Nigeria which relates to section 21 of Child Rights Act.

“Any Nigerian of full age who wish to renounce his Nigerian citizenship shall make a declaration in the prescribe manner for the renunciation” –Sec 29(1)

For the purpose of subsection (1) of this section-
(a) ”full age means the age of eighteen years and above”

(b) Any woman who is married shall be deemed to be of full age

THE CONSTITUTION of a country should reflect and respect the culture and religion of every person, group, If Sen. Sanni Yerima has reminded the Senate about the position of Islam, which is religion of several millions of Nigeria which has the followers of 4 billion in the world, I think he has discharge his duty as a senator of federal republic of Nigeria. He has only convinced the Senators and Nigerian that Sec 29(4) (a)(b) do not need amendment for any reason, that altering of Subsection 4(b) will run contrary to Islamic law which will contradict the provision of Sec 38(1)- Right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion-

“Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or believe and freedom to (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.” –Sec 38(1)

It is permissible in the religion of Islam, the marriage to minor (girl), it does not make it a must for Muslims, but it is permitted by Sharia. It is a practice that is not aimed at exploiting a girl but to maintain high moral value in the society. It is not to deny the girl education but to move away from what Allah frowns at (adultery and fornication) which are highly hated disposition by God. When such marriage occurs, the husband does not have sexual intercourse with such a girl until she is sexually matured, the age which varies in persons.

Thanks to the science of genetics which revealed that the earlier you give birth as a lady (who is sexually matured), the saver it is. In woman, the incidence of chromosomal abnormalities, which result in Down syndrome including nondisjunction increase with maternal age, especially at 35 years and older. These individuals also have relatively high incidence of Leukemia, infections, thyrod dysfunction, and premature aging. The following are associated with Down syndrome: : growth retardation, varying degree of mental retardation, craniofacial abnormalities including upward slanting eyes, epicanthal folds (extra skin folds at the medial corners of the eyes), flat facies, and small ears; cardiac defect; and hypotonia, reference -T. W. Sadler Ph. D., Medical Embryology 10th Edition, page 15

The incidence of Down syndrome is approximately 1 in 2,000 conspectuses for women under age 25. The risk increases with maternal age 1 in 300 at age of 35 and 1 in 100 at age 40. Reference -T. W. Sadler Ph. D., Medical Embryology 10th Edition, page 16

VVF: some sensitive personalities who seem objective are expecting me to comment on the popular and dangerous disease called VVF in relation to girls' early marriage. It is saddened and pathetic that some persons are in the business of propagating lies and fallacy just to make people accept their corroded and shallow position and perspectives on issue.

VVF is an abnormal fistulous tract extending between the bladder and the vagina that allows the continuous involuntary discharge of urine into the vaginal vault- “Wikipedia”

It is often caused by childbirth (in which case it is known as an obstetricfistula), when a prolonged labour presses the unborn child tightly against the pelvis, cutting off blood flow to the vesicovaginal wall. The affected tissue may necrotize (die), leaving a hole.

Vaginal fistulas can also result from violent rape. This injury has become common in some war zones, where rape is used as a weapon against female civilians. As a result, some health centers in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo have begun to specialize in the surgical repair of vaginal fistulas.

The disease is not at all directly related to early marriage, research has shown that prolong labour during child birth in the absence of good medical care is the major cause of VVF. Illiteracy, poverty, and crude believe that related to child birth are great factors to VVF.

Marriage to minor does not qualifies one to have sexual intercourse with a juvenile, not until the girl is sexually matured, the husband shall not cohabit with her.

One need to realize that Islam would prefer to prevent the practice of fornication and adultery and one of the means of prevention is the encouragement of the sexually matured girl to be with her legal husband as soon as practicable. It is understandable that the advocate of Child Rights want good for the child as much as Islam which for the first time in the history of Arab stopped the killing of girls in Arab peninsula. The same Islam warns against killing of children in form of abortion for flimsy reasons like poverty, Quran, Surah Israi v 31. The same Islam prescribed that mothers should breast feed her child for 2 years which become the recent prescription of the medical scientists.

For those who are carried away by formality, they need to get something straight, what is call constitution is a mother of all laws and must get acceptance from different major groups, cultures and religions. It is call constitution because it a law jointly made by all. It does not drop from sky; constitution is made by man and must conform to justifiable reasoning of man. It is not any one's right to force his ideology on others who do not believe in such.

The advocates of child rights need to realize that to sell such an ideology to the whole country and the whole world, they need to take lot of things in to consideration which include culture and religion. You do not bring an idea and think it is superior to other existing ideas; you rather bring it closer to other ideas and locate the meeting point.

It is advisable for many ignorant in Nigeria that pretend they know who hardly conduct research or read widely and objectively when issues of Islamic law come up in the arena of government and policy making, to always get their facts right. They celebrate ignorant, with the aid of media, rain attack on personalities linked with Islamic law or perspective advocate. They need to be aware that what they attack is a civilization that rule empires and countries till today.

If there is social and moral ethic problem in our society, they are not sourced from Islam; It is not Islam that turns many university ladies to prostitutes patronized by the politicians, rich men, and their lecturers, the future leaders becomes the material for pleasure on their various campuses. The secondary schools male teachers, many of them quickly exploit and dis-virgin their under 18 years female students, it is not an uncommon show. Many secondary school girls and boy of age bellow 18 constantly watch sex films on their mobile phones in school, many times; the girls are impregnated by either her teacher or “co-under age” male students.

Do think twice, relax and research before you throw an attack to any position of Islamic law. You are not wiser than Islamic law, you may think you are but your extensive research will prove you wrong. The constitutional provisions in section 29(1) and (4) (a) and (b) have no problem and need no amendment what so ever, that is the position of Islamic law which Sen. Sanni Yerima advocates.

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Articles by Abdulsalam Abdulfatah Liberty