By Umar Abubakar

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

Allah Says in Q65:4
"And (as for) those of your women who have despaired of menstruation, if you have a doubt, their prescribed time shall be three months, and of those too who have not had their courses; and (as for) the pregnant women, their prescribed time is that they lay down their burden; and whoever is careful of (his duty to) Allah He will make easy for him his affair."

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahiim.
All praise be to Allah and may His blessings and peace be on His last messenger, Muhammad.

Islam has great love for marriage, it strongly emphasized that people get married as soon as possible. This is more so for women and girls in Nigeria. The Prophet (s) and Imams (as) have strongly emphasized that it is the responsibility of a father to ensure that his daughters become married as soon as possible. This is in order so that the woman may not fall into fornication as a result of not being able to marry, and that this very important part of her life become dealt with as soon as possible

As for the verse above some scholars understood it to mean that a female child may be married off, it is not explicit on this meaning. There are many women who don't get their period until they are fifteen or sixteen, and they would not be considered sick. Some women may even not menstruate until later (as in the many cases of primary amenorrhea,) so it is not about menstruation, but the physique. It would be unreasonable to prevent a twenty two year old female from marriage because she didn't have a period yet.

We see this reflected in the following ahadeeth:
It is a blessing for a man that his daughter does not menstruate in his home.

The Prophet may peace and blessings of Allah be with Him said in a khutbah: "Jibra'il came to me from the Subtle and Aware one [Allah (swt)], and said: "Indeed, virgin girls are like fruit on a tree. When you take the fruit from a tree, then you do not have to fear that the sun will spoil it or that the wind will scatter it away.

Beyond this, Islam also believes that women have a stronger sexual urge then men, and that this urge should be satisfied at an early age. There are many narrations that state that women have nine times as much sexual desire as men:

Imam Ali (as) said: "Allah the Mighty and Glorified has created desire in ten parts; nine of these parts are in women, and one part is in men. Had not Allah (swt) given more power to her modesty than over these parts of desire, then every man would find himself with nine women attached to him."

Imam as-Sadiq (as) said: "Indeed, Allah the Mighty and Glorious has given women the patience of ten men. If a woman is fighting with you, then it is because she has been given the desire of ten men."

Imam as-Sadiq (as) said: "Women have been blessed with ninety nine percent of desire, In fact Allah has placed modesty over them.

However when a girl is young, this force will be even stronger in her, and so it is more important that she not fall into sin. If a father is to be considered the guardian of his daughter, then it is one of his duties to make sure that she does not fall into sin by using his age and experience to help find for her a proper husband at an early age. It is even said of slave-masters that they should either marry their slave girls or find husband for them, and that if they fornicate, the sin will be on himself. Subhanallah.

Therefore marrying a little girl, especially in nigeria not yet mature to object, without her consent, there is a difference between the contract of marriage and the consummation. As for the contract, aside from Ibn Shubrumah and al-Asamm who prohibited it, the vast majority indicated that it may be done by a father only, as in the case of the presence of a suitor that he fears may pass her up. As for the consummation of marriage with a young female, the scholars agreed that the groom shall not be permitted to enter in on the bride until she is ready for intercourse or he shall not be required to sustain her as a wife until she is physically mature. al-Mughni, Ibn Qudamah'

In all nations, people got married earlier than they do now. In Europe, during the time of Shakespeare, if a woman was single at 13, she was considered late to marriage, as reflected in his writings.

An eighteen year old during the time of the Prophet may peace and blessings of Allah be with Him, led armies, was dispatched as an ambassador, and ruled a city of the importance of Maccah. Would you trust an eighteen year old to do that nowadays? Having a family is not a small task, and it requires a certain degree of maturity.

Islam doesn't legislate for you, in the 21st century, in the west alone, but for Bedouins in the desert and people in the middle of the forests of Africa, Asia, or Latin America; for the 21st century, and the seventh, and in between and beyond.

Permitting a practice is not like requiring it; it is to afford people more flexibility so that they may exercise logical discretion within their various norms and needs. In fact, the scholars, like imam Ash-Shafi'i, who indicated that marrying a young girl off by her father is permissible, still said that it was detested.

Finally, prudent thinkers never approach an issue of this complexity by looking at it from one angle. They address all the pertinent factors, and they consider all contexts. To judge an act as good or bad, according to reasonable people regardless of their faith and religion, is not an abstract that is separate from its context and the circumstances that surrounded it.

The change, in people's norms and customs, of the age of marriage, no one can deny, as that happens in all nations which will still continue in Nigeria. The State of California in the United States increased the age that allows one to legally have sexual intercourse many times within only a 25 year time bracket. Until 1889 the legal age for sexual intercourse was 10 years old, then it became 14 years, then 16 years in 1897, then in 1913 it became 18 years. However, until today it is still 13 years old in the State of New Mexico and 14 years old in the States of Mississippi and Iowa.

I want all nigerians to Comprehend, may Allah forgive you and me, regarding the above, that this is a single nation (Nigeria) during a single era (21st Century). What about different nations in different eras with different environments, conditions, needs, norms and customs?

The recent extensive changes in the circumstances of the world conceivedby the United States have led to great changes in people's customs and norms. It is unfair and unwise for the people of this era to judge human history based on their current standards and norms.

Allah Almighty knows best.

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