WHAT NIGERIAN CHRISTIANS SHOULD KNOW.
Islam itself revolves around the teachings of the prophet (may peace and blessings of Allah be with him).
Allah says in Qur'an 33 : 21 ;
In the name of Allah the most Beneficent the most merciful.
Indeed in the messenger of Allah (Muhammad may peace and blessings of Allah be with Him) you have a good example to follow for Him who hope for (the meeting with) Allah and the last day and remember Allah much.
However, one area of Islamic that has been subjected to much criticism in as of late in Nigeria is the practice of Child-Marriage. Some (mostly Christians) view Islam suspiciously, tend to caricaturize Muslims as morally deprived individuals who force their young daughters into marriage to old men for financial gains. Several polemicists commenting on this practice have hurled virulent epithets toward our beloved prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings of Allah be with Him).
I want you to understand the concept of child marriage in Islam, if a person classified as a child is married, when they reached the age of puberty and maturity, then they have a right to choose whether to go on with that marriage or not. Similarly, in Islamic Law, marriage is viewed as a contract between two parties; this is quite different from Christianity where it is viewed as a sacrament. So this becomes a marriage on paper on agreements with families.
Everybody knows there has been something going on quite recently, concerning Sen Yarima and the child marriage in the Senate. you know; it was a big thing to do that , particularly in the Senate that Senate doesn't have clear laws prohibiting it. So there was a big uproar about it, you know. But it had been going on for quiet a long time … in the previous century the nineteenth, eighteenth … this is something not uncommon. The desire to want to protect young people is a genuine desire; but where, you know, families are involved, people are not being forced etc, then this is not something which should be looked at in the negative light.
But before i go on to another issue, there is another point that I think is important, to touch on in the arranged marriage setup. Why it is that the Nigerian Christians and the West is so much opposed to this and that would … I think this is an important point because if it was common in the West before but now it is looked at so negatively there must be some factor and I think this is what we need to address that really from a Western point of view because the families are broken up to such a degree that individuals are now on their own - a young girl leaves her home for collage or university, she reaches her mid teens or whatever, she has to go out on her own and fend for herself. The idea of parents coming after that by telling who's good for you to marry this one or that one, it becomes ludicrous because she is now on her own taking care of herself. Why would anybody now want to come and tell her whom she should marry or would be good for her to marry. This is something totally in her own hands. Similarly with the young man : no suggestions, why suggestions because he is taking care of himself and so it is in this context that the idea of an arranged marriage may seem so unnatural whereas in the context where families are intact, you know, and children remain in the home until, you know, they reach the point of marriage and then they leave the home, what do you think will happen? only God knows. then, is this not unreasonable? you should know that the amount of unmarried girls involved in premarital activities between the age of 17 and 30 is increasing in nigeria on a daily basis.