Setting minimum age for girls’ marriage not against Islam: Pak’s top sharia court

Pakistan’s Federal Shariat Court, a top Islamic court, ruled that it was not against Islam to set a minimum age for girl’s marriage.

By PTI|   Published: 29th October 2021

wedding hall
 Representational Photo


Islamabad: Pakistan’s top Islamic court has ruled that setting the minimum age limit for a girls’ marriage was not against the teachings of Islam as it dismissed a petition which challenged some sections of the Child Marriage Restraint Act.

The verdict may settle a controversy over the child marriage fuelled by the insistence of radical Muslims that Islam has not allowed to fix age for marriage.

A three-judge bench of the Federal Shariat Court (FSC), headed by Chief Justice Mohammad Noor Meskanzai, on Thursday heard the petition challenging some sections of the Child Marriage Restraint Act (CMRA) 1929.

Dawn newspaper reported that the FSC dismissed the petition and categorically declared that setting any minimum age limit for girls’ marriage by an Islamic state was not against Islam.

After examining the petition, we are of the considerate view that the petition is misconceived, hence, it is dismissed in limine, ruled the judgement authored by Justice Dr Syed Mohammad Anwer.

In the 10-page verdict, the FSC held that the sections in which the minimum age limit was prescribed by the act for both girls and boys for marriage was not un-Islamic.

The section 4 of the CMRA prescribes punishment for marrying a child to a simple imprisonment which may extend to six months and a fine of 50,000 Pakistani Rupees. Whereas Section 5 and 6 explain the punishment for solemnising nikah of a child and permitting or promoting child marriage.

The judgement explains that the importance of education is self-explanatory and the need for education is equally important for everybody, irrespective of gender.

That is why Islam has made the acquisition of education mandatory for every Muslim as mentioned in a Hadith stating Acquisition of knowledge is mandatory upon every Muslim’, the verdict says.

For a healthy marriage, it says, not only physical health and economic stability are necessary factors but mental health and intellectual development are also equally important, which are achievable through education.

Education is fundamental for women empowerment as it is the key for development of an individual and consequently for the future generation of any nation, it says.

One of the purposes of marriage in Islam is protection and promotion of genealogy and generation of a person, the verdict observes, adding that this concept comes under the topic of Hifz-un-Nasal, which is one of the goals of Shariat according to the concept of Maqasid-us-Shariah as narrated by Ibrahim Bin Musa Bin Mohammad Shatbi.

There are many Islamic countries wherein minimum age for marriage for male and female is fixed, like in Jordan, Malaysia, Egypt and Tunisia, etc, the verdict points out, according to the report.


4 replies

  1. Some international NGOs are keen on this topic. They usually try and convince that the age of marriage should be not lower than 18.

    What they do not care about is the age of the start of sexual activities. For Muslims this is identical with marriage, for Western minds it is not.

    Therefore we need to consider some of the following comments:

    Most teenagers in America have sex for the first time, have sexual intercourse at about age 17. So it differs by socioeconomic class and race and ethnicity and that sort of thing. But generally speaking, sex, intercourse at 17. Kids engage in sexual activity, however, starting usually at about 13 or so. And if you think about your own growing up and when you were in high school, and when kids started making out and having boyfriends and getting seriously sexually active, it was usually about then. By the time kids are age 13 – 16 they really start to develop their sexual muscles, so they are fooling around, they are making out with their boyfriends, or in some cases with people they don’t know well at all. So it’s important for your kids to know this and to know it’s typical and common, and for you as a parent to know what to expect in terms of your kid’s sexual activity.

    UK: Wide variation in age at sexual debut is part of the normal spectrum of adolescent development. By the end of the teenage years most young people in the UK will have had sex. The average age of sexual debut in the UK is 16 – 17. While most young people nowadays have not had sexual intercourse by the time they turn sixteen, between a third and half have.

    just saying …

  2. The age of consent in the UK is 16. The minimum age of marriage is 16 (with parental consent), or otherwise 18. So actually, in the UK, the ages are identical.

    Oh, and just because some people have sexual activity before that time is not a reason to lower the marriage age. Ideally kids wouldn’t be having sex, but sometimes they do, just like kids do lots of things they shouldn’t. That’s why sex and relationship education is so important and should be mandatory.

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