Marital matters: Underage marriage [Nikkah] not un-Islamic: CII

Published: March 12, 2014
CII suggested removing the clause in the Child Marriages Restriction Act that any child cannot go against the will of father and maternal grandfather, who have arranged a marriage at the early age of the child. PHOTO: FILE

CII suggested removing the clause in the Child Marriages Restriction Act that any child cannot go against the will of father and maternal grandfather, who have arranged a marriage at the early age of the child. PHOTO: FILE


Pakistan’s top constitutional body responsible for giving legal advice to the legislature on Islamic issues has said Islam doesn’t prohibit underage marriage (Nikkah) – but consummation of marriage (Rukhsati) is allowed only when the couple – both husband and wife – reaches puberty.

The decree came at the end of a two-day meeting of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) on Tuesday. CII Chairman Maulana Muhammad Khan Sheerani presided over the session.

The council suggested removal of a clause in the Child Marriages Restriction Act 1929 that prohibits a child from going against the will of his/her father and maternal grandfather, who have arranged an underage marriage for him/her.

CII members suggested that after reaching puberty, the child should have the right to undo the decision of his/her father and grandfather on underage marriage.

Under the 1929 marriage laws, a couple can defy their underage marriage if it is contracted by their relatives, but they cannot go against the decision of their fathers and maternal grandfathers.

A source, who attended Tuesday’s meeting, told The Express Tribune that most CII members agreed that children should be given the right to undo their underage marriage after reaching puberty, if they desire so.

The CII members believe that the modern-day children are comparatively more aware and mature to take a decision about their marital life, therefore the 1929 marriage laws need to be amended and the specific clause relaxed, the source said.

The Shia Ulema told their CII colleagues that according to Fiqa-e-Jaferia, the clause is not binding since it is not against any principle of the Sharia law.

Meanwhile, Dr Nafisa Shah, the coordinator of PPP’s Human Rights Cell, expressed concern over a statement of the CII chief about second marriage. Maulana Sheerani said on Monday that a male Muslim does not need a written approval from his existing wife/wives in order to contract another marriage.

“Why is the CII concerned with men’s four marriages and why they have done nothing to ensure that women get their right in inheritance as enshrined in Islamic law? Or why have they failed to stop practices such as Vani, Swara and Karo-Kari? Or stop rape, and acid crimes against women?” asked Dr Shah.

“Unfortunately, Islam has been misinterpreted over a period of time by a mindset and a particular school of thought. Islam and modernism are compatible provided progressive scholars interpret the religion,” she added. She called upon the government to induct progressive Islamic scholars in the CII so that women’s rights are also protected.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 12th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (53)

  • k khan
    Mar 12, 2014 - 4:03AM

    Wonderful going back to stone age. Let’s start from the CII council members. Recommend

  • Mar 12, 2014 - 5:04AM

    what the heck is wrong with this country??????!!!!


  • Karin
    Mar 12, 2014 - 5:18AM

    Why not Pakistan is an Islamic country. This is what Pakistan deserve.


  • Intelligent
    Mar 12, 2014 - 5:49AM

    Uneducated Mullah’s from the small streets and villages of Pakistan have destroyed Islam and spreading the knowledge wrongly. The authentic Islamic books should be referred first instead of listening and following these Mullah’s first.


  • Ahmed
    Mar 12, 2014 - 6:14AM

    Atleast read what’s written. They are actually removing the law which states that children ‘can’t’ go against the decision of parents, which was made when they were not adults.


  • Mar 12, 2014 - 6:27AM

    Good! Empower the youth to take decisions themselves, no forced Nikah or Rukhsati!
    This is a very resolution which nullifies any elder from forcing their children to marry against their will. Unfortunately, in Pakistan, marriages are forced upon the children long after they reach puberty.
    Regarding polygamy, it’s allowed in Islam and can be practiced by any male. It’s a meticulous decision however since he is then answerable to Allah for any injustice that might occur between his wives.
    Polygamy has its advantages. It’s a legal framework to provide females societal security and ability to have her own family! Many females of my people are today going unmarried because the well-off men are not given acceptance to have more than one wife. This doesn’t stop those men from resorting to secondary methods to gratify themselves: prostitution, frequent divorces. The former being a horrendous objectification of the genteel gender.
    After wars, disparity amidst the male and female population rises sharply, the widowed and unmarried females should always have a chance to start another family of their own, everyone deserves to live their life to the maxim.
    Unfortunately, female rights activists frown upon polygamy as ONLY being a means for a man to assuage his carnal desires; marriage, as many of us know, is much more than that.
    P. S. Everyday in my religion is a Women’s Day.


  • Ashraf P
    Mar 12, 2014 - 6:28AM

    So what the anti-Islam mob was telling us was correct all along !


  • turthneverlies
    Mar 12, 2014 - 6:39AM

    So, the child can be married at any age and have “consummation” upon reaching puberty (10 to 12) according to Islam? Anyone sees something wrong here?


  • Zig
    Mar 12, 2014 - 6:40AM

    CII please leave us alone

    Go away…


  • PeaceMonger
    Mar 12, 2014 - 6:59AM

    ” have “consummation” upon reaching puberty (10 to 12) “
    Are you serious?! 10 to 12 year olds?? WHich planet are you from?


  • Ahmed
    Mar 12, 2014 - 7:15AM


    Please read it again.


  • Parvez Amin
    Mar 12, 2014 - 7:28AM

    I feel sick to my stomach to read this.


  • Kamran
    Mar 12, 2014 - 7:29AM

    “CII members suggested that after reaching puberty, the child should have the right to undo the decision of his/her father and grandfather on underage marriage.” This is actually a sane alteration of the law. People should read the entire article carefully before commenting. Moreover, the only thing we Pakistanis truly care about is the welfare of Muslims living in other countries.


  • IMHO
    Mar 12, 2014 - 7:31AM

    This just keeps getting better and better, doesn’t it.


  • IMHO
    Mar 12, 2014 - 7:38AM

    ‘Underage marriage is permitted, but rukhsati can happen only upon puberty’

    So according to these gentlemen, under-age is not 18 or 15 or any such arbitrary western figure – underage means pre-pubescent, people – so quit complaining already.


  • Hassan N Ansari
    Mar 12, 2014 - 7:41AM

    CII should be abolished … It hasn’t ever achievedanything for ththew betterment of Pakistani citizens … Recommend

  • Halal
    Mar 12, 2014 - 7:44AM

    Well in a row against extremist mindset we may not forget to see and take things on merit. Here, we need to have patience, before outrightly criticising Islam and Pakistan. Let’s not leave look these two with hate, since they are our identity. Rules need to be whether we like it or not. If not Islamic, western.. ..


  • Ejaaz
    Mar 12, 2014 - 7:56AM

    Puberty can happen at a very young age, as young as three . These days the age of puberty is around seven. Because of evidence of hadeeth, Iran has set the age of marriage at nine. There is no minimum age of marriage in the Gulf Kingdoms.


  • Ex Pakistani
    Mar 12, 2014 - 8:34AM

    These idiots need a perspective. Islamic law is fixed for some basic issues and is for changing law for changing time. Recommend

  • Not again
    Mar 12, 2014 - 8:40AM

    Can you please get a job and do something worthwhile for society..

    Had enough of these bearded dudes who turn up in fancy dress and make all sorts of pronouncements and interpretations….

  • Tani
    Mar 12, 2014 - 8:41AM

    I could go the same way majority Pakistanis do on each anti india articles “real face of india” “so called democracy” “shining india” on ills of my country but I won’t..coz we understand pluralistic democracy much better than anyone in world…

    This is not pakistan culture wake up and stand up for ur rights..They are aspiring to make u next Saudi Arabia. The 20 percent religious fundamentalist seems to set policies and agenda for all. Banning youtube ..culture of hatred towards others religions now child marriage , women suppression laws. Your world image is already tarnished for terrorism now u want to be known for child marriages and suppression of woman law? As a girl myself it’s disheartening to hear a man can marry as many he wishes for his to top it the right to reject a step wife is also taken away from her.. When pakistan was born Jinnah wanted rights for all pakistan…not this. Recommend

  • csmann
    Mar 12, 2014 - 9:05AM

    No wonder the world has such a poor opinion about Islam;These maulanas are the worst enemies of Islam and its spirit.


  • Karwa Sach
    Mar 12, 2014 - 9:09AM

    For God’s sake somebody dissolve this CII and constitute a new one…Recommend

  • saleem
    Mar 12, 2014 - 9:16AM

    I think we are mixing up ancient arabic culture with religion. In those ages underage marriage was allowed in all religions. Recommend

  • Nabeel
    Mar 12, 2014 - 9:33AM

    Our pseudo-liberal brothers and sisters sometimes drive into so much neagtivity about islamic scholars that they start bashing at anything which the mullahs say, even when they do something better… just as presented in this news…

    Why can’t we be centrists in everything?


  • Adnan
    Mar 12, 2014 - 9:48AM

    Would it not have been better if the sanctity of the contract of Nikkah is treated seriously, and the CII should have forbidden contracting Nikkah when children are minor. This would have been a more admirable first step.


  • rak
    Mar 12, 2014 - 9:51AM

    haha….children can decide whether to stay married or not !! Right when children should be learning history geography and open up their mind to limitless possiblities people come up with this, maturity levels are high in pakistan, as an indian i only wish learned people from pakistan do somthing about this, this is insane, i know i have many things to worry about in india itself but guys something thats is bad ought to be said so


  • Jamat e Jahil
    Mar 12, 2014 - 10:03AM

    CII are great master debators…

    Lets export their wisdom to Afghanistan

    I will happily buy them a first class ticket….one way :)Recommend

  • Toticalling
    Mar 12, 2014 - 10:11AM

    Child marriage should be prohibited. Full stop. Only those who are over 20 should be allowed to wed. This is 21 century. ignore any other law.


  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    Mar 12, 2014 - 10:17AM

    Welcome Stone Age. We are already facing this in many parts of our country. Let us now move around on Camels instead of two wheelers or four wheelers. Stop using all latest technology which brings betterment in the society including medicines and other equipment. Last but not least, throw out your computers and televisions.Recommend

  • common man
    Mar 12, 2014 - 10:18AM

    Only those comment against this fatwa have been posted by you Admin,,,unfair treatment. your performance is biased..why do you not post my commemts.Recommend

  • imran
    Mar 12, 2014 - 10:20AM

    i think people gone crazy about this but the fact is that there r some wanna be people who wanna portray that they r very western and they want western way of thinking to be imposed on people of pakistan and that is why they have one sided argument… in islamic jurisdiction or shariah law a person reach adulthood once he/she reaches puberty… and what CII is saying that that puberty matters not the age… and we have some cultural and religious norms which we want to follow and respect … soo dont make a fuss of something which is not soo big thing


  • Truther
    Mar 12, 2014 - 10:25AM

    Now why would we still give importance these people who have kept Muslims in dark ages with their myopic blinkered religiously and socially illiterate existence!!??? This is the same mindset which gave fatwa that “loudspeakers are haram” and now they can;t live without loudspeakers. Same characters termed Medical College is unIslamic in Ottoman Empire, also termed printing press as UnIslamic. These are frozen minds which should best be lest untouched


  • Rizkhan
    Mar 12, 2014 - 10:57AM

    Country going down the drain and our most learned scholars further breaking the bones of our kids now. All members of this council should immediately be fired and new lot be taken onboard


  • PeaceMonger
    Mar 12, 2014 - 11:16AM

    I am convinced today that the centre of Islam is Pakistan !
    I wonder what other Muslim nations think about this decree !!


  • Rumormonger
    Mar 12, 2014 - 11:37AM

    The CII meetings should take place in tents pitched in the middle of the desert and they should travel to that place on camels.


  • salim
    Mar 12, 2014 - 11:41AM

    Any body who have been to West will bear me out that their culture is far advanced and better than ours. They have been through these religious mess earlier.The only insight we have about the west is that they will be doomed because of sex. And we forget the above mentioned sentiment of our mullahs about sex and the situation of Pakistan itself.


  • C M Naim
    Mar 12, 2014 - 12:45PM

    What is crucial has been left out. The CII should clearly state what they mean by “puberty” or “coming of age.” Should a 50 year old man be allowed to consummate his marriage to a 13 or 14 year old girl just because she has clinically reached puberty?


  • Raees Ahmad
    Mar 12, 2014 - 2:51PM

    It’s all to please Zaliman and Saudi Arabia.Old CII was consist of stupids who gave incomplete Shariah.


  • I am a Khan
    Mar 12, 2014 - 3:20PM


    I have lived in the west and their society when it comes to personal life/relationships is far worse than ours. dont confuse their wealthy economies, and welfare state structure with their dismal personal lives.


  • It Is (still) Economy Stupid
    Mar 12, 2014 - 3:56PM

    Good now one can marry on first day of birth and consummate the marriage at age 9 and start delivering child at 11 or 12 years of age. Like world needs more poor uneducated Muslims.


  • Singh
    Mar 12, 2014 - 5:55PM

    @I am a Khan:
    I am still living in USA & you are completely wrong. You might lived in ghetto of druggist that is reason your opinion is worst.


    Mar 13, 2014 - 1:45AM

    CII means Comedians of Islamic Ideology


  • Roni
    Mar 13, 2014 - 10:25AM

    I have a question to the real scholars. What is the min age for marriage in Islam? What is the min age at which the marriage can be consummated?
    ET please do not sensor this it is imp and people have a right to know what the teachings and laws of Islam are. ThanksRecommend

  • Dinesh
    Mar 13, 2014 - 5:11PM

    Why do not you just turn to a mere human being respecting basic human values rather than looking for perfect islamic literature to interpret islamic values correctly. Religion is something that turns a normal person to inhuman then try to revert back. Why not have a religion free world ? Why should we need religion at all ? I am not affiliated to any religion I am not missing anything in my life. I am trying to be as human as possible.


  • Sahotra
    Mar 13, 2014 - 6:22PM

    Nafeesa Shah of Slapping-a-Lady-Returning-Officer-during-Elections fame………surely she is a better defender for women rights than Moulana Sherani.


  • vinsin
    Mar 13, 2014 - 10:08PM

    @saleem: not true. In most of the religion child marriage was there not marriage b/w child and an adult. Islam sanctified that. Marriages b/w two child was practices because average life span was too short. Islam introduces the marriage b/w a child and an adult, a child and an old man.


  • Saud
    Mar 14, 2014 - 1:09AM

    Did any one in their right mind read and understood this article?

    Read again with due attention and read full, and then tell whats wrong in it?


  • Rex Minor
    Mar 14, 2014 - 1:26AM

    The religion of Islam does not permit more than one wife; nor does it allow a Nikah between a man and a woman who are not adults. Anything deviating from this obligation is unislamic and a deviation.

    Rex Minor


    Mar 14, 2014 - 2:35AM

    @vinsin , religion was a fashion statement in the stone ages


  • Nasir
    Mar 16, 2014 - 12:06PM

    When was the last time someone heard of a CII meeting?


  • Nasir
    Mar 16, 2014 - 12:09PM

    @Nabeel: because there is no centrist. You are either left or right. You are a centrist when you are afraid to take either of the two positions.


  • Nasir
    Mar 16, 2014 - 12:11PM

    @Ahmed: its not about the law being revoked( which is good) but their point of view that under-age marriage is ISLAMIC.


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