There was a news item yesterday that a bill in the Pakistani legislature to ban child marriage has been withdrawn, because an advisory council — The Council of Islamic Ideology — declared the bill “un-Islamic,” not in compliance with Sharia law. The council maintains a stance that men should be able to marry girls as young as nine years old, “if signs of puberty are visible.” You can read more about the story here.
Seriously. Banning child marriages is “un-Islamic.” According to a council on Islamic ideology.
The founder of Islam, the Prophet Muhammad, married his wife, Aisha, when she was six years old and he was fifty years old, and had sex with her when she was nine years old and he was fifty-three. This is well documented by multiple contemporary sources† and widely accepted throughout the Islamic world. In context that Muhammad is commonly considered within Islam to have been picked by Allah because he was perfectly upright, it would follow that such child marriages must therefore be sanctioned. In this sense, there’s a strong argument that banning child marriages is indeed “un-Islamic.”
Just think about that for a moment. Many millions of people revere as morally perfect someone they know to have been an unabashed pedophile. And a sizable portion of them see that as divine warrant for pedophiliac marriages, which supports institutionalization of child rape and molestation.
Any historical, legal, or theological sanction of child marriage within Islam is not an acceptable defense for the continuation of the practice. Rather, it is a profound problem with Islam. Furthermore, the withdrawal of this bill due to the Council of Islamic Ideology’s declaration that the bill is “un-Islamic” shows once again that government and religion should be kept completely separate. And the entire situation exemplifies how religions often perpetuate ancient barbarism and misery, and retard the progress of civilization.
† To give an example from the many accounts of this in the Hadiths, here’s Sahih Bukhari 7:62:64
Narrated ‘Aisha: that the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e., till his death).