KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1, 2014:

Child marriages are not wajib(obligatory) or sunnah(encouraged), according to religious scholars with the National Fatwa Committee, which has published an e-Fatwa on the government’s official website.

“There is no hadithsupporting child marriages. Marriages in the time of Prophet S.A.W. conducted by his friends were more to safeguard the welfare of children.

“Though it is included in issues that are legal, it is subject to the provisions of Maqasid Sharia and Qaedah Fiqhiyyah,” read the fatwa.

The fatwa was a result of a dialogue held on Oct 21 and 22 this year to discuss child marriages from the religious, health and psychological aspects as well as to review a study conducted by a research group from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

The fatwa states that among the conclusions reached by the committee, based on the findings of the study, were that the issue of child marriages was not new in Malaysia and it was no longer seen as a “healthy” practice.

It also found that although there were laws which allowed child marriages in Malaysia, it did not mean that marriages could be carried out simply and without referring to the welfare of the children who wished to be married.

“The study found that statistically, applications and child marriages in the country are increasing.

“These marriages do more harm than good, especially with regard to the health and psychology of the children involved.

“Most of these child marriages occur as a result of feelings of love between couples who are not able to control themselves. This leads to adultery and extramarital pregnancies.

“The findings show that child marriages occur in Malaysia not because of welfare, but due to extreme behaviour and the desire to cover up disgrace or stain on a family’s honour,” read the fatwa.

It also found that health experts and psychologists affirmed the existence of physical and mental health problems experienced by the female partner as a result of a child marriage.

Based on Islamic texts and Fiqhiyyah Qaeda-Qaida and testimonies from health experts and psychologists, the scholars agreed that a child marriage could only be permitted provided it was done solely to meet a child’s welfare.

They also agreed that the relevant authorities should tighten the conditions of child marriages and ensure their implementation is carried out according to procedure.

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