The Federal Shariat Court (FSC) has decided on Thursday that setting the minimum age for girls marriage was not against Islamic principles. The verdict came while the Shariat Court dismissed a petition that challenged Sections 4, 5 and 6 of the Marriage Restraint Act (CMRA) 1929.
The court added that setting a minimum age of 16 years for girls marriage under the Child Marriage Restraint Act (CMRA) 1929 would help girls get a basic education. “After examining the petition, we are of the considerate view that the petition is misconceived, hence, it is hereby dismissed,” ruled Justice Dr Syed Mohammad Anwer, who was part of the three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Mohammad Noor Meskanzai.
The 10 page verdict by the Federal Shariat Court stated that sections 4, 5 and 6, which were challenged in the petition, and prescribe the minimum age limit for both girls and boys marriage was not un-Islamic. The judgement added that education is equally important for everyone irrespective of gender and Islam has made the acquisition of education mandatory for every Muslim.
FSC added that physical health and economic stability are important factors for marriage but mental health and intellectual development are also equally important and achievable through education. The bench added that education is fundamental for women empowerment and it is the key for development of an individual and consequently for future generation of the nation.
The verdict added that one of the purposes of marriage in Islam is the protection and promotion of the generation of a person, adding that it falls under the concept of Hifz-un-Nasal, which is one of the goals of Shariat as per the concept of Maqasid-us-Shariah. Furthermore, the judgement explains that getting education comes under the concept of Hifz-ul-Aql, that is to promote and protect intellect, which is also one of the basic goals of Shariat, therefore, setting the minimum age for girls marriage was not un-Islamic.
According to the teachings of Islam, giving the best education to a girl or daughter is one of the best deeds a person can do and it guarantees Jannat, the judgement said, adding that there are many Islamic countries where such type of law exists wherein the minimum age for boys and girls marriage is fixed. Some of these countries are Jordan, Malaysia, Egypt, and Tunisia, the verdict pointed out.