By Abdelali Hamieddine
By Abdelali Hamieddine
Rabat – The institution of the family and its place in society is not an Arab or Islamic characteristic. Many civilizations have emphasized the “family” within their communities. For example, in Chinese culture the family includes the parents, children and elderly who all live in the same place. It plays an important role in the social life in China by preserving the historical achievements and creating social relations.
The subject of family involves several elements of reflection: social, legal, and religious. The social aspect looks at the society in which the family abides, the legal takes into account the rights of the family, and the religious aspect, perhaps, is one of the most important because there are laws made in regards to how a family should function.
In Morocco, there is an ongoing debate on the minimum age of marriage for minors. This debate must be conducted on the basis of a number of factors that distinguish the legislation concerning the family in relation to other laws that focus on various fields.
It is impossible to deny the parliament its legislative attributions about family responsibilities, and the parliament will, in all cases, have the last word.
In my humble opinion, though, the Islamic law does not set a minimum age for marriage. Rather, it is open to all options and suggestions that comply with society and lead to family stability, as long as it is in accordance with Sharia law and international legal texts.
The principle of law is first and foremost social; it is for this reason that the legislator must consider and take into account all the different opinions in the society and the social reality. The subject is far more important than any ideological position. Let’s consider the case of marriages before the age of eighteen– studies by the Department of Justice and Freedoms established that there were many of these marriages before 2011, but since then, their number has began to decline. Yet, is it enough to be reassured that these marriages are not happening?
No, absolutely not because the judge who may have refused to marry a girl under the age of 18 might see her again two or three years later, trying to validate her wedding, which she contracted herself by the simple reading of Surah-al-Fatiha. This not to mention that she might already even be a mother by the time she comes back at the age of 18.
In Casablanca courts, judges refuse to marry any girl under 17. This case law is as much commendable as brave; however, young people who are denied marriage in Casablanca migrate to other parts of the country where they can get their marriages approved by a judge.
Ultimately, let’s say that the magistrate with his professional conscience must keep in mind all the factors surrounding and governing the marriage. He has his power/exercise of discretion that leads him to judge each case according to its specificity, based on his own wisdom and his understanding.
The case, therefore, oversteps the narrow framework of an ideological struggle and affects public policy in the fields of education and rural areas development. Many young girls who don’t find a way to go to school or university eventually become an additional burden on their parents, which leads the parents to give them away as soon as the first suitor comes around.
Translated by Nahla Landoulsi. Edited by Saba Naseeem
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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