FSC declares minimum 18 years age for marriage as Islamic

ISLAMABAD: Declaring minimum age of marriage for both girls and boys at 18 years in Sindh in accordance with the injunction of Islam on Monday Federal Shariat Court (FSC) ruled saying fixation of this age limit objective is to provide reasonable time period for girls to complete basic education in order to develop mental maturity in a person.

A full bench of the FSC comprising Chief Justice Dr Syed Muhammad Anwar and Justice Khadim Hussain Shaikh ruled while hearing a plea challenging vires of the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act 2013, which set the minimum age of marriage for both girls and boys at 18 years in the province.

The bench said, “setting a minimum age for marriage i.e an act which is “mobah” (permissible) and not absolutely “fard” (mandatory) like marriage is in accordance with the injunctions of Islam, because such fixation of minimum age limit provides reasonable time period to girls to complete basic education at least, which normally helps in developing mental maturity (Rushd / رشد) in a person”.

The bench announced the judgment in response to a plea of a citizen who invoked the FSC jurisdiction challenging vires of the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act 2013, which set the minimum age of marriage for both girls and boys at 18 years in the province. The petitioner had contended that the Act was un-Islamic and violated the injunctions of Islam.

After providing ample opportunity to parties of the case, the full bench decided that the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act 2013 is in accordance with the injunctions of Islam, and therefore does not violate any constitutional or Islamic provisions. The court further stated that the Section 2(a) of the Act is in line with the Islamic teachings of protecting the rights of children and ensuring their well-being.

It is pertinent to mention that the Act 2013 was enacted to prevent child marriages by fixing the minimum age limit and promote the protection of children’s rights in the province. It sets the minimum age of marriage at 18 years for males and females.

It has been stated in the verdict of the FSC that fixing of an age limit to enter into marriage by the state or a government, as is done in the impugned law, is not against the injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah.

“The act of setting a minimum age limit for marriage and setting age for an adult eligible to solemnise marriage vide impugned Section 2(a) of the Sindh Child Marriages Restraint Act, 2013 is not against the injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah,” read the judgement.

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