Deputy grand imam of al-Azhar calls for marriage based on mutual consent with minimum age set at 18.
Written by Ruth Maclean The Guardian
One of the world’s most prestigious centres of Islamic learning has issued a fatwa against child marriage, saying marriage should be based on the consent of both parties and “particularly the young woman”.
The deputy grand imam of al-Azhar, considered by some Muslims to be the highest authority of Islamic jurisprudence, hammered out the document with his team and young activists at the first African summit on child marriage and female genital mutilation, which took place in Senegal this week.
If news of the fatwa’s existence can reach imams in countries with high rates of child marriage, activists hope that the practice can be stopped, as they could not deny al-Azhar’s authority.
“Marriage in Islam is based on the consent of both parties, particularly the young woman. Such consent requires the young woman to have reached the age of maturity and reason, so that her consent is validly given,” the fatwa read, adding that this age was 18, and quoting parts of the Qur’an and the hadiths of the prophet Muhammed to support it.
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