A Saudi Arabian judge recently ruled for the second time that an arranged marriage between a 47-year-old man and an 8-year-old girl was legal and binding.
Reportedly, the girl’s father married off his daughter to his close friend in return for the settlement of outstanding debts. Upon learning of the sale, the girl’s mother, who was separated from the father, filed for the annulment of the marriage.
The case went before Shiek Habib Al-Habib who, citing the Islamic law that governs much of the country’s domestic affairs, ruled that the marriage was in fact valid.
Stunned by the decision, the girl’s mother petitioned an appeals court to overturn the decision. Whilst the appeals court initially refused to certify the decision, in the end, it merely sent the case back to the same judge for reconsideration; Al-Habib then reaffirmed his original ruling.
At the time of the original ruling, Al-Habib managed to extract a promise from the husband that he would not have sex with the girl until she reached puberty, denying him conummation at least until the onset of menses.
Further, Al-Habib noted that upon reaching puberty, the girl could petition the court for a divorce. However, a divorce at that age would be unlikely as the girl’s future prospects would be noticeably dimmed by the perception of her being used goods.
Whilst marriage or betrothal to a pre-pubescent girl is heavily sanctioned in most of the world and usually limited only to the imaginary realm of manga or similar, marriage to young girls has official approval from the highest authorities in the desert kingdom.
Shiekh Addul Aziz Al-Shiekh, the kingdom’s grand mufti, recently reaffirmed the practice in remarks to the public: “It is incorrect to say that it’s not permitted to marry off girls who are 15 and younger. A girl aged 10 or 12 can be married. Those who think she’s too young are wrong and they are being unfair to her.”
“We hear a lot in the media about the marriage of underage girls,” continued Al-Shiekh. “We should know that Sharia law has not brought injustice to women.”
By the time the girl in question is old enough to petition for her divorce, her groom will be well into his fifties.
Those acquainted with Islam will of course know that Mohammed himself is widely considered to have been something of a lolicon, having married his third wife Aisha when she was six, and having had sex with her when she was 9; considering that example, the Wahhabist position seems almost liberal…