Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti – ‘Permissible’ to Marry Under 15s

The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Shaikh Abdul Aziz Al ash-Shaikh

Saudi Arabia’s leading religious figure has said that marrying a girl under the age of 15 is ‘permissible.’

Shaikh Abdul Aziz Al ash-Shaikh, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia made the comments in his capacity as head of the Senior Council of Scholars. In an interview with local daily Al-Riyadh, he said “There is currently no intention to discuss the issue.”

The Grand Mufti was speaking in reference to a proposal made by the Justice Ministry to the Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Issuing Fatwas two years ago, requesting a fatwa to set a minimum age for marriage. Because of the lack of separation between religion and state in Saudi Arabia, the Senior Council of Scholars is the only authority permitted to issue fatwas, save for a few other leading clerics. This has been the case since a royal decree on the matter in 2010.

The justice ministry submitted a lengthy and detailed proposal alongside its request for a fatwa. It detailed the psychological and sociological reasons why a girl under the age of 15 should not be considered ready for marriage. The fatwa was sought as part of an attempt to introduce a ban on child marriage in Saudi Arabia…

Marriage at a young age is popular in tribal societies — the idea is to get the females married off before they have time to contemplate something other than the chosen groom and expected large family. Choosing the groom is fundamental to keep the clan ‘breeding true’. If girl’s parents hesitate, she might run off with someone that is not closely related to the clan.

h/t Marvin