Marriage Age for Girls

Mar 30th, 2010, in Asides, by

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183 Comments on “Marriage Age for Girls”

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  1. avatar David says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 12:34 am

    Well, of course your input made it peerless, Patung. Who would disagree with such a statement, the modesty of which rivals my own!

    I was actually being modest, I meant some of my blog posts suck too but they are rescued as a whole by the discussion that follows. This one, hard to know what to say to your post except “Yes, I agree it’s bad”, unless you had introduced something a bit more interesting into it, like a stab at why the NU guy said that thing, etc. Because I doubt that he himself is a ‘pedophile’. Religion, ethnicity, cultural norms, economic/social issues, how standards on these things have obviously changed from time to time and place to place and why they haven’t changed yet for some people in Indonesia, which people, why, etc, etc. You could have made an analogy with suttee, or whatever. You could still haven’t gotten in your outrage somewhere but preferably left it at one stab at it.

  2. avatar Ross says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 1:53 am

    Outrage is good for you… it also serves to stimulate debate, though admittedly, one hopes everybody is outraged by that particular fatwa.

  3. avatar David says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 1:59 am

    Outrage is fine as I said, but as I also said before, is barely sufficient on its own.

  4. avatar venna says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 3:24 am

    What the NU is doing with this fatwa is giving lip-service to their paymasters.
    _________

    Oh, I didn’t see it as this far, to tell you the truth. I saw it purely as a proof of impenetrable wall between the purely conservative (or old-fashioned, outdated) seniors and the dynamic & risk-taking generations (that maybe got frustated right now if your prediction is right).

  5. avatar realest says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 3:53 am

    @Ross:

    I grew up without going hungry but- through much of my childhood – without any material advantages of any significant sort, realest, and have had to work in all kinds of real jobs (and a few unreal ones!) to pay my way though life, so that is maybe one reason why I hate :-

    so … you’ve a job and never hungry.

    So tell us, realest, are you of dirt-poor origins, and would you sell your little sister if you were?

    I’ve led a mostly privileged life but getting kicked out of the house and surviving on 1 meal/day for 6 months has opened me up to a lot of things, empathy being among them. And yes i would have(if im the oldest male of thehouse) married off my older sister(didn’t have younger ones) to some rich+fat+stinky+redneck+hillbilly+rich grandpa if i’m hungry. And I’m proud to label it as survival instinct. Surely that puts you in a higher moral pedestal than me(look at my avatar).

    @Odinius:

    I was referring the the French anti-Burqa law.

    Second, I don’t think the state should be intervening in personal religious choices unless they are physically threatening to others or remove the rights of children, e.g. arranged marriages at age 6.

    Sure you’re talking about the French …. Has the school bell rang yet?

  6. avatar Odinius says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 4:47 am

    realest

    Sure you’re talking about the French …. Has the school bell rang yet?

    You might want to take a look at the use of grammar in that sentence. ‘E.g’ means ‘exempli gratia’ (for example), whereas ‘i.e.’ means ‘id est’ (that is). Given that I wrote ‘e.g.’ and not ‘i.e.,’ it follows that the example written after the abbreviation ‘e.g.’ does not refer specifically to the subject at hand, but is rather an illustrative example of a broader point being made.

    Please review this lesson for tomorrow. :)

  7. avatar venna says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 5:33 am

    Religious morals which doesn’t transcend through time has no place in modern society.
    _____________

    I’ll borrow the word “Religious morals”.

    See, this is another problem source, when people cannot distinguish between religious morals and local/cultural necessities.
    Using Burqa is not religious moral, it is cultural. Covering body, head and dress appropriately are the moral. Ladies that use long sleeve t-shirt combined with korean loose cloth, long pant and colorful head cover are not less islamic compared to ladies that use burqa. The Walisongo that used javanese style ‘beskap’ and brought keris were not less moslem than their fellows in arab that used loose fitting. That’s why it is ridiculous when some people trying to push their concept about being a good moslem by imitating blindly what people in arab wear. Because the prophet wore it? of course, he lived there for god sake!
    The same analogue here with the case of early/underage marriage. It was in cultural context and his political strategy to unite people. Justifying underage marriage just because the prophet did it long time ago in arab land is not a good logic. And justifying this just because it is a common practice among people here is also ridiculous, and can be counterproductive or even destructive. Just imagine what will happened if the india government, for example, chose to legalize ‘sati’ because it is a common practice there and a part of hindu religious morals. Of course, it is too extreme example. But I just want to emphasize the point.

  8. avatar David says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 6:17 am

    Actually there’s very little on this fatwa in the Indonesian language press. There is no controversy about it, outside the English papers, which is telling me something… What little I’ve found in the Indonesian language press suggests the question discussed was nikah gantung, and whether there is a minimum age for girls and boys to be married. And the NU said that there is no such thing in Islam, regardless of secular law, and it looks like it was discussed in terms of two children, boy and girl, being married off together. In that case, they said there should be no sex between them until they had reached puberty and were emotionally, etc ready for it.

    Persoalan ini dibahas dalam Muktamar NU ke-32 di Makassar karena ada fenomena yang terjadi di beberapa daerah di Indonesia, anak lelaki kecil yang masih berumur 10 tahun dan masih duduk di bangku kelas IV SD, dikawinkan dengan anak perempuan yang masih kecil pula. Perkawinan ini sering disebut dengan istilah kawin gantung.

    http://www.detiknews.com/read/2010/03/24/131943/1324330/10/draf-muktamar-nu-tidak-ada-batasan-usia-pernikahan-dalam-islam

    http://bataviase.co.id/node/147459

    So it doesn’t look like the issue has anything to do with old men marrying young girls. I’ve learnt before not to trust what I read in Post/Globe as far as I could throw either paper across the room, this may be another case of it.

  9. avatar venna says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 6:34 am

    Well, let’s move the party into nikah gantung, then.

  10. avatar David says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Well partly my fault for not checking up on it, and then publishing it, but to save any further embarrassment I’ll put it into the archives.

  11. avatar deta says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 8:23 am

    From Bataviase.co.id :

    Melalui perdebatan sekitar setengah jam, akhirnya sidang memutuskan bahwa tidak ada batasan usia perkawinan dalam Islam menurut Jumhur Ulama, tetapi sebaiknya perkawinan ditangguhkan sampai kedua mempelai beranjak balig.

    Nice, Patung. Now I got a better picture about what was going on in that muktamar. I have been suspicious that they’re not that backward after all.

  12. avatar Arie Brand says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 10:56 am

    From the nineteenth century edition of the “Encyclopaedie van Nederlandsch-Indie “ Vol.II p.65 (my translation AB):

    “Abduction ( originally of a girl outside the tribe) , one of the most primitive forms of marriage, still occurs today in the Indian Archipelago. It happens either in fact, when the marriage is concluded against the will of the girl, or her parents, or both, or symbolically. Abduction of the woman against her will is only customary among the Balinese. In other places it is done in agreement with the girl, to let the marriage take place against the will of the parents. This is the case among the Buginese and the Makassarese, the Beadjus of Borneo, the people of the Moluccan islands (where it is customary even if the parents are not against the marriage), the Alfurese of Buru, and some Papuan tribes …

    Symbolical abductions are with some tribes part of the marriage ceremony, for instance with the Sumbanese, the people of the Lampong Districts, and the Redjang, even though agreement with the parents has already been reached beforehand.

    The so-called child marriages, that frequently occur in the Archipelago, could perhaps have originated in the endeavour of the parents to prevent (factual) abduction … often the actual consummation of the marriage is then postponed until a maturer age, but not always. For instance in Aceh girls of 8-10 years old, yes even of age 7, will be surrendered to their husbands …”

    Having sexual intercourse outside marriage with a girl below fifteen years of age, or who was obviously immature, and abduction were according to respectively articles 287 and 332 of the Netherlands Indies criminal code so-called ‘complaint offences’, that is prosecution would only take place on the basis of a complaint by those directly involved.

    As far as Indonesian law is concerned Joko Mirwan Muslimin states in his 2005 Hamburg Ph.D. thesis: the “Marriage Law of 1974
    states; “a marriage shall be founded upon an agreement
    between both the aspirant bride and the aspirant bridegroom”,
    (article 6 point 1). In the following article it is stated: “Marriage
    shall be permitted only if the male aspirant has reached the age
    of 19 (nineteen) years and the female aspirant has reached the
    age of 16 (sixteen) years”. And “in order to enter into
    matrimony a person who has not attained the age of 21 (twenty
    one) years shall obtain the consent of both parents” (articles 7
    and 6, point 1).
    The KHI (Kompilasi Hukum Islam) also restricted the minimum age and the agreement of parents for the couple (articles 15 and 16). Moreover, in article
    17, KHI emphasizes that before beginning marriage ceremony
    the duty of marriage registrar is to ask formally and directly the
    willingness of (sic) marriage from the couple themselves. If one of
    the couple denies his or her willingness, it is the right of the
    marriage registrar to annull (sic) the marriage.”

    Joko doesn’t state what the minimum age is in the KHI. Was this an intentional omission?

  13. avatar ET says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Melalui perdebatan sekitar setengah jam, akhirnya sidang memutuskan bahwa tidak ada batasan usia perkawinan dalam Islam menurut Jumhur Ulama, tetapi sebaiknya perkawinan ditangguhkan sampai kedua mempelai beranjak balig.

    Sebaiknya… May we understand this as a critique towards Islam’s indulgence of marrying off underage children?
    However it’s a pity nothing has been said about the practice of adults marrying children.

  14. avatar deta says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 11:19 am

    And it still leaves a question (for you the party lovers :D ), what exactly is the age of maturity (balig), as there is still a debate about this too.

  15. avatar ET says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    @ Arie Brand

    Abduction of the woman against her will is only customary among the Balinese.

    The “Encyclopaedie van Nederlandsch-Indie “ Vol.II p.65 is wrong here, or at least incomplete. Wife capture (malegandang) in Bali is prohibited and was, even in feudal times an aristocratic prerogative only during military campaigns.

    Today two types of marriage are customary among the Balinese.

    * Arranged, ritually planned marriages (mapadik) between families related by blood or friendship, which are considered safer and more satisfactory than marriages between comparative strangers.
    * Marriage by elopement or abduction (ngrorod) in case parental consent is absent or to avoid the relatively high costs of doing it the ‘proper’ way which always involves several family visits, complete with the necessary offerings. It is particularly widespread in urban agglomerations. In most cases this ngrorod practice is symbolic and is followed by a social event involving a search party by the woman’s family members for the couple in hiding.

  16. avatar Arie Brand says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Re your second point (concerning ‘ngrorod’): it is not clear from the way you state it whether even today this is always with the prospective wife’s consent. And what about that prohibition in the past – to what extent did actual practice deviate from it?

  17. avatar ET says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Re your second point (concerning ‘ngrorod’): it is not clear from the way you state it whether even today this is always with the prospective wife’s consent.

    It is with the prospective wife’s consent. Otherwise it would be labeled as malegandang, so she could go to the authorities and have the perpetrator locked up. There would be no valid marriage.

    And what about that prohibition in the past – to what extent did actual practice deviate from it?

    I have no data on this.

  18. avatar Arie Brand says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Why then do you declare the nineteenth century edition of the “Encyclopaedia van Nederlandsch Indie”, which obviously refers to the nineteenth century situation, to be wrong?

    Belo’s well known 1936 study says inter alia: “In fact, the old men of Sayan (village) say that in their generation(before the Dutch occupation), girls were often stolen from one village by the young men of an enemy village …”

  19. avatar ET says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Why then do you declare the nineteenth century edition of the “Encyclopaedia van Nederlandsch Indie”, which obviously refers to the nineteenth century situation, to be wrong?

    Because it said

    Abduction of the woman against her will is only customary among the Balinese.

    Customary means generally accepted and not in exceptional circumstances like military campaigns. I further said that even in feudal times it was prohibited.

    My source is a joint study by Angela Hobart (PhD from the School of Oriental and African studies and a lecturer at Goldsmith’s College, University of London), Urs Ramseyer (Head of the Indonesian Department at The Basle Museum of Ethnology) and Albert Leemann, (Emeritus Professor at the University of Zürich) published in 1996.

  20. avatar realest says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    oxymoron – broadly : something (as a concept) that is made up of contradictory or incongruous elements.

    @Odinius:

    Please review this lesson for tomorrow. :)

    Review your own words and own up when a mistake has been made. That’s what being an adult is all about. There’s a huge difference between opinion and caught with your pants down.

    @venna:

    The same analogue here with the case of early/underage marriage. It was in cultural context and his political strategy to unite people. Justifying underage marriage just because the prophet did it long time ago in arab land is not a good logic. And justifying this just because it is a common practice among people here is also ridiculous, and can be counterproductive or even destructive.

    1. I agree burqa is a fashion thing, but the french’s main objection is covering of the head which incites paranoia in a post-9/11 world and in places where facial recognition is necessary(banks, airports).
    2. You mentioned that the Prophet married an underage for cultural reason and strategic reason to unite the people. How’s that not a contradiction to your next sentence which points out that justifying underage marriage due to reasons of common practice is ridiculous? Culture is a by-product of common practice!!
    3. imo i dont think sati is compulsory. being coerced to an act of piety logically should not reap any merits.

  21. avatar ET says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Culture is a by-product of common practice!!

    No, common practice is a by-product of culture and culture evolves through the ages and differs according to local circumstances. Imposing a certain culture as a global common practice is a fallacy and should by all means be opposed.

  22. avatar Arie Brand says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    “Customary” said the encyclopaedia. “Often stolen” said the old codgers who provided Belo with her information. I don’t see much difference.

    I asked you about past practices as different from the past “ideal pattern”. You said you had no data on that.

    Now do you or don’t you?

    Mentioning the credentials of the people who wrote the article you consulted is not much help here.

  23. avatar ET says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    I asked you about past practices as different from the past “ideal pattern”. You said you had no data on that.

    Now do you or don’t you?

    When I said I had no data on it it means I have no data on it. And it’s obvious I cannot speak from personal experience.
    What Belo’s scientific credentials are I have no idea besides the fact that she wrote a book on trance and that she was in a relationship with Colin McPhee, a musicologist who also wrote 2 books about Bali, and with whom she wasn’t on speaking terms because in neither of his personal accounts he ever mentioned her. I hope this satisfies your curiosity.

    You seem to be very obstinate and hard to please. What’s wrong with you? Has your discussion with Ross McKay gone down the wrong way?

  24. avatar venna says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    How’s that not a contradiction to your next sentence which points out that justifying underage marriage due to reasons of common practice is ridiculous? Culture is a by-product of common practice!!
    _________________

    This is ridiculous of course, if people keep doing it after they know a lot about the risks of underage marriage. Also ridiculous if the lucky folks (rich men, educated men, the decision makers) just blatantly allowing underage marriage without seeking another alternatives to them. Moslem has lots of resources, if they want to be serious to manage it. Zakat, donation, infaq…. if they’re serious and not using it to show of their own wealth and status, I can guarantee there’s no more poor people here.

  25. avatar Arie Brand says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    I wasn’t asking for details of Belo’s love life but making the simple point that, if you have no real information on actual past practices in Bali (as different from what people said ought to be done), you could not so positively declare that that Encyclopaedia article was wrong on this point.

    If you call that ‘obstinate and hard to please’ so be it.

  26. avatar venna says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    As I said before, underage marriage is not the only way to cut the poverty cycle, if we make poverty as the basic reason on why those poor parents choose to give their daughters to rich old men. And even it is a common practice here, it is time for them to change perspective. Start from those lucky folks, because they who have the most control and resources.

  27. avatar Odinius says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    realest said:

    Review your own words and own up when a mistake has been made. That’s what being an adult is all about. There’s a huge difference between opinion and caught with your pants down.

    Sorry, realest, but your homework on the difference between e.g. and i.e. has been reviewed, and deemed unsatisfactory. If you do not improve your performance by the end of the school year, you will receive a failing grade for reading comprehension and may have to repeat the class.

    I’m sorry to be the bearer of such bad news, but unfortunately, you have only yourself to blame. Please try to be a more careful reader from now on.

  28. avatar Odinius says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    “Culture” is a collection of institutionalized norms and practices. Nothing else.

  29. avatar Ross says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    realest, one meal a day is hardly hardship. I have one meal a day most days, unless I have to meet somebody interesting for lunch. Anybody can survive adequately and in fact quite well on that basis. So no sympathy there, my friend. Nor yet for your professed willingness to sell your poor sister into the hands of a rich old greaseball so you can double your diet and have a big lunch as well.
    I am assuming a lot of what you say is tongue in cheek, but at least you sound like somebody who can argue a case, not like that condescending ivory-tower resident, Brand! He really does seem to have that ‘intellectual’ tag tied round his neck, but by whom, one wonders.

  30. avatar realest says:
    April 7th, 2010 at 12:50 am

    @venna

    This is ridiculous of course, if people keep doing it after they know a lot about the risks of underage marriage.

    What are the risks of underage marriage exactly?
    Exploitation – a) can’t exploit the willing. b) If ur gonna mention the wealth disparity, it happens regardless of age.
    Dying in child birth – surely rich folks can afford caesarian birth
    Abuse(physical/verbal) – it can happen to anyone regardless of age.
    female genitalia underdevelopment – formation fully matured at an average age of 10 and gradually expands during pregnancy, it’s elastic anyway. Put it this way: if it’s physically unfeasible for underage women to carry a child, mother nature(God) wouldn’t allow pregnancy to happen at such a young age.

    if the lucky folks (rich men, educated men, the decision makers)

    I find the notion rather offensive because personally i strive to be rich and ascend to the very top of the corporate ladder some day; it’s called ambition. But let’s move on shall we.

    Also ridiculous if the lucky folks (rich men, educated men, the decision makers) just blatantly allowing underage marriage without seeking another alternatives to them. Moslem has lots of resources, if they want to be serious to manage it. Zakat, donation, infaq…. if they’re serious and not using it to show of their own wealth and status, I can guarantee there’s no more poor people here.

    Let’s assume that im a polygamy apologist – my idea for underage marriage is primarily for pleasure.
    a) Why shouldn’t i enjoy the fruits of the hard work i put in my youth and enjoy them in later years?
    b) My religion allows it and my country of residence has no qualms about it. I don’t feel anything wrong.
    c) What’s the measure for an underage? A dozen countries has their legal age at 14, some at 11-12 and a few 3rd world country(fyi indonesia is one) has no age boundaries. Is it puberty? Puberty starts at 10 for girls. Is it menstruation? Menstruation starts at … perhaps 10.

    In a nutshell, i don’t see any good reasons against underage marriages and i did mention one important advantage – welfare. You can’t expect unconditional kindness from strangers because that’s not the way the world works. The stigma of pedophiles in modern society is hated because it’s affiliated with unconsented sex and abuse, not of it’s effects because they were still practiced and widely accepted a century ago. We all know that the standards of human morals fluctuates(some say degrade) with time as such consummation of a holy matrimony has ceased to possess any worth.

    So what do you say venna? Underage marriage is disgusting and ridiculous because there’s valid reasons for so or just because the crowd says so?

    Edit time is running out –
    If ur gonna say maturity aka life experience level, any 22 year old living in a box(overprotective parents perhaps) has as much street sense as a 10 year old used to living in the one of many rough streets in indonesia

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