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Abstract

The current study attempts to develop a new model of underage marriage governance for Muslims in Malaysia. Qualitative method is used, in which Islamic Family Law Federal Territories Act 1984 and other related laws as well as administrative procedures and formalities are studied and analysed. This research also employed a semi structured interviews conducted on several respondents from the related institutions. This study is perhaps one of the first to develop a new model of governance for underage marriage by investigating the loopholes of the existing system. Findings of this research show some significant weaknesses in the present governance of underage marriage and propose a new model for the betterment of Muslim families in Malaysia. The findings provide on how the legal and administrative mechanism relating to underage marriage can be improved and subsequently aid the relevant authorities or institutions involved in policy making pertaining to family matters and its implementation.
Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research 23 (4): 638-646, 2015
ISSN 1990-9233
© IDOSI Publications, 2015
DOI: 10.5829/idosi.mejsr.2015.23.04.21762
Corresponding Author: Rafeah Saidon, Academy of Contemporary Islamic Studies (ACIS),
Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia. Tel: +6017-2242724.
638
Developing a New Model of Underage Marriage Governance for Muslims in Malaysia
Rafeah Saidon, Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil, Noorul Huda Sahari,
1 2 3
Mardhiyyah Sahri, Baterah Alias, Norzaidi Mohd Daud and Khairudin Murad
3 34 5
Academy of Contemporary Islamic Studies (ACIS), Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia
1
International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia/Academy of Contemporary Islamic
2
Studies (ACIS), Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia
Academy of Contemporary Islamic Studies (ACIS), Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia
3
Community of Research (Humanities and Quality of Life)/
4
Arshad Ayub Graduate Business School, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia
Faculty of Communication and Media Studies, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia
5
Abstract: The current study attempts to develop a new model of underage marriage governance for Muslims
in Malaysia. Qualitative method is used, in which Islamic Family Law Federal Territories Act 1984 and other
related laws as well as administrative procedures and formalities are studied and analysed. This research also
employed a semi structured interviews conducted on several respondents from the related institutions. This
study is perhaps one of the first to develop a new model of governance for underage marriage by investigating
the loopholes of the existing system. Findings of this research show some significant weaknesses in the present
governance of underage marriage and propose a new model for the betterment of Muslim families in Malaysia.
The findings provide on how the legal and administrative mechanism relating to underage marriage can be
improved and subsequently aid the relevant authorities or institutions involved in policy making pertaining to
family matters and its implementation.
Key words: Model Governance Legal Administrative Mechanism Underage Marriage
INTRODUCTION namely the welfare of the family, societal needs and
The underage or child marriage is defined by UNICEF marriage could achieve those maqasid?
as a formal marriage or informal union before 18 years old Underage marriage is very important issue to
age [1]. Even though Malaysia has ratified Convention address, unfortunately, very few studies to date have
of the Rights of child (CRC), child marriage is still legally investigated this matter especially in the Malaysian
being practiced. Studies proved that underage marriage context. This study attempts to develop a new model of
has serious consequences especially on the medical and underage marriage governance for Muslims in Malaysia
psychosocial aspect [1-3]. Health problems that usually with particular reference to the legal and administrative
associated with underage marriage are pre-mature mechanism.
pregnancies, maternal mortality, infant mortality, pre- For that, understanding on the issue of underage
mature childbirth, complications during delivery, low marriage from both the Islamic and international laws
birth-weight, HIV/AIDS and abuse along with violence [1, perspective and also its effect necessitates the
4, 5]. Similarly, from the Islamic perspective, the maqasid formulation of such model. Hence, this study offers
(objectives) of marriage in Islam is not only to fulfill one’s important insight into underage marriage in Malaysia with
physical needs as Islam seeks to find equilibrium in particular reference to existing legal and administrative
balancing this need with other essential objectives, aspect. The aims are to identify weaknesses in the
spiritual commitments. The question is, does the underage
Middle-East J. Sci. Res., 23 (4): 638-646, 2015
639
governance of such marriage from both mechanism consequences of early marriage can be found among
and the most important is to develop a new model of others in Abd Majid, H. S. [2], Almihdar, Z. [13] and
governance that is essential to preserve the institution of Chowdhury, F. D. [14]. It is worth to note that literatures
marriage. in these areas are very important for this research as it
Literature Review: A number of writers have discussed governance for underage marriage.
the issue of underage marriage but this area of In the Malaysian context of governance for underage
governance that focus on the legal and administrative marriage, a few researches have been done but none of
aspect in the Malaysia’s context has never been critically them has touched in detail on the governance particularly
examined. In Islamic law, the classical writings on the from the aspect of legal and administrative mechanism. Al
underage marriage for example, focus on the issue of Bakri, Z. M. [15] for example proposes that the state
minimum age limit for marriage. This writing can be found should strictly apply the principle of maqasid al-shariah
in Baghawi [6], al-Kasani [7] and Abdul-al-Rahman al- (objectives of Islamic law), maslahah (public interest)
Jaziri [8]. and the doctrine of siyasah shariyyah oriented policy) to
Interestingly, most of the view says that there is no discourage and restrict the marriage of minors. On the
minimum age limit for marriage since there is no other hand, Md Nor, S. Z. [16] suggests that the present
prescription from the Qur’an and Sunnah relating to it. educational system in Malaysia should be taken into
Their argument is based on, among others, the Qur’anic consideration in regulating underage marriage. This is to
provision relating to iddah (waiting period for divorced ensure that the child should have at least attained a
woman) (Quran, al-Talaq (55): 4) and the Sunnah of the certain level of education before getting married. Similarly,
Prophet (s.a.w) that is, his marriage to Aishah reputed to Anwar, Z. and Rumminger, J. S. [17], have outlined key
have taken place when she was six or seven years old [9]. discriminatory within Islamic Family Law (Federal
However, there is another argument saying that even Territories) 1984, in which one of them is relating to the
though the minimum age of marriage is not mentioned in difference minimum age of marriage between man and
both Qur’an and Sunnah, it is not accurate to say that woman.
there is no reference relating to it. Referring to Qur’an, al- Other than writings relating to the underage marriage,
Nisa ’ (4): 6, Abdullah Yusuf Ali [10] for example, views international laws and conventions are referred as they
that the age of marriage is the age when they reach their provide significant information that can guide the writer
adulthood, while al Qurtubi, [11] defines the marriageable in developing governance for underage marriage.
age as the age of maturity. Al-Qurtubi [11] further Analysis on the several related international laws and
suggests that to ensure the maturity of the minors, they convention proved that child marriage involves breach of
have to be tested. It is to be noted that in this study, a number of international human rights norms. The related
review of classical literature in Islamic law is essential in laws are among others, the Universal Declaration of
order to determine whether their classical views would be Human Rights (UDHR) [18], International Convention on
applicable in the present context of Malaysia. Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) [19],
Other writings relating to underage marriage mostly International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
focus on the medical and psychosocial of the impact of (ICCPR) [20], Convention on the Elimination of All Forms
the marriage. Nour, N. M. [4], Santhya, K. G. et al. [5] and of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) [21]etc.
UNICEF, [1] for example, highlight health problems that
usually associated with child marriage and pregnancies Methodology: This research focuses on the laws and
such as pre-mature pregnancies, maternal mortality, infant administrative procedures of Federal Territories of
mortality, pre-mature childbirth, complications during Malaysia relating to underage marriage. The main reason
delivery, low birth-weight, HIV/AIDS and abuse along for selecting the Federal Territories is because they are
with violence. Studies also show those who married directly administered by the federal government compared
before the age of 16 were at about double the risk of to other territories which are under states government.
developing chronic diseases and experiencing Furthermore, with regard to Islamic Family laws in
miscarriage, still and births infant deaths [3, 12]. Writings Malaysia, Federal Territories laws are the example and
on the profound psychosocial and emotional reference for all the states in Malaysia. This study is a
will guide the researcher in developing a new model of
Middle-East J. Sci. Res., 23 (4): 638-646, 2015
640
qualitative research, in which Islamic Family Law of
Federal Territories Act 1984 and other related laws as well
as administrative procedures and formalities are studied
and analysed. Since the aim of the study is to develop a
model of governance of underage marriage, specifically
for Muslim, library research is used to find data relating to
it from both Islamic perspective and the modern
approaches.
This research also employs a semi-structured
interview in which several related institutions are selected.
Those are States Islamic Religious Department
(hereinafter called JAIN), Family, Social and Community
Division of the Department of Islamic Development
Malaysia (hereinafter called JAKIM) and several Shariah
Courts. Among the respondents involved are Shariah
Court’s judges, Shariah Court’s Registrars, Registrars of
JAIN and several officers of the Family and Legal Division
of JAKIM.
For the legal discussion, legalistic and textual
approaches are used in which the classical texts as well as
the current legislations are analysed. This is to identify
whether the existing laws, procedures and formalities
relating to issues discussed are adequate to meet the
contemporary challenges confronting the family
institution. The writing then determines the feasibility of
a reform. This research also involves a comparative study
with the laws and practices of other Muslim countries. An
analysis of legislation from these countries is necessary
to determine whether their practices are applicable in
Malaysia.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Weaknesses of the Existing Governance: This study
examines the laws and administrative procedures relating
to underage marriage for the Federal Territories. To show
the recent rate of application of marriage from the
underage couples in Malaysia, statistic in Table 1 is
referred. From the table, it reveals an increasing number of
applications for marriage from the underage couple from
2007-2010.
Study on the present governance of underage
marriage revealed the following loopholes or weaknesses:
The Absence of Pre-Marital Counselling: This research
found that there is no strict requirement or procedure of
marriage for the underage person. After getting approval
from the Shariah court, the applicant can immediately
Table 1: The Number of Applications for Underage Marriage
Underage Marriage Application
------------------------------------------------------------------
No. Year Application
1. 2007 920
2. 2008 1127
3. 2009 1079
4. 2010 1090
Total 4216
Source: Shariah Judiciary Department Malaysia
contract his/her marriage. There is no proper pre-marital
counselling provided for the underage couples and their
parents (Adib Asmungi, personal communication, 21 Feb.
2012). Since there is much research confirming the
negative impacts of underage marriage both from the
medical and psychosocial aspects; underage
persons/couples should be given proper guidance and
information. In this regard, proper counselling is very
important to disseminate knowledge and to strengthen the
couples’ awareness, especially regarding the medical and
psychosocial impact of an underage marriage.
Loopholes in Islamic Family Act/Enactments: With
regard to the age of marriage, the most related provision
is section 8 of the IFLA 1984 which provide that “no
marriage shall be solemnised under this Act where either
the man is under the age of eighteen or the woman is
under the age of sixteen except where the Shariah judge
has granted his permission in writing in certain
circumstances.” However, this research have identified
some important weaknesses relating to the provisions of
underage marriage, those are:
The minimum age provided which is sixteen, is not
practical in the present day context. This is due to
recent medical evidences showing that early marriage
could have adverse effects on a child’s mental and
physical health. It could also adversely affect the
child’s education and thus have negative effects on
society as a whole [1, 3, 5]. In addition, the researcher
opines that maturity is the most important and
practicable aspect in determining the marriageable
age. This is based on the view of al-Qurtubi as being
discussed earlier.
As a comparison, under the modern law, the age of
majority is not attained on puberty. In most states, the age
prescribed is eighteen. For example, in Malaysia, it is
provided in section 2 of the Age of Majority Act 1971
Middle-East J. Sci. Res., 23 (4): 638-646, 2015
641
(Act 21) and section 2 of the Child Act 2001 (Act 611), spouse and to only enter into a marriage with free and full
which define the child as the person under the age of 18, consent. CEDAW does not suggest a minimum age of
in the United States and Canada for example, the age of marriage, however, in Article 16 (2) it holds that child
majority is determined by each province and territory and marriage shall have no legal effect and the state should
can vary by several years i.e., 18, 19 and 21 [22].Moreover, take all necessary action including legislation to set a
Article I of the Convention on Children Rights (CRC) minimum age of marriage.
defines a child as a person less than 18 years old. At this The Convention on Children Rights (CRC) [24] and
age, a person acquires all the rights and responsibilities of other instruments on children's rights are silent on the
being an adult. As in other civil contracts, the legal age matter of child marriage, however, Article 1 of CRC defines
prescribed is eighteen and according to criminal law, a a child as a person less than 18 years old and Article 34
person younger than eighteen years would be considered and 37 (a) of the Convention stipulates that children
a juvenile if prosecuted for committing a crime. For should be free from sexual exploitation and cruel, inhuman
example, in section 11 of the Malaysian Contract Act 1950, or degrading treatment. Since the children do not have the
(Act 136), it is stated that the person can enter into the capacity to give consent, child marriage is considered
contract by the age of 18. Thus, it can be argued that by against the above provision. In contrast, the OIC
allowing child marriage, family law treats people Covenant on the Rights of the Child in Islam (CRCI) [25]
differently according to their age; it allows people at a defines the child “as a human being who, according to the
very young age to become involved in matters that carry law applicable to him/her, has not attained maturity.”
responsibilities equal or greater to those in any other civil (Article 1) In this issue, Islamic law considers every
contract. It is further argued that, since marriage is a person who has not reached puberty to be a child
contract, it should be contracted at the age of maturity. for all purposes of religious and legal responsibilities.
In this case, the view of al-Qurtubi in determining the Thus, childhood in Islamic law is defined by puberty and
maturity should be taken into consideration [11]. not by age.
In addition, child marriage, which is usually Furthermore, the right is also recognised by the
associated with forced marriage, involves breach of a Universal Islamic Declaration of Human rights (UIDHR)
number of international human rights norms. The most [26] and Cairo Declaration of Human Right (CDHR) [27],
central of these rights is the right to marry. The Universal as both Conventions required the consent of children for
Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) [18] for example, their marriage (article 19 (a) of UIDHR; article 5 of the
provides in Article 16 that person must be at “full age” CDHR). Therefore, the doctrine of ijbar under Islamic law
when married and that marriage should be entered into that allows a girl’s guardian to marry her off at any age
“freely” and with “full consent”. Even though the UDHR without her consent is obviously contradicted to the
does not suggest an appropriate minimum age of marriage, above convention.
it clearly states that the bride and bridegroom must give The most important point to be observed is that child
their full consent. Thus, the absence of “full consent” in marriage violates human rights to which a child is entitled,
most of child marriages is in contradiction with such such as the right of education, the right of equality, liberty
provision. The same requirement is stated in Article 10 of and security of person, the right of health and the right to
the International Convention on Economic, Social and marry (UDHR 1948). It is an under-recognised mode of
Cultural Rights (ICESCR) [19], Article 23 of the human rights abuse, the parental abuse of power, mainly
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights affecting girls [18]. For this, several international bodies
(ICCPR), [20] and Article 1of the Convention of Consent and conventions have called for a minimum age of
to Marriage, Minimum Age of Marriage and Registration marriage to be established by law (Article 16 (2) of the
of Marriage 1962 [23] in which the “free consent” of the CEDAW, article 2 of the Convention of Consent to
intending spouse is given emphasis. Marriage, Minimum Age of Marriage and Registration of
In addition, the Convention on the Elimination of All Marriage, 1962; Article 6(3) of the CEDAW; Chapter 4 (b)
Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) [21] of the International Conference on Development and
provides in Article 16 (1) (a), (b) and (c) that men and Population (ICDP) [28]; Article 274 (e) of Beijing Platform
women are entitled to equal rights and responsibilities in for Action, [29]). Thus, the researcher opines that state
entering into a marriage, during a marriage and upon the responsibility is incurred for the failure to prevent
dissolution of marriage. It further specifically states that internationally recognised human rights from being
women shall have the same right of freedom to choose the violated.
Middle-East J. Sci. Res., 23 (4): 638-646, 2015
642
In this regard, the practice of other Muslim countries age of baligh (puberty), repudiated the marriage
should be taken as an example. The Tunisian Code [30], before attaining the age of 18 years and before
for example, set a minimum age for marriage, 17 for woman consummation. This provision seems to contradict
and man over the age of 20; only in exceptional cases section 13, which requires the consent of both
can a young woman marry before 17 or man before 20 on husband and wife and also the wali (guardian) for
the authorisation of the judge. This age limit prevents the validity of marriage. Furthermore, the provision
early marriages. The Algerian Code [31] stipulates 19 allowing a girl to be married off before the age of
years for man and woman. Iraq, Morocco and Jordan [32- puberty is impractical in the present day context.
34] provide the same minimum age i.e., 18 years for both Another issue is allowing a minor girl to repudiate
man and woman, whereas, in Syria [35] the legal marriage the marriage before it has been consummated is
age for man is 18 years and seventeen for woman. Libya difficult, as there is no mechanism provided to
[36] set the highest minimum age of marriage i.e., 20 years prevent the marriage from being consummated.
old for both man and woman.
The second issue is the different age of marriage Marry: Section 8 of the IFLA 1984 grants the Shariah
between a man and a woman which is considered as Court’s judges discretionary powers in giving permission
inappropriate. It is clear from the legal provision for to marry the underage persons based on “certain
the minimum age of marriage (also in the various circumstances” that they think fit. This is based on a
countries), that the law still assumes that a woman provision stated in IFLA, which states that: “… except
should contract a marriage earlier than a man. The where the Shariah judge has granted his permission in
two-year difference is based on a traditional and writing in certain circumstances”
socially entrenched concept that a woman more than This research found that there is no legal definition
a man is ready for the responsibility of family life at on the terms “certain circumstances” and there is no
a much younger age [37]. The question is, in the statutory guideline available for the judges in giving
context of present day, does such a distinction is permission to marry the underage applicants. Judges have
relevant made by the law run counter to the aims of full freedom and discretion in deciding the case.
national development which is also dependent upon However, from the interviews, different responses
women’s active participation in the political, social were given by the respondents. Some respondents did
and economic mainstreams of society? not agree with having specific guidelines as the judge
The other issue with regard to marriageable age is should have freedom in using his own judgment in making
sections 11 and 12 (2) of the IFLA. Section 11 decisions, (Alwan, personal communication, 3 May 2012;
requires that for the marriage to be valid, it must Syamsudin Ismail, personal communication, 3 May 2012)
satisfy all the necessary conditions according to while some respondents agreed on such guidelines
Hukum Syara’. Section 12 (2) also provides that if (Shaharudin Selamat, personal communication, 15 June
the marriage is solemnised contrary to any provision 2012; Muhamad Adib Hussein, personal communication,
of the Act, but is valid according to the Hukum 3 of May 2012).
Syara’, the marriage is still considered valid and may In this regard, Family Laws from other countries can
be registered under the Act with an order from the be referred to as an example. The Lebanese Personal
court. From both provisions, it can be argued that if Status Law 1948 for example, stated that the scope for
the underage marriage is solemnised contrary to any judicial discretion is on the basis of physical maturity and
provision of the IFLA, but is valid under Hukum wali’s permission for seventh teen years for males and
Syara’, the marriage is still considered valid and can nine for females. Algeria, Iraq, Tunisia and Libya, give an
be registered. Hence, in this case, both sections can almost identical reasons in permitting the underage
be used as excuses to validate the marriage, which is marriage, in which the reason of benefit or a pressing
contracted not in accordance with the Act. necessity is greatly emphasized and it must be established
Another confusing provision related to underage that the two parties are fit for marriage (Article 7 of the
marriage for Muslims family in Malaysia is section 52 Algerian Code of Personal Status, [31]; Article 8 (1) of the
(1) (g). It provides that a woman shall be entitled to Iraqi Personal Status Law, [32]; Article 5 of the Tunisian
obtain an order for the dissolution of marriage or Personal Status [30]; Article 6 (c) of the Libyan Code of
fasakh on the ground that she having been given in Personal Status, 1984). The granting of permission is also
marriage by her wali mujbir before she attained the conditional on the party having reached legal puberty,
The Absence of Guidelines on Giving Permission to
rd
Middle-East J. Sci. Res., 23 (4): 638-646, 2015
643
having the physical capacity, (Section 8 (1) and 8 (2) of The minimum age of marriage should be increased to
the Personal Status Law of Iraq [32]) and after the consent
of the guardian (Section 6 (c) of the Personal Status of
Libya [36]).
The Moroccan Family Code [33] provides more detail
on the requirements of underage marriage. Article 20 of
the Code stated that the judge may permit the marriage of
persons below the age of capacity in a well-substantiated
decision explaining the interest and reason justifying the
marriage, after having heard the parents of that minor or
his/her legal tutor (Shariah representative), with the
assistance of medical expertise or social investigation.
Thus, all guidelines given by other countries in giving
permission for the underage person to marry can be taken
as examples and followed by Malaysia.
The Absence of a Support System: This research found
that there is no specific public assistance program or
public policy support which could assist the underage
couples, especially relating to the economic,
psychological and emotional support to meet their needs
(Adib Asmungi, personal communication, 21 Feb. 2012).
As there are serious consequences of underage marriage,
a strong support system is greatly needed and it could be
in many forms such as family members, close friends and
public assistance.
Lack of Research and Development (R and D) on
Marriage: This study found that research and
development (R and D) activities relating to underage
marriage is not actively done by the relevant authorities
such as JAKIM or JAIN. These authorities are lack of
facilities, staff and an R and D division. In fact, in JAIN
the post of researcher is not available in its Family
Department and sometimes the officer will act as an ad-
hoc research committee when needed (Adib Asmungi,
personal communication, 21 Feb. 2012). On the other
hand, in the Family Division and Legal Department of
JAKIM however, even though there are persons in charge
of the research on family matters, the number is not
adequate and there are insufficient available facilities
(Sabariah Salleh, personal communication, 2 Mac 2012;
Khairuljannah Abdullah, personal communication 2012).
CONCLUSION AND PRACTICAL
IMPLEMENTATION
From the discussion it can be concluded that the
governance of the underage marriage in Malaysia
particularly in terms legal and administrative aspect
should be reformed. A new model of governance should
be developed based on the following recommendations.
18 years for both Muslim boys and girls due to the
negative effects not only on a child’s mental
emotional and physical health but the adverse effects
of the child’s education. One of the most important
aims of marriage is to achieve maqasid al-syariah
(objectives of Islamic law) and marriage in early age
will not achieve this maqasid. The minimum age of 18
years is in line with the present social system in
Malaysia, which requires teenage boys and girl to
complete PMR and SPM.
The suggestion to increase to marriageable age is
based on the views of some jurists in interpreting the
verse al Nisa (4): 6. Jurists opined that the marriageable
age is based on his/her maturity which should be viewed
from the aspect of intellect, religion and the knowledge on
how to develop property. In this regard, the practice of
other Muslim countries in increasing the age of marriage
should be taken as an example. Countries, such as
Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq, Morocco, Jordan, Syria and Libya
have set an age above 16 as the minimum age of marriage.
There should not be any difference in the age of marriage
between boys and girls because such a distinction has no
justification in the present day context as both male and
female are required to actively participate in the political,
social and economic arena.
Certain provisions in Islamic Family Laws
Act/Enactments should be revised to avoid early
marriage. The most relevant is section 8 i.e., the
minimum age of marriage, should be increased from
16 to 18. Another section that should be revised is
sections 11 and 12 (2) of the IFLA. These sections
recognize underage marriage which is solemnized
contrary to any provision of the IFLA, but is valid
under Hukum Syarak. According to these sections,
the marriage is considered valid and can be
registered. Hence, both sections can be used as
excuses to validate the marriage which is contracted
not in accordance with the Act/Enactments.
Section 52 (1) (g) of the IFLA should be repealed as
it is irrelevant in the present day context. This provision
allowing a girl to be married off before the age of puberty
is not only impracticable, but also contradicts section 13
of the IFLA which requires the consent of both husband
and wife and also the wali (guardian) for the validity of
marriage. The provision also allows a minor girl to
repudiate the marriage before it has been consummated.
This requirement is difficult and unfeasible as there is no
mechanism provided to prevent the marriage from being
consummated.
Middle-East J. Sci. Res., 23 (4): 638-646, 2015
644
The term “certain circumstances” i.e. the justification Regular visits to hospitals for physically and
given by the court in allowing early marriage as psychologically check-up, especially during or after
stated in section 8 of IFLA provision should be pregnancy. Since there are medical evidences
clearly and legally defined. This is important in showing that early marriage could have bad effects
providing standard guidelines to Shariah judges in on a child’s mental and physical health, it should be
allowing early marriage. The guidelines for allowing made compulsory for the child, especially a girl to
child marriage should be strict. It should be based on access medical care services throughout their
certain criteria and the judge should ensure that the productive life. This is important to ensure their
underage couple have met the criteria before allowing physical, mental and emotional fitness throughout
them to marry. The criteria suggested depending on their marriage life.
the maturity which is based on the maqasid of Regular visits by the Welfare Department to observe
marriage. The required criteria should include aspects the need of the couple. This is to ensure better
of religion, intellect, physical fitness and (for a welfare for them. Since the underage
husband) the knowledge on how to earn a living to bride/bridegroom is still young, they are not fit to
maintain the family. face the challenges and endure all the difficulties in
Proper pre-marital counselling should be provided to married life. This is the reason why they need to be
the underage couples and their parents. This guided and monitored.
counselling is important to disseminate knowledge Financial assistance for underage couples as they
and to heighten the couples’ awareness on the normally will experience financial problems. For this,
impact of the underage marriage, especially on the a good example can be seen from the Temporary
medical, psychosocial, mental and emotional impact Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programme
on the child bride and bridegroom. Counselling is the for underage parents which is held by the American
best way for individuals and couples to understand government. TANF provides monthly cash for
and change attitudes as one-on-one support helps underage parents below 18 on the condition that
parents develop positive thinking and differentiate they must be living with their parents or adult
between good and bad. relatives or legal guardians. Another good condition
A strong support system is critically needed is to be entitled with this TANF fund, the underage
especially in the form of public assistance. This parents must be in high school or participating in
public assistance or public policy support should educational activities (standard high school or
assist the underage couples, especially relating to approved alternatives including training programme)
the economic, psychological and emotional support and meeting its satisfactory attendance requirements
to meet their needs. The most important is the moral [38, 39].
support due to the lack of knowledge and experience
relating to marriage. Financial assistance is also REFERENCES
crucial as some are very young to earn their living. In
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needed to ensure the stability of underage marriage. Innocenti Digest, no. 7, http://www.unicef-irc.org/
The following are the important matters that the publications/ pdf/digest7e.pdf.
underage parents need from the supporting 2. Abdul Majid, H.S., 2011. Pernikahan Di Bawah Umur
program/policy. Dari Perspektif Psiko-Seminar Kebangsaan Undang-
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of Education) level of education. Education is very Patutatau Tidak, organised by Persatuan Pegawai
important and without proper education, the future Shariah Malaysia. Hotel Putra, Jln Tun Razak,
life of underage bride/bridegroom would be 29 January 2011.
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Health Consequences of Child 19. International Convention on Economic, Social and Marriage in Africa
  • N M Nour
Nour, N.M., 2006. Health Consequences of Child 19. International Convention on Economic, Social and Marriage in Africa. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 12(11): 1644-1647.
English Translation of SahihMuslim
  • Abdul Hamid Siddiqui
Abdul Hamid Siddiqui, (n.d). English Translation of SahihMuslim,(kitabal-nikah).http://
Pernikahan Di bawah Umur Dari Perspektif Syarak. Seminar Kebangsaan Undang-Undang Keluarga Islam
  • Z M Al-Bakri
Al-Bakri, Z.M., 2011. Pernikahan Di bawah Umur Dari Perspektif Syarak. Seminar Kebangsaan Undang-Undang Keluarga Islam,"Nikah Bawah Umur: Patut atau Tidak", organised by Persatuan Pegawai Shariah Malaysia. Hotel Putra, Jln Tun Razak. 29 January 2011.
Undang-Undang Perkahwinan dan Perceraian Dari Aspek Hukum
  • S Z Md Nor
Md Nor, S.Z., 1998. Undang-Undang Perkahwinan dan Perceraian Dari Aspek Hukum", in Undang-Undang Islam Di Mahkamah-Mahkamah Shariah Di Malaysia, edited by Ahmad Hidayat Buang (Petaling Jaya: Akademi Pengajian Islam, Universiti Malaya,1998), pp: 64-69.