AG orders probe on fatwa legalizing marriage of nine-year-olds
Rabat, Sept. 22 - A probe was opened Sunday on the fatwa (Islamic decree) legalizing the marriage of nine-year-old girls issued by theologian Mohamed ben Abderrahman Al Maghraoui, judicial sources told MAP.
The probe, ordered by the Attorney General, will look into the fatwa in which Maghraoui said girls of nine years can marry and are able to fulfill "wifely duties just like twenty-year old women."
The fatwa has triggered an overwhelming wave a criticism among child and rights activists, and even among the country's religious scholars.
On Saturday the Higher Council of Ulemas reacted strongly on the fatwa, condemning it as "absurd and abominable," and saying Maghraoui is known for his "subversive and confusion-raising tendencies."
To give more strength to his decree, Maghraoui has cited the case of Prophet Muhammad who had married a nine-year-old girl.
Reacting on the issue, the Council said in a press release the hadiths (prophet sayings) touching on this subject talk rather about the date of the conclusion of the marriage contract, while the marriage itself took place years later.
The Ulemas stressed that no scholar has ever taken these hadiths as a reference, considering them as one of the particularities of the life of the prophet.
Only the Council of Ulamas is entitled to issue fatwas, they said, adding that the legal age of marriage is governed by the Family Code, which was drafted in concert with the scholars and approved by all Moroccans.
The new version of the Family Code, approved in 2004, sets the legal age of marriage at 18 for girls and boys.
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