The following is the text of correspondence sent to the Attorney General of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on the issue of the proposed changes to the Muslim marriage and divorce ordinance (45:02) which in part tabled changes to the minimum age of marriage in special cases.
Date: 23rd August 2016
The Honorable Faris Al-Rawi M.P.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs
Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs,
23-27 St. Vincent Street
Port of Spain
Trinidad and Tobago
RE: THE AGE OF MARRIAGE AND CHANGES TO THE MUSLIM MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE ORDINANCE
Dear Attorney General,
The Majlis ul Ulamaa wishes to place on record its support for the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Ordinance Ch 45:02 as it relates to marriage in Trinidad and Tobago.
It notes that there are two phases in a Muslim marriage, viz.:
- The Nikah (marriage contract)
- Consummation of the marriage
While nikah can be done at any time even during infancy, the marriage can only be consummated after the individual has attained puberty.
The Majlis is aware of the etiquettes connected with the marriage of minors and urges the Muslim leadership and organisations to initiate some form of guidance and counselling to minors and their parents or guardians so that they can help young individuals to fulfil their aims and objectives in life even though they are married at a young age.
The Majlis is of the opinion that the Authorities should concentrate on finding ways and means for preventing the youths from indulging in illicit sexual activities, and the negative impact this is having on the lives of young individuals.
In conclusion the Majlis supports the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Ordinance 45:02 without any changes to the minimum age of marriage.
It urges all those in authority to help youths to refrain from such activities that are morally and spiritually damaging.
Allah knows best