Sharia Alert: "We cannot technically impede a marriage with a girl of this age. However, we can delay the process (by refusing to carry out the [state-mandated pre-marital] tests)."
"Saudi Arabia: Doctor stops wedding with five year-old," from Adnkronos International, December 30:
Riyadh, 30 Dec. (AKI) - A doctor in Saudi Arabia was able to stop the wedding of a five and 11 year-old whose family wanted to marry them to protect financial assets. "Thanks to the law that compels spouses to carry out blood analyses before marriage, we were able to stop a wedding with underage girls, among them a five year-old," said Hani Harsani, the doctor in charge of laboratory analysis in an interview with Saudi daily al-Watan.
"Two sisters came to us accompanied by their parents to undergo pre-marital blood analyses. The first one was five, and the other 11 years-old. When we asked the mother why they wanted to do the tests, she told us that she wanted to marry the girls to cousins to preserve the family's property rights."
During the interview, Harsani remembers an episode when a 10-year-old orphan was brought to do pre-marital blood tests by her brother, who wanted to marry the sister to a 40-year-old friend who already had two other wives.
"We cannot technically impede a marriage with a girl of this age. However, we can delay the process (by refusing to carry out the tests)," said Harsani.
"I hope a law can be passed sooner rather than later to establish a minimum age for marriage."
That would be nice. But opposition will be fierce, and the defenders of child marriage will invoke Muhammad's own example in marrying Aisha at the age of 6, and consummating the marriage when she was 9. They may also invoke Qur'an 65:4, which takes child marriage for granted in allowing for the divorce of pre-pubescent girls.
Pre-marital blood tests are compulsory in Saudi Arabia to ensure the spouses are in good health, but also to prevent the spread of hereditary diseases to the children.