But he stopped short of banning child marriage or the practice of selling daughters into marriage. How could he ban child marriage when Muhammad, the prophet of Islam and the “excellent example of conduct” (Qur’an 33:21), married Aisha when she was six and consummated the marriage when she was nine (and he was 54)?
Media reports say an arranged marriage between a Saudi girl aged eight and a man in his 50s has been annulled, in a case attracting worldwide criticism.
The Saudi Gazette says the divorce was agreed in an out-of-court settlement after a judge rejected two attempts to grant the girl a divorce.
The case prompted Saudi officials to say it would start regulating the marriages of young girls.
Rights groups say some Saudi families marry off young daughters for money.
The judge who first heard the case in the town of Unaiza refused to end the marriage at the request of the girl’s mother, but he stipulated the groom could not have sex with the girl until she reached puberty….
Earlier this year, the country’s highest religious authority, the Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Shaikh, said it was not against Islamic law to marry off girls who are 15 and younger.
On 15 April, after this case generated considerable negative publicity, Justice Minister Muhammad Issa said he wanted to put an end to the “arbitrary” way in which parents and guardians could marry off their young daughters.
However, he he did not say that the practice would be banned.