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A few years ago, a robust #ChildNotBride campaign raged in Nigeria following Senator Bakuras new marriage to a 14 year old until it fizzled out in time just like every other Nigerian issue does.
I was on the side that defended early marriage 🤭.
Yes, the very controversial Binta defended early marriage & Bakuras choice to marry that girl.Was what I did then Islamic or cultural? Looking back at me then & where I am now, I will say it was cultural.
I was just another person with socially inherited perceptions & sentiments.
The stand I took was very much influenced by my social conditioning, interpretation of the Deen I got & the inbuilt human defensiveness that comes with the dissonance which arises when you know something you belong to is flawed.
Today I have grown up more & do admit to the ills within my society. I still accept expert interpretation of the Quran & Sunnah but also study the Quran on my own. I now see It as just not a code of conduct but an avenue to understanding Allah & His intention for humanity.
Also, again today Saudi Arabia's upgrade of the marital age to 18 has raised up09875 that child marriage debate once more. Most of Northern Nigerian Muslims has a loyal affinity with the country which is seen as an Islamic symbol & criticising it was likened to criticising Islam.
Of recent I have seen our Ulama & people distancing themselves from that so holy perceived country since the new crown prince has been making controversial reforms 😉. This tells that the affinity is to simply preserve the conservative system not the 'holiness' of the country.
Thus the marital age debate rages again & this time around I belong to anti early marriage. I am no less Muslim than I was before but I am not shepherded by the herd mentality anymore to defend evident wrong neither do I adhere to religious interpretation which defies humanity.
Allah loves & tells us that good is from him & every evil is from us. He also tells us that He will not change a people until we change ourselves. No Muslim challenges the authenticity of these yet why do we not move to change ourselves & continue to allow evil fester within us.
When there are enough matured, beautiful young women readily available why should a fully grown man want to marry a 12, 13 or 14 year old who doesn't understand her responsibilities, has dreams that may be curtailed & will most likely experience pain & damage during sex?
When we all agree that we prefer female gyanaecologists, teachers, counselors for our self & children why won't we allow our children reach their full potential in this day & age so we can favorably compete with other societies & economies?
When we are daily confronted with challenges of illiteracy, ignorance, poverty & feminine helplessness in every nook & cranny of the north, why don't we make attempts to empower women & subsequently their children by making sure they access basic education?
I know many will answer me that time does not change the religion and the Quran is eternal. I will also agree with you that the Quran is an eternal message for mankind & that is why it is dynamic & Islam can be interpreted to fit the changing times.
Our beloved Prophet SAW married Nana Aisha at 7, 9 & even 18. There are various traditions that make sense just as there are variations on many other aspects of Seerah concerning his life.1400 years ago that was the normal global trend in all civilizations until recent.
1400 years ago slavery existed, today there is no slavery nor concubinage. 1400 yrs ago Jihad was by the sword, today it is with the use of communication. 1400 yrs ago people went to Hajj took months on foot & Camels, today we fly to Hajj/Umrah &, return within a week.
1400 yrs ago the Haraams were small spaces, today they have expanded & taken over many homes to cater to millions of worshippers. 1400 yrs ago Minna & Arafat used to be open lands/tents, today the tents are air conditioned with trains & buses shuttling pilgrims to/fro Makkah.
1400 yrs ago Bilal RA strained to call the Adhan, today Public address systems make it easy. 1400 yrs ago Daawah meant moving through various towns facing physical & security challenges, today many Shieks do it from the comfort of their homes with just a webcam/keyboard.
1400 yrs ago the Quran was only memorized, today there are many Quranic apps/software.1400 yrs ago SAW stayed in mud huts, used a siwak for oral hygiene & had just a mat/ mattress of feathers as comfort. Today we live in duplexes, use the tooth paste/brush & sleep on opulent beds
I cite this examples to highlight how far we have come from the struggles of those very beautiful & dedicated early Muslims.
The religion moved with the times & became easier as the times changed. The purpose of the Deen didn't change nor the message of the Quran.
Why then does northern Nigeria refuse to put ease for humanity? Why do we choose to maintain evidently outdated tradition when it's shortcoming outweigh its benefits? Why do we act dogmatic to change especially that which affects the female?
Why must we be hell bent on inflicting suffering on the girl child when there is a way? Why must we keep allowing old men repeatedly tie young girls into loveless marriages & lifetimes of sexual depravity? Why must we legalize men chasing out their children to roam the street?
These are truths that are bitter. These are facts we don't want to see. Those are our failures we don't want to aknowledge. These are our sordid realities that are finely painted in attractive colors. These are our hidden truths that we should let out of the cupboard & confront.
I am everybit a Muslim as I was before. I fall in love with my religion daily. Complexities & seeming injustices I previously do question have been laid to rest by my deeper study of the Deen. My religion is not the problem, my people are the problem.
If SAW could tolerate a woman who questioned him. If Allah SWA revealed a whole a part of the Quran to favour the inquiries & challenges of Haulatu on injustices meted out to women then by their men why do our Ulama shut us up at every juncture?
It is worth asking if the Muslim Northern men are out to protect their religion by refusing change or the purpose is to protect a raging libido which wants to be sure virgin young girls are an available option while older wives are repeatedly banished to a sole homekeeping role.
I think the avoidance of matured young educated women & the preference for barely literate underage ones is to have an open playing field with total obedience & little or no checks and balance for what choice nor questioning can a naive little girl do to a master after all?
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