Child Marriage

2014 Ramadan Prayer Day 8

Muhammad is the perfect example to Muslims, and as such they are supposed to model their lives after his. Muhammad had multiple wives during his lifetime, however his favorite wife was his third wife, Aisha. He married Aisha when she was a child of six, but did not consummate the marriage until she was nine.

Child marriage continues to be practiced in much of the Islamic world despite the fact that it is considered a human rights abuse. More than 60 million girls worldwide are child brides. In developing nations one in seven girls marries before the age of 15, and nearly half of the 331 million girls in developing nations marry by their 20th birthday.

Child marriages create a cycle of poverty, gender inequality, abuse and numerous health problems. Many young brides are married to men who are much older than they are and often suffer abuse in the marriage. The leading cause of death worldwide for girls ages 15 to 19 are complications related to childbirth and pregnancy.

Child protection experts report that child marriages cause mental illness, suicides, teenage runaways, and even prostitution. The children are forced into prostitution because the marriages often end in divorce, and the child has no way to support herself.

In Afghanistan, girls can legally marry at age 15, and 57% of girls in the nation are married by the age of 16. 66% of girls in Bangladesh are married before the age of 18, and slightly more than 50% of girls in Mali, Mozambique, and Niger are married before the age of 18.

A 55 year old Afghani man with his 8 year old bride on the day of their engagement.

A 55 year old Afghani man with his 8 year old bride on the day of their engagement. Photo by Stephanie Sinclair.

Iran’s legal age of marriage for girls is only 13. One British newspaper reported that in Iran in 2010, 716 girls under the age of 10 had been married. There is no minimum age for girls to marry in Saudi Arabia, and statistics show that there are more than 5,500 child brides under the age of 14.

Western Islamic apologists often cover up the example of Muhammad’s marriage to Aisha, however it is clear that many continue to follow Muhammad’s example today. As Islam has spread to western nations, child marriage is also spreading.

Prayer Points:

Pray that the international community will speak out loud and clear regarding young girls being forced into marriage when they are too young to understand what is taking place or too young to take on this responsibility.

In nations where parents are taught in their culture that child marriage is acceptable, ask God to open their eyes to the truth that this will most likely be frightening and harmful to the young girls.

In Western nations teenage girls most often are given opportunities for further education, choose a future career and make their own decisions. Ask the Lord to give His heart to the parents (especially the fathers) to give their daughters opportunities in their lives – rather than child marriage.

Pray that the families will receive revelation of Almighty God’s desire to bring them true liberty and freedom – through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

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