Turkey: Liberal role in children ignored
By Um Khalid
While secularists exploit the tragic death of a young bride in Turkey to undermine Islamic social laws, they ignore the central role played by liberal values in the abuse of children
On the 13th January 2014, the tragic death of a young teenage bride Kader Erten, who was found dead, shot by a gun in her house after her second baby died, made the issue of marriage of girls at a young age in Turkey an issue of media and political discussion once again.
Although the circumstances around the girl’s death as well as her marriage are not yet clear, various secular politicians, NGO’s, and other opinion-makers have used the story to turn attention on young marriage which Islam encourages but that they define as a problem. In addition, in the undertones of their discussions, they have associated it with forced marriage and attributed some blame to it for the incident. Unsurprisingly therefore, the solution to ‘forced marriage’ of young girls presented by various politicians, sociologists, and organisations has been to introduce and enforce policies which ensure that Turkey’s legal age for marriage of 17 years is adhered to by its citizens.
The truth is that the forcing of women into marriage, whether at an adult or minor age, is not separate from other problems which women in Turkey also have to face; rather it is a part of those. In 2013 alone, 153 thousand women were subjected to violence, 174 of them lost their lives, and more than 3 thousand children under the age of 18 were victims of sexual abuse across the country. Despite such figures which should raise questions about the dominant capitalist and liberal values that dominate Turkish society which result in such problems, this condemnation of marriage at a young age is an insidious style of attack against the Islamic social rule which encourages young marriage, by attributing to it the origin of forced marriage. In fact, forced marriages which Islam condemns as well as all other kinds of atrocities against women have spread after the destruction of the Khilafah, together with depriving women of all kinds of Islamic political, economic, educational, and social rights. This is a result in part of the erosion of the Islamic mentality, values and behaviour of Muslims that ensures they treat women according to the Commands of their Creator, causing them instead to embrace non-Islamic traditions and practices. Additionally, the implementation of the secular capitalist system in Turkey infused many through the education system and media with a secular capitalist selfish and self-centered lifestyle praising the fulfilment of the lustful desires. As a result, women and even children have been exploited, abused or mistreated by those who are stronger or wield more authority or power than them.
According to Islam, marriage is a contract. Therefore marriage, as any contract in Islam, is contracted by legitimate offer and acceptance.
The woman has the right to accept the marriage or to reject it.
Neither her guardian (Wali Amr) nor anybody else has a right to marry the girl or woman off against her consent OR prevent her from marrying. It has been reported from Ibn 'Abbas that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:
“A matron should not be given in marriage except after consulting her; and a virgin should not be given in marriage except after her permission is sought”. The people asked, “O Messenger of Allah, How can we know her permission”? He (saw) said: “To remain silent”.
Indeed, there are numerous hadith showing that the Prophet (saw) himself annulled the marriages of women that were made without their consent. If a girl or woman rejects the marriage or she was forcibly married the contract becomes void, except if she returns and consents to it. On the other hand, the prohibition of barring a woman or a girl who is above puberty from marrying is established in the Qur'an.
Indeed, Allah (swt) has said:
“Do not prevent them from marrying their (former) husbands, if they mutually agree on a reasonable basis.” [Al-Baqarah: 232].
Therefore according to Islam, a sane and mature girl is free to marry if she wishes so, even though not considered an adult by the secular civil law which is fickle, contradictory and confused in its view of maturity. In addition, Islam has encouraged the youth to marry when young. Ibn Masud narrates that Rasulallah (saw) said:
“O you youngsters. Whoever amongst you who can afford to marry should marry, because it will help him more to lower his gaze, and guard his modesty (i.e. private parts from unlawful sex). And whoever is not able to marry he should fast, because it will be protection for him."
Islam is a comprehensive way of life. In order to be effective, it is necessary to implement it with all its orders, prohibitions, and laws; its education, economic and social system. Furthermore, the Khilafah is a vital issue! It is only Islam that will apply what Allah (swt) and His Messenger (saw) have ordered, and it is Islam that will ensure the best results for the people.
“If you disagree in anything, refer it to Allah and His Messenger (to the Hukm Shari), if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is beneficial (Khayr) and better in terms of result.” [An-Nisa: 59]