Getting married at 14

News that a 22 year old school teacher had got married to a 14 year old girl has caused shockwaves in Malaysia, reverberating around the world. Recall what it was like to be 14 again, and consider if such marriages really can hold water under the law.

Child marriage (Source: Public domain)

Child marriage (Source: Public domain)

I still remember the 14th year of my life vividly. Every day I would wake up early in the morning to catch the morning bus to go to religious school. It lasted for 3 hours every day where afterwards I would go home and get ready to go to normal school ( this of course doesn’t mean that religious school is abnormal, I can’t think of a better description of a day school). Once in school, my friends and I would chat and chat about homework, gossiped about girls that we didn’t like and the latest boy bands that had got our fancy.

This routine continued every day for 5 days a week. Saturdays were for girl-guides and other clubs and as soon as my activities finished, I would catch a bus straight home to watch cartoons and old Malay movies on the then Singaporean Channel 5. Sundays were cartoons, 90210 and homework, lots and lots of homework. In between I would call my best friend, and we would chat and chat to our hearts content. Of course I had to help out with the household chores but let’s leave that out. In short, life was bliss. It had only one purpose: to be a kid.

My body was also changing. I had stopped wearing training bras and began using the real ones. I had gotten my period which was a bit of bother. At 14, I had only the slightest idea about sex. Sex out of wedlock is a no-no in Islam and from the medical books I read, the idea of sex actually grossed me out. I only properly learnt about the human reproduction system at 15, in science class. So at 14, I would say that I was still very awkward and blur. Did I feel and did my mum think that I was an adult just because I had breasts and was menstruating once a month? I don’t think so.

Yes, I wanted to have a boyfriend then, but at 14 marriage was the last thing on my mind. The main focus in life was to do well in school and get into a reputable university so that I can get a high-paying job, buy everything that I ever wanted, travel the world and change it. If my mum wanted to marry me off then, I would have rebelled and ran away from home because in my mind child marriages only exist in third-world countries where women were not educated, where her family had no means to support her and she had to depend on men.

I must have forgotten that Malaysia is a third-world country with third-world mentalities dominating our minds as if we had no other choice. I must have forgotten that not all parents are the same. Not all parents think that 14 year olds are kids, nor understand that having breasts and menstruation do not make these kids adults. Not all parents are patient enough to go through tough teenage years with their kids and encourage them to forget about the opposite sex for a while and stay focused on themselves and their studies.

I must have also forgotten that not all teachers are educators. I must have forgotten that once upon a time our Prophet Muhammad PBUH married Aishah, who was still a child and that is why some Muslims think it’s okay for a kid to get married. I must have forgotten that once a upon a time, Mansor Adabi a teacher of 22 years of age married Natrah, who was then 13 and our grandparents thought nothing of it.

I have forgotten that times may have changed but some minds are still trapped in the Stone Age.

I doubt Prophet Muhammed PBUH would have married Aishah if he was a prophet now and yes, I doubt Mansor Adabi and Natrah would have gotten married. The circumstances would have been different. Primary and secondary education in Malaysia now is free and available to all. Malaysian women have made it to the top echelons of organisations. I am sure these women would not be where they are right now if they had gotten married at 14.

I am appalled that after all these years there are still parents who allow their underage kids to get married and even more when their insanity is entertained by the Syariah Court who consented to these marriages. The country was just shocked by the news of the 11 year old who got married to an old man, we are now faced with news of a celebration of a 14 year old kid who got married to a 23 year old primary school teacher. The kid was quoted as saying “it’s going to be hard to juggle two roles – a student and a wife- but I’m taking it in my stride”.

I am wondering whether she fully understands what she has gotten herself into. Marriage is not about copulating and procreating alone. Everything might be rosy right now but how would she feel in a couple of years, if not months? While her friends woke up to go to school, studying or eyeing on the most good looking guy in school, she has to wake up, get the breakfast ready for her husband and after school, while others went straight to bury themselves in homework and tuition, she has to cook, wash, clean the house before night time where she has to do her wifely duties. How would she cope with pregnancy and morning sickness? She would have to miss school and probably even more after she gave birth. When her friends are burning the midnight oil for PMR and SPM, she is awake at night tending to her babies. What would she decide, if let’s say she got a place at a university that is far away from the place her husband is working. What we she do when she met a lot more men when she grew up? Would she still love her husband or resent him?

Did the Syariah Court, her parents and hubby think of all these? What are the criteria before such a marriage is allowed? Section 8 of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984 merely states:

No marriage may be solemnized under this Act where either the man is under the age of eighteen or the woman is under the age of sixteen except where the Syariah Judge has granted his permission in writing in certain circumstances.

By this section alone, there are no guidelines or fixed criteria on what constitutes “certain circumstances”. If there were guidelines, I just hope they are not parents’ consent, ability of the future husband to support and the girl has reached puberty!

Getting married just to stop the couple from any immoral behaviour is the smallest aspect of things; parents should look into the bigger spectrum of life. Perhaps they should start by watching the movie Juno or An Education (haha)! Your 14 year old kid may be getting her periods, with breasts, stopped playing with Barbie dolls and all – but they are still kids. Parents should know that teenage girls are also easily attracted to older men who seem to know the world. If only the girls waited a little longer, they would know that they too can have the world, on their own.

If the parents can’t see the big picture, the husband, who is a 23 year old teacher, should be able to. He after all is supposed to be educated and more level-minded. Having people like him as teachers makes me wonder about the quality of people allowed to be teachers of our future generation?

Teachers are not here just to teach but they are supposed to inspire our kids to reach their fullest potential. Here we have a teacher who got involved with an underage girl and in marrying her, he had coincidentally robbed her of her childhood. Something that he probably had, how would he feel if he got married at 14? Somehow he has no qualms from robbing his wife from hers. How is this teacher going to be a role model to his students in school? What is he going to say to his students, study and get married or enjoy your school life, get a job, be the best in what you do and then settle down? If he truly loved this girl, he would wait.

If the parents were responsible parents, they would have lodged a complaint against this teacher and get him transferred and as far away as possible from their daughter. Their daughter has a right to have her childhood and if Article 5 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia means more than the right to live and includes the quality of life, then the parents, husband and the Sharia Court have clearly violated one of the most fundamental liberties of the Constitution.

It is a travesty when on the one hand rape with minors is considered statutory rape because they are under the age of consent and on the other marriages with minors are allowed. I am not saying the teacher is a paedophile but if he was, paedophiles should not be punished by allowing them to get married. Section 8 of the Islamic Family Law and any law of its kind should be repealed.

The 14 year old kid should stay a kid, no matter how much she wanted to get married; she is still a kid. There is a saying that childhood is the most beautiful of life’s seasons so do not lose it by rushing to grow up. If the parents and the guy truly loved her, they should encourage her to choose school, study, friends, gossiping with other girls about the best looking guy in their class, choose love and lost and love again, choose university, choose a career, choose independence. Do not choose marriage at the age of 14, do not make that mistake.

Choose life. Marriage at 14 is not a life.

Noreen Ariff loves being single but yes, she would like to get married…someday. She believes that people should only get married when they are mentally, emotionally and financially ready. Her LoyarBurokking here is on her own time, and her own views. They bear no reflection on the organisation she works for.

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45 Responses to Getting married at 14

  1. hi @pointofview

    Thanks for the kind word. I don't like leaving room for misunderstanding by keeping elegantly silent or keeping people misinformed to empower myself, or to cause others to err then blame them, or give others reason to ostracise or abuse them after intentionally causing them to trip up (first hand to the N-th here), and this is the only principled way to communicate.

    By being on an even playing field, though 'stupidos' could also be propagandists and advocates of authoritarianism via neurolinguistic programming half the time seeking to enrich themselves at the expense of the people.

    These mental goons probably seek to propagate acceptance of 3rd world paradigms of tasering, abusive attitudes by counter staff, abuse of citizens by enforcement, shoot-first policy, entrapment, electronic harrassment, alongside other miserable and inhuman methods to enslave and contaminate democratic principles with grey area abuses while their family Oligarchs reserve MP seats and hand down the same MP seats between their children and grandchildren or sometimes partly hidden through cosanguinity (imagine Khairy marrying Nurul or something along those lines or every former PM's child being a Minister or PM) . . . you get the picture (thats also how UMNO imploded with Pak-Lah-KJ vs. dr.Evil-Mukhriz creating so much resentment that so many disappointed voters ran for Pakatan and the same in Pakatan now causing voters to run for MCLM and KITA or becoming independents).

    It is sheer inadequacy that makes these insane people go around spreading rumours or harming others. It is worse when those listening and believing the rumours are induced to act. What kind of justice or reparation can be sought? Those who broke the law should be punished accordingly or at the very least in kind. We have to keep aware and alert the public to such behaviour and seek to prevent continuation of such behaviour via educating the voters on such issues and building awareness for everyone to be wary of the modus operandi of such abusers.

    And as we know a large portion of crimes are done by people who know the victim, so don't be too excited or flattered or frightened by sudden boons or banes in the form of people or gift horses, they are easily inventions of the sick society we live in, right all the way up to the political parties in power.

  2. pointofview

    @ Agreetodisagree

    I salute you for the facts that you have mentioned in your earlier comments to date. It is pointless to go into an argument or battle with some stupidos who can't think out of the box. Anyway, bravo for justifying your points.

    @ SiewEng

    Yes, she made the right choice for her. A man and a woman or should I say a boy and a girl can meet in any circumstances, there shouldn't be so much emphasize on the teacher student relationship. How if the cupid's arrow striked between a doctor (a man) and a patient (a young girl 14 maybe)? Love is blind darling. It's good if it ends up with marriage rather than other social ill issues. Right?

    And as for others who have commented here…. start thinking out of the box. It looks like you guys are the ones living in the primitive world… go figure…

  3. siewchinteo

    at times it is difficult to reconcile how a person who "thinks out of the box" can actually accept hudud law…..or any restrictive law for that matter.

    but what do i know – i am 3rd world and supports chopping off the head of anyone who harms a child.

  4. No wonder the quality of our legal system is dropping. We have someone ready to deny facts than face them.

    1) I understand every word that you have used in your reply . . .

    But you lack the EQ or are afraid to absorb it.

    2) But I think I speak on behalf of everyone here when I say, they seem to mean nothing when read as a sentence. Lol.

    I don't think so. If you read without thinking or trying to understand what is written that usually ends up bring the case.

    3) No such thing as constitutional amendment when the basic structure of the constitution does not envisage the hudud law……ever!

    Hudud does not need to exist upon Constitution. It exists in the hearts of the faithful in Islam, and those willing to be punished under it's auspices. If you are a disciplined Muslim or a non-Muslim, no need to fear Hudud.

    4) Once again, to keep things simple, go read your federal constitution you fucking nimrod!

    Twist around trying to evade the facts, but facts remain facts. The federal constitution is not only to be read, but amended you fucking dimknob.

    5) I also must add, you are one fucking dumbshit.

    Speak for yourself. Still no case, now compounded by trying to evade facts with 'value deducted' sentence structures.

    Let the readers judge the points (or in your case non-points) in this exchange for themselves.

  5. Ali Davidson


    I understand every word that you have used in your reply but I think I speak on behalf of everyone here when I say, they seem to mean nothing when read as a sentence. Lol.

    It is just pure baloney.

    No such thing as constitutional amendment when the basic structure of the constitution does not envisage the hudud law……ever!

    Once again, to keep things simple, go read your federal constitution you fucking nimrod!

    I also must add, you are one fucking dumbshit.

  6. AgreeToDisagree

    @Ali Davidson,

    I keep walking into rooms full of establishment minded people who are unable to employ either critical or lateral thought. Or who wish to keep their fellow citizens in an easy manipulated state? I will presume you belong to the former category and so the responsibility falls upon to debunk yet again.

    "You can’t apply Hudud la you dumbshit." Is that so? Oh yes you certainly can apply Hudud.

    Hudud Whipping? A Hudud signatory could call it a BDSM club with no physical contact to remain legal in Islam.

    Hudud limb removal as pubnishment? A Hudud signatory could claim it was an association for treatment of body integrity identity disorder (BIID).

    If Hudud is applied anywhere consensually under the above, the Federal Parliament have no say. And though it VAINLY claims to have the right to, the claim is absolutely inapplicable and should not even be brazenly misrepresented as being applicable. Dishonesty is a terrible sickness of so-called 'Democratic Governments'.

    QUOTE Journal of Applied Philosophy – "amputations should be morally permissible" on the grounds that people with BIID are not "globally irrational". UNQUOTE

    On this technicality and by the methods above, Hudud could be applied.

    IT IS THEIR BODY, SO THEIR RIGHT ANYWAY, not for anyone to deny or legislate. More authoritarianism on your part? The constitution is a guideline that can change with time thats why there are CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS. Given the sorry state of Malysia's judiciary and political paradigms though these CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS have not been applied.

    The right to Hudud punishments is a negative freedom but still a freedom nonetheless. No group of citizens via rule of mob or supposed right of larger numbers, might in numbers has any right to enforce ANYTHING on anyone. That is application of ETHICAL principles to a very difficult issue.

    The as you call it, 'fucking' constitution. doesn't work and should be amended but isn't amended because we have lgislators busy trying to steal taxpayer monies who do not understand that Constitution is a living breathing document that needs to have changes to accomodate the PEOPLE, *NOT* the PEOPLE change to suit it because numerically they are out numbered, by force of arms even!

    No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it. In the context of consensual Hudud vs. an inapplicable Constitution, guess where the Spirit of the Law lies? And that my ethically unaware or lazy minded friend, is the essence of Civilisation as opposed to the attitude of Malicious Compliance or brute force and punishment based on inapplicable words on a piece of paper. Teach a child to think by giving freedom, not hit a child into not thinking or imprison. Of course sheep are easier to herd, so it is easy to see who intends his charges well and who inevitably ends up abusing them.

    The principle is the issue of victimlessness of an action and the right to self determinism. If there are spaces that can be made for whatever they wish experience, just you remember that the world and lands on the world belong to EVERYONE not those most numerous, with the most powerful weapons or the loudest voices or the ability to impose fines and jail terms by force of arms. The ethics of civilisation, be aware and apply!

    This civilisation, the display of the tolerance of man, for the relatively minor weirdness that constitutes a mere fraction of the LIMITLESS POSSIBILITIES of what we perceive as reality.

    Remember Stephen Hawking's comments on Cthulu? Start thinking out of that box and stop putting people into it because you are too weak minded or LAZY minded. So many narrow minded and authoritarian people around? Making excuses for weak mindedness. Stop being lazy and TEACH responsibility not introduce/impose the Crutches of Authoritarianism on your fellow sentients. In a short while we could very well be having bio-engineered lifeforms 'Spore' style and brain transplants to boot alongside all manner of cybernetics. Does this mean a group who can't wrap their head around these concepts has a right to demand others not be allowed to partake (after extensive ETHICAL testing to ensure no unwanted fallout occurs by any chance of course)?

    "The tyranny of the many would be when one body takes over the rights of others, and then exercises its power to change the laws in its favor." – Voltaire

    So don't tell me Hudud is so shocking. Its really very dull and not something I would chose, *BUT* the principal of the matter is that it's that person's choice and to respect God given free will and self determinism, we must at least make space for them to choose their own path. The world belongs to EVERYONE not the 'majority' alone. Spirit of Law. No more of this crudity, even against crudity.

    For example, look at Section 377B, doesn't exist in India or England. So why is it maintained here? To be used as a weapon. Every Malaysian who has had oral sex is guilty 377B and should be imprisoned 20 years and whipped. Were government to apply such laws instead of amending them, then we'd all be in prison.

    So do you think the Constitution can be applied to Hudud even?

    "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for

    people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."

    – Noam Chomsky

    As Anwar was a victim of entrapment, so this trial doesn't count. When a kangaroo court is in session, another political enemy is made to bite the dust. Again spirit of the law trampled by the judiciary's negligence to amend, by unconstitutional powers to appoint judges, by abusing where people find most pleasure or necessity (like extreme taxes on vehicles) or inflicting Concessionaire Highways and Vehicular-APs on citizens.

    Also, understand what 'cultural relativism' and 'free will' mean you dimknob! So who's the dumbshit now? Let the readers decide! Pathos without Logos! And don't mention the Fed or the Constitution, that would be Ethos without Logos! No logic, means no case.

  7. Ali Davidson


    You can't apply Hudud la you dumbshit. It is the Federal Parliament that sanctions the level of punishments for the Syariah courts.

    Read your fucking constitution you nimrod!

  8. @Ali Davidson

    "Syariah law in Malaysia is archaic and primitive."

    True. But people who WANT HUDUD even, have a right to live by Hudud. Though imposing any law without consent is also wrong. Hudud is livable if you are very disciplined, but most Muslims can't really do it. That is PAS's weak point. If PAS makes Hudud applicable on a signatory basis, with all Muslims still under Syariah Law as well, PAS would be quite strong. You could even say that any PAS Malay is an honest and non-corrupt Malay who is a proper follower of Islam. They need to be apply Hudud in this manner or they will chase Malay voters away.

    With Tok Guru's condemnation of Bumiputraism as APARTHEID and ex-Perlis Mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainal stating Bumiputra is akin to Zionism amonst others, PAS is quite popular in contemporary Malaysia among the minorities.

    On the ethical scorecard, PMBK CEO Datuk Abdul Ariffahmi Abdul Rahman being asked to quit by Tok Guru to prevent conflict of interest sets a precedent probably in the whole of ASEAN, though here and there instances of extreme wealth have surfaced, though not as shocking as in BN.

    Casual Analysis of Malaysian parties (International links wise) :

    1) PAS is the safest where national security is concerned, other than ties with a mostly neutral German delegation, they look absolutely dedicated to Malaysian sovereignty.

    2) DAP, as oligarchic and nepotistic as PAP is colluding with PAP on illegal technological fronts at USA's behest, USA itself is beholden to the Zionist lobby.

    3) PKR has Wolfowitz and others linked to Zionism as well though recent distancing of US from PKR's ANwar make PKR slightly better for nationl sovereignty though NEPOTISM and OLIGARCHY in PKR however are so serious that MCLM and KITA have been set up to counter that in PKR.

    4) The double faced Zionist-APCO link, damns Barisan no end.

    Don't laugh at Syariah or even Hudud Ali Davidson, it's their choice if they really want it and have not been coerced. Self Determinism also applies in liefstyles like Hudud or those luddite minded Amish Mennonite communities in the USA. It's a free world, don't disparage that and even help others fight for their right to SELF DETERMINISM.

  9. Ali Davidson

    Just do away with Syariah law in Malaysia and you'll have peace and harmony!

    Syariah law in Malaysia is archaic and primitive.

    I laugh each time I hear about Syariah law in Malaysia.

  10. That line is abit over the top and loses by itself, but you get the picture lol. But the arguement is won elsewhere in the repartee am very sure.

  11. Awang Berbahaya

    You guys are a bunch of loonies.

    REPENT from doing SATAN's work? ROTFL

    Saya tiba2 terbayang adegan seorang penceramah ajaran sesat dalam filem yang kononnya ada kuasa ajaib untuk memulihkan penyakit hanya dengan memegang dada pesakit.

    @Agreetodisagree- I think you have lost your argument.

  12. England is the flunky for going on a 10th Crusade against Saddam for double standards on 2nd Amendment Rights and causing near 500,000 deaths. A holocaust only upped by the Ameri-Indian Natives in USA and Canada and South Americas.

    I will indulge your skewed perception on free will and your attempts to turn the public against people trying to ensure open opinion and free mindedness.

    What do you mean so by default what you say is not relevant and holds not water? Flunked Logic 101?

    Because we advocate self determinism, and children who are psychologically mature or who will come to less harm being married than being jailbait, does not mean we are paedophiles. I personally am more inclined to Borticelli than Loli phenotype though if @pointof view is into the latter, and everyone is consensual to marriage including parents, why should there be an issue?

    Marriage and childbirth dignifies the tween or teen (especially if biologocally capable) and transitions her into a woman and MOTHER, not some mentally immatured ingenue long past her biological fertility, that that too is a choice that must remain open to the fairer sex.

    Did you think the stork dropped off babies at the orphanage and that only aging women are entitled to adopt and raise children, who are sometimes forcibly placed there via child alienation?

    Even male-male homosexual couples are permitted to adopt and raise children, (by the initiative of a certain alter ego I would hope?) why do you seek to forbid young couples in love who chose to become life partners?

    During tribal times where all was untamed wilderness, when 2 people matured, they would probably leave the tribe to set up their own family and start 'experimenting' much earlier as well. Was there a law then? Then the male would take out his bow and arrow and . . . HUNT animals (OMG someone call PETA! Duh.). (No I wasn't going to get explicit.)

    Then there is the ageism issue, is difference in age any indicator of maturity or a reason to place a barrier to consensual marriage?

    NEUTRAL SPACES for thought and living! Autonomy!

    Go hurl your stones somewhere else and put those pitchforks and torches to better use, like against an abusive government which far too many have vested interest (perhaps you are one who profits from the proliferation of 'charities', orphanages, child services, or child alienation lawsuits? REPENT from doing Satan's work by speaking for his Satanic social engineering structures and leave us independent citizens alone.)

    All religious institutions running as businesses as well had better empty those coffers full of sequesterd funds that never benefit society, PEOPLE ARE SUFFERING, EVEN DYING OUT THERE.

    It is YOU who is advised to seek medical help for your lack of logic and attempt at tarring anyone by calling them paedophiles. God knows they've made a sacred taboo of freedom to marry alongside religion without more people egging the 'self serving charitable' on.

  13. Oneofthesedays

    @pointofview @AgreeToDisagree

    Looks like you flunked England too….

    You are a couple of pedophile supporters so by default what you say is not relevant and holds no water.

    My advice to you is to seek medical help for your sickness.

  14. siew eng

    "She probably dont know or understand what she is getting herself into but I think she has made the right choice for her."

    This reminds me of Noor Kumalarasi who said she'd follow even the hadiths that are daif.

    How well the teacher taught the student!

  15. pointofview


    You must be a joke… math? go figure the world… I didnt flunked my maths or language but making a simple point that if that teacher guy made his decision to marry the 14 year old girl then he should be ready to double up his duties. 14, 24 or 30 the house chores or what you call as maid duties should be shared to build a good marriage. Obviously, you dont have the capacity to understand that.

  16. FarFarAway

    Generally, the law of the land (which would have been gazetted normally after discussion, debate and consultations) should be observed.

    However, in Msia, there appears to be two sets of law and these need to be streamlined – after a fair discussion/debate/consultations, of course – where a legal minimum age for marriage should be set clearly.

  17. AgreeToDisagree


    "If you can’t tell the diff between 14 and 24 you must have flunked math :)"

    You don't need to know math for wifely duties, to give birth or nurse children. The poorer husband though would require doubling up for cook's or even maid's duties though, but the same do not need math either. In fact math is not even needed for housebuilding (the traditional way) or farming crops or mining. Do we need math or even language for that matter? A club and a cave is more important than math.

  18. Oneofthesedays


    if you can't tell the diff between 14 and 24…you must have flunked math :)

  19. pointofview

    By the way, the age gap between my husband and I is 9 years. We have a beautiful daughther. And I must say that, I'm a happily married woman and I'm enjoying every bits of my life to the fullest with my husband who once was my teacher.

  20. pointofview

    I dont understand why this issue of a teacher marrying a student is so provoking to the society. I'm married to my teacher. The difference is that we waited until I finished my studies and got married at the age of 24. See, this girl has made her choice by marrying the teacher at a very young age. We are nobody to judge her or the teacher. She probably dont know or understand what she is getting herself into but I think she has made the right choice for her. I'm not condoning their actions but sometimes when you are ready to get married…just go ahead and get married. If not, the right person to come by will take sometime…or maybe not at all.

    As for the parents, I dont think they want to escape from their parental resposibility. They just dont want to see their daugther being unmarried, have sex and get pregnant. So, by marrying her to that guy will ease their worries. Sometimes, when you have daughthers, the right measure should be taken to prevent wrong doings. Just think of it that we are reversing the time to early 40's, 50's or 60's….where women get married at a very young age and build their happy families.

    p/s: this is for the writer:

    before you loyarburok about others, please do some research and gather your facts and point of views. Just dont hantam people. Anyway, you are single. What do you know about getting married or being married?

  21. Charlie

    Speaking as someone who does not live in Malaysia and who has never lived in a majority Muslim community, and therefore probably more removed from the emotions behind the debate, I wasn't surprised to hear that children of 14 are getting married in Muslim countries (after all, the prophet Mohammed pbuh himself married multiple wives (11) one of whom was betrothed to him at the age of 6 and the marriage was consummated at 10 (see's_wive…. In this context, I was relieved that there was not too much of an age gap between the newly married couple (only 8 years) which is a pleasant contrast to the extremes we see in truly undeveloped places like Afghanistan: See this picture of a 40 year old man married to an 11 year old girl that won Unicef Photo of the year….

    That said, I (and I expect many others in the West) do perceive marriage at such a young age to be a practice of countries less progressive than Malaysia, and I was surprised that there is this "loophole" in Malaysian law that allows the marriageable age of 16 to be broken if sanctioned by a Shariah court. I think it is scary and undesirable that such a court could sanction marriage to girls much younger than 14 if it wanted to. I think there should be a lower age limit on this power. What that age limit should be should be a topic of debate for the Muslim community in Malaysia.

    Looking at marriageable ages around the world, the trend is to raise them not to lower them. The trend is also to stop the practice of children getting married. In 2008 Egypt raised the marriageable age from 16 to 18 and also outlawed female circumcision (a barbaric practice which I believe many of my Muslim brothers and sisters in certain countries have tolerated for too long). Even Saudi Arabia and Yemen (among the most prolific for child marriages) are also looking to introduce a minimum marriageable age. Such action is largely in response to outcries at what their indigenous populations saw as morally reprehensible behaviour in a marriage context (e.g.

    So, I think that is good news for the world. I am pleased that Malaysia is not having more extreme stories of forced marriages with larger age gaps coming out and I am also pleased that there is a willingness to debate these issues openly. No country is perfect, but through debate, willingness to change and pursuit of principles of fairness we stand a good chance of making our countries better and more harmonious places to live.

  22. AgreeToDisagree

    What have you seen at 14? Why can’t you wait?

    Well after picking the husband of choice or being picked by a successful suitor, or having an meticulously and astrologically soundly calculated arranged marriage (with someone not too noxious to oneself), the now matured woman (maybe in her late 30s onwards), may still choose to 'see the world' after raising her children to adulthood.

    Who says a lfestyle has to be linear or binary? Try thinking out of the box, and while saying it is justified by Islam is the lazy way out, I think the Prophet would concur with my entirely secular and logic based views on the matter.

    It IS okay for minors to get married. But only after many considerations are to be factored in. Best of luck, and don't wait too long for 'true love', by biological factors, some things are best enjoyed and more viable while young!

  23. Noreen

    Hi All,

    Thank you all for your comments again. I am happy that my article has generated views both from those who are okay with underage marriages and those who are against it. And so, thank you for your concerns Crystal. I am touched.:-)

    Who would have thought that there are people who are okay with underage marriages? Seriously. Again, seriously?!!

    I feel compelled to comment again because I do not appreciate being called as someone who back-out from a war and having accused as someone with a perverted, corrupted mind who failed to understand the attributes and teachings of Prophet Muhammad.

    The reference to stoneage is a metaphor to a time different from ours and to minds that somehow have not caught up with the 21st century. It wasn't supposed to be read literally as a prehistoric period where man made tools from stones.

    True, I agree that Prophet Muhammad's marriage to Aishah is an exceptional case but is the teacher like Prophet Muhammad and is the kid like Aishah? Abu Bakar As-Siddiq blessed the marriage between Aishah and Prophet Muhammad because of:

    (a) to reinforce friendly relations between him and the Prophet;

    (b) to educate and train Aisha so she may served the purposes of Islam; and

    (c) to teach her to utilise her capabilities for the sake of Islam.

    If (note-IF) the parents' intentions for approving the marriage were:

    (a) to escape from their responsibility as parents; and

    (b) to legalise sex between a minor and an adult.

    Then, I feel sorry for the girl.Marriage is no child’s play and this was why the last paragraph of my article above was styled in the manner of the last dialogue in the movie Trainspotting. It is to evoke images of choices,empowerment, independence and there is more to life than getting married. See and experience the world first, then decide. What have you seen at 14? Why can’t you wait? True love waits.

    To say it is okay for minors to get married because the Prophet did it to me is the same as saying it is okay for parents to kill their kid as a sacrifice to Allah. The same way as Ibrahim almost killed Ismail before being rewarded for his loyalty and faith with a big sheep sent down from the heaven to be slaughtered instead of Ismail. Sacrifice in this modern age has taken into a more in depth meaning if not metaphoric and is more than slaughtering the sacrificial sheep.

    Farha’s suggestions to me is a happy compromise and while I respect her views, I still stand with what I have written. To me there is no compromise in underage marriages. It should be banned altogether.

    As for the teacher and his newly married child-bride, good luck.I wish you all the best and may you have a blissful marriage.

    Have a good weekend everyone.

  24. The Prophet Muhammad SAW is a mercy sent by Allah to mankind. His acts and his words were never driven by lust, his wisdom came from Allah through the the teaching of the Angel Jibrail. It is in your perverted mind that think their marriage was by lust, then why not the prophet married 10 young girls, why did he married only one while he can have them all, nobody was going to question the prophet back then. But he did marry only one girl and not making her as his daughter because a stepdaughter in Islam is not allowed to access much of his private life, which in fact, very important to us Muslims to learn about his way of life. The hardness of his life not only felt by him, but also his daughter Fatimah and all of his nine wives. He acted not upon his desire nor lust, but his actions were always guided by Allah. And people would slander him if he took Aisyah r.a. as a stepdaughter. You guys had not read nor study the life of the prophet or other prophets, so you will not have any idea other than what in store of your perverted, corrupted mind.

  25. I'm out of this argument. No point arguing anymore. I had made my stand, deliver my message that we should not intervene with the marriage, for fear it may cause them to separate. We should be supportive, not destructive, they are already married with the consent of their parents.

    Who are we to decide that playing and going on school trips are good for her. We should grab whatever opportunity to do good deeds and shall not delay it for tomorrow for fear that the chance might go off. We don't even know what is going to happen the next second, we can only assume. So, please, janganlah bersangka buruk dengan orang lain. Goodbye.

  26. Crystal

    Dear Noreen,

    Do not be disheartened by some of the comments by your readers. The way most Malaysians reacted to this news, we all know how the majority feels about this. And I very much agree with U-En Eng. This is not about the girl's rights to get married. The questions really is about whether she is mature enough. I know some 14-year olds who are very mature, but why can't it wait? If you are so confident about your love, why not wait?

    And so many of you are not parents. Neither am I. But I shudder to think that there may be a teacher in my nieces schools who may be flirting and having a relationship with them! Parents are supposed to protect and prevent their children from making mistakes. How can a 14 year old really know what marriage really is and what she has committed herself into? What is the point of "building a family life early so by the age of 40, their children can help and support and build even bigger family." Why not 20+??

    And so many talk about the 'legal' aspect of marriage. Sex with a minor is still SEX WITH A MINOR, married or otherwise! MARRIAGE DOES NOT MAKE A KID OLDER! Marriage is not just a "holy union of two souls with god as witness". It's a lot of work, work that 14 year olds may not be capable of. Work that is not necessary for a 14 year old. She should be playing and going on school trips and having fun with her friends. How can you say she chose it when she may not even know what the hell she is talking about?

  27. U-En Ng

    Do we trust a 14-year-old (or any girl on the basis of her first period, regardless of age) to drive a car? Buy a house? Work in a factory? Get a credit card?

    If there is an element of prejudgement in preventing underaged marriage (in that it deprives an individual, regardless of her age, of choice), aren't we also bound at least to consider that an individual's capacity for deciding *ought* to be tested by *sufficient maturity*?

  28. farha

    There are pros and cons to marrying at such a young age. In those days (yes, i HAVE to make that comparison), girls marry young but usually because their families have arranged for it…rarely does the girl marry out of their own volition.

    Today, if the 14-year-old girl (who recenly is in the press) marry because she want to, to the guy who is right (at that time), feels she's capable, why not? She have the right to get married…this i don't deny. However, she also have the right to an education that supports teenage mums.

    I think, then, there has to be some kind of guidelines to i)ensure they remain educated; or in worse case scenario, ii)be able to re-join school if she don't want to attend school for the time being (for whatever reason)

    (e.g – how many times can these young mums defer PMR/SPM if they take maternity leave? is there 'compassionate leave' for them if they need to attend to sick babies?)

  29. kaza

    Intresting article, Noreen. Funny comments from 'some' readers thou…

  30. Oneofthesedays

    quote – when are you marrying your 14 year-old?pedophile defender = pedophile

    so nothing you have said has any credibility.

    the pervert teacher should be arrested for rape and not be allowed near children unsupervised ever again.-end quote-

    wah,so nice of you to accuse someone who you don't even know. Do you understand that pedophile is a person who had sex (unmarried of course) with a young person. Between a legal husband and wife, you have no jurisdiction for that. And I always think it is nothing wrong to marry early, they are not rob from their childhood, they are building their family life early so by the age of 40, their children can help and support and build even bigger family.

    By the way, my gf is a nice beautiful and charming 24-year old lady whom I'm going to marry her if Allah permit when I have enough money.

    p/s: A writer should write responsibly.

  31. hi @L,

    1) " and as Marina Mahathir had said in her column in The Star, marrying a teenager just for the sake of preventing “social ills” such as pre-marital sex can actually lead to bigger social ills like abuse, lack of education for the female bride therefore lack of her ability to fend for herself and thus have to be entirely dependent on her husband to decide her life for her as per his will…etc.

    Not in every case. And with a strong and watchful (DO NOT BE 'offensively watchful' – try malicious compliance, for respect for her husband is critical to their marital bliss – warning all so-called feminists to check those attitudes in advance, especially older jealous jilted/unmarried ones) community setting I mention, 'fending' will be very unlikely.

    As for 'conveniently saintly' Marin 'Evil' Mahathiru who looks potentially to angle herself via MCLM as Malaysia's First Female PM, and the spectre of her becoming Malaysia's First Female PM in true DYNASTY/OLIGARCHY form after her father dr.Evil, is just too horrible to mention. dr.Evil would never face a trial, and the 'pity my father' and 'since I am also PM' ploy will be all too obvious by then. She would likely to protect her father, whitewash Ops Lallang, or the Vehicular AP system or the APARTHEID or billions worth of ILLEGAL shipping bailouts, closed tenders, free contracts, unpaid and ignored bills and illegal movements of funds for Marina's brothers Mirzan and Mokhzani.

    By vested interests Mirzan is a director of at least eight companies listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange. His private company, Peringkat Prestasi, a large stake in Lion Corp. His Konsortium Perkapalan Bhd, a listed haulage and logistics company, controls almost half of Malaysia's road freight market. Imagine the number of freely given contracts this guy got!

    Mokhazani, ex-UMNO Treasurer, is worth well over a billion, through his vehicle Kenchana Petroleum and much of the undistributed NEP wealth through a network of subsidiaries and proxies. Imagine the number of close tenders this guy got!

    Careful of MCLM simply by the association of committee post bearer Marina to her brothers and by extension dr.Evil Mahathir! Blood is thicker than water and in the nepotistic and oligarchic world of blood relations, ALL the Rakyat are but water, so NEVER vote for those who by association attempt to protect those who have harmed Malaysia so much over the past 22 years. I'd drop MCLM for fear that friendships between Haris/RPK and Marina would be a protective last pitch weapon coordinated by the evil Mahathir in the background somehow. To play it safe, I'd advise all voters or current MCLM supporters to look for other options than MCLM or set up as private candidates instead. A 3rd Force is indeed needed but MCLM by blood association to dr.Evil, has too many holes for any cautious voter's liking.

    Citizens, run as private candidates instead if you want a 3rd Force so badly.

    2) those who advocate this practice are supporters of a repressive patriarchal system who believe a woman’s purpose in life is to be a good wife and serve the man, who then will have all the rights to determine her life for her. Women are humans too, in case you have not noticed. Women have the right to choose…yes…some may choose marriage. but if at a young age, how sure are we that that choice is a choice made by an uninfluenced mind with a clear and rational idea of what she is committing herself towards.

    Not necessarily again. Do you know what joy a child-like mind who has indulged and lived out whimsical decisions can accrue in the years to come? She will always say, I always had my way. And that is part of the magic of having a young bride that you may never know because of your distrust or lack of access of the strong supportive community as I mention.

    Such settings are few but should be encouraged, and by this way of upbringing, the next generation of adults would be equally joyful and privileged, to influence society to a happier and freer world. I partook of a different form, (not a child bride) and here I am sharing what I have 'gained', though throughout there was much anger at the freedom I always felt and still wish to share.

    The gain I mention above is incalculable as opposed to the devastating social engineering occurring this day. Though with caveats as in my earlier comment. Think deeper and in the right setting and conditions, the above culture is a wonder and luxury to behold that while out of reach to most today, should really be extended to all peoples of the world in time to come.

  32. hi Noreen :

    You said " My question is why not? Writers write, readers decide."

    True but entirely neglecting the finer point I will now discuss below.

    But too many people don't really know their own mind or have had time to develop the intelligence or linguistic skills to make their own opinions or even develop their personality *shock* – schooling is something I feel should begin AFTER age 35 when a stable core personality has developed.

    That is also why the AGEISM issue in uniformed or enforcement recruiting – a very vicious agenda that strips a young individual of the opportunity to develop themselves. Do you think a matured soldier who has lived as a civilian would torture prisoners as in Abu Gharaib? Go to war when the reasons are wrong? Hardly, so the young and vulnerable are being targeted and as an matured person (which I assume you are, note I used the word mature, because old age does not make for maturity) it is a responsibility for the conscientious to prevent such 'collateral damage' (in afflicting self determinism or formation of opinion) which I see many writers in many online mags or blogs neglecting to address entirely.

    So when you write, you could end up inadvertently subsuming any opinions a reader might have had or that were in formation! Especially the less intelligent ones or those from lower socio-political classes who have been inculpated with 'approval seeking' natures.

    Perhaps forums should have a rating system or warning (by the Information Ministry – which obviously is a propaganda machine with no sense of right or wrong, save for the political forces currently at sway) on the above matters to better prepare the readers for strong opinions that effectively end up as an imposition of 'social engeineering' without 'informed consent'.

    For added responsibility and respect for the free will of others to avoid this problem, such safeguards and considerations must always be met and never trivilised or neglected unless we have an 'agenda'.

    Now I do not know you well enough to judge that you have been tainted by communication with such people but if you are, please drop those guys, even if they pay you a salary to spin, and begin writing CONSCIENTIOUSLY and in a NEUTRAL manner.

    As we communicate, more problems are identified and better ways of communication and social development are discovered. I think there are many who would find this exchange on the issue itself and the 'why not' you have brought up useful. Also very appreciative on the replies! Some article writers only want to pontificate and never engage or discuss as if theirs was the gospel tructh, others twist your comments via selective moderation, I really appreciate this and our so-called 'aduns' should learn to communicate with the Rakyat who voted them in after all.

    Nice chatting!

  33. KoE

    I'm surprise that the writer failed to understand that the teachings and the attributes of Prophet Muhammad PBUH are universal and stand correct across the time

  34. Oneofthesedays


    when are you marrying your 14 year-old?

    pedophile defender = pedophile

    so nothing you have said has any credibility.

    the pervert teacher should be arrested for rape and not be allowed near children unsupervised ever again.

  35. L

    i enjoy reading your article. it is refreshing to see how some people in the community have a strong opinion against such a practice.

    just because marriage has legalized sex with a minor, it doesn't mean that it is not paedophilia. that is an extreme view, i am aware of that. but such a view cannot be dismissed altogether.

    and as Marina Mahathir had said in her column in The Star, marrying a teenager just for the sake of preventing "social ills" such as pre-marital sex can actually lead to bigger social ills like abuse, lack of education for the female bride therefore lack of her ability to fend for herself and thus have to be entirely dependent on her husband to decide her life for her as per his will…etc.

    those who advocate this practice are supporters of a repressive patriarchal system who believe a woman's purpose in life is to be a good wife and serve the man, who then will have all the rights to determine her life for her. Women are humans too, in case you have not noticed. Women have the right to choose…yes…some may choose marriage. but if at a young age, how sure are we that that choice is a choice made by an uninfluenced mind with a clear and rational idea of what she is committing herself towards. some laws need to be enacted to protect people from their closest people, their love interests, families and even from themselves, in order to adequately protect their rights as a human, deserving of every freedom a human is entitled to.

  36. You can't just declare a war and then back off..

    But hey, no need to raise the alarm, I come in peace. And I did not say you insult the Prophet SAW. Only that I read that you talked about stone age in one paragraph, and the next paragraph you continue with a doubt about the Prophet decision if he was here. There is a link of ideas going on.. which I understood you wanted to say that the Prophet lived in the stone age…something like that.

    And hey again, I think we should say to the girl to learn to be a good wife, and we should say to the husband, be gentle to your wife and we should say to their families we support you although we differ in our actions and decisions because we know this is not wrong and it has nothing to do with public opinion because this is their private life. Or just say something good and not being "buruk sangka" to other people.

  37. Noreen

    Hi All,

    Thank you for all your comments. It feels great that this article has evoked many thoughts and opinions. You have made me more inspired because the worst thing about writing is not having any readers at all.

    Anyway: -

    Dear Zedoninonini,

    I am sorry to disappoint you but I am not taking up your challenge. Firstly because I am fully aware of my credibility and credentials when I wrote this. I do not have to prove this to anyone, certainly not to you. Secondly, I do not how you read the article, I did not insult Prophet Mohammad. Thank you for your comments.

    Dear Agree to Disagree,

    I see your points and if I had not formed any opinion on the issue of underage marriages,I might actually agree with all that you have just said. One point though, when you said "writers should not make opinions on any lifestyle as if it were the only way to live". My question is why not? Writers write, readers decide.

  38. Salam, I am here to defend the Prophet Muhammad SAW although he does not need anyone to defend himself, but I'm doing it because I love him. Therefore O Writer of the Post, I have seven questions to challenge your credibility to have your opinion made public and yet accepted upon this gray issue. What you had wrote will surely applauded by disbelievers who always looking not by the wisdom of the Deen of Haq. Herewith are my questions:

    1. Regardless of your marital status, what will you consider a marriage is, a gift from Allah, natural selection or a curse?

    2. Have you studied intensively the story of the Prophet Muhammad SAW that you come to a conclusion that he will not get married to Aisyah r.a. if they live in this modern age?

    3. You said, "I have forgotten that times may have changed but some minds are still trapped in the Stone Age." Well, do you believe that there was a period in time called the Stone Age? What do you think when I say that there were the Age of the Prophets and the Age of the Kings and the bones and potteries that were found in the caves that are claimed to be from the Stone Age were just from people who somehow got disconnected from the ancient civilizations and beside that, there will always be foolish people all around these ages to believe that there was a Stone Age?

    4. Do you know the teacher, the girl and their parents that you can just ignorantly depict them as the third world people? By the way, what world are you in? The dark matter world?

    5. Can I blame you and other people that are with the same tune as your opinion in this matter if the marriage mentioned above fail? Why? Maybe because you are not being supportive to them and that make them in a state of under public pressure and scrutiny.

    6. Don't you agree that by marrying early enable the girl to learn and master the art of being a good and pious wife earlier than you do?

    7. Why do you think the Prophet married Aisyah r.a. at her tender age?

    P/s: Somebody posted this thread on a forum I used to follow (, under the column Banana Republic)


    i just dont think its right to follow the preachings of someone who has sex with nine year old girls or takes his sons wife for his self because god told him to after he seen her naked.


    Here lies my answer to such accusation.…

  39. You can't have everything, so either choose :

    (1) the marriage route which is a luxury in this day and age or

    (2) the education and work route which most middle class types are forced to because they have no choice.

    But nobody should have any lifestyle forced upon them or promoted as the only lifestyle as well. If future hubby is too poor to hire a maid (no more cleaning), a cook (no preperation of breakfast or meals) or a child minder (no more looking after of kids) or even a wet nurse (no more feeding, though most mothers probably would), then look at your family stature and decide if he is suitable for you. The above 'chores' should not be presented as a set of DEMANDS of marriage but are as optional as the young brides' preference. Some might ENJOY the tasks and even refuse to let the hired help do the work. It's not unknown and the sheer domesticity of 'chores' is the basis of happy marriages, depending on the personality of those being considered!

    Affairs of the heart can always be fulfilled at any age, once biologically capable and with INFORMED CONSENT and knowledge of parents and community. Attachment to a husband is something that varies greatly between women, so early marriage is just another option and adds diversity to viable lifestyles that deserves the support of society as well.

    Meanwhile the government could have a preparatory syllabus drawn up for young brides, and make sure the local Wanita branch of whatever party locally, is always watching over and constantly in communication with any young wives to make sure no abuses occur. This should make sure that all husbands (stop with the AGEISM which is no better than RACISM, old age is the breakdown of a body nothing else) treats young wives well and instills a sense of responsibility as well.

    Writers should not make opinions on any lifestyle as if it were the only way to live. In truth, some girls would be very happy and fulfilled as a mother early in life, while others would not. So a study of the personality of the would-be bride should be done by parents on both sides and NEUTRAL matured people/professionals who do not advocate either life style as gospel truth the way this writer does.

    Light demogoguery by Ms Ariff? She has chosen a path that she prefers or was swept into. The least the writer can do is to let others choose their own way of living without any pushing in any direction. That is the nature of free will and self determinism. Let all choose who to love, and when to marry, preferably after the above social checks and balances and opinion feedbacks have been made.

  40. Steven

    Would statutory rape for minor below 16 years apply if the husband has sex with his so call wife.

  41. Serious Shepherd

    Set of law A says:

    -Killing foetuses is legal

    -Adultery is legal if you and your partner are above 18 years old

    -If one of the partners is under 18 then it is a statutory rape, even it is done through marriage

    -If both are under 18 and commit adultery, then has to come out with something like Romeo and Juliet laws (let's say both are 16)

    Set of law B says:

    -Killing foetuses is illegal

    -Thou shalt not commit adultery regradless of age. Harsh punishment awaits. Khalwat raiders are always on active duty.

    -It is legal for a guy above 18 to marry a girl under 18

    If a community already adopts set of law B then there is no need for set of law A to be imposed on them. It's like doing moral policing to a certain community who later complains on 'imposing their moral values on others'.

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  43. anak_perelih

    many 14 years old girls nowadays are having sex with their boyfriends… not a surprise…

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