Family court requires criminal records and police reports for underage marriage

A new regulation at the Family Court requires underage couples applying for marriage to submit criminal records and police reports, in a bid to ensure that young girls are fully informed of their partner’s social standing.

Maldivian law allows girls and boys under the legal age of 18 to marry so long as they have reached puberty and have parental consent, and if the court finds no substantial reason to object to the union.

As of January 1, 2012, couples in which one or both partners is underage must now submit criminal records and a police report to the Family court, as well as confirmation of parental consent and medical reports.

The Marriage Registrar will also decide whether the couple holds a valid reason for marriage.

Speaking to Minivan News, Marriage Registrar Ahmed Abdullah said that the new regulation aims to “protect young girls” following observations that in most cases of underage marriage the applicant is a female below the age of 18 who wishes to marry a man of legal age. The man is sometimes found to hold a criminal record, he said.

Abdullah said that these criminal records are mainly related to drug offences- and that the girl and her parents are often “unaware” of them prior to the marriage.

However, he explained that the court would not decline a marriage request based on the criminal history of an applicant, as long as the legal requirements are met.

“Submission of criminal records would only help the girls and parents make a more informed decision about the partner”, Abdullah added.

Contrary to the assumption that most underage marriages in Muslim countries are “forced”, Abdullah assured that the court has not registered any marriage in which the court had identified the “slightest hint that any partner was forced”.

Rather, Abdullah claims that most girls applying to marry between the ages of 15 and 17 do so to escape poor living conditions.

“Most underage girls are from very poor backgrounds living in very harsh conditions, often with no parent or reliable guardian to support them,” said Abdullah. “So, they want to get a better life by marrying”.

In the event that a marriage request is denied, Abdullah said some girls write repeatedly, “pleading for approval”.

According to him, there are exceptional cases where the boy and girl come from very good backgrounds and “they want to get married because parents do not approve of relationships out of wedlock”.

“Most parents are scared their kids might make a mistake, that is why want them to get married,” Abdullah observed.

As a Muslim nation, the Maldives subscribes to social standards in keeping with Quranic teachings, which strictly regulate the relations between a man and a woman. While Maldivian culture similar opposes “dating” in the modern sense, the “boyfriend-girlfriend” relationship, or bitun, is fairly common.

Last year, almost 50 underage marriages were registered at the court.

Although the Maldives is known for its record-high divorce rate, Abdullah noted that the “divorce rate in under age marriages are surprisingly lower” than in legal age marriages.

Former Gender Minister Aneesa Ahmed argued that a lack of information and social pressure combine to make it difficult for young girls to make healthy decisions regarding marriage.

Though it may appear that young girls want to get married, Ahmed said “often they are lured into marriage by their parents” who find the prospect of a wealthy son-in-law appealing. “The girls would not be able to make a good decision about their marriage partners” in that context, she added.

Ahmed observed that in most marriages between a young girl and an older man, the man has wealth, high social status, or both. She added that the girl is rarely consulted, and “parents are often to blame”.

In the event that an underage girl claims to have no parent or legal guardian, the state becomes responsible for her security. Ahmed pointed out that this mechanism does prevent girls from lying about their background, and allows for higher scrutiny.

“The court also must play an important role to ensure the rights to the underage girl”, she said.


25 thoughts on “Family court requires criminal records and police reports for underage marriage”

  1. Quranic teachings also have prescribed responsibilities for both husband and wife in addition to fulfilling the husbands sexual desires. When an older man gets married to a teenage girl, I wonder if the girl would have the power to negotiate. Marriage is not a one way process.

  2. This is madness! The makers of this law, are heretics, infidels, deviants, jews, tyrants, hell-dwellers and also, jews! Why should there be any laws for something which has been done already by the best example for mankind, Muhammed SWT!? When he married Aysha at the age of 6, did they have to have such Jewish 'laws' in order for the marriage to go through? Of course not! We do not need such laws! If a pious girl, below the age of 18 needs to get married to a man, no laws should prevent it! No judge should be able to prevent it! DO YOU GO AGAINST THE SUNNAH? If you do, then really...what is the difference between yourself and a Jew? Beware, for the Jews will be the fuel of hell!

    I sincerely hope that they will reconsider this as soon as possible.

  3. The government has recently declared the Sunnah equal in legal standing to the Quran.

    This is a major shift in Islamic values in the country. Prior to the recent government decision at the Baaree-Conference, violation of prophetic traditions would not constitute an offense against Islamic law in the Maldives.

    However the government must have made some deal with Baaree and his financiers in order to acquiesce to this shift in our cultural value system. No wonder Baaree et. al. did not wish to invite Qayyoom who comes from a different background to their Sunni Conference.

  4. @Sheikh Imran Abdulla: How can we compare to Muhammed SWT marrying Aisha at a young age. Considering the high prevalence of child sexual abuse in Maldives, let alone domestic violence aginst women, laws are made to address prevailing issues and this is one which is very much needed. We are in 21st century..

  5. @ Sheikh Imran Abdullah aka Dhivehi Hangyourself
    Please give your rantings a rest. Make a new year resolution to SHUT UP.............. and get some treatment for your mental illness.

  6. The family court and all Western childrens rights advocates must be garroted on the spot!

    The Ayatullah Khomeini, may his name ever be praised, teaches us that that any wise and knowing father may give his young daughter in marriage to a pious man - so that she may be properly raised, fed and disciplined; so that when she comes of age, she shalt be the most excellent of spouses to breed with - and her offspring shalt be god fearing and shalt be stalwart defenders of the true faith!

    Whereas late marriage encourages promiscuity, feminism and ultimately, homosexuality!

  7. I have no objection to this as long as the girl is older than 13 years old. As long as these underage girls are not allowed to work in the resort casinos too. It's very important that they are not tainted by immoral activities.

  8. @ Indira NewDelhi

    Are you really an indian ? No offence intended just asking out of curiousity 🙂

  9. This is something that needs to be done for the benifit of both partners getting the wedlock ..

  10. @Indira New Delhi

    You vile jewish woman! How dare you ask me to stop spreading the word of Allah SWT?!

    Ah of course, my dear Muslim brothers and non-fornicating sisters! Here you see what Allah SWT has mentioned about Jews happening on the comments section, right before your very eyes. Subhanallah! A miracle indeed. Revealed 1400 years ago, and yet, the Jews have the nerve to mock our Creator! Do they not fear the punishments waiting for them on the day of judgement?

    And Jew Indira, I am not the same person as brother Dhivehi Hanguraama! For you to think so, is madness! Then again, Jews are all mad!

  11. re: Sheikh Imran and Divehi Hangman. These rantings remind me of the recent instruction given by the Egyptian mullah who advised against women touching phallic looking vegetables like cucumbers and carrots for fear that it will tempt them to think of sexual intercourse. What a bunch of idiots.

  12. In islam today, marriage is nothing more than a fiscal institution, and a young girl is nothing more than a bargaining chip.

    This is how it is like for countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan.

  13. Mr. Imraan, You're saying that we should allow our young kids to marry at the age of 6 or 9, are u crazy ? Brother think about their mind at the age of 6 or 9 they even got such thinking to manage their own life. if u think Prophet Muhammaed allows teenage girls to marry such age, its very wrong, you better go to Pakistan once again to study more on this field.

  14. Ever heard of any issues related to under age boys... We just want to agree that men should always dominate the human race. And that's gonna stay as long as Sharia is respected.

  15. i see the pedophiles are coming out of the woodwork to protest this. After all any thing protecting the right of others against the bearded morons advances must be work of the devil

  16. Marry four wives in a row. With each divorce you may renew a marriage. Practically you can have constant 4 wives and roll it over the years from the age of 18 till 63. I promise you you will have no complains about legal women in your life. As for the tender age and concubines, lets not confuse and argue. Instead ensure that every new marriage starts with a girl if 18. Life can be exciting and abundant - if you are a Muslim and A Maldivian.

  17. @Imran no words to describe your rational. Its beyond my comprehension. Muslim pedophiles...

  18. Parental consent is obtained any way at the time the marriage is contracted or registered by the Family Court even at present. Whether or not the new regulation is a step forward or backwards is to be determined. A small and a developing country would have little to gain from a regulation that allows young people to start a life for which they are not prepared mentally, if not financially. Apart from looking at the criminal record, the Family Court shall require the couple to prove their financial standing, not the parent's.

    Marriage is traditionally a dividing line between dependent children and independent individuals. They should not be married because they have reached puberty; they must have the means of leading a sound life independently by themselves.

    While over 50 marriages were registered last year it is worthwhile to consider how many of them survived the year; and how many ended in divorce during the year out of the marriages from the previous years.

    It is noteworthy, also, to see if the stated purpose of the most underage marriages was successful in that the partner who was needy was leading a happy life after the marriage.

    A regulation that allows underage marriages alone will not serve them best. The prevailing and desired conditions must be analysed and compared, and reconciliatory action taken not before too late.

  19. tsk, tsk, tsk, Is this really true? That the government has declared the Sunnah to be equal to the Quran?

    If this is so the end is near. The Caliph Umar refused to let anyone write down the Hadith etc during his time because he said," like the Jews and the Christians before, you, the Muslims would equate this with the Quran" .

    Are these people trying to destroy Islam now? If so it is the rest of the people who have to come out and save Islam from these people who demonstrated saying that they want to protect Islam. The rest have to protect Islam from these people now.

  20. @manik:

    Why yes. Haven't you heard?

    While we're making puns about Islamic history we must also be quick to label the new Sunni position with some long-forgotten Sanskritic marketing label.

    I suggest something along the lines of Aasandha or Hubasaana. All hail Nasheed the most progressive and Western of all creatures.

  21. The issue of underage marriage in muslim countries will never be resolved because any attempt to establish a mimimum age is deemed 'unislamic' by the mad mullahs who jump up and down and go mental at the very thought of change..........muslim girls will continue to suffer from the barbaric practice of being married off at a very young age and suffer from horrendous medical problems such as prolonged labour and fistulas. Why doesn't the 100% muslim Maldives establish nine years as the recommended minimum age for girls. You already have many stupid religious laws so just add another.
    @ Nova
    Yes I am Indian
    @ Sheikh Imran Abdullah
    Thank you for referring to me as a Jewish woman.......I am indeed honoured. I am Indian hindu and the villification of the jewish state and its people is not part of the general school curriculum in India as it is in muslim countries.........hatred for jews seems to be rammed down the throats of school children from an early age in countries such as yours. I have a lot of sympathy for Israel as it is also a victim of islamic terrorism like India. Jews are a cultured and accomplished people..........if you travel abroad you will generally find jews at the upper echelons of society and muslims at the bottom...........look for yourself when you travel to London, Paris and New York.
    If you had called me a Sunni Muslim I would have been deeply offended. It would mean I was uneducated, intolerant of other faiths and generally unsophisticated...........a bit like yourself and the other fanatics on this page.


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