Garut’s Religious Figures Took Part in Tadarus on Prevention of Child Marriage

All parties have to take concern on the problem of child marriage by fulfilling children’s basic rights and by building awareness and legal provisions that represent more on the values of justice, public interest, and the maintenance of the basic rights of every human being, especially women. Behind the child marriage, there is a paradigm that places women as objects of pleasure, legalization of acts of arbitrariness, and places women as commodities. Besides, there are also serious impacts such as high divorce rates, infant health problems, and even death, economics, mental and social problems, and special impacts on women such as domestic violence, reproductive health, maternal mortality (MMR), and human trafficking

On March 20 to 22, 2018 in Garut, RAHIMA held a tadarus (studies) on the Methodology of Islamic Studies and Positive Law related to Prevention of Child Marriage and Gender-Based Violence. This activity involved 26 participants from various Islamic boarding schools (pesantren) and religious leaders in Garut Regency who have carried out socialization on prevention of child marriage both in the scope of pesantren and the wider community through majelis taklim (religious instruction forum) and various creative campaigns on social media. Coming as the facilitators were Dr. Nur Rofi’ah (PTIQ Jakarta) and Dr. Faqihuddin Abdul Qadir (IAIN Syech Nurjati Cirebon), who elaborated three main topics, i.e. Tafsir studies, Hadith studies, and Fiqh studies, and reviewed fatwas (nonbinding legal opinion) about child marriage with a gender justice perspective as well as an analysis of the implementation of various Muslim countries in dealing with child marriages. 

Starting from the study of Arabic language which is very “sexist” that often raises unfair interpretations and tends to look women down, Dr. Nur explained that the Qur’an actually  emphasizes the principle of equality between men and women and only their piety that differentiates them (49: 13) and good deeds (3: 195, 4: 124, 16: 97 and 40: 40). The context of the Arabs that used to look women down was also strongly rejected by the Qur’an by mentioning a series of male and female utterance together in the Quran which is very unusual for the Arabs (33: 35). 

With the principle of equality, Dr. Nur traced the interpretation of the word qawwamun (4: 34) and darojah (2: 228) which are widely understood as superiority or placing the position of men over women. So the word qawwamun actually must be interpreted as the role and responsibility (himayah and ri’ayah) of men towards women and the word darajah is nothing but giving priority for a husband to propose an order to return (ruju’) in talaq raj’i rather than another man during the iddah (waiting) period. 

Dr. Faqih introduced the approach of Qiroah Mubadalah in interpreting the texts so as not to get trapped in Arabic masculinity especially on the signifier of mudzakkar-mu’annats (male-female) or the terms that use gender symbols but in order to keep the principle that Islam and all basic teachings are revealed for men and women. So the word hubb asy-syahawaat min an-nisaa (3: 14), for example, must be understood as the pleasure upon attraction with the opposite sex and not supposed to be understood literally (harfiyah). 

The Qur’an and the Hadith of the Prophet that show gender bias need to be reviewed by considering to the goals and basic principles of Shari’a (Maqashid ash-Syaari’/ Purpose of Islamic Law) including the principle of justice in a gender perspective. Therefore, a marriage must be established on the basis of the relationship of mawaddah and rahmah—loving and affectionate (30: 21), mu’asyarah bil ma’ruf (4: 19), taradhin (2: 232), and tashawur (2: 233). 

The training was closed with a number of ijtihadi—independent reasoning—decisions regarding child marriages, one of which was that preventing children from marriage which could harm themselves is a manifestation of amar ma’ruf nahi munkar (enjoining good and forbidding evil) and it is obligatory.{}

Banban Syamsul Alim, partner of Rahima,

A participant of Child Marriage Prevention Program, Toga, Garut.

From PP Al-Manar Pameungpeuk, Garut. 

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