Ending Child Marriage in Muslim Family Laws
This publication is produced by Musawah with support from UN Women within the framework of the ‘Men and Women for Gender Equality’ regional programme funded by Sweden.
The policy brief outlines the case for reform to raise the minimum age of marriage to 18 for girls and boys. Child marriage—where at least one spouse is under the age of 18—is harmful to children’s health, safety, education, employment, and overall well-being. It perpetuates poverty, violence, and discrimination. It impedes economic and social development.
Child marriage must be eliminated to halt the devastating effects it has on children and their families and communities. Some governments and religious authorities say their laws cannot be changed for religious reasons. But Islamic teachings support raising the minimum age of marriage to 18 for both boys and girls. In fact, several countries have already reformed their laws by raising the minimum age of marriage and making it equal for boys and girls. States have a duty to protect vulnerable children and our societies from harm, and must act to raise the minimum age of marriage to 18 for girls and boys. It is time to end child marriage in Muslim family laws.