Marriage: Age disparity

Q343 :Some old men in their seventies marry young girls who are still in their early twenties or younger. Do you think that there is some injustice done to such young women? Is there any remedy to such a situation?

A343 : There is certainly much injustice if the girl is forced to accept such a marriage. It does happen that a wealthy old man proposes to a young woman and her family review the marriage as a method which could rid them of their poverty. They persuade or force their daughter to accept the marriage caring very little for her feelings or her future. If the case is such, then it is a case of blatant injustice and it should be stopped. On the other hand, if the girl goes into such a marriage with open eyes and with full agreement, then the marriage is simply a contract between two competent persons. Since it is a contract to something which is halal or permissible in Islam, it is perfectly permissible. It may be that the girl goes into such a marriage hoping to have a good share of the inheritance of her husband. This does not disallow or invalidate the marriage, because neither she nor anyone else could tell how soon the man would die. It is perfectly possible that she dies before him. The remedy to such a situation is the full implementation of Islam, which means that no family should live in a standard of poverty which compels it to marry away its girls to rich old people to improve their situation. In Islam, the system of social security ensures that.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )