Marriage is a pure, pleasant and strong relationship that is based on compassion and compatibility between two partners. But what if it is imposed on you as a burden? As in Sindh, Pakistan, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal’s (MMA) MPA Sayed Abdul Rasheed presented a bill named Sindh compulsory marriage act 2021 in the Sindh Assembly on Wednesday, 26 May 2021, in which he proposed to make it compulsory for parents to marry their children after eighteen years of age. On violating the proposed law, they will have to pay a fine of Rs 500. Moreover, he added that if they do not marry their children after turning eighteen, parents have to submit an application explaining strong reasons behind delaying the marriage in the deputy commissioner’s office of their concerned district. If the reasons are not valid and justified, they have to pay a penalty of Rs 500 on each of their unmarried children. On one side, some youngsters are overjoyed and delighted to hear about this bill, but on the other side, most of the people strongly oppose and consider it a joke. They criticize the bill because, at this age, a child just completes his/her intermediate and is immature, unstable and young enough to take important decisions of life such as marriage.
Furthermore, Sayed Abdul Rashed justified his bill by saying that the bill was as per the teachings of Islam and would be good for the well-being of society. Probably, he added that early marriage would reduce child rape cases and other ill and immoral activities that have been rising in our society day by day. To some extent, it is right because Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) encouraged early marriage, but there is no specific age mentioned in Islam, rather it depends on the situation. If both partners are mature enough to take their responsibilities either domestic or financial, then, they should get married. But what if a boy is unable to provide basic needs like food, shelter and clothing and a girl who is young enough to understand sensitive issues of married life? Then how can they maintain a healthy relationship with each other that would result in broken marriages and divorces? Furthermore, if we talk about increasing rape cases, facts show that most women and children were raped by those who were already married. If married women could be raped and married men could be rapists, then how could it help in reducing this sinful act? So it does not belong to marriage, it belongs to the cheap and ill-minds of rapists who are roaming freely everywhere in our society. To reduce it, victims must be vocal and rapists must be hanged.
Activists criticized that marriage is a personal choice, and it is ethically and morally wrong to force parents to marry their children by eighteen years of age. Additionally, they oppose it by giving reasons for incomplete education at this early age. Furthermore, they argued that it would increase population, poverty, domestic violence and frustration in society. They say, ‘‘it seems like MPA has brought the bill for media publicity, nothing else”. Sayed Abdul Rasheed further said that this unemployment and other difficulties that are faced by our society were just because people are distant from their Deen (Islam). If one starts to follow the teachings of Islam, life will be much easier. He added that the government should participate by making laws about the dowry and simplicity in marriage patterns. Likewise, the dowry should be completely banned because it would help particularly those girls who are getting old since they could not have enough money to arrange their dowry. Furthermore, Standard Operating Procedures (Sops) regarding marriage ceremonies should be added to the bill. If this extravagance is eliminated, it would reduce the burden of the guardians in arranging marriage ceremonies. This point of the bill is good, this should be implemented as dowry could not be the reason to delay the marriage of young girls anymore. Because it has become the tradition in our society that if a woman brings a number of materialistic things with her, it will define her worth and respect from relatives.
Therefore, the government should put an end to this evil system. Besides, the fine of Rs 500 seems less logical because if a person is not interested in getting married, it would not be difficult for a person to pay Rs 500 and get free until the next time. If they want this bill to be implemented, the government should support the young couples and provide them with facilities such as housing as well as giving them monthly aid to fulfil their necessities as they could not be a burden on their parents. Moreover, it is the responsibility of the government to employ them after completing their education. But this bill should not be taken seriously by the government of Sindh as it seems nothing but a joke. There are many other serious issues other than marriage like unemployment, poverty, health, educational reforms, peace, and prosperity of the Sindh government’s society. In this pandemic time, our educational system has been demolished, and our youth is facing severe mental health issues like depression, anxiety and committing suicide. Besides, people are dying of hunger and poverty due to unemployment. The situation has been getting worse day by day and elected members are talking about getting married at an early age in the national assembly.