So, a 13 year old can get married under "Islamic Law" if their parents approve? and 11 year old girls are considered adults? The implications of that are frightening...
The marriage that took place between two 16-year-olds without the consent of the girl's family should never have happened, says the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC).
The Cape Argus reported yesterday that the boy and his parents had been arrested on charges of abduction and fraud and were still in a Kwazulu-Natal jail.
The girl, from Mitchell's Plain, was said to be on her way back to the Cape.
MJC deputy president Sheikh Achmat Sedick said "minor-adults" aged between 13 and 18 could not marry without the consent of their fathers or paternal grandfathers, uncles or an older brother.
"Such marriages will be rendered invalid," said Sedick, who added that while South African law recognised people as adults at 18, it was different in Islamic law.
According to Islamic law, a person is considered a minor up to the age of 13 for a boy, and 11 for a girl.
A girl is considered an adult after she starts menstruation while a boy is regarded as an adult when he starts ejaculating sperm, said Sedick.
He said Islam forbade the marriage of any "minor" with the intention of consummation and sexual intercourse. If the marriage was performed, it would be deemed invalid.
Sedick said the only way a marriage could take place without the girl's family present, was if the father or blood male relative gave the Imam permission to marry the girl to a specific man and for the Imam to be his representative at the wedding.
Sedick recalled only two cases of minors aged between 15 and 17 getting married without their fathers' consent.
Cases for abduction had been opened.
Sedick said that if the girl's family asked the MJC to investigate, it would.
"If the imam is found guilty of wilfully performing such a marriage, without the consent of the family or father, then disciplinary steps may be instituted against him to avoid a recurrence," said Sedick.
Meanwhile, police spokesman Captain Frederick Van Wyk has said arrangements to bring the family to Cape Town to face the charges still have to be made.
On Thursday night, the girl ran away from home to marry her 16-year-old boyfriend without her family's consent.
Her mother did not approve of the boy because he had been charged with murder. Police confirmed that the boy had stabbed a youth last January and was still to face trial.
Immediately after the teenagers were married, the boy's family set off to Dannhauser in KZN.
The girl's mother discovered that her daughter had been granted a transfer to another school through the help of a woman posing as her last week. She reported the matter to the police.
On Sunday, the boy and his parents were arrested for abduction and fraud.
The girl's mother said last night that she had not yet spoken to her daughter.
"They will never have my blessing. I just hope that when she comes back, she goes for counselling. So much has happened," she said.