Zindani defends his “easy marriage” fatwa [Archives:2003/658/Front Page]

August 11 2003

Mohammed Al-Qadhi
Sana'a, August 9 – Sheikh Abdulmajeed al-Zindani, head of Islah's Consultative Council and rector of al-Eman University, defended Thursday his fatwa or religious edict concerning what he has been calling “easy marriage” for Muslims living in non-Muslim countries.
This new initiative made by Zindani has created ripples in the minds of some Muslim clerics who refused this idea and described it as groundless and does not come up with Islamic religion teachings. In a press conference held last Thursday to figure out the misunderstanding, Zindani said that he presented this idea to the Religious Muslims House in Europe as an attempt to sort out the problems Muslim youngsters face in non-Muslim countries.
He said this was needed because of the conception of “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” which Islam does not accept.
He refused to call it fatwa or a new sort of marriage or temporary marriage but it is just an idea subject to debate by Muslim clerics. He even demanded those who have better solutions for this problem to present them for discussions. He pointed out that he based his idea on the facts that all legal conditions of marriage contracts and others should be made available. The other thing is that the woman has the right not to ask her husband for the dowry or residence. Zindani denied that he demanded the omission of the availability of a residence as an important prerequisite for marriage, pointing out that it can be postponed till the husband and wife get a residence to settle down; they can live separately in their parents' houses during this time. “The unavailability of the residence does not illegalize marriage,” Zindani said. The next point on which this conception of marriage has been based is that the absence of the husband from his wife for over 6 months stated by Muslim clerics does not entail the breaking of marriage or make illegal provided that the wife should be content with this situation. He said all these make marriage easy which means protecting Muslim youngsters against adultery and that Islamic teachings urge that marriage should be made easy with less expenses.

Zindani denied that he meant to initiate new conceptions for marriage. He said some people were complaining to him that the conception of “boyfriend” and “girl friend” has started affecting their children and he sardonically told them “why do not we have an easy marriage” instead. He clearly preferred that it should be named as “easy marriage” rather than “friend marriage”.
He also denied that he has come up with this idea to show that he is a moderate cleric far away from being radical or fundamentalist, pointing out that he presented this idea 24 years ago in Germany.
Zindani called on President Ali Abdullah Saleh to issue verdicts that make marriage easy for young people just like the former Imams of Yemen Ahamd and Yahia who made marriage very easy and less expensive.