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Marriage While Still Studying: Between Benefits and Challenges

Getting married at a young age is not new in our society, especially amongst the Malay community. The phenomenon of early marriage seems to be a trend and life style among young people today, especially those living in rural areas. In the early 20s of age they have begun talking about marriage. For some, they accept and assume this is common in the Malay community. But for others, they consider that this situation and phenomenon should be changed as in line with current developments.

Some young people at this age tend to opt for early marriage, including while still being a student. The phenomenon of married while studying frequently occurs among students of public and private higher education institutions in the country. In my observation, the issue of marriage among the students has become a discussion that always has its ebb and flow. Parents, students and adults have different views and approaches in dealing with this phenomenon. What is certain, they each have their own views and stances on this matter.

Marriage is a requirement that cannot be separated in strengthening the family system.
Generally, people put the wedding business as a very important thing to be done with responsibility and awareness. An adult community should be more open and mature in discussing the issue of marriage, because the flow of life continues to change from time to time leading to thoughts and actions of young people to differ according to environmental factors, educational background and economic status.
I do not have a problem on the issue because for me marriage while still studying has its benefits and challenges. Challenges that, if managed properly, then the marriage will be able to provide a positive impact on students, while if otherwise, it can certainly be a big problem for students. Several factors must be taken into account when students want to get married while still studying, which includes the ability to focus on both education and marriage, having the financial means, openness of families and readiness to the presence of children. These factors are very important to be taken into consideration so that problems arising after marriage can be avoided.

In short, the benefit of marriage while still studying is when the marriage is able to motivate them.This is because they feel the need to be more responsible and mature in their decision-making and actions on either learning or family. Their life is also more organized and structured in terms of time and activities. The demands and the need to divide time to more important matters should be given priority. In fact, what is more important is that it can refrain them from committing sins and immoralities which are getting more widespread in public and private higher education institutions.

The challenge on the other hand is to bear the financial constraints for studies and family needs.  This matter needs a thorough and detailed planning because failure in solving this problem may cause a stop in learning. The presence of children in situations where they are not yet ready may sometimes give them problems and challenges. Therefore, careful and mature planning is necessary to avoid any problems arising. Marriage in the age and condition of not having yet fully matured can cause a divorce to occur. Thus, marriage during or after studying is not the problem rather, the preparation in all aspects of knowledge and challenges of the marriage is to be considered and prioritized.

Recently, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proposed in his speech and suggested that Iranians, especially young women to marry at the age of 16. This may be caused by several factors considered reasonable. I feel that these recommendations as something interesting to be thought about and studied. In Malaysia recently too, the Malacca state government under the leadership of the Honourable Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam has suggested that parents give consent to their children for marriage while still in school to curb problems of pregnancies out of wedlock.

For those purposes, the Islamic Religious Council of Malacca (MAIM) and the Malacca Islamic Religious Department (JAIM) agrees to give leniency of marriage for boys under the age of 18 years and under 16 for girls. For the State of Malacca, this is the best way to address the problem of throwing away babies and cases of females pregnant out of wedlock. However, I do not feel it is the best solution of handling this issue because it must be seen from the main cause that is more important towards this problem.

The issue of marriage while still studying should be studied and discussed in an open and mature manner by all parties. Openness in accepting and discussing these issues can give a positive momentum to ensure students excelling in their studies or their marriages. Every decision made will have a big impact on students, the learning process, families and also efforts in producing quality graduates.

MUHAMMAD FIRWAN NORLIZA,
PRESIDENT,
STUDENTS’ REPRESENTATIVE COUNCIL,
INTERNATIONAL ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY MALAYSIA 2009/2010

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