The Haba'ib Conundrum of Yemen

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Yemen has no minimum legal age for marriage.  It is one of only two countries in the world, besides Saudi Arabia, with no such protection.  The UN data shows that over half of Yemeni girls are married before 18 years of age, and 15% before age 15.  Almost a quarter of Yemeni girls are victims of female genital mutilation.

In Yemen, female literacy is below 60%.  There is great gender disparity in several key indicators.  The country has been beset with civil war and encroaching extremism.  It is the poorest country in the Arab world, already one of the most underdeveloped regions in the world.  Infant mortality is ridiculously high.  Over a fifth of children in Yemen are victims of child labour.  The statistics for spousal abuse is equally damning.

By any yardstick, Yemen is not a shining beacon of anything.  So the question then is, how is it all these Yemeni haba’ib and scholars have so much time to go around the rest of the Muslim world to preach and do da’wah when they cannot even clean up the mess at home?  They are like people who do not clean their own room, and whose house is falling apart but tell others to make the bed.  All these lectures about respecting women, feeding the poor and loving the children - they should lecture their own people first.


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