Earlier this year, controversial MNA Aamir Liaquat Hussain tied the knot for the third time. His new bride Syeda Dania Shah is only 18 years old, while Amir Liaquat is reportedly 49 years old. The marriage announcement flashed through the tabloids, swiftly following the news of his second divorce.
Marriage is a sacred, if dynamic, institution. Sometimes, even in the best of circumstances, the best of people can’t commit to marriage long-term and part their separate ways. The exponential number of variables and dependencies (i.e., needs, wants and love) sometimes doesn’t permit two people to remain in a calm, equilibrium-state of marriage. Hence, when a dynamic relationship ruptures, couples often take a considerable amount of time to mourn the loss before they move forward with their lives.
News of the dissolution of Liaqat’s second marriage came suddenly, as it was celebrated and announced with much fervour and grandeur back in 2018. But the news of his third marriage was even more shocking because his latest bride is only 18 years old, perhaps just a few months into adulthood. For argument’s sake, although she is of legal age, the 30-year age gap is troubling.
Perhaps if he were 65 and she was 35, the optics would be better. Perhaps if the couple exhibited the tell-tale signs of a healthy, robust relationship, it would have been acceptable to most and cherished by a few. Compare Mr. Liaquat and his new bride to two popular couples also with a significant age gap: Imran Khan and his ex-wife Jemima Goldsmith (married when he was 42 and she was 21) and Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones (married when he was 53 and she was 28). Both of these couples were loved by the public and the paparazzi, because of their charm and dazzling chemistry. These couples appeared to share a connection, compatibility and mutual life goals – all on display when they tied the knot.
Mr. Liaquat has made a mockery of the concept of multiple marriages – a sacred commandment that was decreed upon men primarily to provide safety and financial and social security to widows
By all accounts, Mr. Liaquat, on the other hand, went to Lodhran in Punjab on a random trip and came back with a third wife in tow. Although news of his second divorce had not yet gone public, Syeda Tuba Anwar announced that she had sought a divorce from Liaqat several months before a video of him and his new paramour went viral: Aamir Liaquat lying next to his new bride in a bed, singing romantic songs to her. As a viewer, one doesn’t feel romantic or good when one sees such brazen acts of indecency.
Now, there is nothing wrong with public displays of affection. For some romantics, it feels nice and beautiful to see a loving exchange between newly-wed couples, especially when you know their history together and you have seen their relationship’s trajectory.
However, when you see a middle-aged man with an 18-year-old (who is younger than his own children) one can be excused if the first reaction that they feel is pure disgust. Moreover, wouldn’t one expect others to react this way, as well?
To my utter disappointment and horror, some men, especially educated, urban men, defended Mr. Liaquat by saying he didn’t do anything haram. Even though marrying an 18-year-old is not haram, doesn’t our education, exposure, experience, ethics, moralities, age-appropriate guidelines, or basic decency teach us anything else? It is obvious that the woman in question is so young and immature that even with her consent, it doesn’t appear to be a very synchronised or harmonious relationship between two people eager to share their lives with each other. Mr. Liaquat has repeatedly flaunted his trophy wife by reminding everyone that she is an 18-year-old. What a proud moment it is – not only has he married a beautiful 18-year-old, but he has followed the Sunnah as well!
The rules and stipulations regarding multiple marriages are clearly mentioned in the Holy Quran. Furthermore, Islamic history has ample instances to illustrate the reasons behind the Holy Quran’s decrees upon men, very clearly and explicitly. These conditions are hard, and the average man is not capable of meeting these stated conditions, namely, to be equitable and just in terms of love and financial support when maintaining multiple marriages. Every single word of the Holy Quran must be taken with utmost respect and seriousness. All the commandments must be handled with accurate studies.
Mr. Liaquat, however, has made a mockery of the concept of multiple marriages – a sacred commandment that was decreed upon men primarily to provide safety and financial and social security to widows. He went on to say in an interview that his new wife has asked him to do whatever he wanted, even if it is a fourth marriage. It sounds so disgusting to talk like that when one has just gotten married. Surprisingly, none of his statements nor his callous attitude towards marriage seems to worry a lot of men. In his attempt to flaunt polygamy, Aamir Liaquat has skilfully and callously worn the garb of religion to indulge in marrying younger women.
Whether this marriage lasts through eternity or dies its own natural death, only time will tell. In the meantime, a rigorous course about the institution of marriage must be undertaken by those who are completely smitten by Aamir Liaquat’s irresponsible and insensitive parade of young brides.