It should be noted that sometimes her consent is not required to proceed with what her guardian (wali mujbir) feels is a good match.

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In practice, this affects nearly all aspects of how men and women relate to each other in Islam. What often happens is that a young man of marriageable age will be offered to a girl’s guardian as a prospect.

Most of the time, the girl’s consent is sought, and she generally has the right to refuse an unwanted suitor.

Largely as a result of this account, many Muslim societies have set their age of consent somewhat lower than is common among Western societies.

In Yemen, for example, the age of consent—that is, the age at which a girl’s guardian (wali) may consent to her marriage—is nine.

Every race and ethnicity counts some Muslims among its number, and mosques have been built around the world where they absorb local marriage customs.

Many Muslim scholars take pains to make it clear that local customs often influence the practice of the religion.

In many areas where the Koran is open to interpretation, Muslims will look for guidance to the life of Muhammad.

In this case, the traditional maximum number of wives is set at four, largely because this is the number of wives the Prophet is said to have had.

Officially, men and women enjoy equal rights and duties in the practice of Islam and also equality in the marriage relationship.

This theory, however, is often overridden by local customs and ingrained attitudes among communities.

This community is—theoretically—united in certain beliefs and practices.