This topic is probably one of the most discussed ones especially from a secular point of view. The age of marriage in Islam wasn’t discussed much in earlier centuries. Muslims of earlier generations had no confusion about this matter whatsoever.
Islam didn’t set any hard and strict rule for the age of bridge and groom. However, there are some standards that must be followed before making the final decision. Islam even allows an adult girl to appeal to the shariah justice to dismiss the marriage if the marriage was conducted without her permission.
This article will cover in-depth regarding minimum age of getting marriage in Islam, and what should you do as a Muslim or parents of girls before you approach any Muslim matrimony media.
What is the Age of Marriage in Islam?
Shariah doesn’t set any fixed rule regarding a particular age of marriage for both boys and girls. But there are some criteria to follow.
If the father of a minor girl gives her marriage without taking her permission, Shariah does give him such permission and authority to do so.
According to Ibn Al-Mundhir – scholars agreed on this matter based on the following verse –
And those of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the ‘Iddah (prescribed period), if you have doubts (about their periods), is three months, and for those who have no courses ((i.e. they are still immature)…” [at-Talaq 65:4]
As iddah for three months has to deal with talaq, this indicates that such a girl can be married or divorced.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ married Aishah Radiallahu Anha when she was six years old. But the marriage was consummated when she was nine.
This also indicates that the father has authority to give his minor daughter marriage without her permission.
However, if it’s an adult girl, then taking her permission is a must. Without her permission, later if she wants a separation, she can go for it. For an adult girl, any guardian along with her father can give her marriage.
When a Girl Reaches Adulthood
Typically, when a girl experiences her first menstruation, she is considered an adult from Islamic perspective. Now, not all girls will go into their adulthood at the same age. The age for Arab girls won’t be the same for someone who lives in South Eastern Asian countries.
When a girl reaches her adulthood, any of four things occur –
- Reaches 15 years of age
- Growth of pubic hair
- Emission of maniy
Any of the following things indicate that the girl hits her adulthood. So, giving her marriage based on any of the above-mentioned factors is permissible according to Islam.
Orphan Girls’ Age for Marriage in Islam
For an orphan girl, the same ruling is applicable. It’s permissible to marry an orphan girl even if she is under 15 years old and has not reached puberty. Following two references support this matter –
“They ask your legal instruction concerning women, say: Allah instructs you about them, and about what is recited unto you in the Book concerning the orphan girls whom you give not the prescribed portions (as regards Mahr and inheritance) and yet whom you desire to marry.” [An-Nisa 4:124]
The Prophet ﷺ said:
The orphan girl should be asked for permission with regard to her marriage; if she remains silent, that is her permission, but if she refuses then it is not permissible to force her into marriage.
Practices from Sahaba Regarding Age of Marriage
Sahaba married both minor girls and adult women.
Qudamah ibn Maz’un married the daughter of Az-Zubair Radiallahu Anhum, when she began to menstruate.
Ali Radiallahu Anhu gave his daughter Umm Kulthum marriage with Umar ibn Al-Khattab.
There are countless examples of this practice from Sahaba, which also indicates that marrying a minor girl is permission, even if she doesn’t reach 15 years of age or menstruation.
Also, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ dismissed a marriage when a girl came to him saying that she was an adult, but her father forced her to marry.
The Wisdom Behind It
Now, the wisdom behind not taking the permission of a minor virgin girl is that she won’t be able to differentiate between a good and bad proposal. Her parents will do what is the best for their child.
But when it comes to an adult girl, she knows what is good and what is bad. She can somewhat differentiate between a good and bad marriage proposal. So, why marry your daughter to someone who she doesn’t like? She probably has to live with him for her lifetime with commitment. So, her permission does matter a lot.
Age Different Between Husband and Wife in Islam
As Islam doesn’t impose any hard and strict rule on marriage that has to deal with the age matter, this religious doesn’t point out any specific age range for husband and wife.
It is totally permissible for a 50 years old man to marry a 15 years old girl.
Similarly, a 50 years old woman can marry a 15-18 years old boy, if the boy is mature and compatible.
Usually, girls reach puberty earlier than boys. If for a country’s case, the average age for girls to hit puberty is 15 years, for boys, it would be 17-18 years.
Marriage Law of Muslim Countries
9 out of 10 Muslim countries are ruled by secular constitutional law. There will be many laws which violate Islamic Sharia Laws. Unfortunately, this topic of age of girl for marriage in Islam is violated in most Muslim countries.
Even if you find a girl who is under 15, but has her menstruation started, the government authority won’t let you marry that girl.
Scholars have agreed upon this matter that it is permissible to give some money to the judge to make it easier for marriage. See Islamqa fatwa on bribe.
Advantages of Getting Married Earlier
1. You can retire earlier
The earlier you start married life, the earlier your sons and daughters will mature and take responsibilities of the family. By the years of 40-50, you can retire without worrying about your childrens’ establishment.
2. Enjoyable sexual life
The sexual urge and pleasure is at its peak during 15-18 years. Getting married within this period means a more enjoyable and happy conjugal life. You will have plenty of time to do romance for years before thinking about a child.
3. More breastfeeding, less chance for breast cancer
Women who got married early, usually have babies earlier than those who delay the marriage. So, breastfeeding is done earlier, and the lady gets a chance to breastfeed more kids. The more breastfeeding she does, the less the chance of breast cancer.
4. Low chances of risky pregnancy
The fertility rate for women is much less after 30 years of age. So, early marriage means you can have more kids before hitting 30. After 30, complications occur a lot and pregnancy becomes risky in some cases.
5. More people to take care by
Early marriage means more kids. So, there will be more people to take care of your guys later in life.
Importance of Getting Married Earlier in This Generation
We Muslims view worldly matters from a different perspective. We aren’t okay with our sons and daughters hanging out with their boyfriends and girlfriends or even friends of the opposite gender.
In this generation of smartphones and cutting-edge technology, doing sins has become a cupcake. We can’t expect our boys and girls being exposed to this culturally toxic environment to keep them chest and modest if we remain headless of what they are doing with their smartphones and laptops.
Getting married earlier can help us combat these matters quite well. Especially for girls, the earlier they get married, the safer they will be.
High-school going students sleep with their partners of opposite sex, and this has become quite normal. As if we are setting a fire next to a candle, and expect the candle not to melt.
However, for boys, things are a bit different and challenging. As they have to provide for their wives, the minimum earning is required for them to get married.
So, boys should be engaged with online earnings, businesses, freelancing, part-time jobs to ensure they have cash to provide for a small family. Without this, getting married can create family issues unless the boy’s father is extremely well-off and rich.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What’s the right age of marriage in Islam?
There’s no specific age range for boys and girls to get married in Islam. As long as they hit puberty, they are eligible for marriage. And this age of puberty varies from origins to origins.
2. Is it permissible to marry a 15 years old girl?
If the 15 years old girl hits her puberty, meaning adulthood, it’s permissible in Islam to marry such a girl.
3. Can a 50 years old man marry an 18 years old girl?
If the man is sexually capable, financially solvent, and compatible to provide the girl, and the girl accepts him as a husband, then there is nothing wrong to give them marriage.
Islam didn’t impose any strict age requirement for boys and girls to get married because the physical and metal characteristics of human beings are different from origin to origin. A 10 years old girl can hit puberty, whereas a 13 years old girl can remain as a minor depending where they live and weather and geographical conditions.
So, this debate of what’s the age of marriage in Islam will vary from person to person. You can still, as a father, give your minor virgin girl marriage to someone compatible without her permission as she can’t decide what’s right and what’s wrong.
Whereas, if you have an adult girl, you must take her permission before you give her marry to someone. She can decide between two things, and it’s her lifetime decision, so her permission should be taken seriously.