Qur'an, Hadith and Scholars:Child Marriage

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The sira tradition is very explicit about the fact that Muhammad married Aisha when she was six, and consummated the marriage when she was nine. As Muhammad is "al-insaan al-kaamil", this action of his has been taken by the scholars to be an example for all of mankind, and have thus decreed that such marriages are lawful for all believers. Both the Qur'an and the hadith contain regulations about when believers may have sex with underage wives who have not yet had their menses, furthor solidifying the halaal nature of the practice of consummating marriages with extremely young girls and older men.

Qur'an

Surah 65:4

The following verse allows sex with pre-pubescent married girls who have not yet menstruated.

Such of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the prescribed period, if ye have any doubts, is three months, and for those who have no courses (it is the same): for those who carry (life within their wombs), their period is until they deliver their burdens: and for those who fear Allah, He will make their path easy.

Tafsir

Tafsirs on verse 65:4.

يَقُولُ تَعَالَى مُبَيِّنًا لِعِدَّةِ الْآيِسَةِ -وَهِيَ الَّتِي قَدِ انْقَطَعَ عَنْهَا الْحَيْضُ لِكِبَرِهَا-: أَنَّهَا ثَلَاثَةُ أَشْهُرٍ، عِوَضًا عَنِ الثَّلَاثَةِ قُرُوءٍ فِي حَقِّ مَنْ تَحِيضُ، كَمَا دَلَّتْ عَلَى ذَلِكَ آيَةُ "الْبَقَرَةِ" وَكَذَا الصِّغَارُ اللَّائِي لَمْ يَبْلُغْنَ سِنَّ الْحَيْضِ أَنَّ عِدَّتَهُنَّ كَعِدَّةِ الْآيِسَةِ ثَلَاثَةُ أَشْهُرٍ؛ وَلِهَذَا قَالَ: {وَاللائِي ‌لَمْ ‌يَحِضْنَ}


The `Iddah of Those in Menopause and Those Who do not have Menses Allah the Exalted clarifies the waiting period of the woman in menopause. And that is the one whose menstruation has stopped due to her older age. Her `Iddah is three months instead of the three monthly cycles for those who menstruate, which is based upon the Ayah in (Surat) Al-Baqarah. [see 2:228] The same for the young, who have not reached the years of menstruation. Their `Iddah is three months like those in menopause. This is the meaning of His saying.
Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Dar Taybah, vol.8 p.149
(وَاللائِي ‌لَمْ ‌يَحِضْنَ) يقول: وكذلك عدد اللائي ‌لم ‌يحضن من الجواري لصغر إذا طلقهنّ أزواجهنّ بعد الدخول
"And for those who haven't menstruated" means: The same applies to the Iddah for girls who do not menstruate because they are too young, if their husbands divorce them after consummating the marriage with them.
Here, one should bear in mind the fact that according to the explanations given in the Quran the question of the waiting period arises in respect of the women with whom marriage may have been consummated, for there is no waiting-period in case divorce is pronounced before the consummation of marriage. (Al-Ahzab: 49). Therefore, making mention of the waiting-period for the girls who have not yet menstruated, clearly proves that it is not only permissible to give away the girl in marriage at this age but it is also permissible for the husband to consummate marriage with her. Now, obviously no Muslim has the right to forbid a thing which the Quran has held as permissible.
Commentary on Qur'an Chapter 65:4
Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, Tafhim al-Qur'an
Surah al-Talaaq 65:4: If a woman does not menstruate, either because she is very young or old and past menopause, then her ‘iddah is three months, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And those of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the ‘Iddah (prescribed period), if you have doubt (about their periods), is three months; and for those who have no courses (i.e. they are still immature) their ‘Iddah (prescribed period) is three months likewise.[1]
Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen, Majmoo’at As’ilah tahumm al-Usrah al-Muslimah, p. 61-63
And [as for] those of your women who (read allā'ī or allā'i in both instances) no longer expect to menstruate, if you have any doubts, about their waiting period, their prescribed [waiting] period shall be three months, and [also for] those who have not yet menstruated, because of their young age, their period shall [also] be three months - both cases apply to other than those whose spouses have died; for these [latter] their period is prescribed in the verse: they shall wait by themselves for four months and ten [days] [Q. 2:234]. And those who are pregnant, their term, the conclusion of their prescribed [waiting] period if divorced or if their spouses be dead, shall be when they deliver. And whoever fears God, He will make matters ease for him, in this world and in the Hereafter.
Qur'an 65:4
Tafsir al-Jalalayn
(And for such of your women as despair of menstruation) because of old age, (if ye doubt) about their waiting period, (their period (of waiting) shall be three months) upon which another man asked: “O Messenger of Allah! "What about the waiting period of those who do not have menstruation because they are too young?” (along with those who have it not) because of young age, their waiting period is three months." Another man asked: “what is the waiting period for those women who are pregnant?” (And for those with child) i.e. those who are pregnant, (their period) their waiting period (shall be till they bring forth their burden) their child. (And whosoever keepeth his duty to Allah) and whoever fears Allah regarding what he commands him, (He maketh his course easy for him) He makes his matter easy; and it is also said this means: He will help him to worship Him well.
Qur'an 65:4
Tafsir Ibn Abbas
(And for such of your women as despair of menstruation…) [65:4]. Said Muqatil: “When the verse (Women who are divorced shall wait, keeping themselves apart…), Kallad ibn al-Nu‘man ibn Qays al-Ansari said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, what is the waiting period of the woman who does not menstruate and the woman who has not menstruated yet? And what is the waiting period of the pregnant woman?’ And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse”. Abu Ishaq al-Muqri’ informed us> Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn Hamdun> Makki ibn ‘Abdan> Abu’l-Azhar> Asbat ibn Muhammad> Mutarrif> Abu ‘Uthman ‘Amr ibn Salim who said: “When the waiting period for divorced and widowed women was mentioned in Surah al-Baqarah, Ubayy ibn Ka‘b said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, some women of Medina are saying: there are other women who have not been mentioned!’ He asked him: ‘And who are they?’ He said: Those who are too young [such that they have not started menstruating yet], those who are too old [whose menstruation has stopped] and those who are pregnant’. And so this verse (And for such of your women as despair of menstruation…) was revealed”.
Qur'an 65:4
Al-Wahidi, Asbab al-nuzul
(وَاللائِي ‌لَمْ ‌يَحِضْنَ) يقول: وكذلك عدد اللائي ‌لم ‌يحضن من الجواري لصغر إذا طلقهنّ أزواجهنّ بعد الدخول
and for those who haven't menstruated" means: The same applies to the Iddah for girls who do not menstruate because they are too young, if their husbands divorce them after consummating the marriage with them.

In the following quote, the bold text translates as “They are those who haven’t reached the age of menstruation”. Tabrasi comments on the phrase “Wallaee Lam yahidhna” = “Those who have not menstruated yet” in the verse.

{ واللآئي لم يحضن } تقديره واللآئي لم يحضن إن ارتبتم فعدتهن أيضاً ثلاثة أشهر وحذف لدلالة الكلام الأول عليه وهن اللواتي لم يبلغن المحيض ومثلهن تحيض على ما مرَّ بيانه.

In the following quote, the bold part translated as: “Those who have not menstruated yet” are young girls who have not reached the age of menstruation.

{ فَعِدَّتُهُنَّ ثَلَـٰثَةُ أَشْهُرٍ وَٱللاَّئِى لَمْ يَحِضْنَ } لصغرهن، وعدم بلوغهن سن المحيض، أي: فعدتهن ثلاثة أشهر
For those who are small and have not reached age (quoting the Qur'an) "for those female who have not menstruated, their waiting period is three months" i.e. their waiting period is 3 months.
Qur'an 65:4
Al-Shoukani, Fath al-Qadir

Hadith

Quotes from Imam Bukhari's hadith collection, regarding verse 65:4.

The Tafsir of Surat at-Talaq

Mujahid said that "if you have any doubt" (65:4) means if you do not know whether she menstruates or not. Those who do not longer menstruate and those who have not yet menstruated, their 'idda is three months.

The following is from Bukhari's chapter introduction for chapter 39, Book an-Nikkah. It appears immediately before the first and only hadith of Chapter 39, Sahih Bukhari 7:62:64 and can be seen in the Dar-us-Salam print edition, volume 7.

Giving one’s young children in marriage (is permissible) by virtue of the Statement of Allah: ‘And for those who have courses’ (i.e. they are still immature) (Sura 65:4) And the ‘Iddat [waiting period for a woman before lawful sexual intercourse] for the girl before puberty is three months (in the above Verse).
Bukhari (Chapter 39)

The following is from Fath al-Bari, the most authoritative commentary on Sahih Al-Bukhari.

واللائي لم يحضن , فجعل عدتها ثلاثة أشهر قبل البلوغ ) ‏ ‏أي فدل على أن نكاحها قبل البلوغ جائز


"and those who never had menses, their prescribed period is three months before puberty, which indicates that giving her into marriage before puberty is permissible."

In Islamic Law

The Encyclopedia of Unanimous Islamic Rulings says: “Scholars have unanimously agreed that it is permissible for a father to marry off his minor daughter without her consent.”

The Encyclopedia lists 14 classical scholars who reported the consensus about this, such as Ibn Abdul Barr (d.1071 AD) who said: “Scholars have unanimously agreed that a father can marry off his minor daughter without consulting with her”.

The Encyclopedia explains the basis for this consensus:

مستند الإجماع:

1-قوله تعالى: {يَئِسْنَ مِنَ الْمَحِيضِ مِنْ نِسَائِكُمْ إِنِ ارْتَبْتُمْ فَعِدَّتُهُنَّ ثَلَاثَةُ أَشْهُرٍ وَاللَّائِي لَمْ يَحِضْنَ} [الطلاق: 4]. وجه الدلالة: جعل اللَّه سبحانه وتعالى عدة اللائي لم يحضن ثلاثة أشهر، ولا تكون العدة ثلاثة أشهر إلا من طلاق في نكاح أو فسخ، فدل ذلك على أنها تزوج وتطلق، ولا إذن لها فيعتبر، وأن نكاحها قبل البلوغ جائز .

2- عن عائشة -رضي اللَّه عنها- قالت: تزوجني رسول اللَّه -صلى اللَّه عليه وسلم- لِسِتِّ سنين، وبنى بي وأنا بنت تسع سنين .

3- تزوج قدامة بن مظعون -رضي اللَّه عنه- ابنة الزبير حين نَفِسَتْ، فقيل له، فقال: ابنة الزبير إن مت ورثتني، وإن عشت كانت امرأتي .

4- زوج علي -رضي اللَّه عنه- أم كلثوم ابنته وهي صغيرة عمر بن الخطاب -رضي اللَّه عنه- . وجه الدلالة من هذه الأحاديث: أن عائشة، وابنة الزبير، وأم كلثوم بنت علي كنَّ صغيرات، وعندئذٍ لم يكنَّ في حال يعتبر إذنهن فيه

موسوعة الإجماع في الفقه الإسلامي، الطبعة الأولى 2012، المجلد الثالث من إعداد الدكتور ظافر بن حسن العمري، (3/ 147-144)


1- Allah said: “And those who no longer expect menstruation among your women - if you doubt, then their period is three months, and [also for] those who have not menstruated.” Quran 65:4

This verse says that the Iddah for those who haven’t menstruated is three months. And since that the Iddah is only prescribed in the case of divorce, this proves that:

A-She can marry and can get divorced.

B- Marrying her off before puberty is allowed.

C- Her consent is neglected.  

2- Ayisha said: “Allah's Messenger married me when I was six years old, and consummated his marriage when I was nine”.

https://quranx.com/Hadith/Muslim/USC-MSA/Book-8/Hadith-3309

3- Muhammad’s companion Qudamah Bin Math’un married the daughter of Al-Zubayr when she was born. He said: “If I die then the daughter of Al-Zubayr will inherit me. If I live then she will be my wife”

4- Ali, Muhammad’s cousin and the fourth caliph, married off his minor daughter Um Kulthum to Umar the second caliph.

These reports show that Ayisha, Al-Zubayr’s daughter and Ali’s daughter were minors which means their consent was unviable.
Mawsu’at Al-Ijma’ Fil-Fiqh Al-Islami, Volume 3 by professor Zafir Al-Amri, first edition 2012, published by Dar Al-Fadhilah, Al-Maktabah Al-Shamilah, vol.3 p.144-147

Al-Nawawi (d.1277 AD) in his commentary on Sahih Muslim, laid out the view of all four major legal schools on the minimum age of consummation of marriage:

وَأَمَّا وَقْتُ ‌زِفَافِ ‌الصَّغِيرَةِ الْمُزَوَّجَةِ وَالدُّخُولُ بِهَا فَإِنِ اتَّفَقَ الزَّوْجُ وَالْوَلِيُّ عَلَى شَيْءٍ لَا ضَرَرَ فِيهِ عَلَى الصَّغِيرَةِ عُمِلَ بِهِ وَإِنِ اخْتَلَفَا فَقَالَ أَحْمَدُ وَأَبُو عُبَيْدٍ تُجْبَرُ عَلَى ذَلِكَ بِنْتُ تِسْعِ سِنِينَ دُونَ غَيْرِهَا وَقَالَ مَالِكٌ وَالشَّافِعِيُّ وَأَبُو حَنِيفَةَ حَدُّ ذَلِكَ أَنْ تُطِيقَ الْجِمَاعَ وَيَخْتَلِفُ ذَلِكَ بِاخْتِلَافِهِنَّ وَلَا يُضْبَطُ بِسِنٍّ وَهَذَا هُوَ الصَّحِيحُ

شرح النووي على مسلم، دار إحياء التراث العربي، المكتبة الشاملة، ج9 ص206

Regarding the timing of the wedding of a minor wife and consummation of her marriage, if the husband and the minor’s legal guardian both agreed on something that doesn’t harm the minor then it’s done. If they disagree, Ahmad (the Imam of one of the 4 major legal schools in Sunni Islam) said that she is forced to be wed at the age of 9. Malik, Al-Shafi’i and Abu Hanifa (the remaining 3 Imams of the 4 major legal schools) said the timing is when she’s capable of enduring sexual intercourse which differs from one person to another and can’t be determined by age. This is the correct view.

Mukhtasar Khalil is a major book in the Maliki legal school which is one of the four major legal schools. Al-Kharashi (d.1690) said in his commentary on this book:

وقوله وأمكن وطؤها أي بلا حد سن بل يختلف باختلاف الأشخاص ولا يشترط الاحتلام فيها كالرجل؛ لأن من أطاقت الوطء يحصل بها للرجل ‌كمال ‌اللذة

شرح الخرشي على مختصر خليل، المطبعة الكبرى الأميرية، المكتبة الشاملة، ج3 ص258


“It’s possible to have sex with her” meaning there’s no specific age. Every person is different. And it’s not required for her to reach puberty because a man can receive full pleasure if the female can endure sex.

Many scholars say that a husband is obliged to provide for his wife only if she lets him have sex with her. This notion causeda discussion amongst scholars on the issue of a wife who’s too young to endure sex, with some scholars saying the husband in this case isn’t obliged to provide for her because he can’t have sex with her. The following quote falls within this context: Kanz Al-Daqa’iq is a major book in the Hanafi legal school. Al-Zayla’i (d.743 AH) said in his commentary on this book:

قَالَ - رَحِمَهُ اللَّهُ - (وَصَغِيرَةٌ لَا تُوطَأُ) يَعْنِي لَا تَجِبُ لَهَا النَّفَقَةُ سَوَاءٌ كَانَتْ فِي مَنْزِلِهِ أَوْ لَمْ تَكُنْ، وَقَالَ الشَّافِعِيُّ لَهَا نَفَقَةٌ لِأَنَّهَا عِوَضٌ عَنْ الْمِلْكِ عِنْدَهُ كَمَا فِي الْمَمْلُوكَةِ مِلْكَ الْيَمِينِ وَقِيلَ إنَّ الصَّغِيرَةَ إذَا كَانَتْ مُشْتَهَاةً وَيُمْكِنُ جِمَاعُهَا فِيمَا دُونَ الْفَرْجِ يَجِبُ لَهَا النَّفَقَةُ، وَلَوْ كَانَتْ الصَّغِيرَةُ تَصْلُحُ لِلْجِمَاعِ تَجِبُ نَفَقَتُهَا عَلَى الزَّوْجِ بِالْإِجْمَاعِ لِحُصُولِ الْمَقْصُودِ، وَاخْتَلَفُوا فِي حَدِّهِ فَقِيلَ بِنْتُ تِسْعِ سِنِينَ، وَالصَّحِيحُ أَنَّهُ ‌غَيْرُ ‌مُقَدَّرٍ ‌بِالسِّنِّ، وَإِنَّمَا الْعِبْرَةُ لِلِاحْتِمَالِ وَالْقُدْرَةِ عَلَى الْجِمَاعِ فَإِنَّ السَّمِينَةَ الضَّخْمَةَ تَحْتَمِلُ الْجِمَاعَ، وَإِنْ كَانَتْ صَغِيرَةَ السِّنِّ


تبيين الحقائق شرح كنز الدقائق للزيلعي، المطبعة الكبرى الأميرية، المكتبة الشاملة، ج3 ص52


“A minor who can’t endure sex” meaning the husband isn’t obliged to provide for her whether she’s living in his home or not. Al-Shafi’i said that “the husband is actually obliged to provide for her since that providing for her is the price for owning her. It’s like how a man is obliged to provide for his slave girl”….Some scholars say if the female minor is (old enough) to be sexually desirable and it’s possible to have sexual acts with her except for intercourse, then the husband is obliged to provide for her. But if the female minor can endure sex, scholars have unanimously agreed that the husband is obliged to provide for her. Scholars have disagreed on determining the age when a minor can endure sex, with some saying it’s nine. What’s is correct is that age doesn’t matter. What matters is the capability to endure sexual intercourse; a fat big female can endure intercourse even if she’s of a young age.

ِAl-Khatib Al-Sharbini (d.1570 ِAD), who was a scholar from the Shafi'i legal school, said in his commentary on "Al-Minhaj" by Al-Nawawi:

وَيَحْرُمُ وَطْءُ مَنْ لَا تَحْتَمِلُ الْوَطْءَ لِصِغَرٍ أَوْ جُنُونٍ أَوْ مَرَضٍ أَوْ هُزَالٍ أَوْ نَحْوِ ذَلِكَ لِتَضَرُّرِهَا بِهِ، وَتُمْهَلُ حَتَّى تُطِيقَ، فَلَوْ سُلِّمَتْ لَهُ صَغِيرَةً لَا تُوطَأُ لَمْ يَلْزَمْهُ تَسَلُّمُهَا؛ لِأَنَّهُ نَكَحَ لِلِاسْتِمْتَاعِ لَا لِلْحَضَانَةِ، وَإِذَا تَسَلَّمَهَا لَمْ يَلْزَمْهُ تَسْلِيمُ الْمَهْرِ كَالنَّفَقَةِ


مغني المحتاج للشربيني (ت 977هـ)، دار الكتب العلمية، ج4 ص373


It's forbidden to have sex with someone who can’t endure sex due to young age, illness or thinness because she would be harmed. She should wait until she can endure it. If a wife was handed over to her husband while she’s a minor who can’t endure sex then the husband isn’t obliged to take her because he married her for pleasure and not for custody. If he takes her then he’s not obliged to give her the dowry.

In the 17th century, a group of Indian scholars authored a book that served as the basis for the Mughal empire legal system. This book says:

وأكثر المشايخ على أنه ‌لا ‌عبرة ‌للسن في هذا الباب وإنما العبرة للطاقة إن كانت ضخمة سمينة تطيق الرجال ولا يخاف عليها المرض من ذلك؛ كان للزوج أن يدخل بها، وإن لم تبلغ تسع سنين، وإن كانت نحيفة مهزولة لا تطيق الجماع ويخاف عليها المرض لا يحل للزوج أن يدخل بها، وإن كبر سنها وهو الصحيح


الفتاوى الهندية، المطبعة الكبرى الأميرية، ج1 ص287


The majority of scholars say that age doesn’t matter. What matters is the ability. If she’s big and fat, can endure men and cannot fall ill from it (sex), then the husband can consummate his marriage even if she’s not nine years old yet. But if she’s thin and weak, and can’t endure intercourse, and can fall ill from it, then the husband isn’t allowed to consummate his marriage even if she’s old. This is the correct view.

Recent Fatawa

A fatwa collection issued by the Ministry of Religious Endowments and Islamic Affairs in Kuwait, included the following fatwa:

هل يصح عقد الزواج على الرضيعة ويجوز التمتع بها بالتقبيل وغيره -سوى الجماع- بما لا ‏يضرها؟

الجواب: إذا كان العقد مستوفيًا لشروطه الشرعية، فإنها تصبح به زوجته من كل الوجوه، ويحل له منها ‏النظر إليها ولمسها وتقبيلها، ولا يحل له جماعها حتى تطيقه من غير ضرر، فإذا أطاقته حل له منها ‏ذلك أيضًا.

مجموعة الفتاوى الشرعية، فتوى رقم 6058


Question: Is it allowed to marry a suckling baby and is it allowed to pleasure myself with her by kissing her and doing other unharmful acts excluding sex?

Answer: If the marriage contract fulfills the Islamic legal requirements then she’s considered to be his wife in all respects and he’s allowed to look at her, touch her and kiss her. He’s not allowed to have sex with her until she can endure sex without causing her any harm.

December 2010 fatwa from popular Islamic website.

The Noble Qur'an has also mentioned the waiting period [i.e. for a divorced wife to remarry] for the wife who has not yet menstruated, saying: "And those who no longer expect menstruation among your women - if you doubt, then their period is three months, and [also for] those who have not menstruated" [Qur'an 65:4]. Since this is not negated later, we can take from this verse that it is permissible to have sexual intercourse with a prepubescent girl. The Qur'an is not like the books of jurisprudence which mention what the implications of things are, even if they are prohibited. It is true that the prophet (PBUH) entered into a marriage contract with A'isha when she was six years old, however he did not have sex with her until she was nine years old, according to al-Bukhari.
Is it permissible to restrict the age at which girls can marry?
Submitted by Ahmad, IslamOnline, December 24, 2010
Getting married at an early age is something that is confirmed by the book of Allah, the Sunnah of his Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam), the consensus of the scholars and the actions of the companions, and the Muslims who came after them.

Moreover, the interest of Shariah proves it. So the claim that this was abrogated is not correct. And the Hadith did not include that meaning; it just states that a virgin woman is not to be married until consulted.

The evidence from the Qur'an is:

1. The saying of Allah: "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) their 'Iddah (prescribed period) is three months likewise, except in case of death]". (At-Talaq 65:4)

So, Allah set rulings of marriage, divorce and waiting period for the women who have not yet had menses, i.e. the young girls.

The Iddah (waiting period) does not take place except after marriage.
Child marriage in Islam
Islamweb, Fatwa No. 88089, June 24, 2004

Muhammad

Married Aisha When She Was Six

Muhammad consummated his marriage with the 9 year old Aisha, while she remained pre-pubescent.

A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported: Allah's Apostle (Mohammad) married me when I was six years old, and I was admitted to his house when I was nine years old.

Muhammad's Companions

Umar the 2rd Caliph married Umm Kulthum at a time when she was 10-12 years old. Some sources say she was five years old.

"'Umar asked 'Ali for the hand of his daughter, Umm Kulthum in marriage. 'Ali replied that she has not yet attained the age (of maturity). 'Umar replied, 'By Allah, this is not true. You do not want her to marry me. If she is underage, send her to me'. Thus 'Ali gave his daughter Umm Kulthum a dress and asked her to go to 'Umar and tell him that her father wants to know what this dress is for. When she came to Umar and gave him the message, he grabbed her hand and forcibly pulled her towards him. 'Umm Kulthum asked him to leave her hand, which Umar did and said, 'You are a very mannered lady with great morals. Go and tell your father that you are very pretty and you are not what he said of you'. With that 'Ali married Umm Kulthum to 'Umar."
In Tarikh Khamees, Volume 2, p. 384 ('Dhikr Umm Kalthum') and Zakhair Al-Aqba, p. 168
Getting married at an early age is something that is confirmed by the book of Allah, the Sunnah of his Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam), the consensus of the scholars and the actions of the companions, and the Muslims who came after them...

There are many Ahadith which confirm that marriage at an early age was widespread among the companions and no one denied its permissibility. Getting married at an early age was not peculiar to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) as some people think, but it was general for him and for his Ummah.

The following are some of the actions of the Sahaba (companions):

1. Ali Ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, married his daughter, Um Kulthum to Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, and she mothered a child before the death of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam). Omar got married to her while she was young before reaching the age of puberty. This is reported by Ibn Saad in 'Al-Tabaqat'.

2. From Urwa Ibn Zubair: that Zubair, may Allah be pleased with him, married his daughter when she was very young. Reported by Saeed Ibn Mansour, in his Sunnah, and Ibn Abi Shaibah, in Al-musannaf, with a Sahih chain of narration.

Al-Shafie said in the book of Al-Um: "Many companions of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) married their daughters while these were still young."

Delaying the marriage of girls in many Muslim countries is something new and contradictory to what Muslims used to do over many centuries. This is because of westernization and the application of man-made laws. This caused a change in understandings and customs within a considerable number of the population, and it is absolutely not permissible to consider the customs and traditions in a given country as the standard by which people abide, and fail to obey the absolute evidences of Shariah.

In some Muslim countries, the marriage for girls has been delayed by many years beyond the age of puberty. This has indeed led to an increase in the removal of the veil from the face, and increased fornication and adultery, as well as the emergence of deviation in conduct and religion among the youth. They had become morally unstable as they lack affection, chastity, and protection their private parts from illegal sexual relations.

By delaying marriage, there is also a reduction in the number of Muslims in the Ummah, and this is contrary to the order of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam), as he ordered us to have many children so that the Muslim nation will be greater in number than the previous nations.
Child marriage in Islam
Islamweb, Fatwa No. 88089, June 24, 2004

Other Hadith

The following Muwatta hadith shows it's permissible to marry girls who have not reached puberty.

Yahya related to me from Malik that he had heard that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, visited Umm Salama while she was in mourning for Abu Salama and she had put aloes on her eyes. He said, "What is this, Umm Salama?" She said, "It is only aloes, Messenger of Allah." He said, "Put it on at night and wipe it off in the daytime."

Malik said, "The mourning of a young girl who has not yet had a menstrual period takes the same form as the mourning of one who has had a period. She avoids what a mature woman avoids if her husband dies."

Malik said, "A slave-girl mourns her husband when he dies for two months and five nights like her idda.

Malik said, "An umm walad does not have to mourn when her master dies, and a slave-girl does not have to mourn when her master dies. Mourning is for those with husbands."

Miscellaneous

"It was narrated by Ahmed that a man came to him that feared that he would ejaculate while he was fasting. Ahmed said: "What I see is that he can release semen without ruining the fast, he can masturbate using his hands or the hands of his wife, If he has an "Ammah" whether be it a girl or a little child, she can masturbate for him using her hands, and if she was a non-believer, he can sleep with her without releasing (his semen), if he released it in her, it becomes impermissible".
It is incorrect to say that it's not permitted to marry off girls who are 15 and younger. A girl aged 10 or 12 can be married. Those who think she's too young are wrong and they are being unfair to her.

We hear a lot in the media about the marriage of underage girls. We should know that Shariah law has not brought injustice to women.[2]
Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh
Our mothers and before them our grandmothers married when they were barely 12. Good upbringing makes a girl ready to perform all marital duties at that age.[3]
Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh
The marriage of nine-year-old girls is not forbidden because according to the Hadith (the Prophet Mohammed's sayings), Mohammed married Aisha when she was only seven-years-old and he consummated his union when she was nine. A nine-year-old girl has the same sexual capacities like a woman of twenty and over.[4]
Skeikh Mohamed Ibn Abderrahmane Al-Maghraoui
According to the Shari'ah, if a girl is a minor (did not attain puberty), she may be given in marriage by her father. When she attains puberty, she has the right to maintain the marriage or discontinue the marriage. There is no age limit to be intimate with one's wife even if she is a minor.
I would like to marry a woman who is 12 years old, her father and she has also agreed. What is your advise?
Islamic Q & A Online with Mufti Ebrahim Desai, Ask-Imam, Question No. 6737
Child marriage in Islam is permissible. In the Koran there is no specific age of marriage...[If the government imposed new laws against child marriage] There will be violent conflict from the Muslims, saying that 'no, we will not accept this, we'd rather die than accept something which is not a law from Allah.'[5]
Ahmed Sani Yerima, former governor and current senator of Zamfara State, Nigeria
Nigeria has many uncountable problems and none of them is early marriage. As a matter of fact early marriage (is) the solution to about half of our problems. For those who wonder if I can give my daughter(s) out in marriage at the age of 9 or 13, I tell you most honestly, I can give her out at the age of 6 if I want to and it’s not your business. This is because I am a Muslim and I follow the example of the best of mankind, Muhammad ﺻَﻠَّﻰ ﺍﻟﻠَّﻪُ ﻋَﻠَﻴْﻪِ ﻭَﺳَﻠَّﻢَ...
Ahmed Sani Yerima, former governor and current senator of Zamfara State, Nigeria[6]
...it is permitted to contract marriage with a young girl and to hand her over to her husband to stay with him before she reaches adolescence.
Ruling on marrying young women
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid, Islam Q&A, Fatwa No. 1493
You can have a marriage contract even with a 1-year-old girl, not to mention a girl of 9, 7 or 8. But is the girl ready for sex or not? What is the appropriate age for sex for the first time? This varies according to environment and tradition.[7][8]
Dr. Ahmad al-Mu’bi, Saudi marriage officiant
Everything that is not forbidden is permitted. [The new law in Yemen that set the minimum marriage age at 17] is a Western plot aimed at Westernizing our culture. The West wants to teach us how to marry, conceive and divorce. This is cultural colonization that we reject.[9]
Sheik Mohammed al-Hazmi, a legislator in Yemen, 2009
Because this happened to the Prophet, we cannot tell people that it is prohibited to marry at an early age.[10]
Sheikh Hamoud Hashim al-Tharihi, general secretary of the Vice and Virtue Committee and member of the Islah Party in Yemen
...it is permitted to contract marriage with a young girl and to hand her over to her husband to stay with him before she reaches adolescence.
Ruling on marrying young women
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid, Islam Q&A, Fatwa No. 1493
...If she is married without her permission, by threat or coercion, then the marriage is not valid. The only exeption is in the case of the father and his daughter who is less than nine years of age. There is no harm if he gets her married while she is less than nine years old, according to the correct opinion. This is based on the messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) marrying Aisha without her consent when she was less than nine years old, as is stated in authentic Hadith...[11]
Shaikh ibn Baz's answer on the Q & A site of the Muslim Students Organization of the University of Houston
Banning child marriage will cause challenging the marriage of the holy prophet of Islam, who also married minor Ayesha, when she was just eight years old. The new law [seeking to ban child marriages] initiated by the current government [of Bangladesh] will put the moral character of the prophet into controversy and challenge. Islam permits child marriage and it will not be tolerated if any ruler will ever try to touch this issue in the name of giving more rights to women.[12]
Mufti Fazlul Haque Amini

See Also

References