Can girls who have not menstruated be married off?

The Details of the Question

- Does the statement in verse 4 of the chapter of at-Talaq, “and for those who have no courses, it is the same (three months)” mean that girls who have not yet menstruated can also be married off?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

- First of all, it is necessary to state the following: There are women who do not menstruate even after reaching the age of puberty, and there are women who menstruate at a very late age, or even women who do not menstruate at all. Therefore, the verse first of all clarifies the waiting period for menstruating and non-menstruating women.

- The verse uses the word to “nisa”. The word “nisa”, which is also the name of the 4th chapter, refers to a “woman”, not a girl.

- For example, children are excluded from the obligation; a person can only be considered a polytheist (mushrik) if he reaches the age of puberty; children are not considered polytheists, but are called “children of polytheists”. The three menstrual periods mentioned in the verse refer to the state of womanhood.

- Again, the word “muhsana” is used for a married, chaste and free woman. The phrase “who has no courses” means a woman who has not menstruated due to this or that disease or physical condition, but who has reached the age of puberty according to the climatic conditions of the region and has married within this framework.

- After the clear statement of the Quran, there can be no doubt about it. Positive sciences reach a conclusion based on certain experiences. The fact that so many girls got married at the age of ten or twelve throughout history and even today is a reality; if positive scientists claim otherwise, they contradict, first of all, the empirical method on which they themselves rely.

- There have been marriages at various ages for a long time. In Islam, it is left to people because it is a fact felt in the conscience that it does not fit humanity to have sex with six- or seven-year-old girls. According to the sources, women can reach the age of puberty at the age of nine. The woman’s body structure is also important for sex. Perhaps twelve can be regarded as the minimum age; being at the age of fifteen to eighteen is not a must. In fact, the customs and traditions of the regions also play a role in it. However, in our time, it is most appropriate to determine the best time for health from a medical point of view.

- According to the view accepted by Islamic scholars, the determination of the age of puberty is menstruation for women and ejaculation for men. The start of menstruation for women is around the age of nine and for men around the age of twelve. A woman who menstruates and a man who ejaculates are considered adults and are held responsible. If these conditions do not occur, the age of puberty is considered to be fifteen. (see Raddul-Muhtar, 1/306-307; Jazari, al-Fiqhu alal-Madhahibil-Arba’a, 1/123-127; Zuhayli, ibid, 1/456)

- There are also scholars who consider the age of puberty to be seventeen for women and eighteen to nineteen for men. (see Mabsut, 7/260-Shamila)

- In hot regions, the age of puberty and marriage begins earlier than in other regions.

- Menstruation means that the environment in which the fetus/child can be harbored is ready. This biological preparation is also an ontological document indicating that the menstruating woman is eligible for marriage.

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