Did the age of girls start to be counted after puberty in ancient Arabs?

The Details of the Question

- They say the age of the children started to be counted after puberty in the past; is it true?
- Did the age of girls start to be counted after puberty in the ancient Arab culture?
- At that time, in the place called Darun-Nadwa, where serious decisions such as war were taken, ceremonies of “wearing shirts” were also held for young girls who reached puberty. They began to count their ages starting from that day. For example, if a girl participated in this ceremony at the age of 10, according to Arabs, that girl would become 1 year old a year after the ceremony. When she turned 10, she actually turned 19 years old. Is it true?
- Will you also give information about Darun-Nadwa?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Darun-Nadwa was the name of the meeting place where the Qurayshi tribe discussed and decided on important issues.

Qusayy (d. 480), who is considered the ancestor of the Quraysh tribe, united the clans of the Quraysh tribe when he took over the task of looking after the Kaaba and administering Makkah as a result of his struggle with the Khuza’a tribe. He placed the Makkans, who had previously lived in tents, in Makkah and its surroundings, with the Kaaba as the center, enabling them to live in dwellings.

In the meantime, he left the religious duties held by some Arab tribes to them, as he saw them as religious traditions that should not be changed. He took over the duties of sidana, hijaba, siqaya, rifada, nadwa and liwa related to the Kaaba, hajj and administration of Makkah.

He had the meeting place called “Darun-Nadwa” built to the north of the Kaaba, behind the place where circumambulation started, and had its door opened towards the Kaaba in 440 AD.

“Darun-Nadwa” was essentially a council of nobles. The leaders of the Quraysh tribes in Makkah above the age of forty could attend this assembly, where all kinds of war and peace decisions were made, opinions were determined, wedding ceremonies and shirt-wearing ceremonies for young girls who reached puberty were held.

According to Ibn Ishaq, before Qusayy had Darun-Nadwa built, those meetings were held in his house. Qurayshis were so devoted to him that wedding ceremonies used to be held in his house and any event that happened to them was discussed there; decisions to wage wars against other tribes were also made there. Clothing the girls who reached puberty in shirts was also done in his house; the part of the shirt that should be left open was torn there and put on the girl; then the girl would be taken home and dressed in a normal way. (1)

The person who led that ceremony was called “muhayyid” (2). (3) The meaning of this ceremony was as follows:

This girl entered puberty; anyone who wanted to marry her could marry her. That ceremony was held in the presence of everyone. (4)

To sum up, it can be said that there was a custom in the ancient Arabs that a ceremony was held for a girl who entered puberty and that girls were known by their age after menstruation. (5)


1) Ibn Hisham, Sirah, 1/77; DIA, Daru’n-nedve item.
2) Muhayyid: It means the person who performs the hayd (menstruation) ceremony. This title was given to Abdiddar, one of the sons of Qusayy, for performing this ceremony. For more information, see Azraqi, Akhbaru Makkah (History of Makkah), p. 113-114.
3) Ibn Hisham, 1/77-78; Azraqi, Akhbaru Makkah (History of Makkah), p. 113-114; Balazuri, Futuhul-Buldan, (Translated by Mustafa Fayda), Siyer Yayınları, Istanbul 2013, p. 58.
4) Muhammed Hamidullah, İslam Müesseselerine Giriş, (Transl. İhsan Süreyya Sırma), Beyan Yayınları, Istanbul 2013, p. 42.
5) see Musa Jarullah, Hatun, p. 81, Kitabiyat Yay. Transl. Mehmet Görmez.

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