Is it forbidden to enter the nuptial chamber before puberty?

The Details of the Question

- We are looking for a source that prohibits entering the nuptial chamber before the age of puberty (fiqh, hadith, etc.)
- Marriage before puberty is not forbidden but I remember reading something stating that entering the nuptial chamber is forbidden. It is definitely unreasonable and unfair to enter the nuptial chamber before puberty but we are looking for sources of it.
- We will be glad if you write fiqh, hadith, etc. sources.

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

- In Islamic fiqh, the age of puberty is related to age and menstruation, as well as being strong enough for sexual intercourse. It is a well-known fact that the difference of bodies causes different states regarding the issue.

- Therefore, Islamic scholars state that it is not permissible to hand over a little girl who is too weak to have sexual intercourse to a man - though it is permissible to marry her - rather than taking the concept of “puberty” into consideration. (al-Mawsuatul-Fiqhiyyatul-Kuwaytiyya, 30/122; Hashiyatud-Dassuki, 2/298; Mughnil-Muhtaj, 4/373; Kashshaful-Qina’, 5/186)

Therefore, the vast majority of fiqh scholars argued that the guardian could marry the child under his guardianship off - whether or not she was mumayyiz (discerning minor) without obtaining her consent provided that it was useful for her but that she would stay with her family until she reached the age of puberty since the actual marriage life could not be started. (al-Fatawal-Hindiyya, I, 287)

So, making the marriage contract does not mean entering the nuptial chamber. For example, a child can be married off and such a marriage contract is valid according to most of the scholars. However, until the girl reaches the age of puberty and accepts marriage, actual intercourse is not permissible. According to Abu Hanifa, that age is “seventeen”.

Some early period fiqh scholars such as Abdullah b. Shubruma, Uthman al-Batti and Abu Bakr al-Asam, stated that parents were not authorized to marry minors off on the grounds that they did not know the meaning and nature of marriage and had no need for marriage in any way. (Sarakhsi, IV, 212)

That view was preferred in the 7th article of the 1917 Ottoman Law of the Family Decree.

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