Question: Can I marry a girl whose menses has not yet started? I am confused about this issue and need a detailed explanation from Islamic point of view. Can a girl whose menstruation has not yet started be given in marriage? plz clear my doubt.
It is permissible to marry a young girl (before she reaches the age of adolescence) whose menses (menstruation) has not yet started, according to the Shariah (Islamic law). There is an Ijma’ (consensus) of Scholars on this matter as was narrated. The following are the evidences for the same:
1) Evidence from Quran:
A clear Proof of this can be found in the words of Allah in Quran. Allah says in Surah Al Talaaq 65:4:
“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. And for those who are pregnant, their term is until they give birth. And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him of his matter ease.” [Al Talaaq 65:4]
Here Allah says “...وَاللَّائِي لَمْ يَحِضْنَ…” …that is “and those who have not menstruated…” which means he is mentioning about the divorce of those girls who are into a marriage contract and are very young so much so that their menses have not yet started. This proves that a girl can marry even if her menses have not yet started.
Al-Tabari (ra) in explanation of this ayah said: “The same applies to the ‘idaah for girls who do not menstruate because they are too young, if their husbands divorce them after consummating the marriage with them”. [Tafseer al-Tabari, 14/142 ]
Al-Sa‘di (ra) in explanation of this ayah said: “along with those who have it [menses] not” means minors, those who have not yet started to menstruate. Adult women who have never menstruated at all are like those who “despair of menstruation” (i.e., have passed menopause); their ‘iddah is three months. End quote. [Tafseer al-Sa‘di, p. 870 ]
2) Evidence from Hadith:
We know very well that the mother of believers, Aisha (ra) narrates that she got married to the Prophet (pbuh) when she was 6 years old and the marriage got consummated when she was 9 years old.
It was narrated from Aisha (ra) that the Prophet (pbuh) married her when she was six years old, and consummated the marriage with her when she was nine, and she stayed with him for nine years. [Narrated by Bukhari, 4840; Muslim, 1422]
3) Evidence from Scholars:
Ibn Qudaamah (ra) said: “With regard to females, the father may give his minor, virgin daughter who has not yet reached the age of nine in marriage, and there is no difference of opinion concerning that, if he gives her in marriage to someone who is compatible. Ibn al-Mundhir said: All of those scholars from whom we acquired knowledge unanimously agreed that it is permissible for a father to give his minor daughter in marriage if he arranges her to someone who is compatible, and it is permissible for him to do that even if she is reluctant”. End quote. [al-Sharh al-Kabeer, 7/386]
Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr said: “The scholars are unanimously agreed that a father may marry off his young daughter without consulting her. The Messenger of Allaah married ‘Aa’ishah bint Abi Bakr when she was young, six or seven years old, when her father married her to him”. [Al-Istidhkaar, 16/49-50]
No one may give a minor daughter in marriage except her father according to the view of Maalik (ra) and Ahmad (ra). This was also the view of al-Shaafa‘i, but he regarded the grandfather as being like the father in that regard. Abu Haneefah (ra) said – and it was also narrated from Ahmad – that it is permissible for a guardian other than the father to give (the minor girl) in marriage, but the more correct view is the former one. [al-Mughni, 7/33]
The father should not give a minor daughter in marriage except in a case where he thinks it is in her best interests. Just as he may only dispose of her wealth in that which is in her best interests, the same applies with regard to arranging her marriage. Islam only permits that to the Muslim father who is pious and pays proper attention to the best interests of his children, and who understands very well that he is a shepherd and that he is responsible for his flock.
Ibn Wahb narrated that Maalik (ra) said with regard to a man arranging a marriage for an orphan girl under his care: If he thinks that (the husband) is a man of virtue, righteousness and wisdom, it is permissible for him to do that. [Ahkaam al-Qur’aan by al-Jassaas, 2/342]
An important caution in this ruling:
The fact that it is permissible to marry a young girl does not mean that it is permissible to have intercourse with her; rather that should not be done until she is able for it. For that reason the Prophet (pbuh) delayed the consummation of his marriage to Aisha.
Al-Nawawi said: “With regard to the wedding-party of a young married girl at the time of consummating the marriage, if the husband and the guardian of the girl agree upon something that will not cause harm to the young girl, then that may be done. If they disagree, then Ahmad and Abu ‘Ubayd say that one a girl reaches the age of nine then the marriage may be consummated even without her consent, but that does not apply in the case of who is younger.
Maalik, al-Shaafa’i and Abu Haneefah said: the marriage may be consummated when the girl is able for intercourse, which varies from one girl to another, so no age limit can be set. This is the correct view. There is nothing in the hadeeth of Aisha to set an age limit, or to forbid that in the case of a girl who is able for it before the age of nine, or to allow it in the case of a girl who is not able for it and has reached the age of nine. Al-Dawoodi said: Aisha (ra) had reached physical maturity (at the time when her marriage was consummated)”. [Sharh Muslim, 9/206]
Finally, the advise on this matter to anyone would be that it is preferable not to marry off his young daughter unless there is a valid reason to do so. There is a difference between what is permissible and what is obligatory. Permissibility of something does not mean that you have to do it at any cost.
Al-Nawawi said: “It should be noted that al-Shaafa’i and his companions said: It is preferable for fathers and grandfathers not to marry off a virgin until she reaches the age of puberty and they ask her permission, lest she end up in a marriage that she dislikes. What they said does not go against the hadeeth of Aisha, because what they meant is that they should not marry her off before she reaches puberty if there is no obvious interest to be served that they fear will be missed out on if they delay it, as in the hadeeth of Aisha. In that case it is preferable to go ahead with the marriage because the father is enjoined to take care of his child’s interests and not to let a good opportunity slip away”. [Sharh Muslim, 9/206].
The Author "Abu Isaam Imran Ali" is a student of knowledge in Islam. He studied at Jamia Darusaalam, Oomerabad for a short period of time and also completed his diploma in Islamic studies (Aqeedah) from India. He then set out on the path of knowledge to Al Madinah Al Munawwara, to learn the sciences of Hadith, fiqh, tafseer etc from Major Scholars. He completed his Diploma from Jamia Islamia (Madinah Islamic University) and is currently pursuing his studies in Islamic Shariah from Mahad Al-Haram (Masjid-un-nabawi).