What is the Legal Age of Marriage in Islam?

Bride and Groom Praying

The marriage ceremony is among the most delicate events in human existence, and the legal age of marriage in Islam is one of the most significant legal structures of Mankind. The need for readiness, physical maturity, and mental growth of people to begin an intimate relationship and get married is so great that many legal systems worldwide have declared an age minimum for the start of this stage of life essential. What is the Legal Age of Marriage in Islam? This article will thoroughly answer this most-asked question regarding different country laws.

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What is The Legal Age of Marriage in Islam? An Overview

Legal age is the minimum legal date for marriage for girls and boys, which differs across countries. Although many countries, as per the law, set a specific age limit for both boys and girls, this is done with parental consent in a few countries.

In Islam, the age of marriage isn’t specified. However, it is considered the time of puberty. The minimum age for marriage in Islam does not specify, but women who are 16 or older and men who are 18 are allowed to marry according to their wishes. When both genders are between 18 and 16, they can get married at their discretion and consent.

Here, we will explore the age of marriage worldwide by focusing on a few Islamic countries.

International Level

Globally, the legal age for one marriage for males is 17, while for girls, it is 16. However, most nations allow marriage at much younger ages, especially for girls.

In the United States, 12-year-old girls can marry in Alaska, South Carolina, and Louisiana; in Massachusetts, they can marry in certain circumstances with the judge’s consent.

In reality, even though the legal age to marry in the majority of States is 18 years old, each state is permitted exceptions, such as parental consent or pregnancy, allowing marriages with a lower age range.

Although many countries have established the minimum legal marriage age in the legal sense, they have not paid attention to actual realities regarding marriage for those who are underage or trying to halt it due to various motives. Many countries do not punish children who marry but instead consider these marriages to be illegitimate.

Weddings at a younger age are frequent in several Islamic countries, too. Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen are three countries that don’t prohibit girls from getting married at a younger age. According to Population Reference Bureau statistics released in 2013, one in seven Arab women marry before they turn 18.

According to the same study, 13 percent of women in Morocco are not legally married, compared to only 8 percent in Jorden. Additionally, in the majority of Arab countries, women are not permitted to sign their wedding contracts. They need a father or a male guardian’s permission to do this. Visit the halal matrimonial site to find out more!

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The Islamic Republic of Iran

By Article 1041, which is part of the Iranian Civil Code, the minimum age for marriage in Iran in girls’ cases is 13, while for boys, 15; marriages between these ages are subject to parental consent and respect of the best interest through a competent court.

Saudi Arabia

Presently, in Saudi Arabia, the minimum age for the marriage ceremony is ten, and based on the views of the muftis in Saudi Arabia, young girls can be married with their father’s permission, as there is no reason for the minimum age for women to marry. Accordingly, local and international media have reported several incidents of child marriages within the last few years, even those under the age of 8.

In response to criticisms of Saudi Arabia in this regard, the current laws in the country have limitations on minors, including the ban on girls who marry before the age of 15 without medical examinations, as well as proof of physical and emotional fitness of the couple. Furthermore, the law says that the courts must perform marriage contracts.

Based on this, the Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia has approved a set of guidelines prohibiting marriages between boys and girls younger than 15 years old. Under these guidelines, 18-year-olds who want to be married should obtain permission through the court system.


The legal age for marriage in Iraq for both genders is 18. However, girls can obtain marriage licenses from competent courts at 15. However, a few religious groups in Iraq are working on reducing the legal age for weddings in Iraq. Accordingly, one of these groups proposed lowering the marriage age for girls from 9 to 8 as part of a constitutional amendment. However, the Iraqi parliament denied the proposal.


The legal age to marry for boys and girls in Malaysia is 18, but Muslim girls can marry at 16 with the court’s consent. A marriage that is not accompanied by the approval of the religious court is considered illegal, and the bride may be punished with a six-month imprisonment. Of course, the law in Malaysia is not without loopholes.


As in Pakistan, the legal age to marry girls in Afghanistan is set at 16. However, underage marriages are still a significant issue that Afghan girls face. Three out of three girls are married younger than 18 years of age. Several children are married abroad, and marriages are not recognized as legal within the country because of traditional values.

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