Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures

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Child Marriage: Arab States
(1,431 words)

Commonly accepted ages for contracting marriage have varied widely throughout Arab history but usually involved an older man marrying a substantially younger bride. While average ages at marriage for Arab men are currently among the highest in the developing world, marriage ages for women are relatively low. However, the Middle East has the most swiftly rising female marriage ages of any developing region, suggesting a situation of rapid social change in women's status.

The Prophet Muḥammad is widely believed to have married his third wife ʿĀʾisha when she was 12. Th…

Cite this page
Ibrahim, Barbara and Abdalla, Alyce, “Child Marriage: Arab States”, in: Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures, General Editor Suad Joseph. Consulted online on 30 September 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1872-5309_ewic_EWICCOM_0162a>
First published online: 2009

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