Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures

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Child Marriage: Ottoman Empire
(953 words)

Child marriage denotes the contracting or consummation of a marriage in which one or both partners are underage. In Ḥanafī legal doctrine (officially adopted by the Ottoman state, and practiced throughout its domains), a child (ṣaghīr) is a minor person (qāṣir) who has not yet reached physical puberty (bulūgh), marked for girls by the onset of menstruation and for boys by their first nocturnal seminal emission. For girls this was generally held to be 12 or 13, for boys 13 or 14, but sexual maturity could also be acknowledged at the age of 9 o…

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Yazbak, Mahmoud, “Child Marriage: Ottoman Empire”, in: Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures, General Editor Suad Joseph. Consulted online on 01 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1872-5309_ewic_EWICCOM_0162c>
First published online: 2009

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