Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi, is the Resident Alim (scholar) at the Jaffari Community Center (JCC) in Toronto that provides services to the local Shia Muslim community.
Here are excerpts from Rizvi’s book “Marriage and Morals in Islam” published by the Islamic Education & Information Center:
Sexual desire is aroused in human beings at the age of puberty. In Islamic legal definition puberty (bulugh) is determined by one of the following: 1. age: fifteen lunar years for boys and nine lunar years for girls [8 solar years and nine months]…
Since the sexual urge begins at puberty and as Islam says that sexual urge should be fulfilled only through marriage, it has allowed marriage as soon as the boy and the girl reach the age of puberty. In the case of girls, it not only allows them to be married as soon as they become mature, but also recommends such marriage. It is based on such teachings that Islam discourages girls from postponing their marriage because of education; instead, it says that girls should get married and then continue their education if they wish to do so.
Physical maturity by itself, however, is not enough for a person to handle the marriage responsibilities; rushd (maturity of mind) is equally important…
If a person does not marry soon after maturing and finds it difficult to control his or her sexual desire, then the only way to fulfill the sexual desire is mut’a.
In Islamic laws, according to the Shi’ah fiqh, marriage is of two types: da’im, permanent and munqati’, temporary. The munqati’ marriage is also known as mut’a…
I cannot overemphasize the temporary nature of mut’a. The message of Islam is quite clear: marry on a permanent basis; if that is not possible, then adopt temporary abstinence; if that is not possible, only then use the mut’a marriage.
A textbook of the Islamic Shia Study Centre West Madrasah (ISSC) in Brampton, Ontario for 7 Grade explains the definition of puberty in Islam:
Signs of Bulugh [women] – As boys and girls grow into men and women, they change physically and emotionally. This age of maturity is also called the age of puberty (or bulugh in Arabic). Boys mature (become bāligh) closer to the ages of 13-15 years. Girls mature earlier and in Islām are considered to be bāligha from the age of 9 (i.e. on her 9th Islāmic birthday). This means whatever is wājib on adults like praying (salāh), fasting (sawm) and hijāb is also wājib on a Muslim girl from the age of 9 [8 solar years and nine months].