Writing in 1830s, Edward William Lane observed that few Egyptian girls remained single by the age of 16, but socio-economic transformation, educational reforms and influence of Western norms brought significant changes, and by 1920 fewer than 10% of Egyptian women married before the age of 20.
In 1923, Egypt's parliament set the minimum age of marriage at 16 for women and 18 for men.
The minimum age for a valid marriage was puberty, or nominally 14 for males and 12 for females.
There is no minimum marriage age defined in traditional Islamic law, and the legal discussion of this topic centered primarily on women's physical maturity.
This was based in part on the precedent set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad, as described in the hadith collections considered to be authentic by Muslims.
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According to these sources, Muhammad married Aisha, his third wife, when she was about six, As a general rule, intercourse was prohibited for girls "not able to undergo it", on the grounds of potential physical harm.The 1917 codification of Islamic family law in the Ottoman empire distinguished between the age of competence for marriage, which was set at 18 for boys and 17 for girls, and the minimum age for marriage, set at 12 for boys and nine for girls.Marriage below the age of competence was permissible only if proof of sexual maturity was accepted in court, while marriage under the minimum age was forbidden.In this context, it is important to remember that in halakha, the term "minor" refers to a girl under twelve years and a day.A girl aged twelve and a half was already considered an adult in all respects." In contrast to other pre-modern societies, Northwest Europe was characterized by relatively late marriages, with women tending to marry in their mid-20s.Disputes regarding physical maturity between the involved parties were to be resolved by a judge, potentially after examination by a female expert witness.Some modern Muslim authors and Islamic scholars, such as Ali Gomaa, who served as the Grand Mufti of Egypt, doubt the traditionally accepted narrative and believe based on other evidence that Aisha was in her late teens at the time of her marriage.In Manusmriti, a father is considered to have wronged his daughter if he fails to marry her before puberty and if the girl is not married in less than three years after reaching puberty, she can search for the husband herself.By Judaism, the minimal girl age, for marriage, was 12 years and one day, "na'arah", as mentioned in the ancient Talmud Mishnah books (compiled between 536 BCE – 70 CE, redacted in the 3rd century CE), Order Nashim Masechet Kiddushin 41 a & b.The incidence of child marriage has been falling in most parts of the world.The most current data from UNICEF (2018) shows that about 21 percent of young women worldwide (aged 20 to 24) were married as children; this is a 25 percent decrease from 10 years ago.