For more information on Islamic laws on marriage, please see my previous posts:
It is also important to note that the Islamic Prophet Muhammed said that men and children are not, under Sharia, required to cover their hair: only women who are either available for marriage or married are to cover their hair. It is the role of the father (or, in his absence, the female’s wali, or ‘male guardian’, since women are never considered independent humans under Sharia) to determine at which age she is available for marriage and that this guardian is to signal this availability to the Umma (the Muslim community) by ‘imposing the veil on her’.
While the customary age for this is 9 lunar years of age, under Sharia, the female’s wali is the one who decides her eligibility for marriage, regardless of physical age or maturity. There is no lower limit and under some Islamic rulings, even an infant may be married off and her husband consummate the marriage – though if she is physically damaged by this, the husband will be responsible for her maintenance for the rest of her life (but she will not count towards his total of maximum of 4 concurrent wives).
And then, there is muta’a: the temporary ‘pleasure marriage’… Of course, if the girl is young, under muta’a, it is her wali who collects the mahr ‘bride gift/price’… because while a woman is entitled to own property, under Sharia, it is her wali who controls it for her – as a proper guardian should.
Isn’t Sharia wonderful? It can take something sordid and despicable and turn it into something virtuous that pleases Allah himself!