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Reaching Puberty

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Shaykh Hamza Karamali, SunniPath Academy Teacher

What are the signs of coming of age? Is there an age at which one comes of age despite the absence of any of the signs?

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

Signs of Reaching Puberty 

One can reach puberty through one of three ways:  

1.       Ejaculation of sexual fluid, whether during a wet dream or otherwise.  For males, this fluid is semen.  For females, it is the equivalent sexual fluid ejaculated at orgasm.  It is normally yellowish and thin, although it can have other characteristics, too.

2.       Menstruation (for women), provided this happens after completing approximately 9 lunar years.

3.       The completion of 15 lunar years (for both men and women), if none of the above signs appear by this time.  

(Nayl al-Raja bi Sharh Safinat al-Naja, 16-17) 

Religious Significance of Puberty 

One only becomes accountable for one’s actions (mukallaf) upon reaching puberty.  Before this, one’s sins are not written against one, although the reward for good deeds that one does is inscribed in one’s favour.  (Kashifat al-Saja)  

Note that it is obligatory on parents to command their children to perform religious duties once they complete 7 lunar years, and they are sinful if they delay doing this until the children reach puberty.

And Allah knows best.


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