Dear scholars, As-Salamu `alaykum. Is early marriage allowed in Islam? Jazakum Allah khayran.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Early marriages are originally recommended for Muslims; it is healthy and helps for chastity. Delay of marriages is very helpful for the Shaytan. Almighty Allah says: "And marry such of you as are solitary and the pious of your slaves and maid servants. If they be poor; Allah will enrich them of His bounty. Allah is of ample means, Aware." (An-Nur: 32)
The father of a girl must not delay marriage of his daughter if a proposal is received from a compatible man of equal status who is of sound religion and character. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "Three matters should not be delayed: prayer when its time comes, burial when the funeral has arrived, and the marriage of a single woman when a well-suited man has proposed." (Reported by at-Tirmidhi)
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) addressed the youths encouraging them to get married as soon as they are capable of shouldering the responsipility of marriage saying: “O youth! Whoever amongst you is able to marry, let him marry, because it helps him keep his eyes away from lustful looks and preserve his chastity. And whoever is not able to marry, let him observe fasting, as it is a shield for him (i.e. protection from lapsing in fornication).”
Early marriage doesn't mean that the spouses could be not mature and responsible, the Qur'an hints saying: "If you find them of sound judgement." (An-Nisa': 6) That means puberty or marriageable age is not enough to be qualified for marriage. If a son is capable to run a household life and he is able to maitain mentally, psychologically and financially and everything of his wife, then early marriage is the only way to keep our children away from haram.
In this context, Dr. Muhammad Sa`eed Hawwa, professor of Shari`ah at the University of Mu’tah, Jordan, states:
"Early marriage is recommended as long as the requirements of marriage are met including the ability of each of the spouses to fulfill his marital duties and protect his/her partner against temptation. The husband should also be able to shoulder the financial responsibilities at the sufficiency level. There is no specific age for marriage according to Shari`ah but the criterion is the capability of both spouses."
Among the benefits of early marriages is that "Married couples perform better at school or university and are more emotionally stable than singles. Also, living together with one's wife will cost one much less than if each one of them lived separately. The benefits of early marriage are extreme and it is highly encouraged in Islam if both of spouses are mature and responsible, and if the husband can support the family on the financial side."
Excerpted, with modifications, from: www.islamicity.com