The importance of maturation age becomes clear when we consider its role in the following aspects:
Spiritual aspect: beginning of obligation of religious rites such as praying, fasting, performing hajj and other duties which are obligatory on a mature person.
Legal and judiciary aspect: being eligible for marriage and bearing other legal and judicial issues.
Economical aspect: being capable of approving financial transactions such as purchasing and selling properties or merchandize.
The point that we will talk about, is about the first aspect that is the maturity for fulfilling of the religious duties such as praying, fasting, performing hajj and other religious duties. With respect to the two other aspects - economical and legal and judiciary- we need to understand that not only the physical maturation is important but also the growth and mental maturation is necessary and sometimes this is more important than physical maturation.
In other words, we have three kinds of maturations:
• Bodily maturation that obligates religious duties.
• Mental maturation that enables to carry out legal and judiciary duties.
• Economical maturation that ensures capability to carry out financial transactions.
Based on Islamic anecdotes, there are two norms for recognition of the boys and the girls age of maturity: one of them is the specified age of maturation and the other is bodily maturation.
Some of our scholars emphasize that boys' maturation is when they see sperm (ihtelam) and the girls’ when they start to have menses. Therefore, when a boy sees sperm or a girl sees blood in period of menses (haiz), it indicates that they are matured and they have reached the age of maturation.
Whereas some others state that the age of nine for girls and fifteen for boys is the age of maturation. Some also state that both the boys and girls maturation age is 13 years old.
Our deductions from the verses and Islamic traditions are:
If a nine–year-old girl gets her menses then she is mature at that age. If her menses start anytime between the age of nine and thirteen, this will be her age of maturation. She must perform religious duties from that time on. Even though she does not start her menses at the age of thirteen, she is considered mature and must carry out her religious duties.
The recognition of maturation age of boys is like this: if the boy before the age of 15 years sees sperm, he has reached the age of maturation, and although he does not see any sperm at the age of fifteen, he is considered mature and must perform religious duties.
It is important to note that if some of the duties are hard for a newly matured person then he or she can perform that obligation, such as fasting at a reasonable future date.