Responses to anti-Islamic Polemics

The ‘Problematic Age’ of Aisha

The age of Aisha, daughter of Abu Bakr, when she married the Prophet Muhammad is something that has only recently become controversial. The traditional account is that the marriage was consummated when she was nine years old, which naturally appears strange, if not uncomfortable, to many in a modern, western context. Many have gone so far as to stir up despicable sexual misconduct charges against the Prophet, with even some recent Muslims (of varying levels of intellectuality, motivations and scholarly qualifications) revisiting the sources and reinterpreting the traditionally adduced narrations, to suggest that Aisha may actually have been older, even though there are four Ahadith in al-Bukhari and three in Muslim clearly stating that Aisha reached puberty at nine years old when her marriage was subsequently consummated with the Prophet.

The first most important point to note is that the controversy is a relatively recent one. The Prophet’s own contemporaries took no issue with the Prophet’s marriage to Aisha; it was not problematic in their eyes as puberty indicated maturity and maturity meant readiness for marriage. This includes both his disbeliever antagonists and his believing followers. Certainly, his antagonists were ever eager to discredit him, and the Qur’an itself records details of this. They accused him of being a sorcerer, a madman or a soothsayer. They objected to his marriage to Zaynab, remonstrating that (according to pre-Islamic Arab culture) a man may not marry the divorcee of his adopted son just as he may not marry the divorcee of his biological son. Yet they did not attempt to discredit him on the basis of his marrying a girl much younger than him. Neither in the Qur’an nor in any historical source is there any mention of such an objection having been raised, despite the fact that these sources do mention numerous other strategies used by the Prophet’s opponents.

The reaction of Muhammad’s hostile contemporaries implies that it was acceptable, in 7th century Arab culture, for older men to marry younger girls (even as young as 9), and moreover that it was a practiced norm of the society at that time. Instead of sexual promiscuity such as ‘dating’, honorable families instead chose the more respectable avenue of marrying their children off at a young age.

The general character of the Prophet, and his marital history, speaks clearly against claims of sexual misconduct. His first marriage, at age 25, was to a widowed woman (Khadijah) who was 15 years his senior, and he remained in a happy and solid monogamous marriage to her for a quarter-century; the marriage ending only with Khadijah’s death, aged 65. It was only subsequent to her passing away, and often under specific circumstances that he married other women; with all of them being either widows or divorcees. Aisha was the third wife of the Prophet and the only virgin that he ever married.

Muhammad’s marriage to Aisha must be read in context to early Arab culture, and to avoid viewing the veritable tapestry of human culture, across space and time, through the colored lenses of contemporary, western culture. A slight familiarity with anthropology is sufficient to convince one that there has been, and still is, remarkable variety in human cultural practices and norms. For instance the Catholic Encyclopedia observes about the Virgin Mary that, “it is possible that Mary gave birth to her Son when she was about thirteen or fourteen years of age.” In Shakespeare’s classic play Romeo and Juliet, Juliet was only thirteen, yet her mother tells her that “ladies of esteem” younger than her are already mothers. According to the Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood in History and Society, both Christian Canon law and European civil law considered seven years as the age of consent, but judges in medieval England would approve marriages based on mutual consent at ages even lower than 7. As recently as the nineteenth century, ages of consent of 13 to 14 were common in Western countries.

To conclude, Aisha’s biography attests to the fact that she had a wholesome upbringing and then blossomed to become a woman of high intellectual calibre, a poetess and a medical advisor. She had a sharp inquisitive mind and at times, as the Prophetic narrations show, would often daringly question the Noble Messenger.

She is one of the fore-ranking specialists in narrating from the Prophet.  She was also a commentator on the Qur’an and knowledgeable in Islamic law. Much of this was due to her early marriage to Muhammad, which made her an eye witness to the personal details of his life. She became a beacon of knowledge for the succeeding generations and a role model for women for all times.

Prophetic Timeline

11 replies »

  1. Good article , well analysed .

    I want to add that Ayesha was given in marriage to Prophet by none other than her own father Abu Baker .

    Is there anyone who can think better for a girl than her own father ?

    Abu Baker gave her daughter to Prophet that is enough of a proof that the age of Aisha was not a problem ,had it been then Abu Baker himself would have not done so.

  2. Their contention does not hold water at all, it is not much beyond a spell of undue hatred, if they could not prove: (1) that the practice of having a very young wife THAT REACHED THE AGE OF PUBERTY was a social taboo in the time of the Holy Prophet everywhere then in the world, and in the ages before and after (2) that reliable Scripture or NATURE itself in clear and unambigious way prohibits any man for whatever reason from marrying a young girl that reached the age of PUBERTY. And, going by the complete meaning of the word ‘pedophile’, how on earth could any sensible informed person ever label a man (however old he is) who MARRIED a young girl that reached the age of PUBERTY only for positive socio-political reasons as a ‘pedophile’? Besides, just call to mind that the Prophet never contracted a single marriage just for lust – he contracted each and every of his marriages only for positive socio-political reasons. Thus, his first wife (Nana Khadijah) was 15 years older than him (he was then only 25 years old) and lived monogamously with her up to her death (when he was already over 40 years old), another more than 20 years older than him (Nana Saudah, who was then an old woman of more than 80 years of age) and the rest all widowed or divorced women (each of whom in dire need of husband that would shoulder her responsibilities and which none could do better than the Holy Prophet himself in the society) with the exception of Hadrat A’isha who was the only virgin married by the Prophet and that only to foster socio-political ties with a very important member of the community.

  3. Their contention does not hold water at all, it is not much beyond a spell of undue hatred, if they could not prove: (1) that the practice of having a very young wife THAT REACHED THE AGE OF PUBERTY was a social taboo in the time of the Holy Prophet everywhere then in the world, and in the ages before and after (2) that reliable Scripture or NATURE itself in clear and unambigious way prohibits any man for whatever reason from marrying a young girl that reached the age of PUBERTY. And, going by the complete meaning of the word ‘pedophile’, how on earth could any sensible informed person ever label a man (however old he is) who MARRIED a young girl that reached the age of PUBERTY only for positive socio-political reasons as a ‘pedophile’? Besides, just call to mind that the Prophet never contracted a single marriage just for lust – he contracted each and every of his marriages only for positive socio-political reasons. Thus, his first wife (Khadijah) was 15 years older than him (he was then only 25 years old) and lived monogamously with her up to her death (when he was already over 40 years old), another more than 20 years older than him (Saudah, who was then an old woman of more than 80 years of age) and the rest all widowed or divorced ‘women’ (each of whom in dire need of a husband that would shoulder her responsibilities and which none could do better than the Holy Prophet himself in the society), with the exception of A’isha who was the only virgin married by the Prophet and that only to foster socio-political ties in the community.

  4. Here is the List of 100’s of young mothers. What is so interesting is that all the ages of marriage and pregnant are between 8 and 13.
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_youngest_birth_mothers

    What is so interesting is that when the age of consent was as low as 10 in America you see a whole list of American women pregnant at 10. Notice majority of the ages ate between 8-13 which is massive proof that the world accepted puberty as its minimum. So why do you blame the Prophet of Islam for following your customs in history. Now a person may claim we dont accept child marriages today unlike history. However that is your opionion that they are just a child cause people in history didnt see it that way. Puberty meant for them that she is now coming OUT of child hood. For that reason the age of consent was set at the time frame in which a girl had her puberty. And today it is more popular that girls get there puberty at 12 and 13 that is why in our modern time age of consent marriage is at 16 however in new mexico and new hamshire in united states consensual sex is accepted at just 12 and 13 the most common time of puberty for modern day girl🙂
    Proof: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ages_of_consent_in_North_America
    And http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ages_of_consent_in_North_America#

    See Link Mexico Age of consent can be as low as just 12.

    That is why the World Health Organisation has defined pedohillia with prebuscent children. Because it understood that puberty takes you out of childhood. So puberty age can be 9,1O,11,12,13,14

  5. To this day i havent seen a consistent islamaphobe who wants to attack Prophets marriage. I hope to find him one day.

    You all may ask what do u mean be consistent? Well the world health organisation defines pedophillia with a prebubescent child. As pedophillia. PROOF:
    http://scholar.google.com.au/scholar?q=world+health+organization+defines+pedophilia+with+prepubescent+children&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart&sa=X&ei=BNNgUP30K83tmAWkooCoCA&ved=0CCAQgQMwAA

    Notice it doesnt give you the age.
    So critics lie by saying all 9 year olds are prebuscent they are being inconsistent. Because its biological fact that all 9 year old girls are not all prebuscent! As some do attain Puberty by 9. Unless critics can prove all 9 year olds are prebuscent which is impossible because the science shows otherwise that 9 year old girls can have puberty. The only thing the critics are now left with is to prove that Ayshia was prebuscent when she was married at 9 to prove Pedophillia. However again this is impossible since there is no historical evidence to support this examination, Hence the critics have Zero arguement to Prove there case.

    • Hi
      I’m just wondering how you think it’s ok to have sex with a child, so what you saying? That you would allow your 9 year old daughter to have sex with a man between 30 and 50 years old and you would be okay with that.

      I’m just an ordinary guy I don’t know what you mean Islmophobe you sound like a homo looking for sympathy.

      I’m not afraid of Islam but you guys are seriously immoral how does a man have SEXUAL feelings for a little girl with a dolls?

  6. Hi Mustafa Sahin(ArmyofJesiusIslam)
    I think you guys need some help in your mind, a little girl of 9 years old who has started her periods does mean that she is ready to have sex with 50 odd year old having sex with her…in sanity

    You put a link to girls that have had babies what you revealed is a load of statistics of girls that were raped by unknown molested by fathers and grand fathers and also men from Muslims countries who have had sex with minors…one in particular 27 year old man having sex with his 9 year old wife.

    Any sensible person knows that because a girl has reached puberty it does not mean they are ready for sex…that is lawful molestation.

    It does not matter if Prophet Muhammad’s wife has puberty or not morally there is something wrong with the mind 54 years old and a little girl with a doll how do you justify having sexual feeling for a little girl….disgusting and its just sin.

    Please don’t try and appeal to the “Satanic” America for your justification

  7. This is Islam

    Layla M update: “Mentally-ill girl who was sold for sex faces death penalty in Iran.” From The Independent, with thanks to Anthony:

    A teenage girl with a mental age of eight is facing the death penalty for prostitution in Iran. The trial comes only four months after the hanging of another mentally ill girl for sex before marriage in a case that has prompted a human rights lawyer to prepare a charge of wrongful execution against the presiding judge.
    The girl, known as Leyla M, is in prison while the Supreme Court decides on her “acts contrary to chastity”, among the most serious charges under Iranian law. Under the penal code, girls as young as nine and boys as young as 15 can be executed.

    In an interview on a Persian-language website, the 19-year-old says she was forced into prostitution by her mother at the age of eight. Amnesty International refers to reports that say she was repeatedly raped, bore her first child aged nine and was passed from pimp to pimp before having another three children.

    She told the website: “The first time I was taken to a man’s house by my mum I was eight. It was a horrible night and I cried a lot but then my mum came the next day and took me home. She bought me chocolate and cheese curls.”

    Iranian press reports say Leyla was charged with controlling a brothel, having sex with blood relatives and bearing an illegitimate child. Amnesty says the court refused to admit social workers’ evidence of her young mental age and convicted her on the basis of confessions.

    Her prosecution echoes the fate of an even younger girl, Atefeh Rajabi, executed in August. In her case a judge known as Hajj Rezai reportedly put the noose around her neck himself after convicting her on the basis of her confessions for the fourth time in two years. She begged for her life while being led to the gallows, shouting “repentance”.

    What happened to the man she had sex with? Just a thought

  8. Hey
    She was married to the prophet at 6 years old and he slept with her when she was 9 years old! A prophet of god sleeping with a minor.

    You can try to jusify this but any normal balanced person in society knows that’s wrong.

    Don’t bring your mindset of lawful molestation to me try to pass it off as acting righteous.

    I’m still waiting for your reply…would you let your daughter have sex with a 50 year old man?

    Or more to the point would you have sex with an 8 or 9 year old girl?

    Now I can see what this religion is all about trying to pass itself off as the ONLY right religion in the world
    But in reality your prophet has made some SINS LAWFUL

    • Aren’t you one of the people who believe that your GOD has came to the world through the birth canal of a 12 year old girl (i.e: Mary) ???

      If the age of consent 1400 years ago surprise you that much, then that sounds suspicious that a Holy Spirit (the one you believe in) would impregnate a 12 year old girl (Mary, mother of Jesus) ?
      Joseph, Mary’s husband, was “90 years old” when he married 12-year old Mary. Was he too a pedophile???

      The age of consent in USA in the 1890s: Several states had an age of consent as low as 10. In 1895, the age of consent in Delaware was 7. !!!
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_consent_reform#USA

      That’s only in 1895 (only 118 years ago), the age of consent was as low as 7 !!!
      However, 1400 years ago, the age we are speaking about is 9.

      So technically, Arabia was much more advanced than your nice western nations.

      The Talmud states that according to the bible, Girls as young as 3 years old and 1 day were forcibly consummated into marriage. 3 year old girls were raped by the order of the God of the Bible (your, not ours).
      Reference: Ibid., vol.XXIII.B, Tractate Sanhedrin 1984, 150. See also vol.XIX.A, Tractate Qiddushin 10a-b, 1992, 33. “Menstruating” here of course refers to the ritual “flux uncleanness” described in Lev.15.
      For full information about this:
      http://www.answering-christianity.com/age3.htm

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