By David Wood For the Western mind, perhaps the most disturbing fact about Islam is that its founder had a sexual relationship with a nine-year-old girl. Because of this, it has become increasingly popular in some circles to refer to the Prophet of Islam as a "pedophile. Since much of the following information will come as a shock to those who are unfamiliar with this issue, we must be careful not to jump to hasty conclusions about Muhammad. Pedophilia is one of the most serious charges that can be leveled against a person, so the term "pedophile" should not be used lightly.
Christians especially should be wary of flippant name-calling. Aisha was older than nine years old. Faced with the arguments of Western critics, Muslim apologists sometimes piece together information from various accounts in an attempt to deny that Aisha was as young as critics often claim: Aishah was therefore born in the year of the Call or a little before it, and she could not have been less than ten years at the time of her marriage with the Holy Prophet in the tenth year of the Call.
And as the period between her marriage and its consummation was not less than five years, because the consummation took place in the second year of the Flight, it follows that she could not have been less than fifteen at that time. The popular account that she was six years at marriage and nine years at the time of consummation is decidedly not correct because it supposes the period between the marriage and its consummation to be only three years, and this is historically wrong.
Many of these accounts are from Aisha herself. Aisha may Allah be pleased with her narrated that the Prophet may the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him married her when she was six years old, and he consummated her in marriage when she was nine years old.
Then she remained with him for nine years i. He stayed there for two years or so and then he married Aisha when she was a girl of six years of age, and he consummated that marriage when she was nine years old.
The Prophet may the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him wrote the marriage contract with Aisha while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years. Aisha may Allah be pleased with her narrated that the Prophet the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him said to her: Abu Bakr understandably objected at first, but Muhammad was able to persuade him to agree.
The Prophet the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him married me when I was a girl of six years. We went to Madina and stayed at the home of Bani-al-Harith bin Khazraj.
Then I got ill and my hair fell down. Later on my hair grew again and my mother, Umm Ruman, came to me while I was playing in a swing with some of my girl friends. She called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted to do to me.
She caught me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house. I was breathless then, and when my breathing became all right, she took some water and rubbed my face and head with it.
Then she took me into the house. There in the house I saw some Ansari women who said: The Hadith offers a certain amount of support for this view: My father died and I have young sisters, so I felt it not proper that I should marry a young girl like them who would neither teach them manners nor serve them.
I used to play with the dolls in the presence of the Prophet may the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him , and my girl friends also used to play with me. To sum up, the evidence makes it abundantly clear 1 that Muhammad had sexual intercourse with Aisha when she was very young, 2 that this relationship was pursued by Muhammad after he dreamed about her, and 3 that she was his favorite wife. The Arabs practiced polygamy. In the wake of custom the Prophet Muhammad married some ladies.
Hazrat Khadijah was fifteen years older [than] him at the time of marriage. Most of them were his age sake. In his fifties he married Hazrat Aiysha, the daughter of Hazrat Abu Bakr when she was just bloomed to youth. Hinting this marriage some of the orientalists charge Prophet Muhammad as a "pedophile". It was not only the Prophet Muhammad who had married a young girl [but] even the father of Hazrat Aiysha, Hazrat Abu Bakr had also married a young girl in his sixties.
Hence not to be taken seriously. Islam is utterly inconsistent with moral relativism. He wearies of the darkness and ignorance, corruption, immorality, idolatry, and disorder which surround him on all sides.
He wants to get hold of that power with which he might bring about the downfall of the corrupt and disorderly world and lay the foundations of a new and better one. He wanted to change the whole structure of society which had been handed down to them from time immemorial.
It seems, then, that they are suggesting a very inconsistent message. When confronted with an immoral practice in another culture, Muslims cry out in one accord, "We condemn these practices, for they are against the eternal, perfect, and unalterable Law of God! You should remember that he was from a different culture!
God had an important reason for it: It should be borne in mind that, like all acts of the Holy Prophet may peace be upon him , even this marriage had a Divine purpose behind it. Hazrat Aisha was a precocious girl and was developing both in mind and body with rapidity peculiar to such rare personalities.
She was admitted to the house of the Holy Prophet may peace be upon him just at the threshold of her puberty, the most impressionable and formative period of her life. It was the Holy Prophet may peace be upon him who nurtured her sensibilities and directed the growth of her faculties to the most fruitful channel and thus she was made to play an eminent role in the history of Islam. Moreover, she was the only virgin lady to enter the House of the Holy Prophet may peace be upon him and was thus very competent to share the feelings of other ladies of younger age who had numerous questions to ask from the Holy Prophet may peace be upon him with regard to sexual ethics and morality.
These ladies felt shy of asking them through the elderly wives of the Holy Prophet may peace be upon him out of modesty. They could speak out their minds comparatively more freely to Aisha who was more or less of their own age group. Can anyone logically deny this? Young girls who had questions about sex needed someone to talk to, and who better for this task than the young wife of the Prophet?
Further, Muhammad wanted to establish puberty as an appropriate age for marriage, so he decided to demonstrate this rule by marrying Aisha. Muslims have failed to offer a sufficient reason for God to ordain the marriage. There are numerous problems with this defense. First, such a response could be used to justify nearly any behavior. Consider a husband on trial for beating his wife. When he takes the stand, he explains, "Your Honor, many women are victims of spousal abuse, and they need someone to talk to.
Out of the kindness of my heart, I decided to beat my wife, so that she would be able to comfort other women whose husbands beat them.
For instance, Muhammad allowed husbands to beat their wives. Was it necessary for Muhammad to beat his wives in order to establish this as a law?
Similarly, when an American lawmaker says that killing someone in self-defense is acceptable, no one argues that the lawmaker must go out and kill someone in self-defense if his law is to stand. Hence, the argument that Muhammad needed to marry a young girl to establish puberty as the appropriate age for marriage completely fails. Third, the Muslim claim that Aisha was a "precocious child" strains the evidence.
She was also still playing with dolls. Based on the evidence, Aisha sounds like a normal little girl, not like a young adult. According to Surah Based solely on However, if we consider early Muslim commentaries on the verse, the understanding I give above appears strongest.
To read these commentaries, click here. Many Muslims claim that, as soon as a young girl gets her first period, she is ready to bear children. This "old enough to bleed, old enough to breed" mentality, aside from being disgusting, is completely false. Children that young are still growing; when they become pregnant, their bodies divert nutritional resources to the developing fetus, depriving the growing girls of much-needed vitamins and minerals.
For a discussion of child-brides, click here. The West has discerned the dangers posed by adolescent pregnancies. Muslim apologists often claim that marriage to young girls was common in biblical times. This may be correct, but it is because these marriages were part of the culture, not because God endorsed them. Whereas many Christian countries have recognized the potential harms brought on by pregnancies among adolescent girls and have raised the legal age for marriage, Muslim countries are often kept from such advancements because of Muhammad.
The dangers have even been noted by the United Nations, which issued the following report in an attempt to curb the practices supported by Islam: Traditional cultural practices reflect values and beliefs held by members of a community for periods often spanning generations. Every social grouping in the world has specific traditional cultural practices and beliefs, some of which are beneficial to all members, while others are harmful to a specific group, such as women.
These harmful traditional practices include female genital mutilation FGM ; forced feeding of women; early marriage; the various taboos or practices which prevent women from controlling their own fertility; nutritional taboos and traditional birth practices; son preference and its implications for the status of the girl child; female infanticide; early pregnancy; and dowry price.
Despite their harmful nature and their violation of international human rights laws, such practices persist because they are not questioned and take on an aura of morality in the eyes of those practicing them. Child marriage robs a girl of her childhood-time necessary to develop physically, emotionally and psychologically. Her husband, who will invariably be many years her senior, will have little in common with a young teenager.
It is with this strange man that she has to develop an intimate emotional and physical relationship. She is obliged to have intercourse, although physically she might not be fully developed. Health complications that result from early marriage in the Middle East and North Africa, for example, include the risk of operative delivery, low weight and malnutrition resulting from frequent pregnancies and lactation in the period of life when the young mothers are themselves still growing.
Early pregnancy can have harmful consequences for both young mothers and their babies. According to UNICEF, no girl should become pregnant before the age of 18 because she is not yet physically ready to bear children. Babies of mothers younger than 18 tend to be born premature and have low body weight; such babies are more likely to die in the first year of life. Poor health is common among indigent pregnant and lactating women. In many parts of the developing world, especially in rural areas, girls marry shortly after puberty and are expected to start having children immediately.
Although many countries have raised the legal age for marriage, this has had little impact on traditional societies where marriage and child-bearing confer "status" on a woman. It is unnecessarily dangerous, for a much safer relationship could be crafted if the marriage were to take place several years later, when the girl reaches her late teens.
Muslims may respond to this by arguing, "But Aisha never became pregnant, so none of this matters.