Why did Prophet Muhammad Marry Aisha; The Young Girl
Is the Purpose Criticizing the Marriage of Young Girls or Distorting the Picture of Prophet Muhammad?
Most of the Western people are astonished from the fact that the Prophet – Peace be upon him – married Aisha who was just nine years old while he was fifty. Some of them even called such marriage as rape and some of them condemned it. Not only this, but some of them portrayed the Prophet of Islam – Peace be upon him – as a man who is sexually suppressed and considered that as the real picture of Islam!!
They have ignored the fact that such marriage in such age in such era was a natural matter, therefore it is clear that they are not criticizing the early marriage of a nine-year-old girl to a fifty-year-old man as much as they are keen to criticize and distort the picture of the Prophet of Islam – Peace be upon him – and instigate others against him. Accordingly, this undermines their credibility and unveils their false human feelings and malicious intentions under the pretext of defending the rights of woman. If they were really seeking denouncing such marriage, they should have spoken about such marriage as a general phenomenon which appeared before Islam and continued after it and would not focus their criticism on one person as if he was the one who invented such marriage or the first one who applied it or the only one who did it. Prophet Muhammad – Peace be upon him – was born in a society in which early marriage was something ordinary and natural, therefore, he married the way others did. Moreover, his enemies, who tried to kill him, did not use such marriage as a pretext to distort his picture or instigate against him because it was an ordinary matter in such era, and they were themselves marrying girls in early ages.
2- If such Marriage was Strange, then why didn't the Disbelievers of Quraish use it as a Pretext against Muhammad
Those people competed in writing about such marriage and ignored the similar cases in the era where Prophet Muhammad was living. Why didn't the people - who criticized the Prophet for marrying Aisha- criticize the disbelievers who fought Muhammad and tried to kill him? They have married girls in early ages and even preceded the Prophet – Peace be upon him – in doing the same. So, if the intention of such criticizers is to criticize the relation between an old man and a young girl, they should have then spoken about the other similar cases which happened in the era of the Prophet – Peace be upon him.
3- What about Mary, Jesus' Mother peace be upon both of them? How old was she when she got pregnant?
Not only was it a custom in the Arab society to Engage/Marry a young girl it was also common in the Jewish society. The case of Mary the mother of Jesus comes to mind, in non biblical sources she was between 11-14 years old when she conceived Jesus. Mary had already been "BETROTHED" to Joseph before conceiving Jesus. Joseph was a much older man. therefore Mary was younger than 11-14 years of age when she was "BETHROED" to Joseph. We Muslims would never call Joseph a Child Molester, nor would we refer to the "Holy Ghost" of the Bible, that "Impregnated" Mary as a "Rapist" or "Adulterer".
"....it is possible that Mary gave birth to her Son when she was about thirteen or fourteen years of age...."
Also, this paragraph was sent to me by brother Mike, who embraced Islam recently; may Allah Almighty always be pleased with him: According to the Priest of Saint Mary's Catholic Church: "Mary was approximately 14 years old when she got pregnant with Jesus. Joseph, Mary's Husband is believed to be around 36. Mary was only 13 when she married Joseph. When she first was arranged with Joseph she was between 7 to 9 years old."
According to the "Oxford Dictionary Bible" commentary, Mary (peace be upon her) was was 12 years old when she became impregnated.
So if I want to be as silly and ridiculous as many of the Christians, I would respond to them by saying that Mary was psychologically and emotionally devastated for getting pregnant at a very young age. And speaking of "child molesting", since most Christians believe that Jesus is the Creator of this universe, then why did GOD allow himself to enter life through a 12-year old young girl's vagina? Please note that we Muslims love and respect Allah Almighty, Mary, Jesus and Allah's Message to the People of the Book (The Jews and Christians). In other words, we Muslims would never make fun of Christianity through such childish topic like this one as many ridiculous Christians do make fun of Islam through our Prophet's (peace be upon him) marriage.
Joseph, Mary's husband, was "90 years old" when he married 12 to 14-year old Mary! Was he too a pedophile?
"When forty years of age, Joseph married a woman called Melcha or Escha by some, Salome by others; they lived forty-nine years together and had six children, two daughters and four sons, the youngest of whom was James (the Less, "the Lord's brother"). A year after his wife's death, as the priests announced through Judea that they wished to find in the tribe of Juda a respectable man to espouse Mary, then twelve to fourteen years of age, Joseph, who was at the time ninety years old, went up to Jerusalem among the candidates; a miracle manifested the choice God had made of Joseph, and two years later the Annunciation took place."
Note: That article on Catholic Encyclopaedia obtains its information from एअर्ली Christian writing including apocryphal writings.
The Catholic Encyclopaedia goes on to conclude "...retained the belief that St. Joseph was an old man at the time of marriage with the Mother of God." If Christians do not find any difficulty in accepting "Mother of God" (according to Catholic Encyclopaedia), who was 12-14, marrying a 90 year old man then why do they raise objection towards the marriage of Aisha (RA) to the Prophet?
4- Did they know the Marriage Age in Judaism?
They should also focus on the stipulations of the Jewish religion which allowed marrying a girl of three years and one day old!!
The Old Testament narrated the story of the marriage of Ishaq Bin Ibrahim – Peace be upon them – from Refka while she was just three years old. The Genesis mentioned that Ishaq was born while Sara was ninety years old. Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, "Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?" (Genesis 17:17). Refqa was born in the same year in which Sara died: "Bethuel became the father of Rebekah. Milcah bore these eight sons to Abraham's brother Nahor. His concubine". In the next chapter thereof, the first paragraph, it is mentioned that: "Sarah lived to be a hundred and twenty-seven years old" i.e. Ishaq then was thirty seven years old, and Refka was just a baby. When he attained forty years old and she attained three years, Ishaq has married her. Refer to: "And Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan Aram and sister of Laban the Aramean". (Genesis 25:20). Talmud itself allowed making such marriage relation although the girl was just a child, as stipulated in the following teachings:
The 55th Commandment of Sanhedrin stated: "A maiden aged three years and a day may be acquired in marriage by coition".
The 54th Commandment of Talmud Sanhedrin stated: "Pederasty with a child below nine years of age is not deemed as pederasty with a child above that".
The 11th Commandment of Talmud Khathoboth mentioned: "The sexual intercourse between an adult man and a young girl is something ordinary".
Moreover, Saeed Rabi Joseph wrote: "The girl who attains three years and one day can make sexual intercourse" (1).
Therefore, in Judaism, it is not a strange issue to make a sexual relationship with a girl of three years, so why they criticized Prophet Muhammad – Peace be upon him – for marrying a nine year old girl.
5- Europe also allows Marrying Young Girls!
The marriage in early ages was prevailing in Europe itself, especially the early marriage of kings and rulers in the twelfth century for the purpose of creating alliances guaranteeing the continuity of peace. An example for that is the child empress "Anias", in France, the wife of two Byzantine Emperors: Emperor Alexios Kamanos II, and the Emperor Andronikos Kamanos I, respectively.
According to (William of Tyre), Anias was just eight years old when she reached Constantine while Alexios was thirteen years old (2). Moreover, the wife of Alexios Kamanos I was twelve years old when she married and became an empress before attaining fifteen years. As for the empress of Byzantium "Theodora" the wife of Manwel, she was thirteen years old when she married the Prince of Jerusalem "Baldwin III"; moreover, "Margret Maria Hingaria" married "Izak Anglos II" when she was nine years.
The age of Ainas in such era was not something extraordinary. It was even a traditional matter that the new bride and bridegroom meet in Constantine, in the house of the spouse who has the higher social rank (3). However, before Alexios completed the third year as an emperor, the cousin of his father Andronikos has appointed himself as an associate emperor (Born in 1118, i.e. he was sixty five years old) and then overthrew Alexios by force and married "Aainas" although there were about fifty years gap between them (4).
This clearly demonstrates that the marriage of young girls to men over sixty years old was something usual in Europe among the governing class itself; so, what about the public then? Of course such kind of marriage was prevailing among the public in Europe itself after more than five centuries from the marriage of Muhammad – Peace be upon him – and Aisha.
6- The Age of Consent in Most Countries Worldwide!
Apart from the European traditions in the medieval ages, if we look at the current era i.e. after 14 centuries from the marriage of the Prophet – Peace be upon him – from Aisha – May Allah be pleased with her – we will find that the age of consent is still early in various places. AVERT, an international Charity Organization interested in studying the HIV/ AIDS diseases, having its headquarters in the United Kingdom, and works hard for preventing this disease in all countries worldwide, mentioned a detailed table in its website about the age of consent worldwide i.e. the legal age of practicing the sexual intercourse worldwide or the age which is considered by the countries and governments acceptable for making a sexual relation.
AVERT stated that the Japanese people can practice sex legally in the age of thirteen year. In Argentine, it is allowed to practice sex in the age of thirteen. In Canada, until 1890, the allowed age of consent was twelve years (6). Similarly, the age of consent in Mexico is twelve years. In Panama and Philippine, the age of consent is twelve years. In Spain (7), Cyprus (8), South Korea, the age of consent is thirteen, while in Bolivia, the sexual age of consent is the maturity age (9).
If this is the case in the 21st century, why they deny it?
All such cases took place after 14 centuries from the marriage of Prophet Muhammad – Peace be upon him – and Aisha! You can also note that such countries which have several cultural backgrounds allowed practicing sex in early age; so, why some persons refuse respecting the traditions of a nation lived before 14 centuries? It is not possible or logical to force other nations to follow the Western or the American thinking concerning what is accepted or rejected! Especially before 14 centuries. According to the said table in the website of AVERT Organization, the legal consent age is different from state to another inside America itself, for example, the sexual fitness age in Aiwa, Missouri and South Carolina is fourteen while the age of consent in Arizona, California, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee and Weskinson is not less than eighteen.
This means that it is not logical or reasonable to criticize the other nations on the ground of the difference between them and the West or America concerning the age of consent. The states of the United States themselves are different in determining this age; therefore, it is silly or illogical to criticize an early marriage took place before 14 centuries. It is worth mentioning here that several organizations in the West have objected to rais the age of consent. For example, in Canada, such organizations corresponded with the parliament members via internet and requested to reject this proposal and demonstrated the dangerous effects thereof (10). One of such letters mentioned:
"Dear Parliament Member, I write to you in order to express my attitude concerning the age of consent which was increased from fourteen years to sixteen years… the proposal of increasing the age of consent is a backward dangerous movement and will make the young males and females practice sex illegally".
If we return back to the legal age which qualifies the girl to accept or reject the sexual relation or marriage in America and the West, we will find that the age of ten to thirteen was the ideal acceptable age of consent in the mid of the nineteenth century (11).
Moreover, the Americans should know that the legal age of practicing sex was just ten years in UK and America in 1885, i.e. just one year older than the age of Aisha when she married Prophet Muhammad – Peace be upon him – before 13 centuries. Stephen Robertson wrote in this regard: "In 1885, after the scandal which took place upon issuing the book of The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon, the English writer "Sted" unveiled trading in the young girls in London, and these campaigns became part of the war launched against prostitution in the United States. This scandal urged the British parliament to raise the age of consent from ten to sixteen and this attracted the attention of the American reformers to the law of their Country" (12).
The Western and American people should know the campaign of the Christian Woman Association for Preventing Alcohol (WCTU 1885-1990) and increasing the age of consent, as it was in most of the American states, and after issuing the general law, the age of consent was determined as ten years, while it was before seven years only in the state of Delaware (13).
The age of consent in one of the American States was just seven years, just 120 years ago! But the Western people did not know that and just criticized Islam and Muslims for the marriage of the Prophet – Peace be upon him – and Aisha – May Allah be pleased with her – while she was nine years more than 1400 years ago.
Anyway, our modern age, at the beginning of the 21st century, witnessed several early marriage cases in Europe itself, for example, the legal marriage age in Romania is 16 years. The child Ana Maria, The Roma Gypsy Princess, twelve years old, married the child Birita Mihai, fifteen years old. Roma King Florin Cioaba, the father of the bride, told the journalists:
"In fact, this is a happy day in the royal house; the best days of my life… it is better for the children to marry in an early age". Fasil Eunisko, from Roma Public Policies Center, stated: "The marriage of the princess did not happen by force, she was the sweetheart of the king and he cannot act against her wishes. We should preserve our traditions in order to preserve our identity and being. Therefore, it is immoral to prohibit the traditions and norms, and no one can prohibit it" (14).
7- Is it Logical to judge a Marriage Case that took Place before 1400 Years under the Laws of the 21st Century?
After demonstrating the age of consent for the American girl, which was until the last part of the 19th century just ten years i.e. one year older than Aisha when she married the Prophet – Peace be upon him – before 13 centuries; moreover, such age was just seven years in one of the American States i.e. two years younger than Aisha – May Allah be pleased with her, and having demonstrated that the age of consent is still ranging between twelve to thirteen years in most countries of the world, including Western and Christian countries; accordingly, there is no ground to criticize the marriage of the Prophet – Peace be upon him – and Aisha – May Allah be pleased with her – which was portrayed by the instigators as an offence against young girls. Such instigators exploited the ignorance of the Western community about the age of consent in the West and the non Muslim countries in order to instigate against Islam and portray the Prophet of Islam – Peace be upon him – as an offender. Such instigators are in fact hypocrite people because they are accusing the Muslims with things practiced legally and normally by non Muslims.
In brief, the early marriage still exist in the 21st century, and it is practiced by European and Christian people in the 21st century; therefore, why is the Prophet of Islam – Peace be upon him –blamed for such marriage which took place before 1400 years? This clearly demonstrates the non credibility of such instigators and their hidden aims under the pretext of defending the rights of woman and the human rights in order to gain the sympathy of the Western people toward Aisha the child who was "obliged" to marry a man more than fifty years old, as they allege. However, apart from the instigation of such criticizers who have concealed their actual aims, we would like to demonstrate some points about the marriage of the Prophet of Islam – Peace be upon him – and Aisha – May Allah be pleased with her – when she was nine years old, in order to understand the reasons and circumstances of such marriage.
Did they know the Arabian Peninsula before 14 Centuries?
It is worth mentioning that the Western principles and mentality in the 21st Century may not understand the Eastern & Arabian principles and mentality in the 6th century fully and completely! There is a wide gap between the two cultures, mentalities, and geographies. This is an important point which should be recognized, because judging a norm practiced by an Eastern community before fourteen centuries by a secular Western culture in the 21st century won't be just or accurate. Therefore, the Western people in this era should study such norm and understand the reasons which justify it. Anyway, such reasons are still convincing the Western and Christian communities which do not oppose the early marriage until today.
8- Brides in Africa are Younger than Ten?
In order to make the picture clearer to the Western people in the 21st century, let's compare between a nine-year-old girl in America and a nine-year-old girl in some countries in Africa nowadays. The American girl used to live a modern easy life with all means of entertainment, joy and luxury, while the African girl, in some of the black-skin countries, use to shepherd sheep, bring water from wells several kilometers far from her house, know cocking, clean the house, participate in the agricultural works, and carry out other tasks just like the older people in spite of her childhood. These responsibilities make the African girl in the 21st century an intellectually mature girl who is able to run her own affairs when her family is not at home. However, the American or European girl is living a modern easy life and do not bear such heavy responsibilities. She has a baby sitter if her family is not at home. Moreover, the African girl in the above mentioned example can take care of the western girl in spite of their equal ages. So, how about the Arab girl before 14 centuries? The Arab girl then was living in circumstances similar to the African girl in term of tasks and responsibilities. The Arab girl at seven and eight years, since 14 centuries, was fully mature and responsible just like the African girl in the above mentioned example. Therefore, she cannot be considered similar to the Western girl who has no responsibilities. Accordingly, the Western people should not compare the circumstances of the Western girl in the 21st century with the circumstances of the Arab girl before 14 centuries, because any judgment like this will be inaccurate and not just in the best cases. Moreover, the Western people should take into consideration that the body of the girl in the hot regions reaches maturity before the girls in the cold regions. The femininity of the girl in the hot regions appears before the femininity of girls in the cold regions; therefore, she will be qualified for marriage in early age. This is exactly the case in the Arabian Peninsula before 14 centuries. The environment of the Arabian Peninsula makes the girls mature in early age, contrary to the environment of Europe & America; therefore, there is no way for the criticizers to compare.
This fact was realized by the English orientalist R.V.C. Bodley, grandson of Sir Thomas Bodley, the founder of Bodley Library, author of "Wind in the Sahara", "The Messenger", and other fourteen books, after visiting the Arabian Peninsula. He said after such visit:
"Aisha, though was young, was mature and grew up quickly like the other Arab women. Such early marriage still exists in Asia & East Europe, and is a natural habit in Spain and Portugal until recently" (15). The English author added: "Since she entered the house of Muhammad – Peace be upon him – all people felt her presence, and if there was a girl knowing fully what is marriage, Aisha will be such girl. She has built her character since the first day of her life in the house of the Prophet – Peace be upon him – which was attached to the Masjed.(16)
9- It is not for Satisfying a Desire!
It is Following a Good Advice and wishing for Enhancing Relations with a Dear Friend
The marriage of the Prophet – Peace be upon him – with Aisha – May Allah be pleased with her – was not his own idea, it was an opinion by a woman called Khawla Bint Hakim, for the purpose of enhancing relations with the dearest friend of the Prophet – Peace be upon him – i.e. Abu Bakr As Siddeek, father of Aisha – May Allah be pleased with them – by way of affinity. Abu Bakr– May Allah be pleased with him – was one of the pillars of Islam and was the closest friend to the Prophet – Peace be upon him. He was the first orthodox Caliph after the death of the Prophet – Peace be upon him. It is worth mentioning here that the marriage of Aisha was made upon an advice by a woman i.e. such opinion means that such marriage was conforming to the customs and traditions of society and that such woman did not find such marriage a breach to the rights of Aisha or confiscating her freedom as alleged by the hypocrite people. Anyway, the Prophet – Peace be upon him – did not wish to reject marriage with Aisha, the daughter of the dearest friend. His loyalty to his friend, Abu Baker, made him pleasant to accept the offer in order to enhance relations between them. It is worth mentioning also that Aisha, before marrying the Prophet – Peace be upon him, was engaged to another man; Jubair Bin Mut'em Bin Adei. I.e. marriage in an early age was a norm & a custom widely prevailing in such era and no one denied or objected it. Moreover, after marriage, Aisha gained a high rank in the Prophet's life. The Prophet – Peace be upon him – was asked: Who is the dearest person in your life? He said: Aisha. He was asked: Who is the dearest person from men? He answered: Her father (17). Therefore, the marriage of the Prophet – Peace be upon him – with Aisha was not for the purpose of satisfying desires as portrayed by some people; contrary, it was done for several purposes. If the Prophet – Peace be upon him – was seeking desires, he would not then, while being twenty five years old, marry Khadija who was fifteen years older than him, and would not refrain from marriage until her death. Moreover, if he was seeking desires, he would not, after the death of Khadija, marry an old woman eighty years old; Sawda Bint Zam'a Al Aameriah who became a widow after her husband's death. The Prophet wanted to console her and to be an example for all Muslims in doing good deeds for the widows. Anyway, the marriage of the Prophet – Peace be upon him – with Aisha in such early age produced great benefits to Islam & Muslims. Being young, Aisha was able to learn and keep the principles of Islam from the Prophet – Peace be upon him – quickly; therefore, she gained wide knowledge in religion and became a reference for the old and young companions concerning the Holy Quran, jurisprudence, interpretation, and the prophetic traditions. She was one of the greatest scholars in jurisprudence, and was for the companions like a teacher. They were asking her about all things in Islam, and she delivered one fourth of the Islamic teachings (18). The Prophet – Peace be upon him – has qualified Aisha to be a good source and reference for the Muslims after him. Aisha was a young, clever, and bright woman with a strong memory; therefore, the Prophet – Peace be upon him – was confident that she will keep the great Islamic heritage assigned to her.
The revelation was coming down to the Prophet – Peace be upon him – every time he is in the house of Aisha only. This was an indication to her for focusing on understanding the great mission of her husband in order to perform her role in guiding the Muslims. The Muslims in the reign of Abu Baker, Omar, Othman, Ali and Mo'awiah – May Allah be pleased with them – learnt a lot from her and the scholars were consulting her in the religious issues. She remained a reference for the Muslims and a source for teaching them their religion.
Mr. Saeed Al Afaghani said: I have spent several years studying Lady Aisha – May Allah be pleased with her. I found myself in front of a miracle, and did not find the right description for her. She has vast knowledge, diversity of specializations and several fields of experience; jurisprudence, prophetic traditions, interpretation, juristic science, morals, poetry, medicine, history … She has mastered all such fields before being eighteen (19).
10- Let's Pause here!
It is important to know that the instigators who exploited this marriage to harm Prophet Muhammad – Peace be upon him – have relied on the ignorance of people about the details of such marriage and tried to gain the sympathy of the western people toward Aisha as if she was an American girl in the 21st century and was deprived of her childhood, while the actual facts are totally different. It is not logical to compare the American or Western girl in the 21st century with an Eastern Arabian girl before 1400 years. This is totally illogical because it is misleading and causing misunderstanding reality; therefore it will lead to misjudgment. If such criticizers want the Prophet – Peace be upon him – before 14 centuries to marry according to the American or Western customs in the 21st century, it is then their own affair; they cannot impose their own principles on generations preceding them several hundreds of years. It is not logical to issue judgments on the old generations according to circumstances which they did not live or participate or establish. Moreover, such criticizers did not compare the marriage of the Prophet – Peace be upon him – and Aisha – May Allah be pleased with her – with the realty & customs of several Western and Christian countries after hundreds of years and did not compare it with the marriage in the Jewish religion which allowed the marriage of a child when she attain three years and one day only. Therefore, this demonstrates the incredibility of such criticizers and discharges the Prophet – Peace be upon him – from their fabricated allegations and falsifications. It is worth mentioning here also that several prophets – Peace be upon them – were very old and married young virgin girls. The Bible mentioned that Dawood (David) – Peace be upon him - was old and caught cold and was not able to warm himself in spite of wearing heavy clothes. Kings1, the first chapter, stated:
"When King David was old and well advanced in years, he could not keep warm even when they put covers over him. So his servants said to him, “Let us look for a young virgin to attend the king and take care of him. She can lie beside him so that our lord the king may keep warm. Then they searched throughout Israel for a beautiful girl and found Abishag, a Shunammite, and brought her to the king. ”
It is a very clear picture; Prophet Dawood (David) – Peace be upon him - was very old; however, they searched for him a virgin girl tens of years younger than him in order to keep him warm. Such verses are speaking about sexual meanings such as warming Prophet Dawood – Peace be upon him – using a young beautiful virgin girl, as stated in the verses! So, why don't such people who instigate against Islam look at this issue and consider it rape? Why don't the Western media speak about such event the way they speak about the marriage of the Prophet – Peace be upon him – and Aisha? The reason is simple; the purpose of such criticism is not such marriage cases or relationships; contrary, they are seeking to distort the picture of Islam only, instigating against it and making people hate this religion and its followers! But the truth will appear some day, and people will surely discover the malicious goals and methods of such instigators.