“Is it true that the prophet Muhammad, peace, and blessing be upon him, married a 9-year-old girl?”
This is the question that a Canadian Muslim woman poses with a group she is lecturing. Her presentation goes on to confirm several facts; yes Muhammad was a pedophile and it is completely normal.
Underage marriage is unfortunately still practiced quite regularly in places in the Middle East. The heartbreaking photos of these child brides are both horrifying and inexplicable to Western culture. Anyone who understands human development recognizes the cruelty of marrying a girl at such a young age. The emotional and physical damage will be permanent.
The scholar in the video goes on to explain how documents show that Muhammad married his bride ‘Aa’ishah when she was just 6 or 7-years-old and that the marriage was consummated when she was 9-years-old. This seems to be confirmed in other sources about the Quran.
A question and answer forum for Islamic questions show how several culturally respected scholars felt about the issue:
“Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
The scholars are unanimously agreed that the father may arrange a marriage for his young daughter without consulting her.”
“Ismaa‘eel ibn Ishaaq (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
The father may arrange a marriage for a young (daughter) according to the consensus of the Muslims, and that is binding on her.”
The woman says that while there are arguments that Muhammad’s bride was older, she tell the audience, “There is now expectation or demand that you qualify which of the two positions you take.”
To be clear, there is no doubt the girl was young. When the argument is made that she may have been older, they are simply referring to possibly a young teenager. Teenage marriages have been given a much wider acceptance, even in Western culture. There may have been a case for such things in centuries past but anyone with a teenager in this day and age will agree; they are almost never ready for such a serious burden.
This particular scholar is firm in her position on her God’s relationship. “There is no documented report stating that she was older. But there are reports, authentic [documents] that do clearly state that she was 6 or 7-years-old when she married and 9-years-old when she consummated the marriage.”
She then goes on to make the queries, “Am I disturbed by this? Should Muslims be disturbed by this? Was it wrong? Was the marriage of Aa’ishah wrong? History tells us no, in its historical context, it was not wrong.”
She puts a lot of emphasis on the time and place as if Muslim views are quite different now. However, we have just as much proof that they are not. Child marriages are still occurring disturbingly often. Even the scholars who appear to counsel waiting are very careful to make caveats.
“It should be noted that ash-Shaafa‘i and his companions said: It is recommended for the father or grandfather not to arrange a marriage for a virgin until she reaches the age of puberty and he seeks her consent…he should not give her in marriage before puberty if there is no clear and real interest to be served by that.”
There are several issues of contention there. One, the age of puberty for girls can be as young as 9-years-old. So giving the stipulation that a girl should not be wed until then is truly only protecting the very young and ignoring the fact that nine is still not an appropriate age of marriage.
Two, the added clarifier of “no clear and real interest” is vague and open to wide interpretations. A clear interest could be that the family of the girl needs the money. Is that an acceptable reason to marry off a 7-year-old? Clearly, the answer is no but by placing those words, and a lot of the scholars do, they can claim to be protecting the girls while they are obviously not.
The scholar goes on to explain that even though Muhammad’s bride was only six when married, they waited until she was nine to consummate the marriage. At age nine, the scholar says that everyone involved, ‘Aa’ishah’s parents, the community, and even Muhammad’s worst enemies agreed the time was appropriate. She contends that ‘Aa’ishah had opportunities to go to Muhammad’s enemies and seek refuge if she wanted to.
This ridiculous condoning of the act makes absolutely no sense. Should a young girl be expected to go to the enemies, not only of Muhammad but they would have been enemies of her family as well, to get away from a marriage her whole family was pushing her into?
“But she didn’t choose to do so and it was never the case that she ever complained…”
What exactly should a 9-year-old brainwashed, innocent girl complain after her family essentially gave her to their God? The woman is a pedophile’s dream with all her rationalizations.
Her absurdity is confirmed by other scholars of Islam as well, “rather the husband should not consummate the marriage with her until she is able to have intercourse, which is not necessarily at puberty. This is something that varies from one environment and time to another.”
Such arbitrary conditions pave the way for men with child brides to do exactly as they want with approval from the people in their culture with so-called wisdom.
Large populations of Muslim refugees mean that Western countries will have to address this issue eventually. Refugees have already shown blatant disregard for host country’s policies, there is no reason to believe they won’t conduct marriages they deem inappropriate.