Table of Contents:
- Firstly: Islam's Usurpation of a Small Girl's Right to Love through Forced Marriage without Consent
- Secondly: 'Aisha's Ability to Acquire Knowledge at a Young Age
- Thirdly: 'Aisha's Role in Educating Others about Islam after Muhammad's Death
- Fourthly: 'Aisha's Supposed Satisfaction with the Marriage
- Fifthly: Islam allows men to take sexual pleasure even from breastfed baby-girls
- Sixthly: Intercourse with 9 years old girls was not "accepted" or "the norm" even in the era of Muhammad
- Seventhly: Lame Excuse that the SHORTER life span in that era was the reason for early marriages of 9-year-old girls
- Eighthly: Earlier puberty in the past
- Ninthly: Extreme Dangers for teen mothers and their babies
- Tenthly: Even if they survive, still the Children of teen mothers suffer dreadful health problems their entire life
- Eleventhly: Nature is on Islam's side while puberty is an indication one has to start a sex life
- Twelfthly: Was 'Aisha 6 years old or 16 years old when she was married?
- 1st Objection: All these traditions are narrated by only one person i.e. Hisham bin 'Urwa and none from Medina narrated it
- Supporting Ahadith: 'Aisha was playing with dolls after her marriage
- 2nd Objection: Revelation time of surah al-Qamar
- 3rd Objection: Battle of Badr and Uhud
- 4th Objection: Age of Asma
- 5th Objection: Tabari's account of Abu Bakr's children and wives
- 6th Objection: Time of Umar's conversion to Islam
- 7th Objection: Tabari's account of Abu Bakr's migration to Habshah
- 8th Objection: The meaning of bikr
- 9th Objection: Fatima's age difference
- 10th Objection: Hadith said Aisha had reached puberty
- 11th Objection: Hadith in which Aisha menstruated
- 12th Objection: Aisha remembered the migration setting out to Abyssinia
- 13th Objection: The prophet Muhammad wanted a grown-up wife for his children
- 14th Objection: Verse 4:6 is proof that pre-pubescent girls cannot be married
- External Links: Aisha's age was 6 at the time of marriage and not 16
Islam permits the father or guardian to forcibly arrange a minor girl's Nikah with any man, regardless of his age, even if he is fifty years old. The father or guardian is not required to seek the minor girl's consent (and even if he asks, she is not in a position to give her consent due to her age).
For instance, Abu Bakr arranged a 6-year-old Aisha's marriage to a 50-years-older individual like Muhammad without even consulting Aisha.
This raises a critical question: What opportunities does such a minor girl have to mature and experience natural love with someone her own age?
The answer is disheartening: she has absolutely no chance.
It is truly astonishing that despite depriving small girls of the right to experience natural love, Muslims still claim Islam to be a religion in harmony with nature.
Islamic preachers assert that Muhammad married young 'Aisha because she possessed the remarkable ability to absorb a vast amount of knowledge due to her tender age.
Acquiring knowledge is not solely dependent on one's age but rather on their intelligence and memory.
Abu Hurayrah embraced Islam at the age of 26 and spent only three years with Muhammad. Yet, he absorbed a much larger amount of knowledge from Muhammad, narrating 5,374 hadiths, whereas 'Aisha, despite her younger age, narrated only 2,210 hadiths.
Muhammad also had wives like Saffiyah and others who were between 15 to 20 years of age. An intelligent 16-year-old woman is likely to better comprehend complex issues, absorb knowledge, and preserve it compared to 'Aisha, who, according to Sahih al-Bukhari, 6130, used to play with dolls at the age of 9 years.
Narrated `Aisha: I used to play with the dolls in the presence of the Prophet (i.e. after the marriage was consummated at the age of 9 years), and my girl friends also used to play with me. When Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) used to enter (my dwelling place) they used to hide themselves, but the Prophet would call them to join and play with me. (The playing with the dolls and similar images is forbidden, but it was allowed for `Aisha at that time, as she was a little girl, not yet reached the age of puberty.) (Fath-ul-Bari page 143, Vol.13)
Islamic preachers often use the argument that Muhammad married young 'Aisha so that she could live long after his death to disseminate his teachings.
Please remember that Muhammad also had wives like Saffiyah and others who were between 15 to 20 years of age.
If there truly exists an Allah, then he could have extended the life of any of Muhammad's wives. For example, a 16-year-old wife of Muhammad could also have lived long enough to spread his knowledge.
'Aisha passed away at the age of 65 years. So, wouldn't it have been equally possible for Allah to prolong the life of any other adult wife of Muhammad to 70 or 80 years?
Islamic preachers assert that:
- 'Aisha had no problem with being married at 9.
- 'Aisha’s father, family, and tribe had no problem.
- Even the arch-enemies of the Prophet (who were always looking to attack him) had no problem!
- But only the "illiterates" of the 21st century say: We have a problem.
Firstly, at times, oppression reaches such extremes that individuals forget about their fundamental human rights and begin to perceive the oppression as acceptable. A similar phenomenon was witnessed when Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery. Some slaves, despite gaining freedom, returned to their former owners due to the deep brainwashing they had endured. They had been convinced that being slaves and deprived of basic human rights was their rightful place. However, these wicked customs and societal practices remain unjust, even if they succeed in manipulating oppressed individuals into believing their fate is tied to these evils.
Secondly, if the arch-enemies of Muhammad didn't criticize him for any crime while they also practised it, then it does not make Muhammad free of blame. For example, if Muhammad had also started killing the newborn baby girls and his arch-enemies would have not criticized him for that (while they also did the same, as Muslims claim), did it make Muhammad free of blame too?
Moreover, the 2 dominant neighbouring empires had already prohibited intercourse with 9-year-old girls before Muhammad (you will see the proof later in this article). In Roman Egypt, Basra etc. a man could get severe punishments for seducing a girl under 13 because she was considered too young to give consent and not capable of fully understanding the risks to her.
Thirdly, you claim that Muhammad had the best Morals. So how come this man with eternally perfect morals couldn’t see that marrying a 6-year-old was morally wrong?
When you claim that Muhammad's morals were perfect for eternity, and his Sunnah (practices) should be followed in all eras, then you are automatically making marriage to a 6-year-old baby girl Halal today too. We can just hope that Muslims can understand the dangers of the claim of these so-called eternal Morals of the Prophet.
The next problem is that marriage with non-adult girls is not limited only to 'Aisha, but it is a GENERAL Ruling that it is Halal for any father/guardian to wed her non-adult daughter with any man of his own choice, without her consent.
The other non-adult girls (except for 'Aisha) don't have to absorb any knowledge to give it further (like in the case of 'Aisha). So, why did then Islam oppress them in this way?
Islam allows men to marry minor girls and to undress them, and to kiss their naked bodies, and to rub their penises in their thighs to ejaculate, and to take all other kinds of sexual pleasures from them (except penetration into their vaginas), even though those minor girls don't need to absorb any knowledge like 'Aisha.
الاستمتاع بالزوجة الصغيرة.. رؤية شرعية ۔۔۔
Taking sexual pleasure from minor girl according to Sharia.
فإنه لا حرجَ في تقبيلِ الزوجة الصغيرة بشهوة والمفاخذة ونحوَ ذلك ولو كانت لا تطيقُ الجماع وقد بيَّنَ العلماء أن الأصلَ جوازُ استمتاع الرجل بزوجته كيف شاء إذا لم يكن ضرر وذكروا في ذلك استمناءَه بيدها ومداعبَتها وتقبيلَها وغير ذلك
There is no problem to kiss the minor girl wife with intention of sexual pleasure and to do "مفاخذہ" which is to rub the penis between her thighs in order to ejaculate the sperms, or to do any other similar act. All these acts of sexual pleasure are permitted, even if she does not possess the power for penetration. According to Ulama, a husband is free to enjoy her in every way till the time no harm is done to her. So, the minor girl could masturbate him, foreplay could be done with her, she could be kissed and similar other things.
فإنه لا ضررَ في الإنزالِ بين فخذي الصغيرة التي لا تطيقُ الجماع وتتضررُ به إذا كان ذلك الإنزالُ بدونِ إيلاج، وقد بَيَّنَ العلماءُ أن الأصلَ هو جوازُ استمتاعِ الرجلِ بزوجتِه كيف شاء إذا لم يكن ضرر
There is no problem if husband rubs his penis between the thighs of minor girl in order to ejaculate the sperm, even the minor girl does not possess the ability for penetration... According to the Islamic Scholars husband is allowed to enjoy the minor wife in every possible way till the time she is not harmed.
Moreover, Islam allowed men to buy small baby slave-girls from the Islamic Bazaars of slavery, and then take all kinds of sexual pleasures from them. It happened due to another evil of Islamic slavery, where Islam allowed the owners to take away the babies from their slave parents when they get 2 teeth (i.e. when they are about 6 months old), and then to sell them in the slave markets.
Moreover, there are authentic reports where companions of Muhammad not only used to rape the captive women, but they also used to rape the captive small prepubescent girls.
I hated Ali as I had never hated anyone. ... The Prophet sent to us Ali, and among the female captives was a slave girl who was the finest of the female captives, and he apportioned the Khums (one-fifth of war booty given to the Prophet and his family). Ali divided the shares, and his head was dripping (after taking a ritual bath following sexual intercourse with the slave-girl). We said: "O Abu al-Hasan (i.e. Ali), what is this?!" Ali replied: "Did you not see the slave-girl who was among the female captives? I divided the shares and apportioned Khumus. Then she became part of the Khumus. Then she became part of the household of the Prophet, and then she became part of the house of Ali, and (thus) I had sexual intercourse with her." ...
Grading: Classed Sahih by al-Arna'ut
Istibra is a period of sexual abstinence required till the first period of the captive girl is over. This is to ensure no confusion on paternity. Since Ali raped that captive girl the same night without any Istibra, thus some people criticized this action of Ali.
Ibn Hajar al-Asqallani answered this criticism and wrote:
وقد استشكل وقوع على على الجارية بغير استبراء وكذلك قسمته لنفسه فأما الأول فمحمول على أنها كانت بكرا غير بالغ ورأى أن مثلها لا يستبرأ كما صار إليه غيره من الصحابة
"It was problematic that Ali Had sexual intercourse with the slave-girl without observing Istibra, and also that he apportioned a share for himself.
As for the first issue, it is understood that she was a virgin and not pubescent. He recognized that someone like her need not observe Istibra, and it is in accordance with the practice of other Companions."
Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari 8/67.
Please read more details in this article: Islam: Even a breastfed baby Girl can be married and used for sexual pleasure
Sixthly: Intercourse with 9 years old girls was not "accepted" or "the norm" even in the era of Muhammad
Islam preachers also come up with an excuse that it was tradition of that era that minor girls were also married without their consent, so we should not question this Islamic Ruling today.
Certainly, this erroneous Islamic ruling is subject to scrutiny for several reasons:
- Firstly, even if we were to assume that it was a prevalent practice during that era, the question arises as to why Allah/Muhammad did not abolish and prohibit this wrong practice.
- Furthermore, Muhammad did not even verbally condemn this practice.
- In contrast, he encouraged it by establishing it as a Sunnah through his marriage to 'Aisha.
Secondly, the claims made by Islamic preachers that this practice was common during that time are not truthful.
The Romans, for instance, were well aware that pregnancies in young women were highly risky due to the delayed widening of the pelvic floor and birth canal, which occurred in the late teens.
"For it obtains whenever women married before maturity conceive and give birth while the uterus has not yet fully grown nor the fundus of (the) uterus expanded*."* So they knew the pelvic floor and birth canal were not mature enough."
... "..difficult labor occur in those who give birth in a way which is contrary to nature? Diocles the Caerystan in the second book on gynecology says that primiparae and young women have difficult labor (link)"
... "How to Recognize Those Capable of Conception: Since women usually are married for the sake of children and succession and not for mere enjoyment and since it is utterly absurd to make inquiries about the excellence of their lineage and the abundance of their means but to leave unexamined whether they can conceive or not and whether they are fit for childbearing or not it is only right for us to give an account of the matter in question One must judge the majority from the ages of 15 to 40 to be fit for conception (link)"
Soranus had already made these suggestions about 500 years before Muhammed.
And under the suggestions of Soranus, the two empires of that time prohibited intercourse with 9 years old girls.
"Middle Persian civil law allowed marriage at age nine, provided that consummation wait until age twelve"
Byzantine law required that a girl attain the age of thirteen before contract-ing a marriage. Whether she would have consented to the marriage or not prior to this age is deemed immaterial as she would have no legally viable consent to give. All parties to a marriage needed to issue consent, including the groom, the bride, and her parents. In cases where a girl consented to intercourse prior to marriage it was assumed that she consented to the marriage itself and the families would then arrange it. However, if that intercourse occurred prior to the age of thirteen, the groom would meet with the law’s most serious punish-ments due to the girl’s assumed legal inability to consent."
So the 2 dominant neighbouring empires had already prohibited intercourse with 9-year-old girls before Muhammad.
In Roman Egypt, Basra etc. a man could get severe punishments for seducing a girl under 13 because she was too young to give consent and not capable of fully understanding the risks to her.
Seventhly: Lame Excuse that the SHORTER life span in that era was the reason for early marriages of 9-year-old girls
- In the vast majority of history, life expectancy was relatively low. Moreover, infant mortality was considerably high.
- Thus, it was then necessary to use the extent of the 'fertility window' for reproduction.
- That is why Islam didn't prohibit this practice, but the prophet Muhammad himself married a 9-year-old 'Aisha.
Many societies did not breed 9 or 10-year-old prepubescent girls and did just fine.
In fact, Sparta raised the marriage age from 18 to 20 with the primary aim of decreasing the number of sickly children. As a result, they observed an increase in life expectancy for women, which began to rival that of men. It became evident that child marriage was the main contributing factor to mortality rates.
- While Athenian women might have expected to marry for the first time around the age of fourteen to men much older than them, Spartan women normally married between the ages of eighteen and twenty to men close to them in age.
- According to Spartan ideology, the primary role of adult women was to bear and raise healthy children. This focus on childbearing was likely responsible for the emphasis on physical fitness in Spartan women, as it was believed that physically stronger women would have healthier children.
- Bearing and raising children was considered the most important role for women in Spartan society; equal to male warriors in the Spartan army. Spartan women were encouraged to produce many children, preferably male, to increase Sparta's military population. They took pride in having borne and raised brave warriors.
Hence, even with an emphasis on bearing numerous children, Sparta raised the age of marriage for women to 18–20 years. Interestingly, this decision did not hinder Spartan women from having many children. On the contrary, it led to a decrease in the mortality rate among both mothers and children. Additionally, this measure curbed the birth of weak offspring prone to diseases. As a result, only healthy and robust children were born, growing up to become outstanding warriors.
The average age of menarche (i.e. the first menstrual period in a female adolescent) today is about 11 to 12 years among girls. But Islamic apologists claim that puberty occurred earlier in the past, and thus it was ok for Muhammad to have sex with 9 years old 'Aisha.
Firstly, please note that 'Aisha didn't get menarche when Muhammad had intercourse with her at the age of 9 years, but she was still prepubescent. There is absolutely no proof that she got her menses at the age of 9, but modern-day Muslims have fabricated this claim on their own.
Narrated `Aisha: I used to play with the dolls in the presence of the Prophet, and my girl friends also used to play with me. When Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) used to enter (my dwelling place) they used to hide themselves, but the Prophet would call them to join and play with me. (The playing with the dolls and similar images is forbidden, but it was allowed for `Aisha at that time, as she was a little girl, not yet reached the age of puberty.) (Fath-ul-Bari page 143, Vol.13)
The Quran (verse 65:4) allows men to have intercourse with prepubescent girls who have not reached puberty yet (link).
Secondly, menarche does not mean that a girl has become able to have sex mentally and physically and have a child. There are girls who today get menarche at the age of 8 years or 7 years or 6 years or even at the age of 5 years. Does it mean it is ok to do sex with a 5 years old girl?
Just look at what modern science is telling you about the risks of death and injuries to small girls and their babies.
1. Science says 25-30 is the age of least risk to mother and child for a first pregnancy:
"With the onset of puberty, the female developmental trajectory diverges substantially from the childhood trajectory, whereas the male trajectory essentially continues its earlier course (Table S2). As a result, the female pelvis attains its obstetrically most favorable morphology around the age of 25–30 y, i.e., at the age of highest fertility"
2.. The younger the mother, the greater the risk. Childbearing in adolescents aged 12–15 years in low resource countries: a neglected issue. New estimates from demographic and household surveys in 42 countries:
"It is frequently cited that girls who give birth aged 15–19 are more than twice as likely to die as those in their 20s (1, 2). However, this fails to capture the fact that risk increases with decreasing age. ......girls aged 15 or under had an odds ratio for maternal death four times higher than women aged 20–24. "
3. It is not just mortality, it's fistulas. Science says it is a problem:
"In sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, obstetric fistula is very common, as access to and use of emergency obstetric care is limited ...... Several factors have been linked to the high occurrence of obstetric fistula in sub-Saharan Africa, including the preponderance of early marriage and teenage pregnancy, which in turn mean that the girls do not have pelvises which have sufficiently developed to allow reproduction . This is further compounded by the poor nutritional status of most of the girls who live in these highly deprived settings [11,12]."
4. Aid workers confirm death and fistulas are the problems:
"The greatest danger, however, is to the pelvic floor. Girls may start ovulating and menstruating as early as age 9, though the average is around 12 to 13. ........ Just because a girl can get pregnant, though, doesn't mean she can safely deliver a baby. The pelvis does not fully widen until the late teens, meaning that young girls may not be able to push the baby through the birth canal. The results are horrific, said Wall and Thomas, who have both worked in Africa treating women in the aftermath of such labors. Girls may labor for days; many die. Their babies often don't survive labor either.
Many women and girls who manage to survive childbirth in these conditions may suffer from fistulas—holes that develop between the vaginal wall and the rectum or bladder. When a baby's head becomes lodged during birth, it can damage the mother's soft tissue between its skull and her pelvic bones, causing portions of the tissue to die and creating a hole. Consequently, faeces and urine leak through the opening and out of the vagina. Such a condition leads to societal rejection and divorce for affected women, and young girls face an even greater risk.
Tenthly: Even if they survive, still the Children of teen mothers suffer dreadful health problems their entire life
The high mortality rate among children born to teen mothers is not the only issue; these children also endure other dreadful health problems throughout their entire lives.
- Early motherhood can affect the psychosocial development of the infant. The children of teen mothers are more likely to be born prematurely with a low birth weight, predisposing them to many other lifelong conditions.
- Children of teen mothers are at higher risk of intellectual, language, and socio-emotional delays.
- Developmental disabilities and behavioral issues are increased in children born to teen mothers.
- One study suggested that adolescent mothers are less likely to stimulate their infant through affectionate behaviors such as touch, smiling, and verbal communication, or to be sensitive and accepting toward their needs.
- Poor academic performance in the children of teenage mothers has also been noted, with many of the children being held back a grade level, scoring lower on standardized tests, and/or failing to graduate from secondary school.
- Sons born to teenage mothers are three times more likely to serve time in prison.
Is all this Data Islamophobic?
Famous Islamic apologist Daniel Haqiqatjou came up with this excuse in his video (link). He further claims that not having sex at puberty causes children to indulge in masturbation.
However, this claim is unfounded for several reasons:
The primary issue lies in Muslims' belief that their Allah is 100% perfect and that Allah has created a 100% perfect nature.
In reality, nature is not flawlessly tailored for humans or any other species. Nature follows its course, and as humans, we must adapt ourselves to its demands; otherwise, we face the risk of extinction. The same holds true for all other species as well.
While animals may be biologically ready for sexual activity at the onset of puberty, humans are different in this regard. There is a significant distinction between animals and humans in terms of their development and behavior, as humans undergo complex psychological, emotional, and social changes during adolescence.
- Animals don't need the "consent" of a weak partner, but they go for forced sex. But humans have the ability of thinking, and we have human rights, and giving "consent" is one of our fundamental rights.
- But Islam turns humans again into animals again. It took away the right of minor girls to give their consent, but their fathers can force them into sex with any man of their choice (even if he is an old man).
- Even puberty at the age of 9-12 is not enough to become mentally sound enough to choose a suitable partner. Mental maturity is totally different from physical maturity, and one becomes mentally mature at the age of 16 to 18 years.
- And animals may be "naturally" able to have sex and to have babies as soon as they become adults. But this is not the case with humans. We have provided all proof above of how girls at 12 (when they get puberty) are still at huge risk of different diseases including Fistula and death at the time of delivery. Similarly, how their babies are at extremely higher risk of dying during delivery or of suffering many diseases even after birth.
Therefore, does the fear of indulging in masturbation is a good enough excuse to indulge in the dangerous (and in some cases, life-threatening) practice of sex with grown-up men and pregnancy and delivery of babies?
Moreover, Muslim men were never satisfied with their one (or even four wives). They were constantly raping slave girls, and then selling them and then buying new slave girls for them. They were also swapping their slave girls among themselves. They were also taking the slave wives of their male slaves, raping them, and then returning them to their male slaves after fulfilling their lust. Please read this article for details and proof: Part 1: Crimes of Islamic Slavery against Humanity 🔥ʰᵒᵗ
A new group among modern Muslims has emerged in this century, which claims that 'Aisha was not 9 years old, but 19 years old at the time of consummation of marriage. You can read all of their arguments in these articles (1st article, 2nd article, 3rd article)
WikiIslam.Net has given a detailed answer to this issue.
There are many traditions from 18 Sahaba and Tabaeen who confirmed that 'Aisha was 6 years old when she was married. Their names are as under:
- 'Urwa bin Zubair (Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim)
- Aswad bn Yazid (Sahih Muslim)
- Abdullah Ibn Saffwan (Mustadrak al-Hakim)
- Abdullah ibn Abi Mulaikah (Sunan Nisai)
- Abu Salama bn Abdul Rehman (Sunan Nisai)
- Qasim bin Muhammad (Tibrani)
- Abdul Malik bin 'Umair (Tibrani)
- Abdul Rehman bin Muhammad bin Zayd (Tibrani)
- Yahya bin Abdul Rehman bin Hatib (Musnad Ahmed bin Hanbal)
- 'Umra bint Abdul Rehman (Ibn Saad)
- Abu 'Ubaida (Sunan Nisai)
And then there are other Sahaba (companions) and Tabaeen too who testified of her age to be 9 at time of marriage (but they didn't narrate it directly from 'Aisha). For example:
- Abu 'Ubaida from Abdullah Ibn Masood (Sunan Ibn Majah)
- Abu Ishaaq from Mua'sab bin Saad (al-Tabqaat)
- Yazid bin Jabir from his father (al-Mustadrak)
- Abu 'Ubaidah from Jabir bin Zayd (Musnad al-Rabi'i)
- Habib, the slave of 'Urwa (Mustadrak al-Hakim)
- Jaffar bin Burqan from Zuhri (al-Tabaqaat)
- Saeed bin Abi 'Aroba from Qatada (Tabrani)
It is impossible to deny these traditions, but still this group of modern Muslims try to make some lame excuses. Let us analyse them.
But this objection is false.
The traditions about 'Aisha's age at the time of marriage have been narrated by multiple alternative chains of narrations, including the people of Medina too.
Sheikh Haddad is a Sunni Hadith Master, and he replied to this objection as following (link):
Al-Zuhri also reports it from `Urwa, from `A'isha; so does `Abd Allah ibn Dhakwan, both major Madanis. So is the Tabi`i Yahya al-Lakhmi who reports it from her in the Musnad and in Ibn Sa`d's Tabaqat. So is Abu Ishaq Sa`d ibn Ibrahim who reports it from Imam al-Qasim ibn Muhammad, one of the Seven Imams of Madina, from `A'isha. All the narratives of this event have been reported. In addition to the above four Madinese Tabi`in narrators, Sufyan ibn `Uyayna from Khurasan and `Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn Yahya from Tabarayya in Palestine both report it.
There are traditions which don't mention the age of 'Aisha directly at the time of marriage, but they tell us that 'Aisha used to play with dolls after the marriage. This also proves that 'Aisha was still a child of 9 years old when she came into the house of Muhammad.
Narrated `Aisha: I used to play with the dolls in the presence of the Prophet, and my girl friends also used to play with me. When Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) used to enter (my dwelling place) they used to hide themselves, but the Prophet would call them to join and play with me. (The playing with the dolls and similar images is forbidden, but it was allowed for `Aisha at that time, as she was a little girl, not yet reached the age of puberty.) (Fath-ul-Bari page 143, Vol.13)
وَحَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ بْنُ حُمَيْدٍ، أَخْبَرَنَا عَبْدُ الرَّزَّاقِ، أَخْبَرَنَا مَعْمَرٌ، عَنِ الزُّهْرِيِّ، عَنْ عُرْوَةَ، عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم تَزَوَّجَهَا وَهْىَ بِنْتُ سَبْعِ سِنِينَ وَزُفَّتْ إِلَيْهِ وَهِيَ بِنْتُ تِسْعِ سِنِينَ وَلُعَبُهَا مَعَهَا وَمَاتَ عَنْهَا وَهِيَ بِنْتُ ثَمَانَ عَشْرَةَ .'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that Allah's Apostle (ﷺ) married her when she was seven years old, and he was taken to his house as a bride when she was nine, and her dolls were with her; and when he (the Holy Prophet) died she was eighteen years old.
According to Sahih Bukhari (link), 'Aisha explains she was a "playful girl" (jariyatun al-'abu لَجَارِيَةٌ أَلْعَبُ) when Surah (chapter) al-Qamar of the Quran was revealed. This group of modern Islam apologists claim that Surah al-Qamar was revealed 9 years before Hijrah, which makes 'Aisha to be much older than 6 years at the time of marriage.
But they are wrong as there is no proof present that Surah al-Qamar was revealed 9 years before Hijrah. Sheikh Haddad refutes them by stating (link):
The hadith Masters, Sira historians, and Qur'anic commentators agree that the splitting of the moon took place about five years before the Holy Prophet's (upon him blessings and peace) Hijra to Madina. Thus it is confirmed that our Mother `Aisha was born between seven and eight years before the Hijra and the words that she was a jariya or little girl five years before the Hijra match the fact that her age at the time Surat al-Qamar was revealed was around 2 or 3. A two year old is not an infant. A two year old is able to run around, which is what jariya means. As for "the comments of the experts" they concur on 6 or 7 as the age of marriage and 9 as the age of cohabitation.
This apologetic argument aims to make the claim that Aisha was at the Battles of Badr and Uhud, and that since standard practice at the time disallowed anyone under 15 from joining the battlefield, she could not have been younger than this.
Shaykh Haddad responds to this apologetic argument (link):
First, the prohibition applied to combatants. It applied neither to non-combatant boys nor to non-combatant girls and women. Second, `A'isha did not participate in Badr at all but bade farewell to the combatants as they were leaving Madina, as narrated by Muslim in his Sahih. On the day of Uhud (year 3), Anas, at the time only twelve or thirteen years old, reports seeing an eleven-year old `A'isha and his mother Umm Sulaym having tied up their dresses and carrying water skins back and forth to the combatants, as narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
One da'if (weak) hadith narrated from al-Zinad and recorded in the works of some medieval scholars, including al-Dhahabi (link), states that Aisha's older sister Asma was ten years older than her. This has been combined with improbable information about Asma being 100 years old at the time of her death in 73 AH to calculate that Aisha was eighteen or nineteen at the time of her marriage consummation (1 AH or 2 AH - (73 - 100) - 10).
Shaykh Haddad (link) and the IslamQA (link) website both independently criticise this approach as relying on a single narrator, who most scholars regard as weak, and note that a hadith by a more reliable chain from the same narrator gives a broader range for the age difference between the sisters. Both also note that al-Dhahabi too gave the vaguer opinion that Asma was "ten or more" years older than Aisha.
Apologists claim that al-Tabari's recorded that Aisha was born in the pre-islamic period, and thus could not have been less than 14 tears old (Reference: Al-Tabari, Vol. 4, Pg. 50, Arabic, Dar al-fikr, Beirut, 1979)
However, al-Tabari's own account reports at least five times that Aisha was around 6-7 years old during marriage and the marriage was consummated 3 years later (link).
Furthermore, Shaykh Gibril Haddad (link) says that the initial passage mentioned is misinterpreted, stating:
"Al-Tabari nowhere reports that 'Abu Bakr's four children were all born in Jahiliyya' but only that Abu Bakr married both their mothers in Jahiliyya, Qutayla bint Sa`d and Umm Ruman, who bore him four children in all, two each, `A'isha being the daughter of Umm Ruman."
However, even if the claim Aisha converted to Islam before Umar was true, it does not mean this took place during the first year of Islam, since Umar converted in 617 AD, about 4 years after Aisha’s birth in 613 AD (link). Furthermore, Aisha never remembered a time before when her family wasn't Muslim (Sahih Bukhari)
Besides disputing the claim that Ibn Hisham reported that Aisha accepted Islam quite sometime before `Umar ibn al-Khattab, Shaykh Haddad also casts doubt on the claim stating (link):
Nowhere does Ibn Hisham say this. Rather, Ibn Hisham lists `A'isha among 'those that accepted Islam because of Abu Bakr.' This does not mean that she embraced Islam during the first year of Islam. Nor does it mean that she necessarily embraced Islam before `Umar (year 6) although she was born the previous year (year 7 before the Hijra) although it is understood she will automatically follow her father's choice even before the age of reason.
This argument claims that al-Tabari states that when Abu Bakr was planning to migrate to Abyssinia (Ethiopia), he spoke to Mut`am, with whose son, Jabayr, Aisha was engaged. This migration occurred eight years before hijrah, at which time Aisha had only just been born if she consummated her marriage to Muhammad at the age of 9 or 10.
Proponents of this claim admit they have no primary source, which originated in Kandhalvi's Urdu booklet (link). Shayk Haddad responds that "there is no mention of emigration in Tabari's account of Abu Bakr's discussion with Mut`im" and "there had been only some preliminary talk, not a formal arrangement".
This argument cites a hadith in Ibn Hanbal's Musnad saying that Khaulah suggested Aisha to Muhammad as a virgin (bikr) he could marry. The claim is that bikr would not be used for a young girl (link).
However, there are multiple sahih hadith narrations of a highly relevant conversation between Muhammad and Jabir in which bikr (virgin) is clearly compatible with jariyah (young girl).
Narrated Jabir: "Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said to me, "Have you got married O Jabir?" I replied, "Yes." He asked "What, a virgin [bikr] or a matron [thayyib]?" I replied, "Not a virgin but a matron." He said, "Why did you not marry a young girl [jariyah] who would have fondled with you?
Shaykh Haddad (link) says regarding the claim, "This is ignorant nonsense, bikr means a virgin girl, a girl who has never been married even if her age is 0 and there is no unclarity here whatsoever.".
This claim is that according to ibn Hajar, Fatima was five years older than Aisha and Muhammad was 35 years old when Fatima was born. Therefore, based on this claim, Aisha must have been a teenager at the time her marriage was consummated.
Ibn Hajar mentions two versions: (1) al-Waqidi's narration that Fatima was born when the Prophet was 35; and (2) Ibn `Abd al-Barr's narration that she was born when he was 41, approximately one year more or less before Prophethood, and about five years before `A'isha was born. The latter version matches the established dates.
This argument is based on a mistranslated hadith, Sahih Bukhari 1:8:465, which in one English translation states that Aisha had seen her parents follow Islam since the age of puberty, and not a day passed by without Muhammad visiting them.
Narrated `Aisha: (the wife of the Prophet) I had seen my parents following Islam since I attained the age of puberty. Not a day passed but the Prophet (ﷺ) visited us, both in the mornings and evenings[...]
However, the word أَعْقِلْ means thoughts or reasoning, but the translator, Muhsin Khan, has used the word 'puberty'. The meaning rather is simply that 'Aisha was aware that her parents were following Islam. A literal translation would be "I was not aware of my parents other than that the two of them both acknowledged the religion". The exact same Arabic phrase is translated correctly by the same translator in another narration of the same hadith (link).
This argument is also based on a mistranslated hadith.
Sunan Abu Dawud 4915 (Ahmad Hasan numbering; 4933 Dar-us-Salam):
Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu'minin: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) married me when I was seven or six. When we came to Medina, some women came. according to Bishr's version: Umm Ruman came to me when I was swinging. They took me, made me prepared and decorated me. I was then brought to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), and he took up cohabitation with me when I was nine. She halted me at the door, and I burst into laughter. Abu Dawud said: That is to say: I menstruated, and I was brought in a house, and there were some women of the Ansari in it. They said: With good luck and blessing. The tradition of one of them has been included in the other.
Ahmad Hasan mistranslates Abu Dawud's comment as "That is to say: I menstruated".
Aisha's phrase "I burst into laughter" is fa-qultu heeh heeh (فَقُلْتُ هِيهْ هِيهْ), "And I said heh, heh". The Dar-us-Salam English-Arabic edition of Sunan Abu Dawud translated by Nasiruddin al-Khattab (Hadith 4933) renders Aisha's words here: "She made me stand at the door and I started to breathe deeply" (Dar-us-Salam does not include Abu Dawud's comment).
Abu Dawud's comment is "ay tanaffasat (أَىْ تَنَفَّسَتْ)", which is "That is to say 'I breathed'". The verb nun-fa-sin is used here in Arabic form V with the ta prefix and shadda (doubled) middle letter, which Lane's Lexicon says means "breathed".
Another hadith has been commonly misinterpreted in order to claim that Aisha remembered Muhammad coming to Abu Bakr when it was time to migrate to Abyssinia (modern day Ethiopia). This forced migration occurred due to what Urwa b. al-Zubayr in his first letter describes as the first persecution (al-fitnah al-ūlā) in Mecca, before the migration some years later to Medina.
The hadith itself does not state which migration it relates too.
Narrated Aisha: Rarely did the Prophet (ﷺ) fail to visit Abu Bakr's house everyday, either in the morning or in the evening. When the permission for migration to Medina was granted, all of a sudden the Prophet (ﷺ) came to us at noon and Abu Bakr was informed, who said, "Certainly the Prophet (ﷺ) has come for some urgent matter." The Prophet (ﷺ) said to Abu Bakr, when the latter entered "Let nobody stay in your home." Abu Bakr said, "O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)! There are only my two daughters (namely `Aisha and Asma') present." The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "I feel (am informed) that I have been granted the permission for migration." Abu Bakr said, "I will accompany you, O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)!" The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "You will accompany me." Abu Bakr then said "O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)! I have two she-camels I have prepared specially for migration, so I offer you one of them. The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "I have accepted it on the condition that I will pay its price."
Another hadith shows clearly that the above hadith actually refers to the migration to Medina, not Abyssinia. Notice the similar phrasing about Muhammad coming to Abu Bakr at noon after being granted permission to migrate. At the end of the quote, Medina is mentioned.
Narrated `Aisha: Abu Bakr asked the Prophet (ﷺ) to allow him to go out (of Mecca) when he was greatly annoyed (by the infidels). But the Prophet (ﷺ) said to him, "Wait." Abu Bakr said, O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)! Do you hope that you will be allowed (to migrate)?" Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) replied, "I hope so." So Abu Bakr waited for him till one day Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) came at noon time and addressed him saying "Let whoever is present with you, now leave you." Abu Bakr said, "None is present but my two daughters." The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "Have you noticed that I have been allowed to go out (to migrate)?" Abu Bakr said, "O Allah's Apostle, I would like to accompany you." The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "You will accompany me." Abu Bakr said, "O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)! I have got two she-camels which I had prepared and kept ready for (our) going out." So he gave one of the two (she-camels) to the Prophet (ﷺ) and it was Al-Jad`a. They both rode and proceeded till they reached the Cave at the mountain of Thaur where they hid themselves. Amir bin Fuhaira was the slave of `Abdullah bin at-Tufail bin Sakhbara `Aisha's brother from her mother's side. Abu Bakr had a milch she-camel. Amir used to go with it (i.e. the milch she-camel) in the afternoon and come back to them before noon by setting out towards them in the early morning when it was still dark and then he would take it to the pasture so that none of the shepherds would be aware of his job. When the Prophet (and Abu Bakr) went away (from the Cave), he (i.e. 'Amir) too went along with them and they both used to make him ride at the back of their camels in turns till they reached Medina. [...]
Pakistani Muslim Scholar Ghamidi also disputes the claim that 'Aisha was 9 at the time of consummation of marriage. His argument is that the Prophet desired a mature and grown-up wife to manage his household affairs and care for his young daughters. According to Ghamidi, 'Aisha's age at the time of Nikah was 16, and the consummation of marriage occurred when she was 19 years old.
However, this explanation seems weak. If we were to accept 'Aisha's age as 16 at the time of Nikah, a 16-year-old woman could have easily taken care of the children and the household. Why, then, did the Prophet wait three more years (until she turned 19) to bring her into his home? If he truly needed a woman to run the household, he could have done so immediately after the Nikah and consummated the marriage. The three-year delay raises questions.
Furthermore, the Prophet performed Nikah with 'Aisha even before marrying Sawdah. If 'Aisha was indeed 16 years old, there would have been no need for him to marry an older woman like Sawdah when a 16-year-old 'Aisha could have sufficiently taken care of his daughters and household.
This group of modern Islamic apologists also uses verse 4:6 as an argument to deny marriage to minor girls in Islam.
وَٱبْتَلُوا۟ ٱلْيَتَٰمَىٰ حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا بَلَغُوا۟ ٱلنِّكَاحَ فَإِنْ ءَانَسْتُم مِّنْهُمْ رُشْدًا فَٱدْفَعُوٓا۟ إِلَيْهِمْ أَمْوَٰلَهُمْ
And test the orphans until when they reached the age of marriage (Nikah), then if you perceive in them sound judgement then deliver to them their wealth.
Modern Muslim preachers claim that one gets sound judgement about his wealth when one is already an adult person. Thus, this means that Islam prescribed that one can marry only after becoming an adult.
Please take note that the word "Nikah" carries a double meaning in the Arabic language:
- In Islamic Sharia, "Nikah" is a specific terminology with the meaning of "marriage".
- However, in its literal sense in the Arabic language, "Nikah" refers to "sexual intercourse".
وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا۟ مَالَ ٱلْيَتِيمِ إِلَّا بِٱلَّتِى هِىَ أَحْسَنُ حَتَّىٰ يَبْلُغَ أَشُدَّهُۥ ۚ
Come not nigh to the orphan's property except to improve it, until he attains the age of full strength۔
In this verse, the term "أَشُدَّهُ" (full strength) denotes the age when young boys and girls begin to experience the desire or strength for sexual intercourse.
Please take note of the following points:
- Regarding Shar'i Nikah (marriage), there is no requirement for reaching the state of أَشُدَّهُ (full strength or sexual maturity).
- The evidence supporting this is that Muhammad himself performed the Shar'i Nikah with 'Aisha when she was only 6 years old.
- It is not customary to test a 6-year-old child for handling their property, as they lack both أَشُدَّهُ (strength/desire) and the necessary "sound judgment" to manage their assets.
Therefore, the concept of أَشُدَّهُ (strength) has no bearing on Shar'i Nikah, given that Muhammad married 'Aisha at the age of 6.
Even when 'Aisha came to Muhammad's house for the consummation of their marriage at the age of 9, she still lacked the mental acuity required to manage any property or business, as evident from the following hadith:
Narrated `Aisha: I used to play with the dolls in the presence of the Prophet, and my girl friends also used to play with me. When Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) used to enter (my dwelling place) they used to hide themselves, but the Prophet would call them to join and play with me.
Fourthly, according to Islamic Sharia:
- When a girl reaches puberty, then she herself gets the right to give her consent for the marriage or to deny the marriage.
- But if she is a minor or prepubescent girl, then her father/guardian can wed her to anyone, even without her consent (link).
- And if she is prepubescent and also an orphan, then her guardian has the right to wed her with himself (even without her consent), in order to get her property and wealth.
It is evident from the following Hadith:
Narrated 'Urwa: that he asked `Aisha about the Statement of Allah: 'If you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry (other) women of your choice, two or three or four; but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (the captives) that your right hands possess. That will be nearer to prevent you from doing injustice.' (4.3) `Aisha said, "O my nephew! (This Verse has been revealed in connection with) an orphan girl under the guardianship of her guardian who is attracted by her wealth and beauty and intends to marry her with a Mahr (bride-dowry) less than what other women of her standard deserve. So they (such guardians) have been forbidden to marry them unless they do justice to them and give them their full Mahr, and they are ordered to marry other women instead of them."
And it is also evident from the following Quranic Verse:
You also read them (the guardians) in the Book concerning orphaned women (in your charge) to whom you deny their ordained rights and yet wish to take them in marriage, as well as in respect of helpless children, that you should be just in the matter of orphans." The good you do is known to God.
And the orphan girl, in the above tradition, is a small orphan girl who has not yet reached puberty. It is due to the reason that:
- Firstly, after becoming an adult, the guardian cannot compel her to marry him without her consent.
- Secondly, after becoming an adult, the guardian cannot marry her by giving her less than a standard dowry (i.e. Haq Mehr).
- Thirdly, after becoming an adult, she will get full control of her money and property too, and thus the guardian cannot take control of her property any more.
- Fourthly, after becoming an adult, she is no more considered an orphan.
Moreover, Islamqa.com, one of the largest Fatwa sites on the internet, also refutes these modern Muslim preachers regarding verse 6:4 (link):
This verse 4:6 explains that an orphan’s money is given to him/her after they reach puberty and attain sound judgement. What’s meant by sound judgment is sound management of money. This can only happen after puberty.
“Reaching Nikah” mentioned in the verse means reaching puberty which can be known through sings such as menstruation for females and the growth of pubic hair. The verse used the expression “reaching Nikah” to actually mean “reaching puberty” because in most cases, it’s adults who perform Nikah. But this doesn’t mean that it’s not possible for non-adults to perform Nikah, which is permissible as proven by the Quran, Sunnah and the consensus of scholars. Plus, the same Surah and the same context of verses proves it (the permissibility of child marriage). (The verse that speaks about giving an orphan his money when he/she reaches Nikah is verse no.6) Verse no.3 says: “And if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphangirls, then marry (other) women of your choice, two or three, or four but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one or (the captives and the slaves) that your right hands possess. ”.
This verse proves it’s allowed to marry an orphan. And an orphan cannot be an adult. It’s reported in Sahih Bukhari Hadith no. 2494: “Narrated Urwah that he asked `Aisha regarding the Verse: 'If you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphan girls, marry (other) women of your choice.' (4.3) `Aisha said, "It is about an orphan girl under the custody of her guardian who being attracted by her wealth and beauty wants to marry her with Mahr less than other women of her status. So such guardians were forbidden to marry them unless they treat them justly by giving them their full Mahr. Then the people sought the verdict of Allah's Apostle for such cases, whereupon Allah revealed: 'They ask your instruction concerning women..' (4.127) “https://sunnah.com/bukhari:6965
Ibn Hajar (d.1449 AD) commented on this Hadith saying: “This shows it’s allowed to marry orphans who haven’t reached puberty. Because after puberty they can’t be called orphans.”
- WikiIslam.Net article on 'Aisha's age
- Islam QA article on 'Aisha's age: “The fact that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) married ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) when she was nine years old...........Based on that, the Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) consummated his marriage with ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) when she had reached puberty or was very close to it. ”
- Islam QA article on 'Aisha's age (2nd Article): Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid, Member of Senior Scholar Council KSA owner of well-known site islamqa.info fatwa “Refutation of the lie that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) married ‘Aa’ishah when she was 18 years old ”.
- 2008 Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America (amja):
- AskImam.Org 2012
- Islamweb.Net: It firmly establishes Aisha’s age at 6/9. “Qatar Ministry of Religious Affairs, Fatwa Team: On this site, there is a committee of specialists that is responsible for preparing, checking and approving the Fatwas. This committee comprises a group of licentiate graduates from the Islamic University, Al-Imaam Muhammad Bin Sa’oud Islamic University in Saudi Arabia, and graduates who studied Islamic sciences from scholars at Mosques and other Islamic educational institutes in Yemen and Mauritania. This special committee is headed by Dr. ‘Abdullaah Al-Faqeeh, a specialist in Jurisprudence and Arabic language.” Responds to an unnamed article that uses asma and engagement arguments. 2/12/2012
- Yaqeen Institute (USA) 2018: It addresses Hisham, Asma, Fatima, Uhud, Surah 54/Moon
Islamiqate.Com 2019: Though not a fatwa, it concerns a named scholar from Al-Azhar who also wrote about Badr & Uhud, Asma, Tabari, Fatima, Hisham, and migration to Abyssinia.
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