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Muhammed's under-aged bride


Active member
Apr 30, 2005
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Summary of argument…
I have constructed this to show
a) Muslims regard Muhammad as the ideal man
b) the Haddiths, though not deemed 'perfect' are still relied upon by the majority of Muslims
c) that the Haddiths state that Muhammad consummated his relationship with Aisha when she was 9
d) that because of this, many Islamic secondary sources not only concur with this, but that
e) they provide advice to men with regards to under-age brides.
f) is this at all harmful?

A- Muslims regard Muhammad the best example of man.
Muslims believe that Muhammad is the ideal man - an example for all time (hence that is why Allah chose him - because he was a cut above the rest)
"The Lord of the universe, The Most Merciful and Compassionate sent about 124,000 prophets and messengers to every nook and corner of this earth to guide humanity towards understanding the purpose of its creation and thereby surrender to His Divine Laws and achieve its final destiny of Eternal Peace in His Paradise. The last messenger of God who brought His last revelation the Holy Quraan to humanity is Muhammad bin 'Abdullah, born in Mekkah, approximately 550 years after Jesus, son of Mary, peace and blessings of God be on them both. This is the account of this last Messenger of God, the most remarkable man, that human history has known."
"The Prophet accomplished all this through the strength of his character and personal example;"

B-The Haddiths though not perfect, are second to the Koran for sources of instruction for Muslims
"The Holy Qur'an :The most sacred book and the primary source of legislation.
Hadith : The second source of legislation."
"The Sunnah is the example set by Muhammad in all aspects of life, from spiritual to mundane. The Hadith are the stories and narrations of the Sunnah as told by various individuals who were close to Muhammad. The majority of Muslims regard the Hadith as equal in importance with the Quran"
"The Sunnah is the example set by Muhammad in all aspects of life, from spiritual to mundane. The Hadith are the stories and narrations of the Sunnah as told by various individuals who were close to Muhammad. The majority of Muslims regard the Hadith as equal in importance with the Quran"
Some might say that the Haddiths are not perfect, but that's only when compared with the Koran... "The point is not that Hadith is an unreliable source of information. On the contrary, Hadith lacks the level of reliability which is entailed in the basic sources of the Shari`ah. In other words, it is only when compared to the Qur'an and the Sunnah that Hadith seems wanting in reliability. Nevertheless, if one were to compare Hadith with, for instance, sources of other histories, it would easily surpass the reliability of the sources of other histories on all accounts. This is only due to the strenuous work done by the scholars of Hadith in this field of study."

C- The Primary Sources showing Aisha was nine when the relationship with Muhammad was consummated
From Bukhari vol. 7, #65:
"Narrated Aisha that the prophet wrote the marriage contract with her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old. Hisham said: "I have been informed that Aisha remained with the prophet for nine years (i.e. till his death).""
Bukhari vol. 7, #88:
"Narrated Urwa: "The prophet wrote the (marriage contract) with Aisha while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years old and she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death).""
Bukhari vol. 5, #234 says:
"Narrated Aisha: The prophet engaged me when I was a girl of six. We went to Medina and stayed at the home of Harith Kharzraj. Then I got ill and my hair fell down. Later on my hair grew (again) and my mother, Um 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, "Best wishes and Allah's blessing and a good luck." Then she entrusted me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage). Unexpectedly Allah's messenger came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age."
Aisha reported: Allah's Messenger married me when I was six years old, and I was admitted to his house at the age of nine".
(Abu Dawud's Hadith is the third most respected Hadith in Islam.)
From Abu Dawud, Vol. 2, #2116:
"Aisha said, "The Apostle of Allah married me when I was seven years old." (The narrator Sulaiman said: "Or six years."). "He had intercourse with me when I was 9 years old."
quoted at an anti-Islamic site...

verifiable by checking
which is an Islamic site that gives Koranic Suras, and Haddiths.

D(j)- Secondary Sources on Aisha's age from the same anti-Islamic site...
(Tabari wrote the most authentic Islamic history. It covers 39 volumes. Tabari was one of the greatest Islamic scholars and the greatest Islamic Historian.)
From Tabari, volume 7, page 7:
"....my marriage (to Muhammad) was consummated when I was nine....."
From Tabari, volume 9, page 131
"Then the men and women got up and left. The Messenger of God consummated his marriage with me in my house when I was nine years old. Neither a camel nor a sheep was slaughtered on behalf of me"......(The Prophet) married her three years before the Emigration, when she was seven years old and consummated the marriage when she was nine years old, after he had emigrated to Medina in Shawwal. She was eighteen years old when he died.
(I also want to provide evidence from the best Islamic Ency. available in English, and other Islamic writers. They also acknowledge Aisha's age being 9.)
FROM THE ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF ISLAM, under "Aisha". (pub. by E.J. Brill).
"Some time after the death of Khadija, Khawla suggested to Muhammad that he should marry either Aisha, the 6 year old daughter of his chief follower, or Sawda Zama, a widow of about 30, who had gone as a Muslim to Abyssinia and whose husband had died there. Muhammad is said to have asked her to arrange for him to marry both. It had already been agreed that Aisha should marry Djubayr Mutim, whose father, though still pagan, was friendly to the Muslims. By common consent, however, this agreement was set aside, and Muhammad was betrothed to Aisha.... The marriage was not consummated until some months after the Hidjra, (in April 623, 624). Aisha went to live in an apartment in Muhammad's house, later the mosque of Median. She cannot have been more than ten years old at the time and took her toys to her new home."
From the Muslim book "WOMEN IN ISLAM" by Said Abjullah Seif-Al-Hatimy, published by Islamic Publications in Lahore Pakistan:
"...(Aisha) She was the youngest of his wives. It is said that she was nine years of age when he married her."
also quoted at an anti-Islamic site...

verifable by checking
which is an Islamic site that gives Koranic Suras, and Haddiths.
end part 1
Part 2
D(ii)- Further secondary sources....
"The Prophet consummated his marriage with A'isha when she was nine and this was considered the age of consent for a long time."
also at

“3 – ‘Aa’ishah bint Abi Bakr al-Siddeeq (may Allaah be pleased with her)

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) married her in Shawwaal of the tenth year of the Prophethood. Ibn Sa’d, 8/58-59. She herself said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) married me when I was six years old, and consummated the marriage with me when I was nine.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3894; Muslim, 1422. Al-Bukhaari (5077) also narrated that the Messenger of Allaah (S) (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not marry any virgin apart form her.”

Muhammad married her when she was six (or engaged to her), and actually took her into his household (and consummated the marriage) when she was nine. However he had told of him 'dreaming' about her when she was 4 or 5!
Hadith Bukhari 5:58:235.
"...[T]he Prophet (Muhammad) said to her (Aisha), 'You have been shown to me twice in my dream. I saw you pictured on a piece of silk and someone said (to me). 'This is your wife.' When I uncovered the picture, I saw that it was yours. I said, 'If this is from Allah, it will be done.'"
Remember, that she was only a child. He is dreaming about a little girl who was six or under (because she was six at the age of betrothal).

E- Expert advice
(i) When is a girl considered in Islam to be a woman?

Muslim experts cite that once a girl menstruates, she's marriageable. This is based on the Koran...
When in Islam is a girl a woman?
Sura At-Talaaq
"And those of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the 'Iddah (prescribed period), if you have doubts (about their periods), is three months, and for those who have no courses [(i.e. they are still immature) their 'Iddah (prescribed period) is three months likewise, except in case of death] . And for those who are pregnant (whether they are divorced or their husbands are dead), their 'Iddah (prescribed period) is until they deliver (their burdens), and whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make his matter easy for him."

"Thus, it is part of Islam to acknowledge the coming of puberty as the start of adulthood. It is the time when the person has already matured and is ready the responsibilities of an adult."

"Islam teaches that female puberty begins when the menses is started. From Bukhari, volume 3, Book of Witnesses, chapter 18, page 513: "The boy attaining the age of puberty and the validity of their witness and the Statement of Allah: "And when the children among you attain the age of puberty, then let them also ask for permission (to enter)." Quran 24:59. Al Mughira said, "I attained puberty at the age of twelve." The attaining of puberty by women is with the start of menses, as is referred to by the Statement of Allah: "Such of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them prescribed period if you have any doubts (about their periods) is three months... [65:4] ...Al-Hasan bin Salih said, "I saw a neighbouress of mine who became a grandmother at the age of twenty-one." [1] [1] The note for this reference says, "This women attained puberty at the age of nine and married to give birth to a daughter at ten; the daughter had the same experience." My understanding of the above is that Islam considers that when a child "attains", or begins, "puberty", then he / she is considered an adult. Hence the validity of the witness. Muhammad followed a cultural norm in marrying and having sex with a young girl. After all, she was considered an adult. Not only did he do that, but he taught his followers to do as he did. Therefore is acceptable for Muslim men to marry and have intercourse with girls who have had their menarche. Muhammad established this cultural practice as a precedent in Islam. I add that there are other primitive cultures that allow girls to marry following their menarche. But that does not make it right or in the best interests of the child. Some cultures killed baby daughters for various reasons. Cultural norms do not make an action morally right"
(this is an anti-Muslim site)

E(ii) Actual advice to Muslims by Islamic centres of advice...
"According to the Shari'ah, if a girl is a minor (did not attain puberty), she may be given in marriage by her father. When she attains puberty, she has the right to maintain the marriage or discontinue the marriage. There is no age limit to be intimate with one's wife even if she is a minor.
It is important for you, in your situation, to consider the age difference reservation expressed by your wife.
and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best
Mufti Ebrahim Desai"

Here's some more good Islamic advice...
The Appropriate Age for Marriage
Question: What is the appropriate age for men and women to marry? Some of the young ladies of today do not accept to be married to men older than them and also some of the men do not get married from anyone older than them either. We hope for a response, may Allah reward you.
Response: I advise the young ladies not to refuse a man because of his older age. Even if he be ten, twenty or thirty years older, this is not a valid excuse. The Prophet (peace be upon him) married Aisha when he was fifty-three years old and she was nine years old. Older age is not harmful.

end part 2
part 3
"It is the duty of parents to arrange the marriage of their children when they come of age. The Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam has stressed that it should be taken seriously and with a full sense of responsibility. Abu Saeed Khudri and Abdullah ibn Abbas (R.A.) narrated that the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said "Whoever is blessed by the Creator with children should give them good names, a good training, teach them good manners, and arrange for their marriage when they attain the age of puberty. If he does not pay due heed to it and fails to get them married, on reaching marriageable age (due to negligence) and they take to ways that are forbidden, the father will be held responsible for it."

Here's another ruling from another expert site - a site that presents Islamic facts to Moslems...
Q). I have a nine year-old girl who is married to a person at the age of 20. The marriage contract was made a year ago but the girl is refusing to live with her husband or even to look at him. In addition to that she requires him to divorce her. Could you please advise me what to do? Should I separate them or force my daughter to live with him?
(Name and address withheld)
A). It is certainly possible for a father to get his daughter married to someone who he thinks is suitable for her. Whether he should force her into any marriage is something totally different Let me relate this to you: A woman companion of the Prophet came to him and said: "My father has married me away to one of his relatives without asking my opinion. I do not wish to stay with this man as his wife." The Prophet ordered their separation. When she realized that she was free and that she was no longer married to the man, she said to the Prophet: "I now accept what my father has done and I am marrying this man. I only did this so that women may know that it is not up to men to marry them away against their wishes."
Scholars have discussed at length the marriage of a young girl who has not attained puberty and whether her father may marry her away without her permission. If such a marriage takes place it is valid. However, it is perhaps best if the marriage is not allowed to be consummated until the girl attains puberty, when she is given the choice whether to continue with this marriage or not. Moreover her father may not marry her away to someone who is of a lesser status than hers. If he does and she objects, the marriage is not valid. Generally speaking, however. a girl must be asked to express her opinion in any proposed marriage. If she has been married before, then her verbal consent should be requested. If she has not been married previously, then her consent is also to be requested, but if she keeps quiet, her silence is taken as approval.
To say that the marriage is valid is not to say that people should go ahead and make such marriages. There may be certain circumstances, which make it desirable or advisable that a very young girl should be married away in this manner but this must not be taken as the normal situation. In marriage, the normal thing is that people should marry when they are of marriageable age. That does not include girls of nine or ten years of age, although some girls may attain puberty that early. Marriage involves certain responsibilities and a very young girl could not be expected to shoulder these. There are also other problems, which the may face, as she grows older. If things go wrong with her marriage, she will always blame her father for having messed up her life, well intentioned though he may be. If you take the example of your own daughter, and you force her to go and live with her husband despite her protestations, you will never be sure whether the marriage will work out well or not. If it does, then well and good. But there is an equal chance that problems may arise especially with your daughter behaving like the child she is. While her husband expects from her the attitude of a married woman. How could you expect her to overcome the feeling that she has been thrown into this situation without being allowed the slightest say in the whole matter which is to affect the rest of her life?

As we see it, your choice is either to get her divorced now, before the marriage is consummated or to keep her with you until she has attained puberty and she is in a position to express her opinion about this marriage. If she still objects to it, then you divorce her without any compulsion to go through with it. If, on the other hand, if she approves of this marriage, at that time, then you go ahead with it. Perhaps it is better for you to consult with the young man to whom you have already married her. He should be understanding and accommodating. Between the two of you should work out the best solution which ensures that he is not lumbered with marriage which is forced on a young girl who cannot be expected to give an opinion about such a matter.

This is why there was a dispute about having a mandatory age for consent recently in Nigeria...
"Pegging the Marriageable Age The most contentious issue arising from the contents of the 2003 Child Rights Act is the feasibility, or otherwise, of pegging the marriageable age for the female gender by the Government. This appears to offend the culture that prevails in many communities of Northern Nigeria under which young girls are married off at ages between 9 and 16 years. Upon a careful study of the position in Islamic Law, however, it is clear that this culture is one of the many inconsistencies that abound. There is certainly no categorical statement under the Sharia that a female must be married off even after the attainment of puberty, and the emphasis on the pursuit of education seems to be more pronounced, than marriage (which becomes imperative only in the event that the person is incapable of remaining chaste).'

"In summary, then, it is permitted to contract marriage with a young girl and to hand her over to her husband to stay with him before she reaches adolescence. As for consummating the marriage, this does not happen until she is physically able for it. Thus the matter becomes quite clear. Do you see anything wrong with a man living with his young wife in one house, bringing her up and teaching her, but delaying consummation until she is ready for it? We ask Allaah to show us truth and falsehood and to make each clear. And Allaah knows best"
That is, the wife is there for her husband's pleasure!

F. Is this harmful?
"Fact Sheet No.23, Harmful Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children
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 practising them."
Fact Sheet No.23, Harmful Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children
"Child marriage robs a girl of her childhood-time necessary to develop physically, emotionally and psychologically. In fact, early marriage inflicts great emotional stress as the young woman is removed from her parents' home to that of her husband and in-laws. 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."

"Research interest in the long-term effects of sexual contact between female children and adults has increased dramatically in the last two decades. Two sets of issues have driven this enhanced attention. The first concerns the nature and extent of the impact these experiences have on subsequent well-being in adulthood. Empirical research has offered evidence of the severe and wide ranging effects of adult-child sex by documenting its associations with a host of later "symptoms," such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and sexual dysfunction."
"Sexual contact between children and adults: A life course perspective."
Browning, Christopher R; Laumann, Edward O
Citation: American Sociological Review, v62n4, pp.540-560, Aug 1997
Number: 03374356 Features: Table; Illustration; References
Copyright: American Sociological Association 1997
quoted at http://www.answering-islam.org/Silas/childbrides.htm
end part 3

Not all Muslims will marry young girls. That is not at all the point if this argument of mine. Muhammad had nine (some say eleven wives). Muhammad by his example showed his followers just exactly what type of wives they can have. For instance, Muhammad married a Jewess, and he also married a Christian (Mary, the Copt). He married a widow, and also a woman older than himself. Similarly, consulting an Islamic site for advice, you will find that it is permissible for a Muslim man to marry a Christian woman. Not all Mohammedans will marry Christian women.

However, Muslims are, by following Muhammad’s example, permitted to marry girls as young as nine years old. This is, quite clearly a deplorable situation and should be condemned. Those men that marry such girls are doing so BECAUSE of their religion. Therefore there is something deplorable with such a belief system that allows for such actions.
Re: Conclusion

Montalban said:
Those men that marry such girls are doing so BECAUSE of their religion. Therefore there is something deplorable with such a belief system that allows for such actions.

Are they really taking advantage of these young girls because of religion or just using religion as an excuse as so many often do?
Re: Conclusion

akyron said:
Are they really taking advantage of these young girls because of religion or just using religion as an excuse as so many often do?

Well Muhammed seemed to come up with the right 'revelation' for himself, all the time.

Muhammed's career as prophet spanned several decades, in which he'd continually get revelations from al-lah over certain issues.

Onece, Muhammed desired the wife of a close-relation. That man rejected this and said that he'd only give her up to Muhammed if it was al-lah's will. Funny thing happened, that night al-lah visited Muhammed and gave him a revelation that it was okay to have her - after all, he was al-lah's prophet!

So he got her.
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