In my quest for knowledge about religions and particularly Islam, I have met two kinds of Muslims. First are the ones who believe that Aisha was only 6 years old when she was married to 57 year old Mohammad. Second category is of those who believe that Aisha was 10, 15 or even 17 years old at the time of her marriage or her first intercourse. Who is right? And why does this question hold any significance?
Mohammad is a prophet of Islam. He is revered as one of the most wise, honest, intelligent, brave and ‘every-fuck-thing-possible’ by 1.5 billion Muslims of the world. Walking in the shoes of Mohammad and living the kind of life as he lived is called Sunnah of the Prophet, a sure-shot ticket to heaven. So, do Muslims marry young girls to follow the life style of their pervert prophet? Let us take the case of Yemen. According to the Social Affairs Ministry of Yemen, more than a quarter of Yemen’s girls marry before age of 15. Many girls in Yemen die during childbirth at the age of 12 or 13; many girls are traumatized for their life. The government of Yemen tried to bring a law against child marriage but that proposal was barked down by the highest religious authorities. Saudi Arabia does not have a minimum age of marriage in its legal statuette. One can marry even an hour-old born child and it would be perfectly legal. In the camel festival in Saudi Arabia, there is a special function called Akheth where young girls are gifted to Saudi Monarchs for a few weeks.
Many of my readers must be thinking, how can anyone justify such an evil and inhuman practice? Well! You know the reason – Majority of Muslims in the world believe that Aisha was just 6 years old when she was married and 9 years old when her marriage was consummated. The references of Aisha’s age come from various sources that are considered highly credible. Let me quote a few:
“My mother came to me while I was being swung on a swing between two branches and got me down. My nurse took over and wiped my face with some water and started leading me. When I was at the door she stopped so I could catch my breath. I was brought in while Muhammad was sitting on a bed in our house. My mother made me sit on his lap. The other men and women got up and left. The Prophet 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.”[Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 131]
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.” [Abu-Dawud 2:2116]
Narrated Hisham’s father: Khadija died three years before the Prophet departed to Medina. He stayed there for two years or so and then he married ‘Aisha when she was a girl of six years of age, and he consumed (sic – consummated) that marriage when she was nine years old. [Sahih Bukhari 5:58:236]
Narrated ‘Aisha: that the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e., till his death). [Sahih Bukhari 7:62:64]
Narrated ‘Aisha: that the Prophet married 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).” what you know of the Quran (by heart)’ [Sahih Bukhari 7:62:65]
Narrated ‘Ursa: 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). [Sahih Bukhari 7:62:88]
There are numerous other references particularly from Sahi-Muslim and Abu-Dawud. One must remember that these people, either Bukhari or Dawud are considered highly credible by almost all the Muslims of the world. Shahi-Bukhari is considered among the six canonical books of Islam. In many circles, it is even considered the most authentic book after the Holy Quran. According to Amin Ahsan Islahi, the notable Islamic scholar, Bukhari had three distinctive qualities as a Hadith author.
- Quality and soundness of the chain of narrators of the selected ahādīth. Imam Bukhari has followed two principle criteria for selecting sound narratives. First, the lifetime of a narrator should overlap with the lifetime of the authority from whom he narrates. Second, it should be verifiable that narrators have met with their source persons. They should also expressly state that they obtained the narrative from these authorities. This is a stricter criterion than that set by Imam Muslim.
- Imam Bukhari accepted the narratives from only those who, according to his knowledge, not only believed in Islam but practiced its teachings. Thus, he has not accepted narratives from the Murjites.
- The particular arrangement and ordering of chapters. This expresses the profound knowledge of the author and his understanding of the religion. This has made the book a more useful guide in understanding of the religious disciplines.
So, if Bukhari says that Aisha was just six years old when she was married to Mohammad then there are very good chances that this is true.
Today we have many conflicting theories that say that Aisha was much older when she was married. The first criticism came from Maulana Muhammad Ali who was the first Islamic scholar to challenge the notion of Aisha’s age. This he did in, at least, the following writings: his English booklet Prophet of Islam, his larger English book Muhammad, the Prophet, and in the footnotes in his voluminous Urdu translation and commentary of Sahih Bukhari entitled Fadl-ul-Bari, these three writings being published in the 1920s and 1930s. Notice the time of his writing: it was during 1920s, after the enlightenment and in the modern scientific world. Only in these modern times did Maulana started to talk that gibberish. Did he change his stance because he truly understood that previous Islamic scriptures were wrong or did he do that because he was trying to fit his modern sense of morality with Hadith? As we know, most of the religious people do not take their sense of morality from scriptures. Scriptures are absolute and do not change. But Morality changes and evolves with time. Most of the Muslims who say that Aisha was 10, 15 or 17 during her marriage are those who come from an educated background. Such people try to make their religion compatible with their sense of morality. They are aghast with the thought that a 57 year old married a 6 year old girl. So they either concoct stories or believe in less credible sources of Islam than the credible and highly acknowledged people like Bukhari.
But what is wrong with a 57 year old marrying a 6 year old girl? Well! You will have to make extraordinary concessions for the man to recognize and value such bullshit. We all have seen what a 6 year old girl looks like- A little child with her milk teeth coming off, she jumps and dances at the sight of a bird or rainbow, she cries on a slight scolding, she is ignorant of her own self, the world and its mysteries, she is-our lovely sister and daughter. On the other hand, a 57 year old is a highly mature person with a life time of experience. How can thus a 57 year old even think to marry such a child? It is so outrageous a thought that I start hating any person who tries to defend Mohammad for his perversions.
To be continued…
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