How do you justify the marriage of the Prophet (Peace and blessings be on him) with young Ayesha (May Allah be pleased with her)?


Allahu azza wa jal said about the Prophet (peace be on him) in the Glorious Quran in Chapter 68: Verse 4

And indeed, you are of a great moral character.

Oflate, a lot of criticism has been hurled against our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) regarding his marriage to Hazrat Ayesha (May Allah be pleased with her).

It is the duty of every Muslim to defend our Prophet (peace be on him) in a civilized and an educated manner.

This article is an attempt to throw light on the issue based on facts and evidences, insha Allah!

Please take time to read, understand and forward to others insha Allah!

Sahih al Bukhari - Volume 7, Book 62, Number 64:

Narrated 'Aisha:

that the Prophet consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e., till his death).

Criticism: A man who was around 51 years old married a child who was just 9 years old. Is this correct? Is this not an act of pedophile?

Our response:

Psychiatrists define that Pedophilia is used for individuals with a primary sexual interest in prepubescent children aged 13 or younger.

Was the Prophet (peace be on him)’s primary sexual interest only children?

The only virgin and whom Prophet (peace be on him) married as a “child” was Ayesha (May Allah be pleased with her). All his other wives were adults and many of them were middle aged. This clearly shows that using the word pedophile for the Prophet (peace be on him) is totally incorrect and out of place.

This argument of pedophilia was NOT raised during the Prophet’s time and NOT even during the last 14 centuries. This argument against the Prophet (peace be on him) was first raised a decade ago. This demonstrates that, people generally are aware that it was not uncommon in those days for girls to be married at a young age.

To give an example from last century, the Tamil poet Subramanya Bharati was married at the age 14 to a girl who was 7 years old. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subramanya_Bharathi)

Marriage age for women in different countries:

  • India – 18
  • Israel -- 17
  • Germany, Italy, Hungary, Scotland -- 16
  • Lithuania, Mexico -- 15
  • Vatican City, Paraguay -- 14

Even within United States, we do not have a consensus on the minimum age for marriage of women. States like Nebraska have a minimum age of 19 for marriage without parental consent and a minimum age of 17 for marriage with parental consent. States like New Hampshire allow a female to get married with parental consent if she is 13. New York state allows 14 year old males and females to get married with parental and judicial consent.

This proves that there is no consensus among the countries on the minimum age for marriage of women.

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriageable_age

Criteria to decide the marriage age of a woman:

Islam looks into three types of maturity to determine to the marriage age of a woman.

  1. Menstrual maturity: Menstrual maturity involves the girl going through her monthly cycles, in which her monthly periods take place.
  2. Physical maturity: This maturity involves the girl having physical growth take place, so that her feminine features (breasts mature, pubic hairs grown etc.) become apparent in her physical appearance.
  3. Mental and Emotional maturity: The girl is mentally and emotionally mature enough to give her consent for marriage.

Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her) had all the three maturities when she was married.

People might say that Ayesha was still a child at the age of 9 years. We must not forget that we are talking about an incidentthat happened 1400 years ago. People in those days had a very different physique from the people of today and moreover people in those days matured at a very early age. For example: Osama bin Zaid(May Allah be pleased with him) commanded an army at the age of 17. Imagine a teenager of 17 being a commander of an army today. It will look insane for us, but in those days it was something common.

Marriage of Ayesha – a happy marriage:

People who talk about the age of Ayesha when she got married, conveniently ignore the other hadiths narrated by Ayesha herself (recorded in the same book – Bukhari) which speak about her marriage to the Prophet (peace be on him). She narrates how happy their marriage was, how they used to race together, thegreat love they shared and how the Prophet passed away in her laps. Her narrations clearly show it was a very happy and successful marriage.

If the details of their marriage are presented to a marriage counselor or a psychiatrist, they will tell you that this marriage was very successful. Every man would want a wife like that and every woman would want a husband like that.

Unique Ayesha (May Allah be pleased with her):

What type of a person was Ayesha? She was a prodigy. She was a scholar of the Quran and Hadith and her works on medicine are studied in medical universities. This in itself proves that the marriage in no way affected her talent but rather gave her a platform to shine in theology and medicine.

Wisdom behind the marriage:

Ayesha (May Allah be pleased with her) being a prodigy with precocious talent, the Prophet’s marriage to Ayesha proved very beneficial for Muslims as a whole. She narrated more than 2000 hadiths on her own authority that helps in clarifying several matters which involves intimate relationships and life of the Prophet at home. Her narrations of the Prophet’s sayings contribute significantly to derive the rulings for various matters in Islam. The hadith about when Ayesha was married to the Prophet was itself narrated by her.

The Hadith below shows that she played an important role in explaining Islam. Abu Musa al-Ashari says:

Never had we (the companions) any difficulty for the solution of which we approached Aisha and did not get some useful information from her".

(Tirmidhi, Hadith 3883. Albani classified it as Sahih)

Perspective for a Christian or a Jew:

If we were to ask a Christian or a Jew, “Would God command us to do things that appear evil or bad”? He will immediately answer: “No”. We may have to gently remind them, God has indeed commanded such things in their own bible. Example: Commanding a father to kill his own son appears very evil. This was the command given by God to Prophet Abraham (Peace be on him). Any believer in God would understand that, although the command from God appears very evil to us, there was a great wisdom behind the command. A rational person will look for the wisdom and NOT justcriticize the act.

Similarly, the Prophet (peace be on him) did not marry Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her) on his own initiative. It was a command from God. Refer to the hadith from Sahih Bukhari, which is again narrated by Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her): the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to her:

You were shown to me twice in a dream. I saw that you were wrapped in a piece of silk, and it was said, this is your wife.' I uncovered her and saw that it was you. I said, if this is from Allah then it will come to pass.'

- (Bukhari # 3682).

We may understand that, although today, the act appears evil or bad, there was a divine wisdom behind the marriage. A sensible person has to look for the wisdom and not just blindly criticize the act.

Conclusion:

  1. The life of Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her) bears testimony to the fact that she lived a very happy and successful married life with the Prophet.
  2. The marriage created a platform for Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her) that made it possible for her to shine in theology and medicine.
  3. The marriage proved highly beneficial to the whole community of Muslims.
  4. There was a divine wisdom behind the marriage.
  5. It is clear beyond doubt that Ayesha (May Allah be pleased with her)’s marriage to the Prophet (peace be on him) was a blessing not only for her but also for the Muslims.


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