Dispute Regarding the Age of Aisha's Marriage to Muhammad

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History of Portraying Muhammad as a Sexual Deviant to One of Horror:— It is interesting to note that during medieval times, Muhammad's marriage to Aisha was never a contentious issue, but as of modern times it has become so. Accusations of paedophilia are abound in the contemporary setting; with scholars suggesting that this is designed to instil not only condemnation but horror.[1][n. 1] According to one biographer, "[i]n this case, Muhammad's sexual conduct becomes the locus for a renewed vision of Islam as an archaic and evil force.[1] Medieval emphasis on debauchery and lustfulness have become, since the colonial era, concern with oppression".[1] This moral emphasis on Muhammad's sexual life started out with condemnation on polygamy and how he dare allow women to get divorced; during European colonial times.[1][2] Still, evidence is lacking on Aisha's actual year of birth. What is however known is that "Aisha was involved in the Battles of Badr in 624 and Uhud in 625, in neither of which was anyone under the age of 15 allowed"—which were close to the year she supposedly got married.[3][4] Furthermore "her elder sister of 10 years, died at the age of 100, 72 years after Aisha’s wedding [making Aisha's] age at the time of her marriage at least 14, and at the time of her marriage’s consummation almost 20".[3] Furthermore, the age of Aisha is only based on one account, allegedly attributed to Aisha herself in Sahih Bukhari (Volume 5; Book 58; Number 234).[5] However it's account is heavily disputed within Bukhari's literature.[6][7]

Muhammad caricatured in Europe in 1493, from a German woodcut.[8]

"The Prophet engaged me when I was a girl of six (years). We went to Medina and stayed at the home of Bani-al-Harith bin Khazraj. 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 Allright, 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 Apostle 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."

Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5; Book 58; Number 234 (Note: This was not written by Aisha, but by Bukhari who gathered what he believed were the truest statements in Islamic history; and it is further notable that this contradicts what he writes in other parts of the book).

What If Hypothetically True...What Was the Reason For the Marriage?

Muhammad with Abu Bakr; Aisha's father. Aisha's consummation was done at 9 years old, in proportion, this age is equivalent to 18 in modern times, 2015.

Life Expectancy in Medieval Times:— The average life expectancy during medieval times was 25—30 years old;[9][10] and during Greek times it was 20—25.[9] Even for those who survived their childhoods, males would not even be expected to live past the age of 45, and females 36.[9] In Roman times only 50% of the population survived to the age of 20, 33% to age 40, and 16.7% to the age of 60.[9] This is all based on osteo-archaeological evidence, from studying bones that have been dated back to antiquity and the medieval times.[9] Furthermore it is interesting that pregnancies in women would often result in the suppression of the immune system, making them more vulnerable to diseases and infections, and contributing to the overall higher mortality rate for women.[9] Based on this information, Muhammad's marriage to Aisha and the subsequent consummation would not have been that unusual. At least 25% of Aisha's lifespan would have gone by the age of 9, whereas in modern times her consummation would have meant that she would have done consummated at the age of 18 (as this is 25% of the average life expectancy),[n. 2] as according to the World Health Organization, the average life expectancy in modern times is 71.4 years old.[11][n. 3] Additionally, if Aisha was like most people of her time, that at worst lived only up to age 20, then almost half her life-span would have been gone by the age of 9; thus proportionally if her marriage was done in modern times she would be aged 50.

Age of Menstruation for Women Historically Changes:— Commonly girls were considered women when they had their first period. For example in the Ottoman Empire, ages for marriage were deemed at the first experience of menstruation for women and the seminal nocturnal emission for boys.[12] Thus, the ages were placed between 12—13 for women and 13—14 for men.[12] However if deemed sexually mature persons could be married at the age of 8 or 9 for females and 12 for men.[12] It should also be noted that the age of menstruation can change within females; they do not necessarily have to have them at a set age; it can happen earlier or much later in life.[13] It is also possible for girls get their menstruation cycle started at the age of 8 or 9 years old.[14] Furthermore, throughout history the average age of women menstruating has fluctuated dramatically.[15] The age of menstration is currently between the ages of 10 and 16 years of age.[16] Additionally, there were a whole host of reasons for females marrying at such a young age even outside of the Muslim world.[17] In the timeline, Europeans for example did it to safeguard family assets and wealth from unsuitable suitors, and Greek families did it in the 17th century in order to ensure that the right match had been found.[17] Askhenazi Jews also have a tradition where female children are married off to merchants who are able to look after young females.[17] It was also customary to marry off females at the ages of six or seven in Korea, and in China the age was often younger.[18]

The age of menstruation is different by historical period, time and society.[19]

What Age Were Females Allowed to Get Married or Have Sex in Europe and the US?

Age of consent in selected countries.

Age of Consent Laws in the West:— Before 1880, many Western countries did not even have an age of consent, and when it was brought in the age was set to between 12 and 13 years of age. As a result of prostitution, the age was then revised to between 14 and 15 years of age in Europe, whereas in the US and Canada it was set to 16. In 2007, the youngest age of consent in Europe is 13 years old and the oldest is 16 years old. In Belgium, England (where even incest was legal until 1908[20]), Wales, Russia, Switzerland, Scotland, Norway, Luxembourg, and Finland the age of consent is 16.[21] In Austria, Bulgaria, Germany,[n. 4] Italy, Portugal, and Canada it is 14.[21] In Denmark,[n. 5] France, Greece, Romania, and Sweden it is 15.[21] In Spain it is 13.[21] In the United States, the age of consent before 1920 ranged from 7 years old to 12 years old.[21] It is particularly interesting that the age of consent in Turkey is 18 years old, whereas the age of consent for having sex in most Western countries is well below when they legally turn into adults (where up until 1920 the age of consent during the Ottoman Empire was deemed to be 15 years old).[21] In contrast, Tunisia sets their age of consent at 20, and Iraq, Jordan, Morocco set theirs at 18 years old.[22] Yemen is set at 15 years old and Iran at 13 years old for women, and 15 years old for men.[22] Egypt sets theirs at 16 for women and 18 for men and Algeria with 18 for women and 21 for men.[22] Pakistan's is 16 for women and 18 for men.[23]

A Far Larger Problem is Ignored...

Racists Ignoring a Far Larger Problem:— Islamophobic groups often refuse to acknowledge a far larger problem that plagues their own countries, despite protesting what Muhammad had done over 1,400 years ago; and these are sexual assaults against children, which are never seen of or heard of during anti-Muslim protests, as these assaults do not have anything to do with Muslims.[n. 6]

A local yokel from Australia protesting something he cannot possibly grasp.
More local yokels from Australia protesting something they cannot possibly grasp.
Tommy Robinson former leader of the EDL, flirting with an underage girl.
Tommy Robinson former leader of the EDL, caught again flirting with an underage girl.
Tommy Robinson former leader of the EDL, calling Muhammad a paedophile.
Muhammad caricatured in Europe in 1493, from a German woodcut.[8]

History of Portraying Muhammad as a Sexual Deviant to One of Horror:— It is interesting to note that during medieval times, Muhammad's marriage to Aisha was never a contentious issue, but as of modern times it has become so. Accusations of paedophilia are abound in the contemporary setting; with scholars suggesting that this is designed to instil not only condemnation but horror.[1][n. 7] According to one biographer, "[i]n this case, Muhammad's sexual conduct becomes the locus for a renewed vision of Islam as an archaic and evil force.[1] Medieval emphasis on debauchery and lustfulness have become, since the colonial era, concern with oppression".[1] This moral emphasis on Muhammad's sexual life started out with condemnation on polygamy and how he dare allow women to get divorced; during European colonial times.[1][2] Still, evidence is lacking on Aisha's actual year of birth. What is however known is that "Aisha was involved in the Battles of Badr in 624 and Uhud in 625, in neither of which was anyone under the age of 15 allowed"—which were close to the year she supposedly got married.[3][24] Furthermore "her elder sister of 10 years, died at the age of 100, 72 years after Aisha’s wedding [making Aisha's] age at the time of her marriage at least 14, and at the time of her marriage’s consummation almost 20".[3] Furthermore, the age of Aisha is only based on one account, allegedly attributed to Aisha herself in Sahih Bukhari (Volume 5; Book 58; Number 234).[5] However it's account is heavily disputed within Bukhari's literature.[6][7]

"The Prophet engaged me when I was a girl of six (years). We went to Medina and stayed at the home of Bani-al-Harith bin Khazraj. 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 Allright, 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 Apostle 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."

Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5; Book 58; Number 234 (Note: This was not written by Aisha, but by Bukhari who gathered what he believed were the truest statements in Islamic history; and it is further notable that this contradicts what he writes in other parts of the book).

What If Hypothetically True...What Was the Reason For the Marriage?

Muhammad with Abu Bakr; Aisha's father. Aisha's consummation was done at 9 years old, in proportion, this age is equivalent to 18 in modern times, 2015.

Life Expectancy in Medieval Times:— The average life expectancy during medieval times was 25—30 years old;[9][10] and during Greek times it was 20—25.[9] Even for those who survived their childhoods, males would not even be expected to live past the age of 45, and females 36.[9] In Roman times only 50% of the population survived to the age of 20, 33% to age 40, and 16.7% to the age of 60.[9] This is all based on osteo-archaeological evidence, from studying bones that have been dated back to antiquity and the medieval times.[9] Furthermore it is interesting that pregnancies in women would often result in the suppression of the immune system, making them more vulnerable to diseases and infections, and contributing to the overall higher mortality rate for women.[9] Based on this information, Muhammad's marriage to Aisha and the subsequent consummation would not have been that unusual. At least 25% of Aisha's lifespan would have gone by the age of 9, whereas in modern times her consummation would have meant that she would have done consummated at the age of 18 (as this is 25% of the average life expectancy),[n. 8] as according to the World Health Organization, the average life expectancy in modern times is 71.4 years old.[11][n. 9] Additionally, if Aisha was like most people of her time, that at worst lived only up to age 20, then almost half her life-span would have been gone by the age of 9; thus proportionally if her marriage was done in modern times she would be aged 50.

The age of menstruation is different by historical period, time and society.[19]

Age of Menstruation for Women Historically Changes:— Commonly girls were considered women when they had their first period. For example in the Ottoman Empire, ages for marriage were deemed at the first experience of menstruation for women and the seminal nocturnal emission for boys.[12] Thus, the ages were placed between 12—13 for women and 13—14 for men.[12] However if deemed sexually mature persons could be married at the age of 8 or 9 for females and 12 for men.[12] It should also be noted that the age of menstruation can change within females; they do not necessarily have to have them at a set age; it can happen earlier or much later in life.[13] It is also possible for girls get their menstruation cycle started at the age of 8 or 9 years old.[25] Furthermore, throughout history the average age of women menstruating has fluctuated dramatically.[15] The age of menstration is currently between the ages of 10 and 16 years of age.[16] Additionally, there were a whole host of reasons for females marrying at such a young age even outside of the Muslim world.[17] In the timeline, Europeans for example did it to safeguard family assets and wealth from unsuitable suitors, and Greek families did it in the 17th century in order to ensure that the right match had been found.[17] Askhenazi Jews also have a tradition where female children are married off to merchants who are able to look after young females.[17] It was also customary to marry off females at the ages of six or seven in Korea, and in China the age was often younger.[18]

What Age Were Females Allowed to Get Married or Have Sex in Europe and the US?

Age of consent in selected countries.

Age of Consent Laws in the West:— Before 1880, many Western countries did not even have an age of consent, and when it was brought in the age was set to between 12 and 13 years of age. As a result of prostitution, the age was then revised to between 14 and 15 years of age in Europe, whereas in the US and Canada it was set to 16. In 2007, the youngest age of consent in Europe is 13 years old and the oldest is 16 years old. In Belgium, England (where even incest was legal until 1908[20]), Wales, Russia, Switzerland, Scotland, Norway, Luxembourg, and Finland the age of consent is 16.[21] In Austria, Bulgaria, Germany,[n. 10] Italy, Portugal, and Canada it is 14.[21] In Denmark,[n. 11] France, Greece, Romania, and Sweden it is 15.[21] In Spain it is 13.[21] In the United States, the age of consent before 1920 ranged from 7 years old to 12 years old.[21] It is particularly interesting that the age of consent in Turkey is 18 years old, whereas the age of consent for having sex in most Western countries is well below when they legally turn into adults (where up until 1920 the age of consent during the Ottoman Empire was deemed to be 15 years old).[21] In contrast, Tunisia sets their age of consent at 20, and Iraq, Jordan, Morocco set theirs at 18 years old.[22] Yemen is set at 15 years old and Iran at 13 years old for women, and 15 years old for men.[22] Egypt sets theirs at 16 for women and 18 for men and Algeria with 18 for women and 21 for men.[22] Pakistan's is 16 for women and 18 for men.[23]

A Far Larger Problem is Ignored...

Racists Ignoring a Far Larger Problem:— Islamophobic groups often refuse to acknowledge a far larger problem that plagues their own countries, despite protesting what Muhammad had done over 1,400 years ago; and these are sexual assaults against children, which are never seen of or heard of during anti-Muslim protests, as these assaults do not have anything to do with Muslims.[n. 12]

A local yokel from Australia protesting something he cannot possibly grasp.
More local yokels from Australia protesting something they cannot possibly grasp.
Tommy Robinson former leader of the EDL, flirting with an underage girl.
Tommy Robinson former leader of the EDL, caught again flirting with an underage girl.
Tommy Robinson former leader of the EDL, calling Muhammad a paedophile.


Sources

Further Reading

Footnotes

  1. ^
    This has undeniably worked, and many people today show disgust, horror, anger, and even send death threats to Muslims; this is often a very racist response given that what Muhammad did was not in any way unique for his time (these very same people do not condemn for example kings, queens, and Jesus's mother Mary, who all engaged in early marriage. Furthermore there is scientific evidence proving women matured faster given the low life expectancy in those times.
  2. ^ Quote: "71.4 years was the average life expectancy at birth of the global population in 2015".
    1. Life Expectancy. World Health Organization. Retrieved August 30th, 2016.
  3. ^ Methodologically, 36 divisible by 9 is 4 (or 25%). Similarly, 71.4 divisible by 18 is approximately 4 (or 25.2%).
  4. ^ Bestiality brothels have even been known to spread throughout Germany, including erotic zoos which feature llama's and goats.
    1. Matt Blake (July 1st, 2013). Bestiality brothels are 'spreading through Germany' warns campaigner as abusers turn to sex with animals as 'lifestyle choice'. Daily Mail. Retrieved August 30th, 2016.
  5. ^ In Denmark, it was even legal to have sex with animals until 2015; whereas they had banned halal animal produce in 2014 this banning of halal food was done on the basis of "animal rights come before religion". Denmark is also known for slaughtering animals publicly in zoos and feeding it to lions, as it had done to one giraffe. The large political parties of Denmark even went out of their way by refusing to ban animal sex when the issue arose. Even when it has been debated in parliament numerous times, the end result was always to never criminalise it. The BBC reported that under Danish law "sex with animals was still legal in the country as long as the animal was unharmed".
    1. Andreas Müller Digens (March 31st, 2014). It's Legal To Have Sex With Dogs in Denmark. Vice. Retrieved August 30th, 2016.
    2. Adam Withnall (February 18th, 2014). Denmark bans kosher and halal slaughter as minister says ‘animal rights come before religion’. The Independent. Retrieved August 30th, 2016.
    3. Denmark passes law to ban bestiality. April 22nd, 2015. BBC Newsbeat. Retrieved August 30th, 2016.
  6. ^ In the United States, molestation assaults are also high against children and mainly committed by White men, when compared to their population size. Despite Whites making up 63.7% of the American population they were responsible for 70% of violent sexual crimes against children.
    1. Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: 2010. 2010. p. 4. Retrieved August 30th, 2016.
    2. Child Molester Statistics. Yellow Dyno. Retrieved August 30th, 2016.
  7. ^
    This has undeniably worked, and many people today show disgust, horror, anger, and even send death threats to Muslims; this is often a very racist response given that what Muhammad did was not in any way unique for his time (these very same people do not condemn for example kings, queens, and Jesus's mother Mary, who all engaged in early marriage. Furthermore there is scientific evidence proving women matured faster given the low life expectancy in those times.
  8. ^ Quote: "71.4 years was the average life expectancy at birth of the global population in 2015".
    1. Life Expectancy. World Health Organization. Retrieved August 30th, 2016.
  9. ^ Methodologically, 36 divisible by 9 is 4 (or 25%). Similarly, 71.4 divisible by 18 is approximately 4 (or 25.2%).
  10. ^ Bestiality brothels have even been known to spread throughout Germany, including erotic zoos which feature llama's and goats.
    1. Matt Blake (July 1st, 2013). Bestiality brothels are 'spreading through Germany' warns campaigner as abusers turn to sex with animals as 'lifestyle choice'. Daily Mail. Retrieved August 30th, 2016.
  11. ^ In Denmark, it was even legal to have sex with animals until 2015; whereas they had banned halal animal produce in 2014 this banning of halal food was done on the basis of "animal rights come before religion". Denmark is also known for slaughtering animals publicly in zoos and feeding it to lions, as it had done to one giraffe. The large political parties of Denmark even went out of their way by refusing to ban animal sex when the issue arose. Even when it has been debated in parliament numerous times, the end result was always to never criminalise it. The BBC reported that under Danish law "sex with animals was still legal in the country as long as the animal was unharmed".
    1. Andreas Müller Digens (March 31st, 2014). It's Legal To Have Sex With Dogs in Denmark. Vice. Retrieved August 30th, 2016.
    2. Adam Withnall (February 18th, 2014). Denmark bans kosher and halal slaughter as minister says ‘animal rights come before religion’. The Independent. Retrieved August 30th, 2016.
    3. Denmark passes law to ban bestiality. April 22nd, 2015. BBC Newsbeat. Retrieved August 30th, 2016.
  12. ^ In the United States, molestation assaults are also high against children and mainly committed by White men, when compared to their population size. Despite Whites making up 63.7% of the American population they were responsible for 70% of violent sexual crimes against children.
    1. Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: 2010. 2010. p. 4. Retrieved August 30th, 2016.
    2. Child Molester Statistics. Yellow Dyno. Retrieved August 30th, 2016.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Kecia Ali (7 October 2014). The Lives of Muhammad. Harvard University Press. pp. 235. ISBN 978-0-674-74448-6.
  2. ^ a b Michelina Di Cesare (1 January 2012). The Pseudo-historical Image of the Prophet Muhammad in Medieval Latin Literature: A Repertory. Walter de Gruyter. p. 15. ISBN 978-3-11-026383-1.
  3. ^ a b c d David Liepert (January 29th, 2011). Rejecting the Myth of Sanctioned Child Marriage in Islam. The Huffington Post. Retrieved August 30th, 2016.
  4. ^ The Minaret: The Islamic Magazine. The Minaret: The Islamic Magazine. Islamic Center of Southern California. 2002. Volume 24. p. 37.
  5. ^ a b Myriam Francois-Cerrah (September 17th, 2012). The truth about Muhammad and Aisha. The Guardian. Retrieved August 30th, 2016.
  6. ^ a b Nilofar Ahmed (February 16th, 2012). Of Aisha’s age at marriage. Dawn. Retrieved August 30th, 2016.
  7. ^ a b John Pedler (28 April 2015). A Word Before Leaving: A Former Diplomat's Weltanschauung. Troubador Publishing Limited. p. 153. ISBN 978-1-78462-881-9.
  8. ^ a b Mohammed (CLIv). Beloit College (The Nuremberg Chronicle). Retrieved August 30th, 2016.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Robert C. Ostergren; Mathias Le Bossé (15 June 2011). The Europeans, Second Edition: A Geography of People, Culture, and Environment. Guilford Press. pp. 85–. ISBN 978-1-60918-244-1
  10. ^ a b Charles A. Frazee (1997). World History: Ancient and medieval times to A.D. 1500. Barron's Educational Series. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-8120-9765-8.
  11. ^ a b Life Expectancy. World Health Organization. Retrieved August 30th, 2016.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Suad Joseph; Afsāna Naǧmābādī (2003). Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures: Family, Body, Sexuality And Health. BRILL. p. 58. ISBN 90-04-12819-0.
  13. ^ a b Kathleen O’Grady (2008/2009). Early puberty for girls. The new ‘normal’ and why we need to be concerned. Canadian Women's Health Network. Volume 11, Number 1. Retrieved August 31st, 2016.
  14. ^ Girlhood in America. ABC-CLIO. p. 447. ISBN 978-1-57607-206-6.
  15. ^ a b Brielle Moss (October 2nd, 2015). The Average Age Women Got Their First Period, Throughout History. Bustle. Retrieved August 31st, 2016.
  16. ^ a b T. F. Kruger; M. H. Botha (2007). Clinical Gynaecology. Juta and Company Ltd. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-7021-7305-9.
  17. ^ a b c d e f Minna Rozen (15 October 2010). A History of the Jewish Community in Istanbul: The Formative Years, 1453-1566. BRILL. p. 117. ISBN 90-04-18589-5.
  18. ^ a b Michael J. Seth (2006). A Concise History of Korea: From the Neolithic Period Through the Nineteenth Century. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 154. ISBN 978-0-7425-4005-7.
  19. ^ a b Gwen Sharp (September 19th, 2008). Changing Biology: Age at First Menstruation. The Society Pages. Retrieved August 31st, 2016.
  20. ^ a b Louise A. Jackson (11 January 2013). Child Sexual Abuse in Victorian England. Routledge. p. 14. ISBN 978-1-134-73665-2.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Stephen Robertson (Unknown Date). Age of Consent Laws. University Of Sydney, Australia. Retrieved August 30th, 2016.
  22. ^ a b c d e f Farzaneh Roudi-Fahimi (April 2010). Child Marriage in the Middle East and North Africa. Population Reference Bureau. Retrieved August 30th, 2016.
  23. ^ a b Laura Smith-Spark (October 1st, 2004). What is a 'right' age of consent?. BBC News. Retrieved August 30th, 2016.
  24. ^ The Minaret: The Islamic Magazine. The Minaret: The Islamic Magazine. Islamic Center of Southern California. 2002. Volume 24. p. 37.
  25. ^ Girlhood in America. ABC-CLIO. p. 447. ISBN 978-1-57607-206-6.

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