The Quran permits men to marry prepubescent girls
The Quran permits men to marry prepubescent girls.
In the context of divorcing wives, the Quran in Sura 65:1, 4 says:
65:1 O Prophet, when you (and the believers) divorce women, divorce them for their prescribed waiting-period and count the waiting-period accurately . . . 4 And if you are in doubt about those of your women who have despaired of menstruation, (you should know that) their waiting period is three months, and the same applies to those who have not menstruated as yet. As for pregnant women, their period ends when they have delivered their burden. (Maududi, ibid., vol. 5, pp. 599 and 617, emphasis added)
Maududi correctly interprets the plain meaning of verse 4:
Therefore, making mention of the waiting-period for girls who have not yet menstruated, clearly proves that it is not only permissible to give away the girl at this age but it is permissible for the husband to consummate marriage with her. Now, obviously no Muslim has the right to forbid a thing which the Qur’an has held as permissible. (Maududi, vol. 5, p. 620, note 13, emphasis added)
So the fathers of prepubescent girls may give them away, and their new husbands may consummate their marriage with them. Maududi also rebukes Muslims who deny that this verse is valid. At least he is being consistent. According to traditional Islam, Allah speaks universal truths for all places and all times. If Islam ever spread completely around the world, no one should be surprised if Quran-believing Muslims would lower the marriage age of girls to nine years old.
This is precisely what happened in Iran after the religious revolution of Ayatollah Khomeini. A girl’s marriage age was lowered to nine years.
Why should this surprise us? After all, Muhammad was betrothed to Aisha when she was six years old, and he consummated their union when she was only nine.
The hadith says of her age:
. . . [T]hen he [Muhammad] wrote the marriage (wedding) contract with Aishah when she was a girl of six years of age, and he consumed [sic, consummated] that marriage when she was nine years old.
The Ayatollah Khomeini followed his prophet carefully. He married a girl of ten years old, and encouraged other men to do likewise, saying that fathers should give their daughters away before their first period:
. . . the Ayatollah himself married a ten-year-old girl when he was twenty-eight? Did she[the Khomeini supporter] know that Khomeini called marriage to a girl before her first menstrual period “a divine blessing,” and advised the faithful: “Do your best to ensure that your daughters do not see their first blood in your house”?
The following hadith proves beyond doubt that Muhammad pursued Aisha when she was six years old. Abu Bakr is Muhammad right-hand Companion and the father of little Aisha.
The Prophet asked Abu Bakr for Aisha’s hand in marriage. Abu Bakr said “But I am your brother.” The Prophet said, “You are my brother in Allah’s religion and His Book, but she (Aisha) is lawful for me to marry.” (Bukhari)
This hadith show spiritual manipulation. Abu Bakr hesitates to give his daughter away because he believes that he is the brother of Muhammad—they are both mature men, after all. The prophet clarifies for him that they are spiritual brothers, not blood brothers, so Abu Bakr’s little girl is lawful for Muhammad to marry. This sort of sexual hunger is wrong in all places and all times. If a modern Muslim were to argue that we should take this marriage in its seventh-century historical context, then that is a step in the right direction. However, why wouldn’t the Allah-inspired prophet receive a message from on high to lead the way past this dubious custom? Instead, he mentions the Quran as proving that he and Abu Bakr are spiritual brothers. Why doesn’t the Quran say that marrying little girls is haram (forbidden)?
Maybe Muhammad, his book, and his religion would have been evaluated more positively if he had been a pioneer in leading his community to a higher place than bad customs. But this is wishful thinking. Muhammad was too earth-bound.
Aisha herself recounts this next hadith concerning the moments leading up to the first sexual encounter between fifty-plus-year-old Muhammad and this nine-year-old girl. She was playing on her swing set with her girlfriends when she got the call.
. . . [M]y 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 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. (Bukhari)
The hadith is very revealing. It also has the ring of authenticity. Its imagery comes across clearly. A little girl is playing on her swing set with her girlfriends. Her mother comes out and calls to her. The little girl dashes to where her mother is standing. Running is natural for a child. She is out of breath. She regains her breath. Her mother washes her face—as all mothers do to their playful children. Little Aisha probably got the dirt from too much play. Some female “handlers” got her ready for the wedding. Then the little girl’s mother hands her over to elder Muhammad so that they can have sex. Would little Aisha be confused while Muhammad was committing this act on her?
Is this really the last and the best prophet for all humankind?Further, Muhammad endorses marrying little virgins for the extra thrill it gives a grown man.
Narrated Jabir bin ‘Abdullah:
When I got married, Allah’s Apostle said to me, “What type of lady have you married?” I replied, “I have married a matron.” He said, “Why, don’t you have a liking for the virgins and for fondling them?” Jabir also said: Allah’s Apostle said, ‘Why didn’t you marry a young girl so that you might play with her and she with you?’ (Bukhari; see parallel hadiths here and here on this unpleasant topic.)
Finally, Aisha herself describes how Muhammad and she would have ill-timed sexual encounters, taking baths together:
The Prophet and I used to take a bath from a single pot while we were Junub. During the menses, he used to order me to put on an Izar (dress worn below the waist) and used to fondle me. While in Itikaf, he used to bring his head near me and I would wash it while I used to be in my periods (menses). (Bukhari)
To repeat, according to Sura 65:4 and Muhammad’s example, is he and his Quran really the best and the greatest prophet and book to lead humankind? The answer to this rhetorical question is clear to those of us whose minds have not been clouded by a lifetime of devotion to Islam: no, they are not the greatest and the best.
This article analyzes the marriage age of women in the Bible.
One way of escape from all of this unpleasantness that liberal Muslims look for is to attribute these two verses to seventh-century Arabia. These were the attitudes and customs back then, so how can we blame Muhammad and the early Muslims? This is a step in the right direction. Not only liberal Muslims, but all of them must get away from Muhammad’s example and many verses in the Quran.
However, many devout, Quran-believing Muslims, especially those who occupy places of political and legal power, understand what this escape means. They would have to leave behind many passages in the Quran (besides Suras 2:223 and 65:4), and many, many passages in the hadith. But how can they? Their sacred texts are inviolable, especially the Quran. Many regard Muhammad as sinlessly perfect, despite the plain evidence. The hierarchy in many Islamic countries cannot leave Muhammad and the Quran behind, not to mention the hadith. To do so would be to deny pure Islam. What good is it without them?
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