Revisiting the Issue of Muhammad’s Marriage with a child bride

How one Muslim Dawagandist attempts to defend the morally indefensible

Sam Shamoun

Bassam Zawadi has written a "reply" (*) to my articles, and seeks to defend Muhammad’s marriage with a minor, a girl so young that she was still playing with dolls and riding on swings/seesaws according to the Islamic sources!

Aisha and Dolls

Zawadi tries to refute that Aisha was a minor because she was still playing with dolls by appealing to the opinions of scholars that say that not all dolls are forbidden, even for adults. There are specific dolls which are forbidden except for children who haven’t attained puberty.

In saying this Zawadi, once again, demonstrates that he didn’t bother reading the citations carefully. The comments found in al-Bukhari presuppose that the type of dolls Aisha had were of the forbidden kind, ones which only minors could play with:

Narrated 'Aisha:
I used to play with the dolls in the presence of the Prophet, and my girl friends also used to play with me. When Allah's Apostle used to enter (my dwelling place) they used to hide themselves, but the Prophet would call them to join and play with me. (The playing with the dolls and similar images IS FORBIDDEN, but it was allowed for 'Aisha at that time, as she was a little girl, NOT YET REACHED THE AGE OF PUBERTY.) (Fateh-al-Bari page 143, Vol.13) (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 151)

If these dolls were of the permissible kind then there would have been absolutely no need for the commentator to explain that the reason why Aisha was still playing with them is because she was a minor, one who hadn’t reached puberty. The fact he said this assumes that she was playing with dolls which were not permissible for adults to have.

And even though he sources a salafi website that quotes Shaykh Uthaymeen, he conveniently fails to mention that this is what this same salafi site says concerning Aisha’s playing with dolls:

Answer:
Praise be to Allaah.

We have already explained that it is haraam to make images and statues (question no. 7222) and that it is haraam to buy and sell them (question no. 49676).

But if these images and dolls are toys FOR CHILDREN, the Sunnah indicates that they are permissible. In al-Saheehayn it is narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: "I used to play with dolls in the presence of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and I had female friends who would play with me…" al-Bukhaari, 6130; Muslim, 2440.

Ibn Hajar said: This hadeeth indicates that it is permissible to have images of girls (i.e., dolls) and toys for girls to play with. This is AN EXCEPTION from the general meaning of the prohibition on having images. This was stated by ‘Iyaad and was narrated from the majority. They permitted the sale of dolls to girls so as to teach them FROM A YOUNG AGE how to take care of their homes and children. Ibn Hibbaan stated that it is permissible for young girls to play with toys… According to a report narrated by Jareer from Hishaam: "I used to play with dolls." Narrated by Abu ‘Awaanah and others. Abu Dawood and al-Nasaa’i narrated from ‘Aa’ishah with a different isnaad that she said: "The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came from the campaign of Tabook or Khaybar…" and he mentioned the hadeeth about the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) tearing down the curtain on which there were images, that ‘Aa’ishah had put over her door. She said: And he uncovered the niche in which were dolls that ‘Aa’ishah used to play with. He said: "What is this, O ‘Aa’ishah?" She said: "My daughters (i.e., dolls)." She said: And he saw among them a horse with two wings tied to it and said: "What is this?" I said: "A horse." He said:  "A horse with two wings?" I said: "Have you not heard that Sulaymaan had horses with wings?" and he smiled.

The report mentioned by Ibn Hajar was narrated by Abu Dawood, no. 22813; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Ghaayat al-Maraam, 129. (Question No. 49844, He is asking about dolls and three-dimensional toys, and whether that affects his fast; source; capital and underline emphasis ours)

And:

Firstly:

It is well known that Islam has forbidden image-making, drawing and sculpting every animate being that Allaah has created; there are stern warnings issued to those who do that.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "The most severely punished of the people on the Day of Resurrection will be the image-makers." Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5950) and Muslim (2109).

See also the answer to question no. 7222 and 39806.

Islam makes an exception from this prohibition in the case of images WITH WHICH CHILDREN PLAY.

It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came back from the campaign to Tabook or Khaybar, and in her alcove there was a curtain. The breeze came and lifted the edge of the curtain, uncovering the "daughters" of ‘Aa’ishah, i.e., her dolls. He said: "What is this, O ‘Aa’ishah?" She said: "My daughters." And among them he saw a horse with two wings of cloth. He said: "What is this that I see among them?" She said: "A horse." He said: "What is this on it?" She said: "Two wings." He said: "A horse with wings?" She said: "Have you not heard that Sulaymaan had horses with wings?" She said: And he smiled so broadly that I could see his eye teeth." Narrated by Abu Dawood (4932), classed as saheeh by al-Iraaqi in Takhreej al-Ihya’ (2/344) and by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.

Al-Haafiz ibn Hajr said in Fath al-Baari (10/527):

This hadeeth is taken as evidence that it is permissible to have dolls and toys FOR GIRLS TO PLAY WITH. This is AN EXCEPTION to the prohibition of images. This was stated by ‘Iyaad, and it was narrated from the majority that they allowed the sale of toys and dolls so that girls might learn from a young age how to take care of their houses and their children. End quote. (Question No. 71170, Ruling on animated drawings (cartoons); source; capital and underline emphasis ours)

Finally:

Most of the scholars have exempted the making of girls’ toys from the prohibition on making images and statues. This is the view of the Maalikis, Shaafa’is and Hanbalis. Al-Qaadi ‘Iyaad narrated that most of the scholars said that this is permissible, and he was followed in that by al-Nawawi in his commentary on Muslim. He said: "Exempted from the prohibition on making images that have a shadow are things that are used as toys for girls, because of the exemption that was narrated concerning that. This means that it is permissible, whether they are toys in the shape of people or animals, three-dimensional or otherwise, and whether they are supposed to represent real animals or not, such as a horse with wings…

The majority of scholars QUOTE AS EVIDENCE FOR THIS EXEMPTION THE HADEETH of ‘AA’ISHAH (may Allaah be pleased with her) in which she says:

"I used to play with dolls in the house of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). I had friends who used to play with me. When the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came in, they would hide themselves, then he would call them to join me and play with me." …

The Maalikis, Shaafa’is and Hanbalis interpreted this as an exemption for making toys because of the necessity of educating girls in how to bring up children. This interpretation is obvious if the toy is in the form of a human, but it is not obvious if it is in the form of a horse with wings… Ibn Hajar quoted in al-Fath from someone who thought that making toys was haraam, and that it had been permitted at first but was then abrogated by the general prohibition on making images. He responded by noting that the abrogation could have been the other way round and that the permission to make toys came later, on the grounds that in the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) about her toys, there is the indication that this happened at a later date, because it mentions that this happened when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came back from Tabook. So the apparent meaning is that it happened later on. (al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah – Maaddat al-Tasweer)

Islam Q&A
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid (Question No. 9473, Exemption of (baby) dolls from the ruling on haraam images; source; capital and underline emphasis ours)

What all of these quotes have in common is that they set forth Aisha as an example of a young girl who was allowed to play with dolls even though this is something expressly forbidden for adults to do.

As if he couldn’t get any more desperate Zawadi refers to sources which show that even adults play with dolls. In raising this point Zawadi is simply attacking a straw man and is deliberately trying to deceive his readers by diverting their attention away from the real issue. It is irrelevant to discuss whether even grown ups play with dolls, since that is not the point. The point is that Islam forbids the playing with dolls except in the case of minors. In light of what Islam teaches this means that Aisha was a minor when Muhammad married her since she was playing with forbidden objects. THAT IS THE POINT! Hopefully, he will get it this time.

Zawadi conveniently didn’t address the fact Sahih al-Bukhari refers to the Quran’s statement regarding the waiting period of young divorcees who haven’t experienced their periods yet by citing Muhammad’s marriage to Aisha as an example of a minor who hadn’t menstruated!

XXXIX. A man giving his YOUNG CHILDREN in marriage

By the words of Allah, "that also applies to those who have not yet menstruated" (65:4) and He made the 'idda of a girl BEFORE PUBERTY three months.

4840. It is related from 'A'isha that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, married her when she was six years old and consummated it when she was nine, and she was his wife for nine years. (Aisha Bewley, The Sahih Collection of Al-Bukhari, Chapter 70. Book of Marriage; source; capital emphasis ours)

And here is another version:

(39) CHAPTER. Giving one’s YOUNG CHILDREN in marriage (is permissible).

By virtue of the Statement of Allah: "…and for those who have no (monthly) courses (i.e. THEY ARE STILL IMMATURE) …" (v. 65:4)

And the ‘Idda for the girl BEFORE PUBERTY is three months (in the above Verse).

5133. Narrated ‘Aishah that the Prophet wrote the marriage contract with her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was none years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death). (The Translation of the Meanings of Sahih Al-Bukhari, translated by Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh – Saudi Arabia, July 1997], Volume 7, Ahadith 5063 to 5969, 67 – Book of An-Nikah (The Wedlock), p. 57; capital emphasis ours)

This suggests that al-Bukhari believed that Muhammad married his child bride before she had reached maidenhood!

Al-Bukhari wasn’t the only one to use Aisha as an example of a married prepubescent minor:

Chapter 13. Marriage OF MINOR GIRLS Arranged By Their Fathers.

1876. It was narrated that ‘Aishah said: "The Messenger of Allah married me when I was six years old. Then we came to Al-Madinah and settled among Banu Harith bin Khazraj. I became ill and my hair fell out, then it grew back and became abundant. My mother Umm Ruman came to me while I was on an Urjuhah with some of my friends, and called for me. When I got my breath back, she took some water and wiped my face and head, and led me into the house. There were some of women of the Ansar inside the house, and they said: ‘With the blessings and good fortune (from Allah).’ (My mother) handed me over to them and they tidied me up. And suddenly I saw the Messenger of Allah in the morning. And she handed me over to him, and I was at that time, nine years old." (Sahih)

Comments:

  1. The marriage bond of a girl who is not yet adult (HAS NOT REACHED THE AGE OF PUBERTY) IS PERFECTLY VALID IN ISLAM.
  2. Urjuhah refers to both, a swing and a seesaw; it is a long piece of wood, its middle is placed at a high place and the children sit on both ends, when its one side goes down the other side goes up; it is called seesaw in English. (Sunan Ibn Majah - Compiled by Imam Muhammad Bin Yazeed Ibn Majah Al-Qazwini, From Hadith No. 1783 to 2718, Ahadith edited and referenced by Hafiz Abu Tahir Zubair 'Ali Za'i, translated by Nasiruddin al-Khattab (Canada), final review by Abu Khaliyl (USA) [Darussalam Publications and Distributors, First Edition: June 2007], Volume 3, The Chapters on Marriage, pp. 76-77; capital and underline emphasis ours)

Here, once again, is a Muslim source that candidly admits that Aisha wasn’t pubescent when Muhammad married her. And can you imagine that! Aisha was still playing with her child friends on a swing/seesaw on the very same day that Muhammad came to consummate the marriage (i.e. have sex with her)! To think that Zawadi is really trying to justify the marriage of a fifty-four year old man to a nine-year old minor who was still playing with dolls and riding on swings/seesaws!

We will have more to say concerning the issue of Q. 65:4 and marriages with minors a little later.

Zawadi then distorts the reason behind my citing the words of Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani:

Shamoun said:

This is the same al-Asqalani who stated in Fateh-al-Bari, Volume 13, page 143, that the reason why Aisha was even allowed to play with dolls is because she hadn't reached puberty!

Actually, it was not Ibn Hajar that said that. It was Al Khattabi and Ibn Hajar was simply quoting him.

Zawadi is splitting hairs at this point since to argue that Ibn Hajar didn’t say this, but merely quoted someone else who did, doesn’t deny the fact that this is found in his work. And that was my point, that Ibn Hajar mentioned the fact that Aisha hadn’t reached puberty which accounts for why she was still playing with dolls.

Moreover, as anyone reading my article can attest, I referenced Ibn Hajar to refute the claim of one Muslim polemicist named Robert Squires that al-Asqalani casted some doubts concerning the claim that Aisha hadn’t reached puberty at the time Muhammad married her. As I documented, al-Asqalani was not disputing whether Muhammad married Aisha before puberty, but whether she was still prepubescent during the expedition against Khaibar. Al-Asqalani asserted that the strongest view is that she hadn’t attained puberty even at that time when she was already 14 years old, and thereby soundly refutes and exposes Squires’ assertion that Aisha was pubescent when Muhammad married her.

Seeing that Zawadi follows a false prophet who condoned lying and deception (*) it shouldn’t surprise the readers that he slanderously accuses me of deception, all the while exposing more of his gross ignorance and inability to read:

Shamoun said:

As for her age at the time of the Battle of Tabook - she had by then definitely reached the age of puberty. Therefore, THE STRONGEST VIEW is that of those who said: "It was in Khaibar" [i.e. WHEN SHE WAS NOT YET AT THE AGE OF PUBERTY], and made reconciliation (jam') [between the apparent contradictory rulings, of permissibility of dolls, in particular, and the prohibition of images, in general] with what al-Khattaabee said (above).

Notice Shamoun's deception. In brackets he puts "WHEN SHE WAS NOT YET AT THE AGE OF PUBERTY".

In order to expose who the real liar is we ask the readers to go to the following link in order to see that the comments in brackets ARE NOT MINE, but the translator’s (*).

Since these are the words of the Muslim author, not my own, does this mean that Zawadi is the liar for trying to deny that Aisha hadn’t reached puberty during the time of the expedition against Khaibar? Or should we accuse the translator of being a liar?

Zawadi tries to explain that the reason why Ibn Hajar didn’t think that Aisha attained puberty even at 14 years of age is because he followed the Shafi' school of thought which teaches if someone reaches the age of fifteen then that person has certainly hit puberty. And since Aisha was only fourteen then those following this school of thought would have assumed that she wasn’t pubescent yet. Whether Ibn Hajar subscribed to this position or not, the fact remains that the sources clearly attest that Aisha hadn’t achieved puberty when Muhammad slept with her at the age of nine.

Zawadi then brings up a red herring by referring to the fact that there have been cases of girls in warmer climates that reach puberty at the age of eight. Later he provides quotes from Muslim authorities claiming there were nine-year-old girls who had menstruated often and of one particular girl who was a grandmother at the age of 21! Zawadi then says something which further proves that he will use deception or even make things up in order to defend the indefensible:

I also personally know of a 23 year old girl in my Masters class who is very intelligent and still keeps a teddy bear in her car.

What makes this statement rather curious is that this sure sounds like what the following Muslim poster stated concerning someone he knew:

Qatadah

04-24-2008, 01:44 PM

asalaam alaikum

trustingod, i remember a brother saying that he knew someone who is 23, and she still keeps a teddy bear. besides, we see in her life how she was so mature throughout the marriage, and that she was fit enough for it - that's why it continued so perfectly. (do the shafi's believe Aisha married without hitting puberty; source)

Now what are the odds that both of these gentlemen know of a girl who happens to be 23 years old and still plays with a teddy bear? In light of Zawadi’s track record of lying and deception it seems pretty certain that this is another time that he has taken over the statements of someone else and made them his own.

Now it is one thing to quote someone, or even paraphrase a point that one has taken from another source without referencing it. It s quite another thing to take someone else’s words and experiences and then pass them off as your own in order to justify wicked and immoral actions such as Muhammad’s marriage to a minor.

Be that as it may, the readers can see that this is simply irrelevant since the issue is not whether girls can attain puberty at that age, but whether Aisha did. We need to repeat this fact once again – according to the Muslim sources she hadn’t attained maidenhood when Muhammad decided to sleep with her at the age of nine.

The other issue concerns whether it was morally right for a fifty-four year old man to sleep with a minor seeing that he was old enough to be her great, great grandfather!

As if this weren’t bad enough Muhammad composed a verse which prohibited anyone from marrying any of his wives after his death:

… And it is not (right) for you that you should annoy Allah's Messenger, nor that you should ever marry his wives after him (his death). Verily! With Allah that shall be an enormity. S. 33:53

Keep in mind that Aisha died in the year 678 AD., at the approximate age of 66:

‘A’isha died in Ramadan 58/June-July 678…

According to Muhammad b. ‘Umar [al-Waqidi]: ‘A’ishah died on Tuesday night, the 17th of Ramadan 58/July 13, 678, and was buried the same night after the night prayer. She was then sixty-six years old. (The History of Al-Tabari, Volume XXXIX, p. 173)

This pretty much indicates Aisha, as well as wives such as Safiyyah who wasn’t even twenty when Muhammad "married" her, remained a childless widow for more than forty years! This was one of the worst curses a young maiden could ever experience in her life. To think that women such as Aisha never had the joy of raising children or of having husbands to comfort and meet all of their needs for the rest of their lives is truly heart wrenching to say the least.

What makes this so sad and tragic is that none of this seems to trouble Zawadi since he still has the audacity to try and pass Muhammad off as a prophet and a mercy to mankind.

Zawadi repeats the charge that Aisha thought of herself as a woman but didn’t even bother addressing our response to this assertion. As we noted she may have reasoned that even though she hadn’t reached puberty and wasn’t physically mature for sexual relations she must have been a woman; after all Muhammad married her and if he did then this must mean she was ready for sex seeing he was a "prophet"!

More importantly, in his haste to defend the indefensible Zawadi fails to reflect on the fact that his views basically mean that the Quran is wrong for justifying marriages with minors who hadn’t menstruated. Note that he is arguing that Muhammad didn’t marry Aisha before she reached puberty, which demonstrates that he himself is aware that there is something morally wrong with a man having sex with a prepubescent minor.

But this is where he faces a major problem. The Quran sanctions marriages and divorce with child brides, with young minors who haven’t had their periods:

And (as for) those of your women who have despaired of menstruation, if you have a doubt, their prescribed time shall be three months, and of those too who have not had their courses (lam yahidna); and (as for) the pregnant women, their prescribed time is that they lay down their burden; and whoever is careful of (his duty to) Allah He will make easy for him his affair. S. 65:4 Shakir

The waiting period for divorced women who haven’t even menstruated is three months. This means that these women aren’t even women (they haven’t attained womanhood) but are in fact young minors who haven’t reached puberty!(1)

Now a woman can only be divorced if she is married and had her marriage consummated, since the Quran expressly teaches that there is no waiting period for marriages where the couple haven’t had sex:

O you who believe: When you marry believing women and then divorce them before you have touched them, no period of idda (waiting) have you to count in respect of them: so give them a present and set them free in a graceful manner. S. 33:49

This shows that the waiting period only applies in the case of a prepubescent when her husband has actually slept with her. So it is clear that this injunction assumes that young girls can be married, divorced and remarried before they reach puberty.

Even more, the purpose of this waiting period is to ensure that the wife who is about to be divorced is not pregnant or, if she is, to make sure that the true father is known, i.e. that the child is from the current husband, and not a next husband that she may marry afterwards. Thus, this further proves that the Muslim men who are married to prepubescent girls are having sexual intercourse with them. To put it simply, the Quran is allowing men to sleep with minors.

And just in case Zawadi wants to squirm his way from admitting that this is what his false book teaches, here is what some of Islam’s greatest expositors said concerning Q. 65:4

(And for such of your women as despair of menstruation) because of old age, (if ye doubt) about their waiting period, (their period (of waiting) shall be three months) upon which another man asked: "O Messenger of Allah! What about the waiting period of those who do not have menstruation because they are too young?" (along with those who have it not) because of young age, their waiting period is three months. Another man asked: "what is the waiting period for those women who are pregnant?" (And for those with child) i.e. those who are pregnant, (their period) their waiting period (shall be till they bring forth their burden) their child. (And whosoever keepeth his duty to Allah) and whoever fears Allah regarding what he commands him, (He maketh his course easy for him) He makes his matter easy; and it is also said this means: He will help him to worship Him well. (Tanwr al-Miqbs min Tafsr Ibn ‘Abbs; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

And:

And [as for] those of your women who (read alla'i or alla'i in both instances) no longer expect to menstruate, if you have any doubts, about their waiting period, their prescribed [waiting] period shall be three months, and [also for] those who have not yet menstruated, because of their young age, their period shall [also] be three months - both cases apply to other than those whose spouses have died; for these [latter] their period is prescribed in the verse: they shall wait by themselves for four months and ten [days] [Q. 2:234]. And those who are pregnant, their term, the conclusion of their prescribed [waiting] period if divorced or if their spouses be dead, shall be when they deliver. And whoever fears God, He will make matters ease for him, in this world and in the Hereafter. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

The renowned Muslim exegete Abu-Ala’ Maududi, in his six volume commentary on the Quran, confirms this by stating the following:

*13 They may not have menstruated as yet either because of young age, or delayed menstrual discharge as it happens in the case of some women, or because of no discharge at all throughout life which, though rare, may also be the case. In any case, the waiting-period of such a woman is the same as of the woman, who has stopped menstruation, that is three months from the time divorce was pronounced.
Here, one should bear in mind the fact that according to the explanations given in the Qur'an the question of the waiting period arises in respect of the women with whom marriage may have been consummated, for there is no waiting-period in case divorce is pronounced before the consummation of marriage. (Al-Ahzab: 49). Therefore, making mention of the waiting-period for the girls who have not yet menstruated, clearly proves that it is not only permissible to give away the girl in marriage at this age but it is also 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, volume 5, p. 620, note 13; source 1, source 2; bold emphasis added)

The noted Muslim expositor Ibn Kathir writes:

The `Iddah of Those in Menopause and Those Who do not have Menses

Allah the Exalted clarifies the waiting period of the woman in menopause. And that is the one whose menstruation has stopped due to her older age. Her `Iddah is three months instead of the three monthly cycles for those who menstruate, which is based upon the Ayah in (Surat) Al-Baqarah. [see 2:228] The same for the young, WHO HAVE NOT REACHED THE YEARS OF MENSTRUATION. Their `Iddah is three months like those in menopause. This is the meaning of His saying…

Supporting this view is what is reported from Ubay bin Ka`b that he said, "O Allah's Messenger! Some women were not mentioned in the Qur'an, THE YOUNG, the old and the pregnant."' Allah the Exalted and Most Honored sent down this Ayah

<Those in menopause among your women, for them the `Iddah, if you have doubt, is three months; and for those who have no courses. And for those who are pregnant, their `Iddah is until they lay down their burden.> Ibn Abi Hatim recorded a simpler narration than this one from Ubay bin Ka`b who said, "O Allah's Messenger! When the Ayah in Surat Al-Baqarah was revealed prescribing the `Iddah of divorce, some people in Al-Madinah said, `There are still some women whose `Iddah has not been mentioned in the Qur'an. There are THE YOUNG, the old whose menstruation is discontinued, and the pregnant.' Later on, this Ayah was revealed …

<Those in menopause among your women, for them the `Iddah, if you have doubt, is three months; and for those who have no courses.>" … (Tafsir Ibn Kathir; source; capital and underline emphasis ours)

Finally, here are two quotes from the salafi website which Zawadi likes so much:

Firstly:

Marriage to a young girl BEFORE SHE REACHES PUBERTY is permissible according to sharee’ah, and it was narrated that there was scholarly consensus on this point.

1 – Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning) [quotes Q. 65:4] …

In this verse we see that Allaah states that for those who do not menstruate – BECAUSE THEY ARE YOUNG AND HAVE NOT YET REACHED THE AGE OF PUBERTY – the ‘iddah in the case of divorce is three months. This clearly indicates that it is permissible for a young girl who has not started her periods to marry.

Al-Tabari (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

The interpretation of the verse … He said: The same applies to the ‘idaah for girls who do not menstruate BECAUSE THEY ARE TOO YOUNG, if their husbands divorce them after consummating the marriage with them.

Tafseer al-Tabari, 14/142

2 – It was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) married her when she was six years old, and consummated the marriage with her when she was nine, and she stayed with him for nine years.

Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4840; Muslim, 1422.

Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr said:

The scholars are unanimously agreed that a father may marry off his young daughter without consulting her. The Messenger of Allaah married ‘Aa’ishah bint Abi Bakr when she was young, six or seven years old, when her father married her to him.

Al-Istidhkaar, 16/49-50.

Secondly:

The fact that it is permissible to marry a minor girl does not imply that it is permissible to have intercourse with her, rather the husband should not have intercourse with her until she becomes able for that. Hence the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) delayed consummating the marriage to ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her).

And Allaah knows best. (Question No. 12708, Is it acceptable to marry a girl who has not yet started her menses?; source; capital and underline emphasis ours)

And:

Answer:
Praise be to Allaah.

If the woman is divorced by talaaq before the man has entered upon her and been alone with her, i.e., before intercourse or intimacy with her, then she does not have to observe any ‘iddah at all. Simply by virtue of the divorce it becomes permissible for her to marry another man. But if he has entered upon her and been alone with her and had intercourse with her, then she has to observe the ‘iddah (waiting period) which takes one of the following forms…

3 – If a woman does not menstruate, either because she is very young or old and past menopause, then her ‘iddah is three months, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning) [quotes Q. 65:4] …

Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen, Majmoo’at As’ilah tahumm al-Usrah al-Muslimah, p. 61-63. (Question No. 12667, The ‘iddah of a woman divorced by talaaq: source; underline emphasis ours)

Not only does this salafi source cite Aisha as an example of one who was too young to menstruate they further use her as a case in which a man must wait until the young girl is able to handle penetration. This explains why Muhammad waited to have sex with her, e.g. not necessarily because of her age but due to her being physically immature or incapable of having a fifty-four year old man deflower her. What this presupposes is that Muhammad would have actually slept with her when she was six years old if he could.

And, as we stated in our article (*), if were to judge by the above quotations from the salafi website then being ready for intercourse is apparently defined in a merely physical way. These "scholars" seem to be saying that a girl is ready when the penis is able to slide in without tearing her up! They do not seem to be at all concerned with the biological and psychological aspects of the girl, whether she has the physiological and mental maturity to experience such intimacy. A troubling question that arises from the above claims is by what method is the husband supposed to test whether or not she is ready now? How many times should he be trying to penetrate her only to discover it doesn't work yet? How much damage is that doing to a little girl?

Zawadi calls into the question the following translation since he doesn’t find the word for "immature" in the Arabic text:

… Buraira said, 'No, by Allah Who has sent you with the Truth, I have never seen in her anything faulty except that she is a girl of IMMATURE AGE, who sometimes sleeps and leaves the dough for the goats to eat.’ … (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 48, Number 829)

He then claims that Aisha wasn’t being criticized for her young age but for falling asleep while performing her chores such as kneading flour thereby allowing a lamb to eat it!

Zawadi apparently doesn’t understand that words are defined within the context and that the translator, Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, could see that by young girl the narrator meant that Aisha was immature and still had child-like tendencies.

What makes this all the more amusing is that Zawadi proceeds to refute his own argument and establish the fact that Muhammad Muhsin Khan was correct in translating the term as "immature girl":

The companion might have attributed her carelessness due to the fact THAT SHE WAS YOUNG and did not take seriously her responsibility over her tasks. However, this does not imply she was immature [sic] or psychologically incapable [sic] of being married. (Emphasis ours)

It is so sad that Zawadi doesn’t see that his comments establish the point that, by saying she was a young girl, Aisha was acting as any immature child would, e.g. she was careless and irresponsible, who would rather play with kids her own age than do house chores. And yet this is the same young girl that Zawadi wants to convince us was old and mature enough to get married to a fifty-four year old man!

This concludes the first part of our response. Please continue to Part 2.


Endnotes

(1) Lam is the major negative particle for the past tense in formal Arabic. It is used to negate past tense actions or events. Examples of lam in the Quran include the following:

There is no fault in you, if you divorce women while as yet you have not touched them (lam tamassoohunna) nor appointed any marriage-portion for them; yet make provision for them, the affluent man according to his means, and according to his means the needy man, honourably -- an obligation on the good-doers. S. 2:236 Arberry

This refers to the divorce of women whom their husbands haven’t touched (i.e. had sex with).

Wherein both will be those (maidens) restraining their glances upon their husbands, whom NO man or jinn yatmithhunna (has opened their hymens with sexual intercourse) (lam yatmithhunna) before them. S. 55:56, 74 Hilali-Khan

The above refers to the maidens of paradise who have not had sex with anyone.

 It is equal to them whether you (Muhammad) ask forgiveness or ask not forgiveness for them (lam tastaghfir lahum). Verily, Allah guides not the people who are the Fasiqin (rebellious, disobedient to Allah). S. 63:6 Hilali-Khan

Whether Muhammad lam tastaghfir (doesn’t ask for forgiveness at all) it doesn’t matter since these specific unbelievers will not be forgiven.

The foregoing uses of lam expressly show that Q. 65:4 is actually informing Muslim men that they can marry and divorce immature girls who have never had their menses, demonstrating that Islam sanctions marriages with young minors who haven’t even reached maidenhood!


Rebuttals to Bassam Zawadi
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