The Definitive Word on the Marriage of the Prophet Muhammad to Aisha

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The Definitive Word on the Marriage of the Prophet Muhammad to Aisha

  • Dr. Ali Shehata
  • "Of all the world's great men none has been so much maligned as Muhammad."
    • British author and University of Edinburgh professor emeritus, W. Montgomery Watt

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  • the noble character of the Prophet,
  • the authentic historical record of this matter,
  • the cultural views predominant in his era,
  • the medical aspects related to puberty,
  • a better understanding of what constitutes pedophilia,
  • the reasons behind the recent surge of relentless attacks on the Prophet

Our Obligations to RasulAllah

  • "My mercy extends to all things. I shall ordain it for those who do right, and practice regular charity, and those who believe in Our signs; especially those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own scriptures, in the Torah and the Injil.

Obligations to RasulAllah

  • For he commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil, and he allows them as lawful what is good (and pure) and prohibits them from what is bad (and impure). He releases them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them.

Obligations to RasulAllah

  • So it is those who:
    • believe in him,
    • honor him,
    • help him,
    • and follow the light sent down with him;
  • they are the ones who will prosper."
    • [7:156-157]

Example of the Companions

  • One can see the sword of Umar ibnul Khattab, unsheathed and hovering menacingly in the air in defense of the Prophet at even the slightest provocation.
  • Or the gallant fearlessness of Ali ibn Abi Talib, who faced all the chieftains of Quraish when they sought to murder the Messenger in his own bed.

The Prophet’s Defenders in Uhud

  • Naseebah and her family
    • “I could neither look left nor right on the day of Uhud without seeing her there fighting to defend me.”
  • the heroic Abu Dajanah
    • used his body as a shield for the Prophet against the arrows of the disbelievers

Our Current Situation

  • "Christianity was founded by the virgin- born Jesus Christ. Islam was founded by Mohammed, a demon-possessed pedophile who had 12 wives, and his last one was a 9-year-old girl,"
    • Jerry Vines said to applause at the SBC Pastors' Conference.

Muslim Response?

  • Yet instead of the sword of Umar or the bodily shield of Abu Dajanah, one is nearly deafened by the silence of most Muslims.
  • In most cases can be summed up as:
    • complete denial of the authentic hadith (Prophetic traditions) on this matter;
    • remaining shamefully silent when the issue is mentioned.

The Enemies of Islam

  • The enemies of the Prophet now have different names and come from different places than they did during the life of RasulAllah, but their insolence, vulgarity and general lack of anything resembling manners or civility have not changed at all.

The Noble Character of the Messenger of Allah

As Seen in the Qur’an

  • "And beyond doubt, you are of an exalted character' (68: 4).
  • "You indeed have in God's Messenger an excellent example of conduct for anyone whose hope is in meeting God and the Last Day.” (33:21)

As Seen in the Hadith

  • Anas reported: The Messenger of God was the best of all the people in conduct. [agreed]
  • Abdullah bin 'Amr ibnal 'Aas reported: the Messenger of God did not use indecent speech nor did he listen to it. He used to say, "The best of you is the best among you in manners.'' [agreed].

The Character of the Prophet Through the Eyes of Non-Muslims

  • It is impossible for anyone who studies the life and character of the great Prophet of Arabia, who knows how he taught and how he lived, to feel anything but reverence for that mighty Prophet, one of the great messengers of the Supreme.
    • Annie Besant, The Life and Teachings of Muhammad, 1932, p. 4

The Character of the Prophet Through the Eyes of Non-Muslims

  • When the sources are closely scrutinized, it is clear that those of Muhammad's actions, which are disapproved by the modern West, were not the object of the moral criticism of his contemporaries … His contemporaries did not find him morally defective in any way.
    • W. Montgomery Watt, Muhammad: Prophet and Statesman, 1961, page 229.

H. Montgomery Watt cont’d

  • On the contrary, some of the acts criticized by the modern Westerner show that Muhammad's standards were higher than those of his time. In his day and generation he was a social reformer, even a reformer in the sphere of morals. He created a new system of social security and a new family structure, both of which were a vast improvement on what went before… he established a religious and social framework for the life of many races of men.

George Bernard Shaw on the Messenger of Allah

  • I have studied him - the wonderful man and in my opinion far from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the Savior of Humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness: I have prophesied about the faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable to the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today.

Ghandi’s Words on Muhammad

  • … the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet, the scrupulous regard for pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle. When I closed the 2nd volume [of his biography], I was sorry there was not more for me to read of that great life.

The Authentic Historical Record of the Prophet’s Marriage to 'Aisha

The Prophet and His Wives

  • 'Aisha bint Abu Bakr was the third wife of the Prophet Muhammad, and he married her late in his life.
  • Prior to this, the Prophet's first and only wife for over twenty years was Khadijah bint al-Khuwaylid, who was about fifteen years older than him.

His Life with Khadijah

  • The revelation from God began during his marriage to Khadijah
  • blessed with all of his children through her
  • The Prophet never had any other wives while married to Khadijah until her death, at which time he was about forty-six years old.

His Marriage to Aisha

  • The Prophet was just over fifty years old when he married 'Aisha.
  • She was the daughter of Abu Bakr, the Prophet's best friend and most devout supporter

The Authentic Hadith on the Marriage

  • There are four hadith narrations in Sahih al-Bukhari, and three hadith in Muslim (all authentic) clearly stating:
  • 'Aisha was "nine years old" at the time that her marriage was consummated with RA
  • These hadith were narrated by three separate Companions with minimal variation between them

The Text of the Hadith of Bukhari

  • 'Aisha narrated that the Prophet was betrothed (zawaj) to her when she was six years old and he consummated (nikah) his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years.
    • Saheeh al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 64

Other Reports?

  • Also, a hadith with basically the same text is reported in Sunan Abu Dawood.
  • Other texts written which claim different ages for 'Aisha at the time of her marriage, but none of them, are authentic.
  • Thus, the evidence is clear and undeniable and no knowledgable Muslim can reject it.

Divine Inspiration Concerning ‘Aisha

  • Narrated 'Aisha:
  • The Messenger of God said (to me): "You have been shown to me twice in (my) dreams. A man was carrying you in a silken cloth and said to me, 'This is your wife.' I uncovered it; and behold, it was you. I said to myself, 'If this dream is from God, He will cause it to come true.'" - Bukhari

The Course of their Marriage

  • His marriage to 'Aisha was in fact full of bliss for both families, as is seen in the hadith.
  • 'Aisha was his favorite wife, the only virgin that he ever married, and after his death, one of Islam's greatest scholars, consistently called upon by the Companions for clarification on numerous Islamic matters.

The Cultural Norms of the Era of the Prophet Muhammad

Attacks on the Prophet Through Time

  • Looking through the Qur'an, one can find a number of insults and accusations being made against Muhammad, namely allegations of: madness, sorcery, and heresy
  • But no where will you find anyone, even amongst his enemies for the past 1400 years, who saw anything unusual with his marriage to 'Aisha.


  • It is only in the last century that this condemnation has arisen.
  • Why? Why did none of his enemies over the past 14 centuries miss this opportunity to "expose" him?
  • The answer lies in the cultural norms of most of the entire world at that time.

Marital Practices of the 7th Century

  • East and west, civilized and uncivilized, Muslim or Christian, Monotheistic or Polytheistic; the vast majority of the world in the 7th century C.E. married young.
  • Also it was the norm from at least the 5th century BC through Medieval European times, and still continues till this day in part all over the world.

An Encyclopedia of Religion

  • Talmudic law fixed the legal age for contracting marriage at puberty.
  • The prevailing marriageable age for girls in Europe during the Renaissance was twelve years.
  • Furthermore, marriages were often celebrated among Europeans until well into the 17th century between persons who had not yet achieved puberty, as was also true in India until very recent times … .

Biblical Marriages

  • Solomon and Rehoboam (refer to 1 Kings 11 and 14 for further reference)
  • Mary, the Mother of Jesus
    • Like other women of her day, Mary would have been married around the age of twelve, the onset of puberty. The marriage would have been arranged by her parents, normally to an older man. A year or so after betrothal, they would have been married. - Dr. Helen K Bond

Encyclopedia Britannica on English Common Law

  • Historically, the attitude of the English common law was that a person under 7 yrs lacked the mental ability to consent to marriage, and that between 7 yrs and puberty there could be consent but not a consummated marriage.
  • At common law, therefore, the marriage of a person between the ages of 7 and 12 or 14 was "inchoate" and would become "choate" on reaching puberty, if no objection was raised.

What is English Common Law?

  • English Common Law in its earliest structure was formulated in 1066.
  • By the 14th century, legal decisions and commentaries on common law started to supply precedents for the courts and lawyers to follow.
  • Today almost all common law has been enacted into statutes with modern variations by almost all US states.

Is Common Law Related to Christianity?

  • The common law of England has been the subject of unstinted eulogy and it is, undoubtedly, one of the most splendid embodiments of human genius. It is a source of profound satisfaction to Catholics that it came into being as a definite system and was nurtured, and to a great extent administered, during the first ten centuries of its existence by the clergy of the Catholic Church.
    • Catholic Encyclopedia

Christian Marital Doctrine

  • The Church set the age for marriage at puberty, when girls reached the age of twelve and boys, the age of fourteen.
  • Children could be betrothed at seven years of age, although this would not be binding for another five to seven years.

Church Doctrine cont’d

  • If any marriage took place before the age of seven, the partners, not the parents, (although it would be a difficult task to separate one from the other) had to confirm their consent when they reached maturity.
  • The lay authorities accepted the Church's doctrine on marriage, but betrothals and marriages did occasionally take place before the parties were seven years old. Ward, English Noblewomen in the Later Middle Ages

Catholic Pio-Benedictine Code

  • Not until 1917 under the Catholic Pio-Benedictine code that the canonical age of marriage in the church was raised to fourteen for girls and sixteen for boys.
  • Oddly enough, this is not the law in many territories including eight to ten US states where the legal age of marriage is still twelve for girls provided there is parental consent.

The Case of Young Tina Akers

  • In 1998, Tina became pregnant at the age of twelve by her twenty-nine year old boyfriend Wayne.
  • At that time, Tina was just out of the sixth grade and subsequently had to drop out of the seventh grade when her pregnancy became more advanced.

Maryland State Law in 1998

  • Defines statutory, or second-degree, rape as sex with a child younger than age fourteen by someone four or more years older. It is punishable by 20 years in prison.
  • But another law allows children under sixteen - with no minimum age - to marry with parental permission and proof of pregnancy.

People in Glass Houses Shouldn’t Throw Stones

  • Since Tina was pregnant and since she had Dad’s permission, the marriage was legal.
  • Again, this is not Medieval times, nor is this a reference to some "third-world" country of illiterate savages, but this is the law in some parts of the United States of America.
  • It seems that the evangelicals who wish to attack the Prophet had better check the condition of their own glass houses before throwing their stones.

Consent in Marriage - Christianity

  • In Christian law, not until 1140 was the consent of a woman of any importance in regards to the marriage contract

Consent in Marriage - Islam

  • The Messenger of God said,
  • "A matron should not be given in marriage except after consulting her; and a virgin should not be given in marriage except after her permission." The people asked, "O Prophet of God! How can we know her permission?" He said, "Her silence (indicates her permission). - Bukhari

The Medical Aspects Related to Puberty and Adolescence

Why Did the Prophet Wait?

  • The understanding behind this time interval is related to the wait for her to attain the age of puberty as evidenced by her first menstrual cycle.
  • Puberty, as is well known, is one of the first biological signs that indicate that a woman is capable of bearing children.

Modern Puberty Information

  • American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) defines puberty as: "the time in your life when your body changes from that of a child to that of an adult."
  • One of these changes in women is the onset of menstruation, and according to the AAP, "Most girls [first] get their periods between 9 and 16 years of age.”

Religious Wisdom Behind the Wait

  • Part of the wisdom then behind the Prophet Muhammad's marriage to 'Aisha, just after she reached puberty, is to clearly establish this as a point of Islamic Law, even though it was already a cultural norm in all Semitic societies, including the one in which Jesus lived.

Did Islam Invent Such a Concept?

  • Majority of Islamic jurists say that the earliest time that a marriage can be consummated is at the onset of sexual maturity, or bulugh, meaning puberty.
  • Also is the age in which a person, man or woman, becomes legally responsible under Islamic Law.
  • Already the norm of all Semitic cultures, and is still the norm in many societies today.

Was It Unusual for Aisha to Reach Puberty at Nine?

  • According to a 1997 landmark study published in the medical journal Pediatrics, nearly 50% of African-American girls and 15% of Caucasian American girls begin to develop breasts and/or pubic hair by age eight!

Teens Before Their Time

  • Marissa Carter, a Galveston, Texas, housewife, could not believe it when her daughter Sharon, at the tender age of 4, seemed to be developing breasts. The tiny buds that appeared on the little girl's chest were gone within a couple of weeks, but three years later, they reappeared, and this time they grew--along with pubic hair and hair in Sharon's armpits.

Teens Before Their Time

  • So after a series of medical consultations, the Carters (all these names have been changed at the families' request) put Sharon on lupron, a hormone that slams the brakes on puberty--only to see their happy little girl go into terrible mood swings. "I had a child acting like she was in menopause," says Carter. The parents decided to stop the treatment, and by age 9, Sharon had full-blown breasts and was getting her period …

Teens Before Their Time

  • If these were isolated cases, they might be chalked up to statistical flukes. But it seems as if everywhere you turn these days--outside schools, on soccer fields, at the mall--there are more and more elementary schoolgirls whose bodies look like they belong in high school and more and more middle schoolers who look like college coeds.

Teens Before Their Time

  • "Young girls [in the 5-to-10-year-old range] with breasts or pubic hair--we encounter this every day we're in clinic," says Dr. Michael Freemark, chief of pediatric endocrinology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.

What To Do?

  • The question that naturally arises from this discussion then is this: is promiscuous sex amongst our young rapidly advancing girls the solution to this pandemic, as opposed to what those "primitive" societies in the past did in similar circumstances, which was early marriage?
  • In our own arrogance we now stand face-to-face with the reality of that very question.

The Situation of Aisha

  • In sharp contrast to the exploitive relations which we have left our naïve daughters to in this, the twenty first century, let us reflect for a moment on what became of young 'Aisha after her marriage to Muhammad.

What Became of Her After Marriage?

  • Her marriage to the Prophet at an early age let her be an eye witness to the personal details of his life, and to pass them on to later Muslims.
  • Being both spiritually and physically near to the Prophet, the marriage made 'Aisha an example to all Muslims, especially women, for all times.
  • She developed into a profound and able teacher and scholar, due in part to her remarkable memory, intelligence and wisdom.

What Became of Her After Marriage?

  • 'Aisha, the Mother of the Believers as she was named in the Qur'an, was not only a model for wives and mothers, but she was also a commentator on the Qur'an, an authority on Hadith and knowledgeable in the disciplines of Islamic Law, Arabic history and literature.
  • For those who question the role of women in Islam, one needs only look back at how she was regularly consulted in countless and diverse religious matters both during the life of the Prophet, and even more after his death.

Comments by the Companions

  • 'Urwa ibnal Zubair says, "I did not find anyone more proficient [than Aisha] in the knowledge of the Qur'an, the Commandments of Halal (lawful) and Haram (prohibited), Ilmul-Ansab and Arabic poetry. That is why even senior companions of the Prophet used to consult Aisha in resolving intricate issues".
    • Ibn Qayyim and Ibn Sa'ad, Jala-ul-Afham, vol. 2, p. 26.

Comments by the Companions

  • Abu Musa al-Ash'ari once said: "If we, the Companions of the Messenger of God, had any difficulty on a matter we asked Aisha about it."
    • Al-Muwatta of Imam Malik, Hadith 2.75.

The Disease of Pedophilia

Is There Any Justice in Portraying Muhammad As So?

  • The American Psychiatric Association further defines a pedophile as: a person who over at least a 6 month period has recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child.
    • Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, American Psychiatric Association, 1994

Statistics on the Prophet’s Marriages

  • Of all his marriages, the majority, five, were to widows older than 36 years of age at the time of marriage (ages 40, 50, 38, 36, 36 respectively).
  • All of his marriages, except two, were to widows.
  • Of all his marriages the longest one was to the Lady Khadijah, which lasted almost twenty-five years before her death.

Statistics on the Prophet’s Marriages

  • Of the remaining few marriages, with the exception of his marriage to 'Aisha, the brides were all between the ages of 17 and 30 years of age at the time of marriage.
  • As stated previously, his marriage with 'Aisha was consummated only after she reached the age of puberty, making her an adolescent by definition and not prepubescent.

Dr. Annie Besant

  • But do you mean to tell me that the man who in the full flush of youthful vigour, a young man of four and twenty (24), married a woman much his senior, and remained faithful to her for six and twenty years (26), at fifty years of age when the passions are dying married for lust and sexual passion? Not thus are men's lives to be judged. And you look at the women whom he married, you will find that by every one of them an alliance was made for his people, or something was gained for his followers, or the woman was in sore need of protection.

Oddly enough though, the one arena where one is sure to find an abundance of pedophiles and sexual deviants is not in Islam, but in mainstream Christianity.

The Reasons behind the Sudden Surge of Today's Attacks on the Prophet Muhammad

The Christians are Exposed

  • It is most amazing to see these Christian hooligans of today focusing their efforts on characterizing the Prophet of Islam as a "pedophile", at exactly the same time that hundreds, if not thousands, of people across the United States are coming out of the darkness to detail the years of utterly humiliating and devastating sexual abuse that they suffered at the hands of clergy from every denomination of organized Christianity represented in the United States.

I Thought It Was Just a Catholic Problem

  • What has been falsely represented in the American media as solely a Catholic crisis is in fact a global catastrophe affecting every denomination of Christianity.

Denominational Statistics

  • 131 Baptist Ministers
  • 241 "Bible" Church Ministers (evangelical)
  • 82 Anglican/Episcopalian Ministers
  • 37 Lutheran Ministers
  • 45 Methodist Ministers
  • 19 Presbyterian Ministers
  • 171 various Church Ministers

Betrayal of Trust: Clergy Abuse of Children.

  • "Although we find the numbers of molesting clergy staggering, our figures undoubtedly reflect only a fraction of these cases," notes Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor of Freethought Today and author of the 1988 book Betrayal of Trust: Clergy Abuse of Children.
  • "It has to be stressed that many criminal cases are not necessarily reported by newspapers, and that most cases of clergy abuse of children never reach the criminal courts in the first place.

More Henous Stats

  • Most ministers were charged with molesting at least four or five victims, but were believed to have assaulted many others.
  • The sexual assault charges ranged from indecent touching to rape, sodomy, and child pornography.
  • Much of the abuse was long-term with some children assaulted as many as 1,000 times.

More Henous Stats

  • A majority of victims, 60% of whom were boys, were molested on church property or during church-sanctioned outings.
  • The profile of the typical minister charged with molesting children: a 45-year-old man (ages ranged from 24 to 80 at the time of arrest), with 4 to 5 named victims, most often boys in their early teens.

More Henous Stats

  • Most ministers, however, were suspected of molesting many other children. Conservatively, the 190 clergy [in this one study] had at least 4,000 other victims, for a low estimate of an average of 21 victims each. These children were not included in charges for pragmatic legal reasons, because they had been molested in other cities and times, or because the statute of limitations had been exceeded.


  • The Prophet Muhammad's marriage to 'Aisha upon her reaching the age of puberty, viewed both in the light of Absolute Morality and the cultural norms of his time, was far from being an immoral act, but instead was an act containing valuable lessons for generations to come.


  • Moreover, this marriage followed the cultural norms of all Semitic peoples, including those of Biblical times. Based on this, and other information elaborated upon above, it is grossly hypocritical for Christians to criticize the Prophet's marriage to 'Aisha at such a young age.


  • Additionally, it is important to note that the Prophet Muhammad has been sent as, amongst other things, a role model and example of excellent conduct for the believers. With this understanding in mind, one can look back into the Prophet's life to see his example in many different marital settings, both monogamous and polygynous.
  • We also see his various dealings with his wives, as some were younger, others older; some were virgins upon marriage, and others divorced or widows.


  • It is furthermore both unreasonable and impractical to judge societal practices dating back nearly fifteen hundred years ago by comparing them to the ones in the current age.
  • In a time when the average life expectancy was nearly half of what it is today, and an era where fifteen and sixteen year old youths, like the Companion Usama bin Zayd, were sometimes made the commanders of imperial armies, the marriage of girls at the age of puberty was not only reasonable, but in fact the norm in most cultures around the world.


  • On the contrary, it heretofore remains unknown how modern society will cope with the current rise in early puberty among its young girls, and the threat this presents to them. It may yet teach us the appreciation for the efforts and ways of those that came before us.
  • You will certainly hear much abuse from the People of the Book and from the Polytheists. And if you are patient and keep your duty, then this is surely a matter of great resolution (3: 185)

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