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On the Marriage of Aisha

aisha

By Garibaldi

The so-called ‘scandal of the marriage of Aisha to the Prophet Muhammad’ is a favorite topic for Islamophobes and anti-Islam polemicists alike. It is a distorted topic that they luridly present, attempting to create the narrative that Islam allows men to have sex with prepubescent girls and that the Prophet Muhammad was a “pedophile.”

Danios has taken this topic up in a lengthy article that rebutted Rev. Deacon Robert Spencer and his allies’ claims, in the process exposing their faulty arguments and inept understanding of basic Arabic.

To be sure Aisha’s age at the time of her marriage was not an issue or even a point of attack for anti-Islam/Muslim polemicists before the 20th century for the very simple reason that adolescence is a product of the 20th century; Islamic studies professor Jonathan Brown makes this point in response to a question on the topic.

Interestingly enough traditional scholarship is not unanimously in agreement about Aisha’s age despite the report in Bukhari. Recently, Mohammad Fadel, professor of law at the University of Toronto with a background in Islamic law had a conversation with an eminent Syrian hadith scholar by the name of Salah al-Din al-Idlibi who concludes based on all the available historical reports that Aisha was 14 at the time that she contracted her marriage and 18 when she began her married life with Prophet Mohammad. (h/t: Amin S.)

Shanfaraa

This discussion offered me the opportunity to raise the problem of age generally for the first generation of Muslims, especially since the Arabs before Islam did not have a regular calendar, and the question of Aisha’s age.  I mentioned that there was a hadith in Sahih Muslim which stated that she participated in the Battle of Uhud by tending to the wounded and bringing water to the soldiers.  I said it seemed implausible that a girl of 10 could be doing these things, especially since we know that the Prophet (S) prohibited ‘Abdallah b. ‘Umar from participating in that battle, even though he was a teenager at the time.  In any case, he mentioned to me that he had written a short essay on the question of ‘Aisha’s age and that he would send it to me in due course.

When I woke up this morning, I found that he had sent me, as promised, the short essay he had written on the issue.  In it he concludes that based on all available historical reports, ‘Aisha was fourteen at the time her marriage was contracted to the Prophet (S) and that she did not begin her married life until she was eighteen. He concludes that the narration in Bukhari and Muslim in which she reports that her marriage was contracted at the age of six and the she entered the Prophet’s (S) house at 9 is in all probability a mistake (wahm) in transmission, perhaps from Aisha herself if she reported it in her old age.  I found the analysis very considered and persuasive.  For those interested, here is a link to the essay, which I reproduce with his gracious permission.

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  • Chameleon_X

    Of course you won’t, because you have no argument, and all you are doing is presenting the same hadith fact, which supports nothing except an obvious anachronism fallacy. As for me, I am just getting started. We haven’t even gotten to the best part of this story yet.

  • Chameleon_X

    You are presenting no new facts, except for the multiple hadith narrators, which I will get to next. What you are still arguing is nothing more than an anachronism fallacy. It is as if you just blissfully ignored my main argument and convinced yourself you are making a new argument by repeating what you already said in different words. Moreover, you have still not addressed why she described the other girls as “small” relative to her own perspective.

    “In this way, all the major authentic hadiths support each other toward the conclusion that the age of 6 for our mother’s nikah with the Prophet and then the age of 9 for her moving in his house given by the famous Bukhari and Muslim hadiths are correct.”

    I would describe these otherwise inconsequential hadiths as infamous rather than famous, since they only came to popular light when Islamophobes got a hold of them. For someone like you who claims to have the academic high ground, both your argument and your usage of facts are frankly naïve. Yes, I agree that “all the major authentic hadiths support each other”. However, the critical point that you are missing is that they are all essentially the SAME HADITH from the SAME SOURCE!

    You mentioned Bukhari, Muslim, Ibn Majah, and Abu Dawud as all being in support of each other. I would add on top of those Sunan an-Nasa’i and Al-Adab Al-Mufrad just to bolster your empty argument even more. That makes SIX hadith narrators supporting this same hadith about dolls, which also often includes – quite conveniently and incongruously – the age of marriage consummation being nine.

    But then how can all these hadiths from six different narrators possibly be the same? Because every last one of these hadiths mysteriously bottlenecks through one hadith transmitter. This person just so happens to be the same bottleneck for all the hadiths about Ayesha being nine years old at marriage consummation. It is none other than Hisham ibn Urwa. Urwa was the nephew of Ayesha, and Hisham was his son, so there are no unaccounted for or more direct connections from Ayesha to later narrators than via Hisham. This is further supported by a consensus of scholars who agree that Urwa was the only scholar who recorded ALL of Ayesha’s hadiths, and he passed on all of these hadiths through his son Hisham. There are no independent — let alone reputable — corroborations of this hadith, other than through this same questionable source of Hisham ibn Urwa, which makes them ALL THE SAME and therefore all of very poor reliability.

    Furthermore, now that I look into your quote even more, I fail to see any reference to the word “small” (as in “small girls”) in the original Arabic. Please give an exact reference for the hadith in question and show me the Arabic word (in Arabic or at least transliterated) to support this interpolated word “small”, which is absent from all the versions that I see based on a comprehensive search.

    Speaking of interpolations, there is yet another interpolation in the English version that you are harping on a lot, which is some sort of prohibition against playing with dolls for anyone over a certain age. Where did you get this puritanical interpretation? Let me guess – perhaps from this blatant parenthetical interpolation into the Bukhari version of this hadith, which is completely absent, yet again, from the original Arabic:

    “(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.)”

    Since you did not reply to my educated guess that someone in your family has indeed married a child, then I can only surmise that this guess is likely true, which would explain your excessively zealous defense of this abhorrent practice. Moreover, what is even more abhorrent is your rejection of the one unimpeachable source for what is the appropriate age of marriage, as both Michael and I elaborated upon at length: the Quran. Since when can provably unreliable hadiths override the Quran, even in the traditionalist view? Absolutely never.

  • Thus I rest my case here and won’t bother to check this debate any more inshallah.

  • Chameleon_X, please don’t delete or edit your above comment so that people can see how you can build a long pseudo-anthropological analysis on a hadith which I quoted for you in one of my comments yesterday for the first time, but you did not even read before replying to me just half an hour ago. Distortive interpretation without reading is bad intellectual manners, and I want it to remain bare.

  • For God’s sake, don’t reply without first reading. The hadith says that AISHA NORMALLY USED TO PLAY WITH THE TOYS ON HER OWN AND THE GIRLS USED TO JOIN HER ONLY SOMETIMES. Your anthropological analysis is thus fake. Below is the hadith for the third time, but I bet you will ignore it again, because you are in a delusion and delusions obstruct perception.

    Source: Bukhari, al-Adab, XI; Müslim, al-Fadhaa’il, XI; Ibn Maajah, an-Nikâh 50. Also in the Sunan of Abu Dawud.

    “From Aisha, who said: ‘I used to PLAY with girl dolls. Sometimes, while PLAYING with them, there used to be small girls with me. Then the
    MESSENGER OF GOD used to come to my presence suddenly. When he entered,
    they (the small girls) used to go away, and they used to come back inside when he went away.'”

  • I’ve deleted my reply here for the second time. This is the last version inshallah. Chameleon and any others should read this one carefully.

    Let me start with the hadith that I already quoted above but which you conveniently ignored:

    Source: Bukhari, al-Adab, XI; Müslim, al-Fadhaa’il, XI; Ibn Maajah, an-Nikâh 50. Also in the Sunan of Abu Dawud.

    “From Aisha, who said: ‘I used to PLAY with girl dolls. Sometimes, while PLAYING with them, there used to be small girls with me. Then the MESSENGER OF GOD used to come to my presence suddenly. When he entered, they (the small girls) used to go away, and they used to come back inside when he went away.'”

    In this hadith, our mother Aisha talks about how she sometimes used to PLAY with toys ON HER OWN and how “small girls” sometimes used to join her and used to disperse when the Prophet entered. She says that she used to PLAY with the baby dolls both on her own and with small girls. Everything is obvious: She (God be pleased with her) was an early and then mid-adolescent girl during her marriage with the Prophet (God bless him and give him peace and security).

    In this way, all the major authentic hadiths support each other toward the conclusion that the age of 6 for our mother’s nikah with the Prophet and then the age of 9 for her moving in his house given by the famous Bukhari and Muslim hadiths are correct.

    But Chameleon, you are so attached to your opinion that you were unable to see that hadith quoted above and to think about its implications. Your fallacious anthropological-historical interpretation was finally rendered totally indefensible at that point and you simply couldn’t gather the courage to admit it.

  • Chameleon_X

    Again, you are shooting yourself in the foot. When would older kids or adults most likely be playing with dolls (or “action figures”, the marketing name for dolls for boys)? The obvious answer is when they are with kids (i.e., “small girls” and “small boys”). As I said, even I do this with kids, and I am sure just about every normal adult on the planet does too. Therefore, this fact adds nothing to your argument.

    In fact, it opposes it. If these were peers of Ayesha, then why did it not say “other small girls” or even “other girls”? And why did it even mention “small” to highlight the relative size of these other girls? Keep in mind, the hadith is from her perspective, and she was the one describing them as “small”.

    Again, all of this discussion is likely moot anyway, since just about all hadiths from Ayesha came through the same suspect source, and other analyses from other fact sources clearly points to Ayesha being roughly 18-20 at marriage consummation.

    Let me guess, someone in your family actually relied on these phony hadiths to marry a child? I see no other reason except extreme personal cognitive dissonance of this natuture, or perhaps an excessively overzealous belief in the accuracy of Bukhari hadiths, to defend the child marriage view in light of the facts on hand.

  • O my God. In the last hadith that I quoted (in my comment above to which you didn’t reply), our mother Aisha talks about “small girls” who used to play with her and used to disperse when the Prophet entered. She says that she used to PLAY with the baby dolls. Apart from ritual purposes, toys were always to be played with and thus, except for ritual purposes having nothing to do with Islamic rituals obviously, were for children. She is talking about herself as a girl habitually playing with other small girls and PLAYING with toys. Everything is obvious: She (God be pleased with her) was an early and then mid-adolescent girl during her marriage with the Prophet (God bless him and give him peace and security).

    In this way, all the major authentic hadiths support each other toward the conclusion that the ages of 6 and 9 for the marriage and the moving-in of our mother Aisha given by the famous Bukhari and Muslim hadith are correct. Otherwise we would have to believe in a mentally retarded (astaghfirullah) Aisha still “playing” with “small girls”, “girl dolls” and “horse-shaped toys with wings” at the age of no less than 24 or 25 (at the time of the Tabuk and Khaybar expeditions). We know that she was, on the contrary, a very intelligent and mature woman.

    But you are so attached to your opinion that you were unable to see that hadith quoted above and to think about its implications. Your fallacious anthropological-historical interpretation was finally rendered totally indefensible at that point and you simply couldn’t gather the courage to admit it.

  • O my God. In the last hadith that I quoted, she talks about “small girls” who used to play with her and used to disperse when the Prophet entered. But you are so attached to your opinion that you were unable to see this one. Or this was because your fallacious anthropological-historical interpretation was cancelled at that point and you simply couldn’t gather the courage to admit it.

  • Yet another hadith, which should be read with my previous comment just below:

    Source: Bukhari, al-Adab, XI; Müslim, al-Fadhaa’il, XI; Ibn Maajah, an-Nikâh 50. Also in the Sunan of Abu Dawud.

    “From Aisha, who said: ‘I used to PLAY with girl dolls. Sometimes, while PLAYING with them, there used to be small girls with me. Then the MESSENGER OF GOD used to come to my presence suddenly. When he entered, they (the small girls) used to go away, and they used to come back inside when he went away.'”

    It’s obvious that she is talking about her married life. Playing with baby dolls and with friends who are small girls. This can be either an early- or at the oldest a mid-adolescent girl.

    These hadiths, all with formidable sources, support each other in pointing at the early adolescent/pubescent moving-in of our mother Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) with our Prophet (May Allah have bless him and give him peace and security).

  • Leftwing_Muslim_Alliance

    Jerry lee lewis anyone ?

    From wiki

    Lewis’s turbulent personal life was hidden from the public until a May 1958 British tour where Ray Berry, a news agency reporter at London’s Heathrow Airport (the only journalist present), learned about Lewis’s third wife, Myra Gale Brown. She was Lewis’s first cousin once removed,[10][11]. Myra was only 13 years old at the time. (Brown, Lewis, and his management all insisted that she was 15.) Lewis was 22 years old. The publicity caused an uproar and the tour was cancelled after only three concerts

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Lee_Lewis

    Sir David

  • Wrong, wrong, wrong. You are terribly wrong, Chameleon.

    Wikipedia says: “Traditional dolls are sometimes used as children’s playthings, but they may also have spiritual, magical and ritual value.”

    You wouldn’t think Aisha would be playing with dolls for magical and ritual value, would you? I hope you are not so ignorant of Islam.

    Let’s come back to that Bukhari hadith, when the Prophet asks Aisha “what is this horse with wings”, she answers in a naive and juvenile way, “this is a horse of Solomon; don’t you know that the horses of Soloman had wings?”. Then the Prophet laughs at her in a really amused way, showing his whole teeth. This was, according to all reports, his biggest laugh since he never used to laugh out loud.

    We’re talking about the relationship between a child, at most a mid-adolescent, with a toy horse rather than a ritual doll, and an adult here. And this is the 6th-7th year of their marriage. According to al-Idlibi Aisha should be 25 around this time. But according to the traditional accounts which support each other, she was only a mid-adolescent, 15-16 years old. The truth is here in the open.

    I advise you not to write your non-relevant rhetoric so elaborately next time so that you may have to be less embarrassed.

  • Wanderer

    Hi Guest,

    Please read the comment I referenced, by eslaporte. The ethnocentricism I refer to has nothing to do with Arabs or Arab culture. If you have to pick a fight, at least try to be up to date with the argument.

    Thanks for your input nonetheless.

  • MichaelElwood

    “In my view, publicly shaming the role-playing imagination of others as a badge of maturity is actually a sign of emotional vulnerability and patent immaturity. Heck, even I play with dolls with kids, so what does that make me? It is a false standard of maturity to discard one’s own role-playing imagination in this way, as many do publicly, while in private doing exactly the opposite by indulging in hours and hours of it.”

    LOL! Tru dat! A lot of dudes played with dolls when they were young (including me), and some still do. But we euphemistically called them “action figures”:

  • MichaelElwood

    “However, they’re not “beside the point” as you would have us believe, because you are mistaken in what you write about what you call “the traditional account”.”

    I said it’s “beside the point,” because at least part of the traditional argument for child marriage amounts to a tu quoque fallacy. Needless to say, marriageable age in Islam isn’t determined by what what non-Muslims do and believe.

    “First of all, there is not one single traditional account with holes in it. There are different “reports” through different channels, with differing values of authenticity due to the different reputations (truthful or liar, young or old, strong of memory or weak of it, careful in his speech or careless) of the various people in the transmitter chains of each one. Hence there can be no justification in rejecting an imaginary single “traditional account” wholesale.”

    By traditional account, I meant the general assessment of tradition scholars (past and present) that Aisha was a prepubescent child when she married Muhammad. I didn’t say or imply that there weren’t different and conflicting reports. Indeed, this is the source of the controversy surrounding Aisha’s age at the time of marriage now. There was/is also a controversy about the subjective methodology (Ilm ar-Rijal) that traditional scholars used to establish the reliability of their transmitters. In his Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, the 13th century scholar al-Hadid pointed out that some Shia scholars fabricated hadith that portrayed the companions that they used as transmitters in a favorable light. He pointed out that some Sunnis did the same thing (the 8th century scholar an-Nazzam also addressed this issue). This is important to our discussion because Sunnis used Aisha’s supposed age at marriage (which I contend was exaggerated downward) against her Shia detractors:

    “American historian Denise Spellberg states that “these specific references to the bride’s age reinforce Aisha’s pre-menarcheal status and, implicitly, her virginity.”[17] Early Muslims regarded Aisha’s youth as demonstrating her virginity and therefore her suitability as a bride of Muhammad. This issue of her virginity was of great importance to those who supported Aisha’s position in the debate of the succession to Muhammad. These supporters considered that as Muhammad’s only virgin wife, Aisha was divinely intended for him, and therefore the most credible regarding the debate.[24]”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aisha#Age_at_marriage

    “What falls upon historians and scholars of hadith is to try to find the truth among these different reports. This is what historians always do with all kinds of history.”

    I agree. That point was made in the review of Robert Spencer’s book that I linked to in a previous comment.

    “Nevertheless, pay attention to this: In either of the above cases that I report from my own family and friend circle, the mistake is not possibly by more than two or three years at most. People won’t mis-know their age by more than 2 or 3 years. Therefore, revising the ages of 6 and 9 as 14 and 18 is not very plausible to me, especially when the reports are from both Sahih al Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, the most rigorous works of hadith in their evaluation of the reliability of various transmitters.”

    I think 18 and above is about right based on the conflicting accounts that come down to us.

    “Furthermore, different hadiths mention her playing with friends and baby dolls after the engagement-marriage and possibly after she moved in with the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam), and this also makes me think that she couldn’t be as old as 14 then.”

    I think the dolls and the swing are the most obvious embellishments in the traditional account. As I pointed out in a previous comment, the Quran uses two things to determine someone who has reached marriageable age (balaghu l-nikaha). . . physical maturity and psychological maturity. If Aisha was a child (tiflan) who hadn’t reached physical maturity (litablughu ashuddakum), she wouldn’t have been able to contract a marriage. If she was someone who was psychologically immature (al-sufahaa) and who wasn’t of sound and mature mind (rushdan), she wouldn’t have been able to contract a marriage. According to traditionalists, she was neither physically nor psychologically mature. And I see no reason to base our understanding of 7th century Muslim attitudes about marriageable age from later sources like hadith rather than a contemporary one like the Quran.

  • I just found another sound hadith found in Sahih al Bukhari and others: After either the Tabuk or the Khaibar campaign (years 629 and 630 or the 8th and 9th years of the hijra), that is, 6 to 7 years after our mother Aisha moved in with the Prophet, she still used to keep toys, including a toy in the shape of a horse with wings, which she thought represented the horses of the Prophet Solomon (and the Prophet laughed at this idea of hers). According to Salah ad-deen al Idlibi’s calculation she had to be 24-25 years old at that time. Can a 20-something woman of a sound mind (which we know our mother Aisha certainly had) still keep toys and probably play with them? But a mid-adolescent girl can. A late-adolescent girl at most if she no longer played with them but just kept them.

    If it was just one hadith, I’d agree with Salah ad deen al Idlibi and with Michael Edwood. But there are several hadiths with great chains of transmission all of which support the conclusion that Aisha was a young pubescent when she moved in with the Prophet three years after the marriage contarct. Nonetheless, as has been explained on this website and as I also tried to explain in my comment above, this was never something unusual or abnormal in history until very recent times.

  • By the way, when I said, “there’s not any legitimate fuss to be made on this issue unless one is a hardline modernist bigot”, of course I didn’t mean that the ages of 6 and 9 in the famous Bukhari report can’t be criticized scholarly. I just referred to the invalidity of the ACCUSATIONS against the Prophet by the likes of Robert Spencer based on this report. The fuss was these accusations.

  • Thank you for confirming me on young adolescent marriage being normal until recently even in the US, the country of these anti-Muslim loons. However, they’re not “beside the point” as you would have us believe, because you are mistaken in what you write about what you call “the traditional account”.

    Unfortunately I can’t wholeheartedly agree with your comment regarding/against “the traditional account”. First of all, there is not one single traditional account with holes in it. There are different “reports” through different channels, with differing values of authenticity due to the different reputations (truthful or liar, young or old, strong of memory or weak of it, careful in his speech or careless) of the various people in the transmitter chains of each one. Hence there can be no justification in rejecting an imaginary single “traditional account” wholesale. What falls upon historians and scholars of hadith is to try to find the truth among these different reports. This is what historians always do with all kinds of history. This scholar Salahaddeen al Idlibi tried to do this. I understand and humbly agree with his point that the famous report from the Sahih of Bukhari isn’t necessarily accurate in all its details just because it is the Sahih of Bukhari and that maybe the real ages in question are not 6 and 9 but a few years older, possibly 14 and 18 as this scholar claims. However, I myself find these numbers a bit exaggerated because different reports indicate that she had to be younger than 14 when the engagement-marriage happened. She still used to play with her friends and baby dolls after her engagement and possibly marriage. So, the real ages in question could perhaps be, like, 9 and 12.

    Someone in this thread pointed out that people sometimes don’t know their exact age. True, I remember that my late grandmother had a very shady opinion about it and there was no guarantee that her official age in the identity card was accurate. Even a friend of mine realized, upon my asking him to confirm it, that he was only 1 year older than me and not 3 years as he thought and as he was officially recorded. It turned out that his father had registered his older sister and him at the same time, probably when my friend was born and two years after her older sister had been born, and the civil servant had carelessly registered the two as being the same age. Since then my quite young friend had thought himself two years older than he really was but hadn’t been very sure. In the much less literate culture of pre-Islamic and early Islamic period, it’s quite possible that our mother Aisha was also a bit confused about her age, especially after the passage of many years in which she probably didn’t think about this very much. (However, no, she wasn’t very old when she died. Mid-sixties and early seventies aren’t “old age” for memory unless one has got early dementia, and as far as I know, there isn’t any trace of mention anywhere that she had dementia.)

    Nevertheless, pay attention to this: In either of the above cases that I report from my own family and friend circle, the mistake is not possibly by more than two or three years at most. People won’t mis-know their age by more than 2 or 3 years. Therefore, revising the ages of 6 and 9 as 14 and 18 is not very plausible to me, especially when the reports are from both Sahih al Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, the most rigorous works of hadith in their evaluation of the reliability of various transmitters. Then I’d conjecture that the ages in question could actually be 9 and 12 maybe. Furthermore, different hadiths mention her playing with friends and baby dolls after the engagement-marriage and possibly after she moved in with the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam), and this also makes me think that she couldn’t be as old as 14 then. All in all, we should remember that there isn’t a single “traditional account” which we can justifiably refute wholesale. There are different reports with different levels of reliability based on the accumulated knowledge regarding the people in their transmitter chains.

  • MichaelElwood

    “Now, I am a 30-something year-old man and my grandmother’s generation used to get married from the age of 12 onward here in Turkey (it was war and post-war times and therefore early marriages were quite preferable). Considering this fact, we can understand that after all, our mother Aisha’s presumable 9-year-old marriage and her presumable early adolescent/pubescent consummation of marriage based on the Sahih al Bukhari hadith is not anything unusual or abnormal at all. I’m not even talking about the standards of 7th century Arabia. This is SE Europe and Asia Minor in late 19th and early 20th century. You may say, “but this is Muslim Europe”. Yes, but I know that girls’ early adolescent marriages were quite common until recent centuries in Christian Europe too.”

    Funny you should mention that. I’m a thirty-something too. My great-great-great-great grandmother (born into slavery in 1845) had her first child at the age of 14 (slaves were forbidden, by law, from marrying). Young marriage and childbirth were indeed common up until very recently in America. But that’s kinda besides the point.

    “I even remember reading on the internet but haven’t researched and confirmed that in the US, founded in 1776 or so, the minimum age for marriage used to be 10 in the past.”

    That’s about right:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_consent#History_and_social_attitudes

    But, again, it’s beside the point.

    “Even without this last bit of information though, I know the truth from my own grandmother’s generation, a war time and post-war time generation quite like the time of the early Muslim community: There is nothing wrong for early adolescent/pubescent girls to get married and consummate their marriage. So there’s not any legitimate fuss to be made on this issue unless one is a hardline modernist bigot.”

    You don’t have to be a hardline modernist bigot to make a fuss about the traditional account. The problems with the traditional account would still remain:

    http://www.tolueislam.org/Parwez/tkn/TK_III_n.htm

    http://www.19.org/1035/aisha/

    Traditional scholars would still have to account for these contradictions in the traditional account. . . with or without criticism by modern scholars.

  • Even if we take the hadith in Sahih al Bukhari to be correct, the Prophet (may God bless him and give him peace and security) and Aisha (may God be pleased with her) didn’t really start to live together and therefore can’t be actually considered husband and wife before our mother Aisha was 9 years old at the youngest. More, we may safely guess that the consummation of the marriage probably didn’t happen for a few more years. (These facts were already mentioned in a post on this website by, I think, Greeneye.)

    Now, I am a 30-something year-old man and my grandmother’s generation used to get married from the age of 12 onward here in Turkey (it was war and post-war times and therefore early marriages were quite preferable). Considering this fact, we can understand that after all, our mother Aisha’s presumable 9-year-old marriage and her presumable early adolescent consummation of marriage based on the Sahih al Bukhari hadith is not anything unusual or abnormal at all. I’m not even talking about the standards of 7th century Arabia. This is SE Europe and Asia Minor in late 19th and early 20th century. You may say, “but this is Muslim Europe”. Yes, but I know that girls’ early adolescent marriages were quite common until recent centuries in Christian Europe too.

    I even remember reading on the internet but haven’t researched and confirmed that in the US, founded in 1776 or so, the minimum age for marriage used to be 10 in the past.

    Even without this last bit of information though, I know the truth from my own grandmother’s generation, a war time and post-war time generation quite like the time of the early Muslim community: There is nothing wrong for early adolescent girls to get married and consummate their marriage. So there’s not any legitimate fuss to be made on this issue unless one is a hardline modernist bigot.

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