Aisha: child-marriage and Menarche.



It is a well known fact that Mohammed married (in the sense of betrothed) Aisha when she was six years old and that the consummation of this marriage tool place when she was 9 lunar years old (therefore about 8½ years old).

Many people today see this marriage as child-abuse or paedophilia{1} which would, today, render Mohammed guilty of “statutory rape”{2}

Not surprisingly, this charge infuriates many Muslims who believe that this action of Mohammed’s is perfectly correct, moral and justified. The result is a number of apologetic defences based around a number of arguments which include:

  1. Aisha was really about 17 years old when married.
  2. Aisha and/or her parents had given consent.
  3. At that time “everybody did it” (i.e. marry nine year old girls).
  4. Marrying Aisha didn’t break any laws at the time.
  5. Aisha was “mature” at age nine.
  6. Aisha was a woman at age nine.
  7. Just because Mohammed did it, it doesn’t mean that Muslims have to.
  8. Back then life expectancy was very short, so women had to start giving birth early to keep the human population going.


In this article I do not intend to directly rebut all these assertions but rather to give sources that do coupled to a brief summary of the arguments against these apologetic statements, thus anyone who wishes to check my statements may certainly do so.


Apologetic argument#1.

Aisha was really about 17 years old when married.


The article shows that the ahadith that suggest an older age are either Da’eef (weak) or Murdhu (fabricated) narrations. In contrast, writing about the ahadith that support Aisha being nine (lunar) years old at consummation Haddad states: “This makes the report mass-transmitted (mutawātir) from Aisha by over eleven authorities among the Tabiun [second-generation Muslim], not counting the other major Companions that reported the same, such as Ibn Mas‘ūd nor other major Successors that reported it from other than Aisha, such as Qatada!” What is important is that this is the highest quality possible for a hadith’s Isnad/Sanad{3}. Furthermore, such hadith are collected by all the major Sunni collections and supported by many Koran commentators.{4}

In short, Aisha’s young age, nine, at consummation is indisputable – except by those in denial of fact that is.


Apologetic argument#2.

That Aisha and/or her parents had given consent.

This is the most ludicrous of all the arguments. In cases of sex-with-a-minor (i.e. with a child below the age of consent) consent, no matter by whom it is given, is irrelevant. This form of rape is known under a variety of terms including “Statutory rape”{5}. The charge of rape is “statutory” precisely because “consent” is irrelevant – the law deems the child incapable of giving “informed consent” below the age-of-consent and if the parents give consent, this simply makes them child-panders (child-pimps) in the eyes of the law and also liable to prosecution.

Age-of-consent is a variable. In general it was set at a lower age earlier in history. In the English law mentioned in{5}, it was initially 12 but, approx. 200 years later was reduced to 10. In more modern times, the ages of consent have trended upwards the norm is now 14 to 18, with outliers at 12 and 21 years, excepting the Muslim world. This trending has been a response to several factors including both the developing idea of “childhood” and also the increasing Medically-based awareness that very early sexual intercourse is particularly damaging for girls{6}. Thus today we know that marriage at a very young age with the resulting sexual intercourse and risks of pregnancy is emotionally and (often) physically damaging for girls.

Thus under most modern jurisdictions Mohammed is guilty of statutory rape. This is an indisputable fact. However, it is also a fact that in his time (7th century) this sort of child-protection did not exist, thus at the time Mohammed was not guilty of this immoral crime.

Thus this apologia revolves around whether we should judge Mohammed (Muslims would say we must never judge Mohammed of course!) by the mores of his times, or whether we should regard his precedents as subject to judgement in any age.

In other words is Mohammed just a “man of his times” or is he “the man for all time”? More on this below.

Apologetic argument#3.

At that time “everybody did it” (marry nine year old girls).

That “everybody did it” back in the days of Mohammed is hardly a ringing endorsement for the “seal of the prophets”, the “ihsan al-Kamil” (“man made perfect”) and the “excellent example” (K.33:21) for all mankind for all time. If Mohammed really is these things and Allah really is the “all knowing” etc. of Islamic hagiography then surely Mohammed should be setting “eternal” examples, not just following the mores of his times – thus demonstrating that he is a “man of his times” – nothing more. (I develop this argument further in #4 below).

But did “everybody” marry nine-year old girls in the seventh century A.D.?

This Muslim-authored article: recounts the age of marriage in the Bible (the article actually refers to Old Testament examples), Rome, Greece and Medieval Europe. Where an age is given the range is 12-14 (with one exception of 10 in the reign of the Roman emperor Augustus). Whilst still too young, this Muslim site clearly proves that “everybody” was not having sex with nine (actually ~8½) year old girls. This source suggests that typically in Medieval Europe ages at marriage were 16-18. Another Muslim source (despite several factual errors) more or less supports the 12-14 years old as the norm. To be fair it does note some exceptions with marriages as young as 6 or 7 – just like Aisha who was married to Mohammed at 6 – or a few younger. What the site is careful not to say is what were the ages of the bridegrooms. This article indicates that the bridegrooms were typically 17 years old to the brides’ 12 years – not ~50 to 6 as per Mohammed and Aisha.

I could continue to quote sources, but the general trend is clear: “everybody” was NOT marrying girls at age six and having sex with them at age nine and, almost as important, almost nobody aged 50+ was marrying 6 year old girls.

Thus this apologetic argument is patently false.

Mohammed’s behaviour was exceptional. This is not to say that it was unique, but it can’t be termed normal. In fact, with complete justification, Mohammed’s behaviour can be labelled as abnormal – even for his times.

Another element to this apologia is that “no-one objected to the marriage” therefore it was “normal” either “at that time” or “in Arabia”.

I’ve already shown that it wasn’t the norm “at that time”, but was it the norm in Arabia? I can find many Muslims sources (go search) that assert that such marriages were “normal” at this time, but curiously I have yet to find a single source{8} quoted in any of these articles to support this assertion. Thus this part of the apologia remains just that – an assertion with no real evidence to back it up{9}, examples of child-marriage post-dating Islam do not count since Mohammed had then set the precedent! The fact that Muslim sources (with their inevitable bias) do not record objections does not prove that there were not any.

Apologetic argument#4.

Marrying Aisha didn’t break any laws.

This is a variant of argument#3. In this variant the idea is that if such marriage was legal “back then” this absolves Mohammed of any culpability.

One apologist wrote that “in his marriage to Aisha [legally speaking] Mohammed didn’t violate anything”.

Except Aisha of course.

I’m sure the irony of his comment totally escaped him.

This article:{10} argues that “Muhammad’s marriage with Aisha was 100% legal and acceptable by all laws” of that time. Setting aside the point that even for “that time” this grandiose statement is provably false, what the writer is arguing (in garish colours on his website) is that Mohammed’s only duty is to keep within the laws of the time in Arabia.

What is ironic is that the laws Mohammed must be following are “laws of Jahilliyah” – i.e. pre-Islamic laws since (as the article states) the marriage was “accepted by all of the people back then including the enemies of Islam, the pagans”. (emphasis mine).

I am quite happy to concede this argument but, by the same token, its corollary must be accepted: this makes Mohammed a “man of his times” not “a man for all time”. As such the apologetic argument effectively denies the prophet-hood of Mohammed since it states that he had no duty to speak or act for the future, but only stick to the laws of his times.

Allah is claimed to be “all-knowing”, “the creator” etc. etc. in the Koran. As such, Allah must have known that by this marriage Mohammed was setting a precedent for all time. As the commentator Maududi says: “no Muslim has the right to forbid a thing which the Quran has held as permissible.” Thus by marrying Aisha at age 6 and having sex with her at age 9, Mohammed legitimises this for all time – if only because the Koran does not forbid it, which in turn means that Allah must think it is a good thing for nine year old girls to have sex, even though today we know this is harmful, otherwise the “All-knowing” would (or should) have sent a ‘revelation’ to forbid this.

Thus this argument not only collapses in the face of modern science, but in doing so seriously calls into question the omniscience of the Islamic god and the validity of Mohammed’s claim to prophet-hood.

Apologetic argument#5.

Aisha was “mature” at age nine.

This is not to be confused with argument#6. This argument, almost as ludicrous as #2, is that through some fantastical “magical” (or “miraculous”) process Aisha was “all growed up” at age nine.

The only basis in fact is the possibility that she suffered from “precocious puberty”. This is a disease which often leads to stunted growth along with mental and physical problems. Of particular concern for girls is the fact that bone-growth stops early and thus the pubic bones are often too small to permit the normal delivery of a child. Whilst there are accounts of very young mothers (see here and here) you will notice that many had to deliver by Caesarean section or other assisted means and that in some earlier cases the mother died whilst attempting to give birth.

If, therefore, Aisha suffered from this condition which could mean that she was physically mature, albeit stunted, by age nine (though mental maturity is another matter) then, given the risks to her life that pregnancy would involve, Mohammed the “mercy for all mankind” should have refrained from consummating the marriage at all.

It could be argued that since Aisha never did fall pregnant this did not matter in her case since obviously Allah knew that one (or the other, or both) were infertile, but this neglects the precedent-setting example of Mohammed.

Again this argument calls into question the omniscience of the Islamic god and the validity of Mohammed’s claim to prophet-hood on the same grounds as #4.

Apologetic argument#6.

This argument can be set out in the ditty:

When Aisha had her Menarche,

To this must we all hark,

Then was she a lady,

Ready for a baby.”

Once again there is a grain of truth in this argument in that many ancient societies accepted menarche as the sign that a girl was ready for marriage, sex, pregnancy and childbirth.

But it is a misconception that when a young girl has her menarche, she is “ready for pregnancy”. Science tells us this is very rare. Instead, the average time for a girl to become pregnant following menarche (and assuming regular intercourse) is one to two years.

Given that the evidence points to the fact that on average girls underwent menarche at a median age range between 12 and 14 years old in medieval and older times (see here and here) this is not too bad a “rule of thumb” especially given the lack of medical knowledge and the risk of uncertainty about a person’s age. Even in the Medieval Middle East, Mohammed’s era, the age range for menarche was 12-13 years old. Note that the lower end is consistent with other groups, it is merely that the upper median limit is lower.

The ideas that: (1) nine was a common age for menarche at this time, and: (2) living in hot climes accelerates menarche, have little basis in fact as the sources and{11} show, despite earlier studies to the contrary.

In turn this means that Aisha’s menarche at age nine was an outlier in terms of data; in other words she is the exception, not the rule. (This would apply whether she suffered from precocious puberty or not. If she did not, this only makes her case more of an “extreme” instance.)

If we take it that Mohammed only acted within the “jahilliyah” (ignorance) of his times, then we can indeed accept that his behaviour was “acceptable to his society”, but this idea is (again) destructive to Mohammed’s prophet-hood.

However, the argument revolves around the idea that Aisha had reached menarche. Thus it behoves us to question whether or not this was true. Were it not the apologists’ argument is utterly destroyed.

There are a number of hadith that pertain to this issue{12}. In these verses Aisha speaks of playing with dolls whilst “a little girl”. This is innocuous enough, but the Arabic word translated as “little girl” is “jariya” or “jaria”. This word has a range of meanings including “slave girl, female slave, bondmaid, bondwoman, odalisque girl, odalisque” (all these basically mean “sex-slave”). I am sure that Muslims would object strenuously to me describing Aisha as “Mohammed’s sex-slave”, but jariya also means “a pre-pubescent girl”{13}. Again this makes little difference, it is just that jariya is unambiguous as to meaning. But this goes deeper: In Islam “images”, including three-dimensional ones, are forbidden.

The prohibition of images is based on K.7:148. “And the people of Moses made in his absence, out of their ornaments, the image of a calf. It had a sound. Did they not see that it could neither speak to them nor guide them to the way? They took it for worship and they were wrong-doers.” This is a Meccan verse. It was probably recited before Aisha’s marriage and was certainly recited at least a year before Mohammed consummated the marriage. The hadith on this topic are even harder to date, but it is likely that the final ruling on images dates to the early Medinan period, since it’s basis is late Meccan.

Islamic opinion is divided as to whether or not dolls are permitted as an exception to the general rule. Amongst those who do permit the use of dolls it is only amongst “jariya”, others say that dolls are totally forbidden and Aisha only played with them before the narrations were received (this is a weak opinion in that it flies in the face of the evidence below).

Note: this also torpedoes the sub-argument that a grown-up (i.e. post-menarchal or older) Aisha was playing with dolls. All jurists state this is forbidden.

This source: recounts how Aisha was playing with dolls at the time of either Khaibar or Tabuk. The consensus is that it was the earlier battle of Khaibar. This makes Aisha a fourteen year old girl at the time. To be allowed to play with dolls at this age, Aisha must still be a “jariya” – a pre-pubertal girl.

Remember: this is five years after Mohammed consummated his marriage with Aisha. If she is pre-pubertal at 14 she is certainly pre-menstrual at 9.

Hence for Aisha to be playing with dolls at the time of Khaibar, it can only have been a “dispensation” for her on the grounds of her being a “jariya” since this period was some five years into the Medinan period and thus the ruling on images was already received.

Hence the apologists’ argument collapses completely.

Aisha was pre-pubescent and pre-menarchal when Mohammed consummated his marriage with her.

Is there any other evidence? Yes, but it is tangential to the case of Aisha.

The Koran in Sura 65:4 says: “… and for those who have no courses (i.e. they are still immature) their Iddah is three months likewise…” The Arabic here is unambiguous: “those who have no courses” refers to pre-menarchal girls. The point is that if Islam actually forbade consummation of marriage with pre-menarchal girls, there would be no need for this prescription since the “iddah” is the period of time a divorced woman must wait before re-marriage to ensure that she is not pregnant and as such it only applies to women who have had their marriages consummated.

Maududi comments in his Tafseer on K.65:4: “They may not have menstruated as yet … because of young age, …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 [young] 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.” Thus Maududi states clearly that Mussalmen can marry and have sex with girl-children before they reach menarche and that this is a “halal” action for all time.

Note: The above also dynamites the argument of those who claim that Islam forbids sex with girls before menarche.

Thus a careful study of the Islamic sources shows that Aisha was a “jariya” (pre-menarchal) girl when Mohammed consummated the marriage. This destroys the apologetic argument that because Aisha had passed menarche she was “ripe for marriage”.

– – – – –


The last two arguments have been:

  1. Aisha was “special” because she was fully mature at age nine, and

  2. the belief that “Menarche marks maturity”.

Both of these arguments, even if we accept them, have problems.

(1) In this case, the problem is that Islam uses a “special circumstance” to establish a general rule. The point here is that since Mohammed married a nine-year old, such an act must be considered lawful (“halal”) within Islam. Were this not so, then Mohammed would have committed an unlawful act, which would mean that he wasn’t the ihsan al-Kamil “the perfect being” of Islam, nor was he rightly guided etc. In short, if this act was illegal in Islam, then Mohammed can’t be a prophet much less “the seal of the prophets” and the bearer of “the final and perfect revelation”.

Since such an act is therefore halal, it is legal for any and every Mussalman to marry and have sex with a nine-year old{14}- if he chooses.

Alternatively, if we take it that Aisha was special to Islam – as many Muslims claim, then Mohammed’s marriage to her would have been a “special dispensation” for him alone. There is precedent for this within the Koran where Mohammed is relieved of the need to limit himself to four wives, unlike other Mussalmen. It follows that no (other) Mussalman should follow this practice of marrying a girl as young as nine (whether past menarche or not), But since there is no mention of this in the Islamic Canon and the practice of Mussalmen marrying young girls is known today, this latter argument collapses.

(2) The problem with this argument is that it is simply false. The idea that “menarche marks maturity” whilst not unreasonable in ancient times due to lack of knowledge and largely true in those periods of history when menarche was typically delayed to 17 or even 18, this belief simply does not stand up to modern medical science which tells us that maturation extends well beyond this point-in-time and especially so in those that pass menarche early. Thus whilst Aisha was (theoretically) fertile, neither her mind nor her body was “ready for a baby” at age nine.

It can be argued that Mohammed would not know this and that he simply acted in accordance with the mores of his times. This is quite likely true. But a prophet is not supposed to be just a “man (or woman) of his (her) times”. Mohammed is purported to be the “excellent example” for all mankind for all time – as such he must transcend his times. Thus this argument in fact diminishes Mohammed to no more than an “average Joe” – albeit a remarkably persuasive and charismatic one.

However the problem is larger than matters concerning Aisha and Mohammed: given that we now know from medical science that a girl isn’t “ready for a baby” at age nine, one has to ask why Allah did not send a revelation forbidding Mohammed having sex with Aisha until she was mature? The hadith record that Abu Bakr was surprised that Mohammed hadn’t consummated his marriage to Aisha when she was nine (see here). What a golden opportunity for Allah to explain that she wasn’t mature enough for sex! Yet Allah was silent on this issue.

Compare and contrast: how Allah ‘revealed’ verses to legitimise Mohammed’s sexual relationship with Maryam (Hafsa’s slave), his desire for his adopted son’s wife and his unique permission to marry as many women as he wanted. “Curiouser and Curiouser”{15}.

– – – – –

Apologetic argument#7.

Just because Mohammed did it, it doesn’t mean that Muslims have to!

Let me acknowledge that this is a truism. There is no command in the Islamic Canon for fifty+ year old men to marry six year old girls and have sex with them at age nine.

Let us be profoundly glad that this is so.

However since Muslims are told to follow Mohammed’s example and Mohammed’s acts are, by definition, legal (halal) there is no prohibition on such marriages either, as Maududi states (above).

Ayatollah Khomeini, one of the most famous (or infamous) Islamic clerics of the twentieth century, wrote in his book “Tahreer Al Wasila”: “A man is not to have sexual intercourse with his wife before she is nine years old, whether regularly or occasionally, but he can have sexual pleasure from her, whether by touching or holding her, or rubbing against her, even if she is as young as an infant. However, had he penetrated her without deflowering her, then he holds no responsibility towards her. But if a man penetrates and deflowers the infant (…), then he should be responsible for her subsistence all her life.” Note that Khomaini makes no mention of menarche in his ruling.

Sadly we still find today that Mussalmen do indeed marry very young girls, sometimes for entirely sexual purposes.

See here, here, here, here, here, here (this took place in the U.K.), here{16}and here for a mere handful of examples. (links correct as of Jan 20th 2013).

That at least some of these cases are paedophiles indulging themselves I would not doubt. Neither do I claim that such crimes do not exist in the West{17}.

However, I will point out that in the West such things are just that – crimes.

This article details how “wealthy Arabs” ‘marry’ very young wives for a short period before “divorcing” them and then (at least in some cases) “marrying” another.

This is clearly a form of prostitution, probably linked to paedophilia.

Given that each marriage takes place (1) before witnesses, (2) with a “Wali” (guardian) present for the girl, (3) that she is given her bride-price (Mahr) and that (4) she gives consent (if only through silence), then the four requirements of legal Islamic marriage are all met.

Where there is an illegality is in the actions of the girls who are not waiting out their “Iddah” before ‘re-marrying’ another client, pardon me – “Husband”, for another week or two.

Thus from the perspective of Sharia Law{18} the actions of these ‘men’ is entirely legal, it is only the girls who are committing “sins and crimes” (scrimes?) by not waiting out their Iddah.

What a surprise that it is the women (who are often driven to this by poverty) who are the only ones culpable under Sharia Law!

Let me be fair here: given that Islamic law often takes account of a person’s intentions in rendering judgement (or tries to), I suspect that many Islamic Jurists would take a very dim view of these Mussalmen’s actions. Whether they could go beyond calling it “reprehensible” (the least favourable of the “halal” levels) to say that such behaviour is actually unlawful (“haram”) I do not know. Given what Maududi (and Khomeini) said on this issue, I suspect not.

What the continuance of the practice of child-marriage does show quite clearly is that the Koran and Mohammed were utterly wrong not to ban such practices or else to make it clear that (just like his number of wives) this was something for Mohammed alone.

Either would have prevented these legalised forms of child sexual abuse.

Apologetic argument#8.

Back then life expectancy was very short, so women had to start giving birth early to keep the human population going.

This is another false argument based on the conflation of two different things.

Life expectancy refers to the average length of life from birth and in ancient societies the rates of infant mortality were very high. Thus we find that life expectancy in Ancient Greece and Rome was a mere 25 years and in the medieval Islamic caliphate it was about 35 years.

But if we look at average life-span instead, which looks at how long people lived once they had passed the infant stage{19}, then in the case of Rome once a person reached the age of 5 life-span jumps to 48 – almost doubling life expectancy. Similarly we find well recorded examples of Greeks (mainly philosophers) who lived to be nonogenarians.

In mediaeval Britain, if you reached age 21, life expectancy was an additional 43 years, so you could expect to live for 64 years (See whereas according to this source people of the middle ages typically lived to middle-to-late forties, a somewhat lower figure.

Thus it seems that people lived long enough that even if they had families in their middle to late twenties or early thirties they would often live long enough to rear them to “adulthood” (12-17 years).

Quoting very short life expectancies, which includes infant mortality, is misleading. If most adults died by 25 for instance, there would be a case for having babies as soon as possible, but if people typically lived to almost fifty once past the infant mortality period, then medieval women would have had almost the same reproductive period as modern women in which to raise a family, with the caveat that they might have orphaned rather young children.

Recalling the problems posed by very early pregnancy and childbirth with its higher risk of neonatal death, very early pregnancy would be contra-indicated as a survival strategy during these times. It would be better to let the woman reach mid to late teens so that her chances of surviving pregnancy and child-birth were higher, thus increasing the average number of her offspring.

Even today girls younger than 15 are five times more likely to die in childbirth than women in their 20s.

Did the Arabs have particularly short life-spans due to the harshness of their environment? A quick survey shows the following: Mohammed himself reached 63, abu Bakr 61, Hafsa lived to between 60-63. Khadijah and Juwaryyia (aka Jorieh) reached 65 and Aisha reached 67. Sawda may have lived into her 80’s (her date of birth is uncertain) and Um Salma is recorded as having lived to 84. Zainab Bint Jahsh made it to 53. Um Habiba (aka Ramleh) reached 73. Safiya Bint Huyai died aged ~64. Maymunah lived to her 70’s. Of all his wives only Zeinab bint Khazimeh had a short life, she died in her 30’s. From this quick study of Mohammed’s own family we can see that life-spans were not very different from today.

Whilst I would not claim that this is “proof” of 7th Century Arabs living a “normal” (by modern standards) life-span, it indicates that the “people only lived for 25 years” type argument is as wrong for Arabia as it is for elsewhere at that time.

Thus, once again, the apologetic argument has little or no basis in fact.


Taking the apologetic arguments in turn:

  1. That Aisha was really about 17 years old when married.
    • Authoritative hadith and scholarly consensus show this is false.
  1. That Aisha and/or her parents had given consent.
    • This is an irrelevant argument in cases of child-sex.
  1. That at that time “everybody did it” (marry nine year old girls).
    • This is false. Such actions were exceptions not the norm.
  1. Marrying Aisha didn’t break any laws.
    • This argument calls into question Mohammed’s ‘prophet-hood’ (it makes him a “man of his times” not the example for all time).

  1. That Aisha was “mature” at age nine.
    • This is either an argument from magic or disease. If either is true it makes Aisha the exception not the norm. The Koran and Mohammed should have made this clear. Neither do. The status of Mohammed as a prophet and Allah as an omniscient god are called into question by this apologia.

  1. That Aisha was a woman at age nine.
    • Today we know that early menarche does not “make a girl a woman”, ready for marriage, sex and pregnancy. Again this argument makes Aisha the exception. See response to 5.

  1. Just because Mohammed did it, it doesn’t mean that Muslims have to.

    • True – it is not a religious obligation, but Mussalmen do marry very young girls today, following Mohammed’s example and Sharia law’s permission. This is also an irrelevant argument when discussing Mohammed’s behaviour.

  1. Very short life expectancies in Mohammed’s time means that early marriage and pregnancy was essential.

    • This argument is false. Infants don’t reproduce and it is the high levels of infant mortality that create these very low life-spans{20}. Once Medieval people reached early teens, they could expect to live ~50 years in total. Many people, including most of Mohammed’s own family, lived much longer.

On examination it can be seen that none of these apologetic arguments stands up to scrutiny.

They are either false (1,3,8), irrelevant (2,7) to the objections, or they create as many problems as they attempt to answer(4,5,6).

I find arguments 4-6 particularly strange in that they thoroughly undermine the claims Mohammed makes to be a prophet and the claims of Allah to be an all-knowing, omniscient god. In these cases I can only conclude that the Muslim proponents of these arguments have not thought them through, otherwise it is hard to imagine why Muslims would advance arguments so destructive to the central tenets of their own faith{21}.

Also read…..Aisha: child-marriage and Menarche – revisited

Further reading and sources:{22}{23}



Footnotes and references.

  1. In clinical terms Mohammed’s behaviour is probably “borderline” in terms of paedophilia. However most laymen (i.e. those outside the medical/clinical professions) use a more colloquial definition based on “showing any interest in sex with a child”. On this more everyday definition, Mohammed is a paedophile.

  2. This is the American legal term for a person having sex with a minor child. Other jurisdictions use other terms.

  3. The Isnad or Sanad of a hadith is the chain of narrators (usually) starting with Mohammed and ending up with the final narrator before the hadith was written down in a collection.

  4. Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, al-Nasa’i, ibn Majah, ibn Hisham, al-Tabari, ibn Kathir, ibn Qayyim.

  5. The earliest reference to this dated to the English 1275 “Statue of Westminster” which outlawed sex with a girl younger than 12 years. In 1285 the offence was made a capital one (i.e. it carried the death-penalty).


  7. Two points need to be made. If we take the “age of marriage” then Aisha was six when married, not nine – the age of consummation. By similar logic we should not infer that other young marriages were immediately consummated either.

  8. Muslim sources, if only by their absence, suggest that their were no objections. But the questions remain: would Muslims have objected to the actions of “Allah’s messenger”? And: would Muslims have recorded non-Muslim objections to this action of “Allah’s messenger”? Or would they have quietly glossed over the issue? At 1400 years remove, the questions are unanswerable.

  9. Except from the Muslim perspective that “since Mohammed did it, it must be right and proper” type ‘arguments’.

  10. This is a rather poor article since it’s “sources” are mostly other articles on the same site. Circular reasoning on a grand scale!

  11. See the sources in this article:

  12. Sahih Bukhari 7:62:118,163; Abu Dawud 3:1130; Sahih Bukhari 3:48:829, ibid 6:60:274.
  13., “points to be kept in mind”. The uses other than “pre-pubescent girl” are all somewhat pejorative in that you refer to your slaves as with an implication of legal minority cf. Calling black slaves “boy”.

  14. Let me add that under some versions of Shariah Law the girl would have to have passed menarche and this is not to say that it is obligatory for Mussalmen to do so, just that there can be no legal (Sharia) objection to him doing it. Also there is a Shariah requirement that both parties are fit (physically capable) for intercourse.

  15. “Curiouser and curiouser” said Alice, quite forgetting her grammar. (Alice’s adventures in Wonderland. Lewis Carroll.)

  16. The Sharia court’s objection was to elements of “threat and force” not age.

  17. Given the various paedophilia scandals that have come to light and still are doing so, to attempt to do so would fly in the face of fact.

  18. Let me add a rider: according to the Law books I have.

  19. Some lists take life span from later ages such as 14 or even 18.

  20. To be very crude about this: if 1/3 children die before age 1, then even if those living beyond this age lived to 60, average age expectancy is 40 years. Since a greater proportion than this often died before 5 (of all the childhood diseases: measles, whooping cough, etc.) then it is easy to see how life expectancies from birth could fall to 20-30 whilst those who made it to adult-hood lived near-normal (in modern terms) life-spans.

  21. It’s almost as if in the endeavour to avoid shooting themselves in the foot they’ve aimed few feet higher.

  22. I think that WikiIslam makes an error. It suggest that the Bukhari ahadith Vol.1 Bk.6 No.293 & Vol.2 Bk.26 No.631 give the date of Aisha’s menarche. I do not see that the texts support this.

  23. This is a polemical piece but it contains some good points.

Jon MC

Jon MC is a retired Chemist, Physicist and teacher (not necessarily in that order) who still has professional commitments. His interest in Islam was kindled when he met some "radical Muslims up close and personal" and he has studied the foundational texts of Islam ever since. He writes under a nomme de plume in order to keep his professional life and views separate.

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