that the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e., till his death) Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 64)"
Allah's Apostle 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 Allah, He will cause it to come true.' "" ( Sahih Bukhari,Volume 7, Book 62, Number 15)
Morality is relative not absolute, it varies from culture to culture and society to society. What is perceived to be moral in USA may not hold to be true in other parts of the world, such as Africa and Asia. Morality is also relative to time, fornication/dating little time ago was regarded as taboo and a matter of shame for the family. However, now this is a common habit, dating could start as early as at the age of 10. Another example would be dress code, which was very modest in history but not so now.
Therefore, we need to analyse the age of marriage in history and judge Prophet's marriage from there. Historically, the age at which a girl was considered ready to be married was puberty; this also was the case in biblical times. In an article called "Ancient Israelite Marriage Customs", by Jim West, ThD - a Baptist minister writes:
"The wife was to be taken from within the larger family circle (usually at the outset of puberty or around the age of 13) in order to maintain the purity of the family line;"
While discussing the meaning of the word 'almah, which is the Hebrew word for "young woman" or "adolescent female", Gerald Segal, in his book "The Jew and the Christian Missionary", Ktav Publishing House,1981, page 28 says:
"It should be noted, however, that in biblical times females married at an early age."
The Campaign To Raise The Age Of Consent, 1885-1994 (http://womhist.binghamton.edu/teacher/aoc.htm) [note the education domain] states:
Even in our times in certain parts of the world the age of marriage is still relatively low. According to a chart on (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_consent#Ages_of_consent_in_various_countries ) the age of consent in Mexico and Philippines is only 12. In Guyana, Japan, South Korea, Spain and Swaziland the age of consent is 13. Hence even in ?Today's Times' a young marriage is not abnormal, as some in the west think.
Puberty in Girls (http://www.population.health.wa.gov.au/Communicable/Resources/2107%20PubertyinGirls.pdf) by an Australian government Public Health organization, says:
- Armpit or pubic hair
- Mature external genitalia
- First menstruation"
Indeed, there have been many cases of early puberty. For instance, Lina Medina gave birth at the age of 5 years, 7 months and 21 days. Encyclopaedia Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lina_Medina ) says:
When Aisha had reached puberty the marriage was consummated, as Karen Armstrong writes in her book Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet, Harper San Francisco, 1992, page 157:
"Tabari says that she was so young that she stayed in her parents' home and the marriage was consummated there later when she had reached puberty."
Therefore it is not surprising if Aisha (RA) reached puberty at an early age. The marriage was consummated when Aisha (RA) reached puberty. Her maturity from ahadiths certainly dictates this. In addition, let us not forget that in olden times, marriage at puberty was nothing strange.
In addition, Aisha (RA) was exceedingly intelligent and had a formidable memory. She had profound knowledge of Quran and Sunnah She narrated over 2,000 hadith (at least 2,210). Abdul-Hamîd Siddiqî writes in a book entitled Sahih muslim (English-translation of Sahih Muslim, Volume 2, International Islamic Publishing House, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, page 715.):
"She [Aisha] developed into a spiritual teacher and scholar, since she was remarkably intelligent and wise. Her qualities help support the Prophet's work and further the cause of Islam. Aishah, the Mother of the Believers, was not only a model for wives and mothers, but she was also a commentator on the Qur'ân, an authority on hadîth and knowledgeable in Islamic Law. She narrated at least 2,210 ahâdîth that give Muslims valuable insights into the Final Prophet's daily life and behaviour, thus preserving the Sunnah of Muhammad(P)."
Abu Musa al-Ash'ari says:
"Never had we (the companions) had any difficulty for the solution of which we approached Aisha and did not get some useful information from her". -- Sirat-I-Aisha, on the authority of Trimidhi, p. 163.
The Prophet asked Abu Bakr for 'Aisha's hand in marriage. Abu Bakr said "But I am your brother." The Prophet said, "You are my brother in Allah's religion and His Book, but she (Aisha) is lawful for me to marry."" (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 18)
This is another teaching, which the marriage portrayed. The marriage also strengthened the relationship between Abu Bakr and Prophet Muhammed. Let us bear in mind that Abu Bakr was the first Caliph.
Pedophilia and lust for women?
According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1998, definition of Paedophile is:
In addition, Harold I. Kaplan et al. (Synopsis of Psychiatry, 5th ed. [Williams and Wilkens, 1988], p. 360) writes:
"In addition to their paedophilia, a significant number of paedophiles are concomitantly or have previously been involved in exhibitionism, voyeurism, or rape". (Voyeurism is the recurrent preoccupation with fantasised or acts that involve seeking out or observing people who are naked, or are engaged in grooming or in sexual activity).
It is commonly accepted by Muslims and non-muslims (un-biased) that Prophet in no sense indulged in "exhibitionism, voyeurism, or rape" or even came close to it. There is not a single reference to indicate that prophet was involved in any such act. In addition, Prophet waited for Aisha to mature and reach Puberty before the marriage was consummated, this obviously is contrary to the characteristics of a paedophile.
Hypocrisy of Jews & Christians
It is quite hypocritical of Jews and Christian to criticize the marriage of Aisha. Talmud (Jewish scripture) says:
As we discussed, in biblical times adulthood could refer to the age of Puberty or even younger age.
Regarding the Marriage of Mary to Joseph, Catholic Encyclopaedia ( http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08504a.htm), says:
"When forty years of age, Joseph married a woman called Melcha or Escha by some, Salome by others; they lived forty-nine years together and had six children, two daughters and four sons, the youngest of whom was James (the Less, "the Lord's brother"). A year after his wife's death, as the priests announced through Judea that they wished to find in the tribe of Juda a respectable man to espouse Mary, then twelve to fourteen years of age, Joseph, who was at the time ninety years old, went up to Jerusalem among the candidates; a miracle manifested the choice God had made of Joseph, and two years later the Annunciation took place."
Note: That article on Catholic Encyclopaedia obtains its information from early Christian writing including apocryphal writings.
Consent of Aisha's Family