Nov 18, 2010

Was The Prophet a Pedophile by Marrying 9-Year-Old Aisyah?

Pedophile is an adult who has sexual desire for children or who has committed the crime of sex with a child.

In answering the issue on whether or not our Prophet s.a.w. is a pedophile by marrying 9-year-old Aisyah, several points must be included:

-First is the fact that Aisyah has already hit puberty by the time she married the Prophet. So as far as the syariah is concerned, he did not break any law at that time.

-Also by definition, according to Microsoft Encarta Dictionary, puberty is defined as 'the stage in human physiological development when somebody becomes capable of sexual reproduction.' So he even did not defy the very definition of puberty given by modern-day linguists.

-Secondly, we cannot simply judge the customs of the Arabs 1400 years ago based on the present day's standard. The culture was different back then. Proof?
  • Before Aisyah was married to the Prophet, she was also engaged to a guy name Jubair ibn Mus'ab before they broke it off. So, this is a clear indication that marriage in early age is NOT something bizarre during that time as it is also done by several people other than the Prophet.
  • Also we can see from sirah nabawiyah that the enemies of the Prophet tried very hard to destroy the reputation of the Prophet. They accused him of being a sorcerer, a magician, a liar, a fabricator. But NEVER once we heard they call him a pedophile. This is clearly because the Arabs 1400 years ago see this as something normal, otherwise this would be a very perfect opportunity to destroy his reputation in a blink. But they didn't, because it's irrelevant.
-We can also see some evidence from the sirah regarding the maturity of the 11-year-old Aisyah when she was accused of being unfaithful to her husband in the famous story of hadith al-ifk. These are some quotes of Aisyah proving how mature she was in dealing with such a difficult situation:
  • “I know by Allah that you have heard these rumors, and that these rumors have settled in your heart and soul and you have believed it already. So if I were to tell you that I’m not guilty, you wouldn’t believe me. And if I were to admit to a crime that I did not commit, then you will believe me and think that I did it. So all I can say to you is what the father of Yusuf said. ‘Patience is beautiful.’ And Allah’s help is sought concerning what you describe.”
  • “I turned around on my bed. Allah knew I was innocent of this charge and I knew that Allah would reveal my innocence. However, wallahi I never thought that Allah would reveal Qur’an concerning me. I thought myself far too low in the sight of Allah, that Allah would speak about me. Rather, I was hoping that the Prophet might see in his dream something that would declare my innocence.”
-Would you ever guessed these came from the mouth of an 11-year-old girl? Our daughters or sisters during that age will be still playing with barbie dolls or collecting cute stickers.

-Also, not long ago, about 80 years back, it's not unusual to hear our great grandmother got married in young age of 15 or 16. So why should there be any shock when it happened 1400 years ago?

-Even the customs vary in different regions of the same country. For example, today in Egypt, the average age of women getting married is 25-28 in downtown part. But in rural Egypt where they have no carrier to pursue, they get married even earlier, say, 16-20.

-So there are just too many aspects to consider in determining whether something is acceptable in a particular society or not.

-BUT, if we still wanna measure this up using our modern day standards, come take a look at some of the examples of legal ages of consent in different countries around the world:
  • Australia: 16
  • Bulgaria: 14
  • Canada: 16
  • China: 14
  • Czech Republic: 15
  • Germany: 14
  • Japan: 13
  • Mexico: 12
-Not much of a difference from what happened 1400 years ago, eh?

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