Muhammad’s favorite wife was all but six when he married her, nine when he consummated the marriage.
As Robert Spencer has explained:
Few things are more abundantly attested in Islamic law than the permissibility of child marriage. Islamic tradition records that Muhammad’s favorite wife, Aisha, was six when Muhammad wedded her and nine when he consummated the marriage:
“The Prophet wrote the (marriage contract) with Aisha while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years old and she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death)” (Bukhari 7.62.88).
Another tradition has Aisha herself recount the scene:
The Prophet engaged me when I was a girl of six (years). We went to Medina and stayed at the home of Bani-al-Harith bin Khazraj. Then I got ill and my hair fell down. Later on my hair grew (again) and my mother, Um Ruman, came to me while I was playing in a swing with some of my girl friends. She called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted to do to me. She caught me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house. I was breathless then, and when my breathing became all right, she took some water and rubbed my face and head with it. Then she took me into the house. There in the house I saw some Ansari women who said, “Best wishes and Allah’s Blessing and a good luck.” Then she entrusted me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage). Unexpectedly Allah’s Apostle came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age. (Bukhari 5.58.234).
Muhammad was at this time fifty-four years old.
Marrying young girls was not all that unusual for its time, but because in Islam Muhammad is the supreme example of conduct (cf. Qur’an 33:21), he is considered exemplary in this unto today. And so in April 2011, the Bangladesh Mufti Fazlul Haque Amini declared that those trying to pass a law banning child marriage in that country were putting Muhammad in a bad light: “Banning child marriage will cause challenging the marriage of the holy prophet of Islam, [putting] the moral character of the prophet into controversy and challenge.” He added a threat: “Islam permits child marriage and it will not be tolerated if any ruler will ever try to touch this issue in the name of giving more rights to women.” The Mufti said that 200,000 jihadists were ready to sacrifice their lives for any law restricting child marriage.
Likewise the influential website Islamonline.com in December 2010 justified child marriage by invoking not only Muhammad’s example, but the Qur’an as well:
The Noble Qur’an has also mentioned the waiting period [i.e. for a divorced wife to remarry] for the wife who has not yet menstruated, saying: “And those who no longer expect menstruation among your women, if you doubt, then their period is three months, and [also for] those who have not menstruated” [Qur’an 65:4]. Since this is not negated later, we can take from this verse that it is permissible to have sexual intercourse with a prepubescent girl. The Qur’an is not like the books of jurisprudence which mention what the implications of things are, even if they are prohibited. It is true that the prophet entered into a marriage contract with A’isha when she was six years old, however he did not have sex with her until she was nine years old, according to al-Bukhari.
Other countries make Muhammad’s example the basis of their laws regarding the legal marriageable age for girls. Article 1041 of the Civil Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran states that girls can be engaged before the age of nine, and married at nine: “Marriage before puberty (nine full lunar years for girls) is prohibited. Marriage contracted before reaching puberty with the permission of the guardian is valid provided that the interests of the ward are duly observed.”
According to Amir Taheri in The Spirit of Allah: Khomeini and the Islamic Revolution (pp. 90-91), Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini himself married a ten-year-old girl when he was twenty-eight. Khomeini called marriage to a prepubescent girl “a divine blessing,” and advised the faithful to give their own daughters away accordingly: “Do your best to ensure that your daughters do not see their first blood in your house.” When he took power in Iran, he lowered the legal marriageable age of girls to nine, in accord with Muhammad’s example.
“Girls as Young as Nine Are Trafficked into Forced Marriages in Australia”, by Victoria Friedman, Breitbart, September 13, 2017:
More than 50 girls in New South Wales were trafficked into forced marriages to older men, with some ‘brides’ being as young as nine years old.
Australia’s Seven News obtained documents from the Australian Federal Police on child marriage in the country. In just two years, a total of 57 children were victims of forced marriage in Australia, with almost all, 51, being from the Sydney area.
The AFP documents included: references to an email from a girl who wrote she was being held against her will and being forced to marry; a situation report with allegations of a forced marriage at the end of the school year; and a human trafficking referral of a girl who was forced to travel outside of Australia and then exploited.
Family and Community Services Minister Pru Goward said that children were under “enormous pressure” from their parents to marry. The minister said ‘the community’ “does know” that child brides do exist, but they choose to “turn the other cheek”, and ignore it.
Ms. Goward urged friends and relatives of children at risk of being trafficked or forced into marriage to come forward and to tell the children they do not have to marry, otherwise “we’ll end up with a continuation of forced marriages”.
Officials are left helpless to save the children once they leave the country, with documents noting the case of two young sisters from the Sydney suburb of Liverpool who were trafficked overseas for marriage. The AFP admitted all they could do was wait to see if the girls came back to Australia…..
A video of the ceremony shows the cleric instructing the girl that “as a wife, you have a duty to obey your husband”. The groom, meanwhile, is advised of his obligation to provide the minor with a “sexual education”.
The number of girls seeking help from the UK’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) for fear of being trafficked into a forced marriage is at a record high, with figures showing that as of the end of 2016, there has been just one conviction for child marriage in Britain.
Following the migrant crisis on the continent, the number of Muslim child brides in Germany’s capital, Berlin, is on the rise, and in Scandinavia, child ‘wives’ are being ‘tolerated‘ in migrant centres in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden.
Denmark has been forced to allow ‘wives’ as young as 14 to be reunited with their ‘husbands’ after authorities deciding that upholding child protection laws breached migrants’ human rights.
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