Continuation from Part I
A prominent Salafi Muslim site claims:
Firstly: Marriage to a young girl before she reaches puberty is permissible according to sharee'ah, and it was narrated that THERE WAS SCHOLARLY CONCENSUS on this point.
1 - Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
Firstly: Marriage to a young girl before she reaches puberty is permissible according to sharee'ah, and it was narrated that THERE WAS SCHOLARLY CONCENSUS on this point.
1 - Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
"And those of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, forthem the 'Iddah (prescribed period), if you have doubt (about their periods), is three months; and for those who have no courses [(i.e. they are still immature) their 'Iddah (prescribed period) is three months likewise"[al-Talaaq 65:4]
In this verse we see that Allaah states that for those who do not menstruate -because they are young and have not yet reached the age of puberty - the 'iddahin the case of divorce is three months. This clearly indicates that it is permissible for a young girl who has not started her periods to marry.
Al-Tabari (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The interpretation of the verse"And those of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the 'Iddah (prescribed period), if you have doubt (about their periods), is three months; and for those who have no courses [(i.e. they are still immature) their 'Iddah (prescribed period) is three months likewise". He said: The same applies to the 'idaah for girls who do not menstruate because they are too young, if their husbands divorce them after consummating the marriage with them. Tafseer al-Tabari, 14/142
2 - It was narrated from 'Aa'ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) married her when she was six years old, and consummated the marriage with her when she was nine, and she stayed with him for nine years. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4840; Muslim, 1422.
Ibn 'Abd al-Barr said: The scholars are unanimously agreed that a father may marry off his young daughter without consulting her. The Messenger of Allaah married 'Aa'ishah bint Abi Bakr when she was young, six or seven years old, when her father married her to him. Al-Istidhkaar, 16/49-50.
Secondly: The fact that it is permissible to marry a minor girl does not imply that it is permissible to have intercourse with her, rather the husband should not have intercourse with her until she becomes able for that. Hence the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) delayed consummating the marriage to 'Aa'ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her). And Allaah knows best.
Islam Q&A (www.islam-qa.com) (Question #12708: Is it acceptable to marry a girl who has not yet started her menses? source)
Notice the assertion that a man should delay consummation until the girl is able for it. This furnishes evidence that the reason why Muhammad delayed sleeping with Aisha wasn’t because he was waiting for her to attain puberty, but for the time when she could handle penetration. In another article thiss ame site says:
Marrying a young girl before she reaches the age of adolescence is permitted in sharee'ah; indeed it was narrated that there wass cholarly consensus on this point.
(a) Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
"And those of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the 'Iddah (prescribed period), if you have doubt (about their periods), is three months; and for those who have no courses [(i.e. they are still immature) their 'Iddah (prescribed period) is three months likewise" [al-Talaaq 65:4]
In this verse we see that Allaah has made the 'iddah in the case of divorce of a girl who does not have periods - because she is young and has not yet reached puberty - three months. This clearly indicates that Allaah has made this a valid marriage.
(b) It was narrated from 'Aa'ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) married her when she was six years old, he consummated the marriage with her when she was nine and she stayed with him for nine years. (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4840; Muslim, 1422)
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be uponhim) married 'Aa'ishah when she was six years old and consummated the marriage when she was nine." (Narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim; Muslim says'seven years')
The fact that it is permissible to marry a young girl does not mean that it is permissible to have intercourse with her; ratherthat should not be done until she is able for it. For that reason the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) delayed the consummation of his marriage to 'Aa'ishah. Al-Nawawi said: With regard to the wedding-party of ayoung married girl at the time of consummating the marriage, if the husband and the guardian of the girl agree upon something that will not cause harm to the young girl, then that may be done. If they disagree, then Ahmad and Abu 'Ubayd say that once a girl REACHES THE AGE OF NINE then the marriage may be consummated EVEN WITHOUT HER CONSENT, but that does not apply in the case of who is younger. Maalik, al-Shaafa'i and Abu Haneefah said: the marriage may be consummated when the girl is able for intercourse, which varies from one girl to another, SO NO AGE LIMIT CAN BE SET. THIS IS THE CORRECT VIEW. There is nothing in the hadeeth of 'Aa'ishah to set an age limit, OR TO FORBID THAT INTHE CASE OF A GIRL WHO IS ABLE FOR IT BEFORE THE AGE OF NINE, or to allow it in the case of a girl who is not able for it and has reached the age of nine. Al-Dawoodi said: 'Aa'ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) was[sic] reached physical maturity (at the time when her marriage was consummated). (Question #22442: On acting; and the ruling on marrying young girls;source)
Judging by the above quotations, being ready for intercourse is apparently defined in amerely physical way. These"scholars" seem to be saying that a girl is ready when the penis is able to slide in without tearing her up! They do not seem to be at all concerned with the biological and psychological aspects of the girl,whether she has the physiological and mental maturity to experience such intimacy. A troubling question that arises from the above claims is by what method is the husband supposed to test whether or not she is ready now? How many times should he be trying to penetrate her only to discover it doesn't work yet? How much damage is that doing to a little girl?
Do Cultural Norms Justify Muhammad’s Actions?
The appeal to culture is a rather weak defense of Muhammad’s marriage to a young immature girl. That there were certain groups which accepted specific practices in the past do not mean that they are morally acceptable. After all, there are many cultural practices and behaviors which both Christians and Muslims frown upon, whether homosexuality, incest, pre-marital sex, cannibalism etc.
In fact, both the Holy Bible and the Qur’an speak out against a rather prevalent cultural practice at that time, namely infanticide. In the case of Muhammad, the Qur’an suggests that during his time it was common for fathers to bury unwanted infant girls, an act which the Qur’an expressly condemns:
When if one of them receiveth tidings of the birth of a female, his face remaineth darkened, and he is wroth inwardly. He hideth himself from the folk because of the evil of that where of he hath had tidings,(asking himself): Shall he keep it in contempt, or bury it beneath the dust. Verily evil is their judgment. S.16:58-59 Pickthall
Another cultural practice condemned by the Qur’an was the classification of divorcees as the backs of mothers, an expression which implied that the women would be abandoned at home and prevented from ever remarrying. This was knownas zihar. Muhammad even prohibited adoption, which was prevalent during his time:
Allah has not made for any man two hearts within him; nor has He made your wives whose backs you liken to the backs of your mothers as your mothers, nor has He made those whom you assert to be your sons your real sons; these are the words of your mouths; and Allah speaks the truth and He guides to the way. Assert their relationship to their fathers; this is more equitable with Allah; but if you do not know their fathers, thent hey are your brethren in faith and your friends; and there is no blame on you concerning that in which you made a mistake, but (concerning) that which your hearts do purposely (blame may rest on you), and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. S. 33:4-5 Shakir
The reason why Muhammad forbade adoption is because of the scandal that arose from his marriage to his adopted son’s divorcee, which was another social taboo that Muhammad did away with.
According to Islamic sources, Allah commanded Muhammad to marry Zaynab ibn Haritha’s wife Zaynab bint Jash, who happened to be Muhammad’s cousin, in order to teach others by personal example that it was permissible for men to marry their adopted children’s divorcees. Basically, Muhammad did away with the stigma of marrying one’s adopted son’s former wife and then did away with adoption altogether! For more on this issue please read the followingarticles:
In fact, Muhammad’s marriage to Aisha was itself a departure from normal Arab custom which looked down on someone marrying the daughter of a person considered a brother. Note Abu Bakr’s reaction to Muhammad’s marriageproposal:
Narrated Ursa: 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 al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 18)
This hadith is interesting in light of the assertions of many a Muslim apologist that no one objected to Muhammad’s marriage with Aisha. Doesn’t Abu Bakr’s reaction refute such a claim? Was he not clearly objecting to Muhammad’s proposal, in fact perturbed and shocked that his prophet would do such a thing?
The English translator of Sahih Muslim, while seeking to justify Muhammad’sm arriage to a young girl, nonetheless admits:
2728. ‘A’isha was the third lady to enter the house of the Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) as his wife, and she was the only virgin in the consorts of purity of the Prophet’s house. She was of a tenderage when she was married to Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him). Historical records bear ample testimony to the fact that ‘A’isha was a precocious genius and was developing in both mind and body with rapidity peculiar to such rare personalities. This marriage is significant in the history of Islam in so many aspects: firstly, it cemented the ties between Muhammad (may peace be upon him), and his devoted friend Abu Bakr who always stood by him in the hours of trial and who sacrificed his all for the cause of Islam; secondly, by this marriage, a lady of eminent qualities came under the direct influence of the Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) at a highly impressionable age, and this provided her ample opportunities to penetrate into the innermost recesses of the sacred heart of Muhammad (may be upon him). She shared his company and thus was able to develop her potentialities and refine her taste perfectly in accordance with the teachings of Islam under the direct supervision of the HolyProphet (may peace be upon him). This young age was in fact very opportune for marriage as it has been clearly shown in the researches of psychoanalysts that much of the emotional life of a mature person and most of the seemingly unaccountable leanings, taste and tendencies comprised in the term idiosyncrasies can be traced to the experience of his or her highly formative age of either later childhood or early adolescence. Thirdly, all the wives ofthe Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) with the exception of ‘A’isha were of advanced age and thus could neither share the feelings of the younger generation nor could they properly appreciate their point of view. The difference of age always stood as a barrier between them and the ladies of younger ages. The only lady with whom young women could frankly enter into conversation and discuss problems without any reserve could be none but ‘A’isha. Thus the threshold of puberty was a great necessity, as it was through her that instructions could successfully be imparted to the young ladies who had newly entered the fold of Islam. Moreover, this marriage struck at the root of a wrong notion which had firmly taken hold of the minds of the people that it was contrary to religious ethics to marry the daughter of a man whom one declared to be one’s brother. The Prophet (may peace be upon him), with the help of his personal example, showed to the people that there is a great difference between the brother in faith and the brother in relation to the blood. The marriage which is forbidden in Islam is with the daughter of the brother in blood and not with the daughter of the brother in faith. (Sahih Muslim by Imam Muslim, rendered into English by Abdul Hamid Siddiqi [Kitab Bhavan Exporters & Importers, 1784, Kalan, Mahal, Daryaganji, New Delhi-110002 (India), 11th reprinted 1995], Volume III & IV, pp. 1298-1299)
In light of all these clear examples of Muhammad going against and doing awaywith certain, prevalent cultural practices and customs, he could have justas easily done away with the custom of marrying prepubescent girls (assuming that this was the custom at that time). There was no pressure on him to marry a young immature girl.
And since Muslims claim that he was God’s last prophet:
Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the Apostle of God, and the Seal of the Prophets: and God has full knowledge of all things. S. 33:40 Y. Ali
And the model of perfection and sublime morals:
Certainly you have in the Apostle of Allah an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in Allah and the latter day and remembers Allah much. S. 33:21 Shakir
And most surely you conform (yourself) to sublimemorality. S. 68:4 Shakir
Shouldn’t he have done away with such a despicable practice of marrying physically immature girls and set a greater ethical standard for others tof ollow? Shouldn’t he have set a higher moral standard by classifying such marriages as unlawful in order to protect these girls from physical and psychological harm?
Putting it simply, theists expect that God would inspire his prophets to set a higher ethical code for humans to emulate, not merely subscribe to the cultural norms of their time, especially when such norms are morally reprehensible. This is irrespective of whether those prophets were able to live up to such standards, so long as God didn’t justify their failure to comply with his moral standard.
As one sharp Christian writer and apologist stated:
“it isn’t necessary for a law giver to institutelaws by performing actions that create a precedent. In other words, Muhammad didn’t need to marry a young girl in order establish a law about marrying girls who had reached puberty. Muhammad, as Islam’s lawgiver, could have simply issued a decree. For instance,Muhammad allowed husbands to beat their wives. Was it necessary for Muhammad to beat his wives in order to establish this as a law? Certainly not. Similarly, when an lawmaker says that killing someone in self-defense is acceptable, no one argues that the lawmaker must go out and kill someone in self-defense if his law is to stand. Hence, the argument that Muhammad needed to marry a young girl to establish puberty as the appropriate age for marriage completely fails. (David Wood, Was Muhammad a Pedophile? An Examination of Muhammad's Relationship with a Nine-Year-Old Girl; 1;2)
In light of the foregoing it is rather hard to escape the assessment made of Muhammad by some of his contemporaries:
… Layla bt. al-Khatim b.‘Adi b. ‘Amr b. Sawad b. Zafar b. al-Harith b. al-Khazraj approached the Prophet while his back was to the sun, and clapped him on his shoulder. He asked who it was, and she replied, "I am the daughter of one who competes with the wind. I am Layla bt. al-Khatim. I have come to offer myself [in marriage] to you, so marry me." He replied, "I accept." She went back to her people and said that the Messenger of God had married her. They said, "What a bad thing you have done! You are a self-respecting woman, but the Prophet is a womanizer. Seek an annulment from him."She went back to the Prophet and asked him to revoke the marriage and he complied with [her request]… (The History of Al-Tabari: The Last Years of the Prophet, translated and annotated by Ismail K. Poonawala [State University of New York Press, Albany, 1990], Volume IX, p. 139
This conclusion becomes even harder to deny when we realize what Muhammad said about marrying young girls:
Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah: When I got married, Allah's Apostle said to me, "What type of lady have you married?" I replied, "I have married a matron." He said, "Why, don't you have a liking for the virgins AND FOR FONDLING THEM?" Jabir also said:Allah's Apostle said, "Why didn't you marry ayoung girl so that YOU MIGHT PLAY WITH HER and she with you?" (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 17)
We will have a few more things to say regarding whether it was acceptable to marry young immature girls during Muhammad’s time in this article (The Marriage of Umar ibn Khattab and Umm Kulthum).
In this section we deal with a few specific points raised by certain individuals like Moiz Amjad of www.understanding-islam.org gwho try to cast doubt on the veracity of the reports that explicitly say Muhammad married Aisha when she was nine.
Mr. Amjad calls into question the reliability of these reports on the grounds that the one who transmitted most of them, Hisham ibn Urwah, wasn’t completely reliable (…)…omissis (refuted):
Mr. Amjad also claims that:
According to the generally accepted tradition, Ayesha (ra) was born about eight years before Hijrah. But according to another narrative in Bukhari (kitabu'l-tafseer) Ayesha (ra) is reported to have said that at the time Surah Al-Qamar, the 54th chapter of the Qur'an, was revealed,"I was a young girl". The 54th surah of the Qur'an was revealed nine years before Hijrah. According to this tradition, Ayesha (ra) had not only been born before the revelation of the referred surah, but was actually a young girl (jariyah), not an infant (sibyah) at that time. Obviously, if this narrative is held to be true, it is in clear contradiction with the narratives reported byHisham ibn `urwah. I see absolutely no reason that after the comments of the experts on the narratives of Hisham ibn `urwah, why we should not accept this narrative to be more accurate. source
Al-Maududi refutes this date:
Period of Revelation: The incident of the shaqq-al-Qamar (splitting of the moon) that has been mentioned in it determines its period of revelation precisely. The traditionists and commentators are agreed that this incident took place at Mina in Makkah about five years before the Holy Prophet's hijra to Madinah. (Source)
As does Haddad: Not true. The hadith Masters, Sira historians, and Qur'anic commentators agree that the splitting of the moon took place about five years before the Holy Prophet's (upon him blessings and peace) Hijra to Madina. Thus it is confirmed that our Mother `Aisha was born between seven and eight years before the Hijra and the words that she was a jariya or little girl five years before the Hijra match the fact that her ageat the time Surat al-Qamar was revealed was around 2 or 3.
To read Haddad’s complete rebuttal to Amjad’s article please click here: 1, 2, 3.
This concludes the discussion for this part. Continue with a brief article further touching on the issue of Muhammad’s marriage in light of the cultural practices at that time.
APPENDIX 2: JEWISH CULTURE AND MARRIAGE
Robert Squires claims that what Muhammad did was no different than what Abraham and the Israelites allowed. His conclusion was "if it was good enough for Abraham it is good enough for me". Well, the fact is, it wasn’t good enoughf or Abraham and the Israelites.
The Baker Ency. of the Bible says about Jewish marriage customs in volume 2, page 1407, under "Marriage":
"Subsequently, minimum ages (for marriage) of 13 for boys and 12 for girls were set."
And Jim West, ThD, writes online, in "Ancient Israelite Marriage Customs":
"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".
Even in the Mishnah, the age of maturity for a female is 12.5 years:
"she won her case in court before she matured [at the age of twelve years and six months], lo, they belong to the father." Mishnah Ketubot, 4:1.
Jewish culture allowed young girls to be married at an early age but not as young as 9.
APPENDIX 3: SCIENCE AND PUBERTY
How do the biological sciences address the topic offemale puberty? Here are quotes from several college level text books. There is a great deal of info presented, but it is necessary to provide scientific details to fully understand puberty.
From "Adolescence", by L. Steinberg, pub. by McGraw Hill,1993.
page 22: "Puberty derives from the Latin word "pubertas", which means "adult". Technically, the term refers to the period during which an individual becomes capable of sexual reproduction, that is, it denotes the series of biological changes leading upto reproductive capability. More broadly speaking, however, puberty is used as a collective term to refer to all the physical changes that occur in the growing girl or boy as the individual passes from childhood into adulthood."
page 23: "Puberty may appear to be rather sudden, judging from its external signs, but in fact it is part of a gradual process that begins at conception. (Petersen and Taylor, 1980). You may be surprised to learn that no new hormones are produced and no new bodily systems develop at puberty. Rather, some hormones that have been present since before birth increase, and other decrease."
page 26: "The effects of the endocrinological changes of puberty on the adolescent's body are remarkable. Consider the dramatic changes in physical appearance that occur during the short span of early adolescence. One enters puberty looking like a child and within FOUR years or so has the physical appearance of a young adult."
page 32: [This page shows a chart depicting that puberty lasts about 4 years in girls].
"Generally, full reproduction function does not occur until several years after menarche, and regular ovulation follows menarche by about two years (Hafetz, 1976)....
…The onset of puberty can occur as early as 8 years in girls and 9.5 in boys, or as late as 13 in girls and 13.5 in boys. In girls, the interval between the first sign of puberty and complete physical maturation can be as short as one and one-half years or as long as six years....In more concrete terms, it is possible for an early-maturing, fast-maturing youngster to complete pubertal maturation by the age of 10 or 11 - two years before a late-maturing youngster has even begun puberty."
pages 36-37: "(Although menarche does not signal the onset of puberty....) .....the average age at menarche generally is lower in those countries where individuals are less likely to be malnourished or suffer from chronic disease. For example, in western Europe and in the United States, the median menarcheal age ranges from about 12.5 years to 13.5 years. In Africa,however, the median menarcheal age ranges from 14 years to 17 years."
page 66: [There is a table depicting the four stages of cognitive development according to Piaget. It shows that the brain develops mature cognitive ability after age 11].
page 73: [On page 73 he presents a table showing that the brain is not fully mature until about the age of 16. From this table, I estimate that at age9, the maturation of the brain is between 50 to 60%.].
From "ADOLESCENCE - TRANSITION FROM CHILDHOOD TO MATURITY", by Lambert, Rothschild, Altland, & Green, pub. by Brooks / Cole, 1978:
page 106: "The process of physical development that results in the end of childhood and the beginning of adolescence involves three overlapping stages: Prepuberty, pubescence, and puberty. Although this sequence is the same for all individuals, the times of onset and the lengths of these periods differ from one person to another (Thornburg, 1975).
Prepuberty begins at the end of childhood with a rapid rise in hormone levels... It is also a period in which a rapid growth spurt begins and the secondary sex characteristics, such as the budding of the breast in girls and the enlargement of the testes and penis in boys, start to develop. Generally, girls experience theses changes two years before boys; the average age of onset of this stage is 10 for females, 12 for males (Tanner, 1975).
Pubescence, the second stage, is characterized by the proliferation of sex cells and near completion of the secondary sex characteristics (Thornburg, 1975). Pubescence begins with the menarche, or first menstruation, in girls.... The appearance of these characteristics, however, does not necessarily indicate that the reproductive system is complete. It may be a matter of months or even years before the body is capable of reproduction.
It is only with the third phase, puberty, that girls develop regular ovulatory menstrual cycles and the capability for procreation....This period generally spans about two years for girls and about three years for boys, ending when all of the secondary sex characteristics have fully appeared and reproductive ability has been reached. Most boys are well into puberty by age 14 (Marshall, 1975), most girls by the age of15-16."
page 108: "... the gradual decrease in the average age at which menarche has been occurring among Western European girls and apparently among girls of the United States and Canada as well (Botstein & McArthus, 1976).... The fact that research has indicated that this trend isjust as evident among girls in temperate climates as among girls in warm climates would also tend to destroy the myth that girls mature earlier in warm climates than in more moderate ones."
page 111: "Abnormal growth and delayed or precocious puberty are usually associated with disorders in hypothalamic hormonal changes (Schonberg, 1075; Sizonenko, 1975)."
pages 115-117: "In girls there initially appears a budding of the breasts, then the appearance of pubic hair, then the menarche, and finally ovulation. ... Breast development and pubic hair first become visible at about 10-11 years of age, whereas the menarche occurs, on the average, in the range of 11-13 years, or approximately two years after initial breast development. Menstruation during pubescence is generally irregular, partly due to factors of emotion, tension, and nutrition. Reproductive maturity is usually attained from one totwo years after the first menstruation, with maximum fertility developing in the early 20s (Lamburg et al., 1973)....
The average age at menarche is 12.5 to 13. However, some normal girls may begin to menstruate as early as 9, while others may not start until the age of 16 (Offer & Offer,1968)....
Genital growth is usually not complete when menstruation begins, and this growth continues slowly for several more years. The menarche is frequently followed by a period of sterility, which lasts until a regular ovulatory menstrual cycle is established. The duration of this period varies considerable; the first ovulation (the discharge of the first egg from the ovaries) may occur at menarche, or it may not take place until years later....
For several months following the menarche, there is usually a lack of regularity in the extent and timing of the menstrual flow."
WHAT ARE THE BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES TELLING US ABOUT PUBERTY?
To begin with, puberty does not begin with a girl's menarche. It begins about a year or two earlier. Islam missed the mark on this. Islam considers that puberty and adulthood begin with the menarche.
Further, science teaches that puberty does not end with menarche. It takes at least 2 more years for a child to sexually mature. Islam also missed the mark on this end. Science shows that usually the female body still has a ways to go from the time a girl has her menarche to the time she is sexually able to reproduce, or is considered to have an adult body.
Science further documents that there are times when a child may have "precocious puberty" and have menarche as early asage 8. This is usually due to a dysfunction or disorder within the child.
PUBERTY, MENARCHE, AND REPRODUCTION
There is a misconception that when a young girl has her first menarche, she is capable of getting pregnant. Many primitive cultures believed that a girl can become pregnant following menarche; Muhammad's culture probably believed this as well. However, science tells us this is very rare.Instead, the average time for a girl to become pregnant following menarche is one to two years. Clearly then, girls are not "mature" following their menarche. There are no biological grounds to marry and engage post-menarcheal girls in sexual activity; they cannot conceive children yet. Puberty does not equal maturity, and therefore this misconception should not lead to marriage.
Logically then, menarche is not a sign of a female being able to bear children. Only at the end of puberty can a girl conceive, not at the beginning, not at the middle. Puberty usually takes several yearsto complete.
MORE PHYSICAL DAMAGE TO YOUNG GIRLS
Modern medicine teaches that a female's body is not fully developed at age 9. Sexual intercourse at that age could damage a female's sexual organs. For instance, at the age of 9 years old, the cervix of the female is yet undeveloped, as are many of the child's sexual organs. Further, intercourse at this age leads to an 80% increased risk in her developing cervical cancer later in life.
One can only feel sorry for Aisha. Robbed of her childhood, becoming a bride to a man who had a large sexual appetite for many women, Aisha felt she had to at times lie to and deceive Muhammad to keep his attention. She is forbidden to marry after Muhammad death. Later she helps lead the first Muslim civil war, causing the death of thousands of Muslims, who according to Islam, would go to hell for fighting each other. Finally defeated, she is not executed but ordered to live the rest of her days, essentially underhouse arrest, in Medina.
Original source: http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/prepubescent.htm