Thursday, 2 April 2009

Does the Qur'an allow men to have sex with prepubertal girl?

The answer is definitely YES (following the Qur'an (65:4) and Muhammad's example with Aisha)

The Qur’an, in at least one passage, presupposes that there is an age which a girl must attain before she can be considered marriageable:

And try orphans until they reach the age of marriage…Q. 4:6 (Hilali-Khan). It seems that there is an age that girls have to reach before a man can marry them, presumably, puberty. This is accepted by most Muslims. Here you have three commentaries on Q 4:6 taken from some of Islam’s greatest scholars and exegetes:…(till they reach the marriageable age) the age of puberty; … (Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs)

…until they reach the age of marrying, that is, until they have become eligible for it through puberty or [legal] age, which, according to al-Shafi'i, is the completion of fifteen years; … (Tafsir Al-Jalalayn)the age of fifteen is considered the age of adolescence.

In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Ibn `Umar said, "I was presented in front of the Prophet on the eve of the battle of Uhud, while I was fourteen years of age, and he did not allow me to take part in that battle. But I was presented in front of him on the eve of the battle of Al-Khandaq (The Trench) when I was fifteen years old, and he allowed me (to join that battle)." `Umar bin `Abdul-`Aziz commented when this Hadith reached him, "This is the difference between a child and an adult." There is a difference of opinion over whether pubic hair is considered a sign of adulthood, and the correct opinion is that it is. The Sunnah supports this view, according to a Hadith collected by Imam Ahmad from `Atiyah Al-Qurazi who said, "We were presented to the Prophet on the day of Quraizah, whoever had pubic hair was killed, whoever did not was left free to go, I was one of those who did not, so I was left free." The Four Sunan compilers also recorded similar to it. At-Tirmidhi said, "Hasan Sahih." (Tafsir Ibn Kathir).

All three of the above commentators agree that puberty is the right age for a girl to consider marriage, with Ibn Kathir (and al-Shafi placing that age at fifteen). Al-Shafi is one of the greatest Islamic scholars and jurists and has an Islamic school of jurisprudence named after him.

Once again, Muhammad is found violating his very own command since he married a girl who was nine years old:

Narrated Aisha: 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, 5,058.234).

Narrated 'Aisha: 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). (Bukhari, 7.062, Number 64) see also Numbers 65 and 88)

may say that, contrary to the opinion of Ibn Kathir and al-Shafi, the age of puberty cannot be fixed at fifteen since some girls attain puberty at a younger age. They may further argue that Aisha happened to attain puberty at nine, which means that she was lawful for Muhammad. The problem with this assertion is that it contradicts the express statements of specific Islamic sources that say that Aisha hadn’t attained puberty when Muhammad consummated his marriage with her:

'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) married her when she was seven years old, and he was taken to his house AS A BRIDE WHEN SHE WAS NINE, AND HER DOLLS WERE WITH HER; …(Muslim, 008, Number 3311)

The reason why Muhammad permitted Aisha to take her dolls to his house and play with them after their marriage was because she hadn’t reached puberty:

Narrated 'Aisha: I used to play with the dolls in the presence of the Prophet, and my girl friends also used to play with me. When Allah's Apostle used to enter (my dwelling place) they used to hide themselves, but the Prophet would call them to join and play with me. (The playing with the dolls and similar images is forbidden, but it was allowed for 'Aisha at that time, as she was a little girl, NOT YET REACHED THE AGE OF PUBERTY.)
(Fateh-al-Bari page 143, Vol. 13) (Bukhari, 8, 073, Number 151)

Elsewhere in the Qur’an men are permitted to marry and divorce young girls who haven’t attained sexual maturity:

And those of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the 'Iddah (prescribed period), if you have doubts (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, except in case of death]. And for those who are pregnant (whether they are divorced or their husbands are dead), their 'Iddah (prescribed period) is until they deliver (their burdens), and whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make his matter easy for him. S. 65:4 (Hilali-Khan)

Those who haven’t menstruated yet are girls who haven’t attained puberty. The Qur’an says that there is no waiting period (iddah) for those women whose marriages have not been consummated:

…divorce them before ye have touched them, no period of 'Iddat have ye to count in respect of them…Q 33:49 Hilali-Khan

What this means is that Q. 65:4 is referring to young prepubertal girls (girls who haven’t attained sexual maturation) who got married and were divorced sometime after the consummation of their marriages!

Once again, are the three exegetes cited earlier:

…another man asked: "O Messenger of Allah! What about the waiting period of those who do not have menstruation BECAUSE THEY ARE TOO YOUNG?" (along with those who have it not) because of young age, their waiting period is three months. (Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs)

And [as for] those of your women who (…) no longer expect to menstruate, if you have any doubts, about their waiting period, their prescribed [waiting] period shall be three months, and [also for] those who have not yet menstruated, because of their young age, their period shall [also] be three months - …(Tafsir al-Jalalayn)

The `Iddah of Those in Menopause and Those Who do not have Menses
Allah the Exalted clarifies the waiting period of the woman in menopause. And that is the one whose menstruation has stopped due to her older age. Her `Iddah is three months instead of the three monthly cycles for those who menstruate, which is based upon the Ayah in (Suraht) Al-Baqarah. [see 2:228] The same for the young, WHO HAVE NOT REACHED THE YEARS OF MENSTRUATION. Their `Iddah is three months like those in menopause. This is the meaning of His saying… as for His saying… There are two opinions: First, is the saying of a group of the Salaf, like Mujahid, Az-Zuhri and Ibn Zayd. That is, if they see blood and there is doubt if it was menstrual blood or not. The second, is that if you do not know the ruling in this case, then know that their `Iddah is three months. This has been reported from Sa`id bin Jubayr and it is the view preferred by Ibn Jarir. And this is the more obvious meaning. Supporting this view is what is reported from Ubay bin Ka`b that he said, "O Allah's Messenger! Some women were not mentioned in the Qur'an, THE YOUNG, the old and the pregnant." Allah the Exalted and Most Honoured sent down this Ayah Ibn Abi Hakim recorded a simpler narration than this one from Ubay bin Ka`b who said, "O Allah's Messenger! When the Ayah in Suraht Al-Baqarah was revealed prescribing the `Iddah of divorce, some people in Al-Madinah said, `There are still some women whose `Iddah has not been mentioned in the Qur'an. There are THE YOUNG, the old whose menstruation is discontinued, and the pregnant.’ (Tafsir Ibn Kathir)

These scholars weren’t alone in claiming that Q. 65:4 refers to prepubertal girls getting married and divorced by Muslim men. Notice what the modern, late Muslim commentator Syed Abu-Ala’ Maududi wrote regarding this very verse:

making mention of the waiting-period for girls who have not yet menstruated, clearly proves that it is not only permissible to give away the girl at this age but it is 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. (Maududi, Towards Understanding the Qur’an, Vol 5, p. 620, note 13)

Moreover, note how the hadith compiler al-Bukhari explained this passage: By the words of Allah, "that also applies to those who have not yet menstruated" (65:4) and He made the 'idda of a girl before puberty three months. 4840. It is related from 'A'isha that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, married her when she was six years old and consummated it when she was nine… (Aisha Bewley, The Sahih Collection of Al-Bukhari, Chapter 70. Book of Marriage).

Bukhari used Aisha’s marriage as an illustration of a prepubescent girl who was married, thereby supporting the fact that Q. 65:4 does permit men to marry prepubescent. Moreover, his comments provide additional corroboration that Muhammad married Aisha before she reached maidenhood!

There are several problems with all this:
a) how can we believe a God that allows girls not having had their menstruations to have sexual intercourse? Can you imagine the “physical” and emotional stress that a little girl has to undergo into such conditions. I suppose most of you have or had a 0-12 old little girl. Would you give it to a man for having sex with her? (Ps: and we haven’t even touched the fact that Muhammad at that time was already around 54 year old (1400 years ago, in a desert environment…can you imagine how older he should look than a modern 50+ year old)? b). We have an internal contradiction between two directives of the Qur’an, one that presupposes a marriageable age for girls and the other which places no limits on the age a girl can get married!) Muhammad is still guilty of breaking his own commands and of introducing contradictory teachings within his Qur’an.

Muslims often take the excuse that there have been cases of girls in warmer climates that reach puberty at the age of eight (there is no scientific prove of that, but ok, let’s assume). They even cite a fact that there were 9y-old girls who had already menstruated and of one girl who was a grandmother at the age of 21! But this is all red herring. The facts are quite clear following points a) b) and c) (As if this weren’t bad enough Muhammad composed a verse which prohibited anyone from marrying or approaching any of his wives after his death: Keep in mind that Aisha died in the year 678 AD., at the approximate age of 66 (Muhammad died when she was 18)) Historically, this explains why Khomeini introduced a law as soon as he got to power in Iran, reducing the minimum age for marriage to nine years. As a matter of fact, he married a ten year old girl when he was 28. (He wrote a book about feminine hygiene, in which he said that it was ok to have sex with animals, like sodomizing a cow or a camel, but that their urine, faces and milk would be impure afterwards. You have either to kill or to burn it. In his book, it is as well ok to marry a younger that a nine year old girl, but that you have to wait till she is nine in order to have a regular intercourse. Instead, forplaying, kissing and sodomy are allowed!).You can check here, how this opinion, is still presented to regular audience even in these days: (here) (Saudi Marriage Official: 'It IS Allowed To Marry A Girl At The Age Of One')

Muhammad was already attracted by little girls while they were in the cradle (Siraht: Muhammad saw Ummu’l-Fadl: if she grows up and if I’ll be still here, I will marry her” (link will be added shortly). Actually, he died earlier.

Omar followed the example of Muhammad. He married Umm Kulthum, Aisha’s four year old stepsister


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