A friend of mine is very anti-Islam and has a very negative attitude towards Islam and Muslims. One of his arguments is about the age of Aisha, one of the Prophet’s wives. He says that she was only 9 years old when the Prophet Muhammad married her, while he was much older, and hence this was a pedophilic relationship (God forbid).
What can be said about this?
Please consider the following points in reply to the above allegations and accusations:
1. Women have traditionally married at younger ages than men, although the average age of marriage has increased for both sexes with time.
2. If Prophet’s marriage to a 9 year old girl is pedophilia then the history of western countries has recorded a lot of pedophilic relations. Margaret Beaufort (mother of Henry VII of England) was married to John de la Pole at the age of 7 in 1450. Likewise, Anne de Mowbray, 8th Countess of Norfolk, was married to Richard of Shrewsbury, the first Duke of York at the age of 6 in 1477. Also, Margarethe of Austria; the daughter of Emperor Maximilian I, was not even 3 years old when she became the fiancée of the French Crown prince Charles! And the list goes on.
3. Historically girls were married at a much younger age than nowadays. Such marriages were more proxy marriages and the girl would be betrothed with the consent of her father.
4. As for the age of Aisha – the wife of the holy Prophet Muhammad (s) – at the time of her marriage, unlike the common mistake, she was most likely around 17 years of age for the following reasons:
a. Historians asserted that her older sister ‘Asma’ was 10 years older than her (Ibn Katheer, vol.8 p.345). Asma was born 25 years before the migration of the holy Prophet (s). That means her younger sister in the year of the Prophet’s migration was 15 years old.
b. Bukhari (vol. 3, pl. 3606) quoted from Aisha that she was engaged to the holy Prophet (s) 3 years after the demise of his first wife ‘Khadija’, which is the first year of his migration, when Aisha was 15 years old. The holy Prophet (s) married Aisha two years later when Aisha would be 17 years of age.
Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei