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Posts tagged ‘Mohammed’

Was Aisha a Child Bride?

One of today’s most fascinating controversies among Muslims and non-Muslims is the debate over Aisha’s ages when she married the Prophet and subsequently if that made him a pedophiliac or not.  

Putting the age debate to the side for a moment, If Prophet Mohamed were in fact a pedophile why would he settle for only one child?  Unless perhaps Aisha was not 9 years old has history has led us to believe.

All Islamic sources and historians claim/ agree on the following Islamic timeline:

570: Prophet Mohamed’s Birth.

610: Year of the divine revelation

615: Migration to Ethiopia

622 (01 H): Muslims migrated from Makah to Madina  

632 (10 H): Death of Prophet Mohamed at the age of 63

These sources claim that Aisha was only seven when she was wed to Mohamed, and 9 or 10 when the marriage was consummated right after the Prophet’s arrival to Madina, in 622. (Almost three years later) …

Accordingly she would be born in the year 612 (if she were 10 in the year 622)

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However, the follow events (taken from the same sources) show a contradiction in Aisha age:  

1)     a- Aisha was among the 12 Male and 12 Female Muslims to migrate to Ethiopia. She was identified as one of the 12 females and not an infant/ child though according to the sources (if she were born in 612) she would have been only 3 years old.

b-  Aisha recalled that she remembers how the Prophet used to visit her father on a daily bases, after the revelation and before the Hijra (migration) to Madina. She also recalled the migration to Ethiopia. Either she had a 3 year old’s über-memory or a big miscalculation has occurred.

2)      Aisha’s sister, Asma, is 10 years her senior. Asma was 14 old during the revelation (in 610). Accordingly, Aisha would be 4 years old in 610 and thus born 606, while Asma born in 596. (This makes Aisha about 9 years old when she went to Ethiopia and 16 when the marriage was consummated)

3)      Asma died at the age of 100 following tragic events in the Islamic history in 692 (73 H). Accordingly, she would have been born in 592 and Aisha 602. (Adding 4 years to her age in point 2)

4)      Aisha died in 678 at the age of 65… Accordingly, she would be born in 613. However; at the time of her sister’s death, Asma would be 75 and in 692 (year of her reported death) she would be 89 years old. (Where did the 11 years difference go?)

5)      Aisha was already a Muslim when Omar bin Khattab converted to Islam in 616….. If she were indeed born in 612, that would make her 4 years old during Omar’s conversion… In this case, it is very doubtful that she would be considered a convert but a child reared in a Muslim household. However, emphasis on Aisha’s Islam, in comparison to Omar’s, might indicate that she was already practicing and aware of a new religion in Makkah.

If she were born in 606: that would make her 10 years old when Omar converted. At that age a child becomes accountable and is required to perform religious duties. Thus, making it obvious that Aisha was a Muslims rather than a child whose parents are Muslims.

The first youngest known person to convert was the Prophet’s 10 year old cousin, Ali. This was in 610. So, where does baby Aisha fit into this? Wouldn’t she have taken the lead as the youngest convert, had she been only 4 years old? Islamic history is pretty good in listing the first converts and it does not shy away from mentioning the female pioneers. So, there would be no reason to exclude Aisha from the list of child pioneers. Unless she wasn’t a child

This would also lead to another question: Could children be considered converts? Although a 10-year-old child 1400 years ago might be more mature than today’s 10 year old, they were still considered children.  

6)      Fatima Al-Zahra’ a, prophet Mohamed’s daughter was born five years before the revelation (605). She is said to be five years older than Aisha, who would then be born in 610) another inconsistency with the above “sources”.

These are just a few of the argument presented by some of those who oppose the traditional view on Aisha’s age. It’s been said that the first person who presented this new calculation was as Egyptian writer Abbas el-Akkad (1889-1964), and again by other such as Saudi Human Rights activists Suhaila Hamad, journalist Islam Biheri.. etc

Perhaps this inconsistency does not give a clear indication of Aisha’s age. But if anything it shows that there is a further need to reexamine history with an objective perspective.

It is believed that one of the main reasons for the union between Aisha and Prophet Mohamed is to legitimize her stay in his house and thus learn from him and recite his hadiths (saying by the Prophet) . It has been reported that she narrated around 2210 but only 174 Hadith are commonly agreed upon by religious scholars. Yet Islam from a female’s perspective is nowhere to be found. Where are the rest of the hadiths? Until this day, there is perhaps only one, and very hard to find, book, that addresses these hadiths. So, why aren’t there more efforts to publish these hadiths and make them known?

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Before Defending the Prophet of Islam

Again today I received an e-mail with a link to visit a website on the life and teachings of Prophet Mohamed… and again I checked it out, though I already knew of its contents, and again I found myself getting upset and then deterred away from the website.

Following the Danish controversy, many Muslim groups came to the conclusion that they need to fix their “image”. While the effort is needed I wonder if it is in its place… Those who invested in the webpage still see matter from their point of view and this is where their arguments stem from.  This also makes for very weak arguments.  Who are the audience of the website  

In theory Islam is a wonderful religion, but Muslims fail miserably when it comes to application and practice…

The website does not teach Muslims, who are in desperate need of, tolerance or acceptance of others who are different. They continuously compare Islam to Judaism and Christianity. This, they believe, will strengthen Islam’s position as the one and only true religion, while in reality it just preaches superiority and intolerance.  For example, in the website, Jews of Al-Madina are still seen as infiltrators who “had it coming”. One rule of managing/ mediating conflict is never to dig into history because it will only make matter worse. This apparently is the case with the Jews of Al-Madina. Both Muslims and Jews refer to a 1400 year old incident in order to defame the other.  So, why not put history to the side for change, or at least see matters from different perspectives!

On another page, which deals with, or rather glorifies, polygamy, “He used to spend one day and one night with each wife except when Lady Sauda Bint Zam’a reached old age and no longer had sexual desire.”  Those with some sense would instantly question at what age does a woman lose her sexual desire? Science will defiantly not support such claim. Unfortunately such narration does not defend the Prophet, nor gives a clear image of Islam. Instead, it portrays Islam as a sexist and misogynist religion and the Prophet as a man driven by his urges.

It is also peculiar that many Muslims, who work under the motto “defending the Prophet”, make a distinction between Mohamed, as a person or a prophet, and how Islam is understood, interpreted and applied today. The two, however, represent the same thing.  Prophet Mohamed and his teachings represent Islam. He is a role model for Muslims. Subsequently, when Islam is misunderstood, so is its Prophet, and vice versa.

What many Muslims refuse to understand is that the Danish caricatures, and its likes, do not target Mohamed, the Prophet, specifically, as much as it targets a religion seen as hateful and intolerant. Non-Muslims have a negative perception of Islam because of how it is interpreted and represented. To them, the Prophet is a symbol of everything that is wrong with Islam… To me, the Prophet is a symbol of a religion misinterpreted by it followers and non-followers alike.   

A remaining question would be, whose fault is it that Islam and the Prophet are misunderstood? But perhaps that question is not as important as what Muslims are willing to do about it?