Some Miscellaneous Additional Points

From the Perspective of Lady Aisha (RA)

Prophet Muhammad didn’t initiate the engagement and the consummation of marriage was in-fact urged by the bride’s father.

“Aisha said: (…)’Until we arrived at Madinah, so I dwelt among the family of Abu Bakr (…) So Abu Bakr told him: ‘What prevents you from consummating with your wife?’ So he consummated with me’.”

Source: Ibn Hajar (in “Fathul Bari”) and Al Tabaraani

Aisha (RA) herself considered a 9-year-old to be a mature adult.

“… Aisha said: ‘If the “jariyah” (young girl) reaches nine years, then she is a woman”

Al Munzhiri (the hadeeth expert) said: Narrated by Tirmizhi and Nasaa’i; Al Tirmithi said: Good Hadeeth.
Source: “Awn Al Mabood”, Al Aabadi

Aisha (RA) consented and appreciated the marriage.

“Ibn Sa’d said:…Aisha said (in appreciation): ‘I have been given features not given to any woman. The Prophet (peace be upon him) married me when I was seven, the angel brought him my image in his hand to look at it, he consummated our marriage when I was nine, I saw the angel Gabriel, I was his most beloved wife, and I attended his diseased till he died, not witnessed but by me and the angels’.”

Source: “al Isabah fi Tamyeez al Sahabah (The correct differentiation between the Companions”, Ibn Hajar

Narrated ‘Abdur-Rahman bin Al-Aswad:

…Aisha added, “None of you could control his sexual desires as the Prophet could.”

Source: Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 1, Book 6, Number 299

In addition, there are also many other references that show the love between these two.

So, the alleged ‘rape’ argument is pushed by people born about 13 centuries after the event, for a woman who herself didn’t believe so, who cherished the marriage, loved and respected her husband and who was considered as an adult, responsible for making her own decisions and capable of giving consent not only by the society but by herself too.

After this the discussion changes to Lady Aisha being brainwashed and indoctrinated and therefore her narrations are not reliable. Interestingly, according to these anti-Islam arguments, her narrations are only reliable when they can be used to defame Islam, but not when they support or venerate the Islamic position. Therefore, while there is unequivocal evidence supporting Islam on this position, these authors keep on trying to use misleading points to slander it.

Possible Political Motivations for the Marriage

To seal of a political alliance between the Prophet and his future successor i.e. Aisha’s father namely Abu Bakr, an Arab nobleman, one of the early converts to Islam with a powerful socio-political standing.

“He [Muhammad] contracted a second marriage with Ayesha, the young daughter of Abu Bakr—a connection mainly designed to cement the attachment with his bosom-friend [Abu Bakr].”

Sir William Muir’s “The Life of Mahomet”, p.208,
https://books.google.com.pk/books?id=XzwBAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA208&dq=about+the+same+time+he+contracted+a+second+marriage+with+ayesha&ots=QgqQzqreSW&sig=lYk2ltyFEtGiR2lFIz0HCFMzTL8&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=about%20the%20same%20time%20he%20contracted%20a%20second%20marriage%20with%20ayesha&f=false

“He [Muhammad] sought, by this alliance, to grapple Abu Bekr still more strongly to his side.”

(Washington Irving’s Life of Muhammad)

Rev. W. Montgomery Watt states:

“Since Muhammad had a political aim in nearly all his marriages, he must have seen in this one a means of strengthening the ties between himself and Abu Bakr, his chief follower.”

Quoted in Encyclopedia of Islam

The Prophet also married the daughter of his second successor, Umar ibn al-Khattab (RA), Hafsa (RA) who was a widow and a grown woman. Both Abu Bakr and Umar came from strong families. These marriages were contracted when the pagans were persecuting the Prophet’s followers. Similarly, the Prophet’s marriage with Juwriyyah, cemented his ties to the clan of Bani al-Mustaliq and their allies. His marriage with Mariyya the Copt formed a political alliance with a very powerful monarch. In fact, the first four successors (i.e. Caliphs) of the Prophet either married the Prophet’s daughters or married their daughters to him. So probably none of these were marriages of desire, had nothing to do with the ages of the daughters, but rather they were socio-political marriages! As such, allegations of paedophilia are baseless, as there was no desire involved.

The Islam slanderers claim that the Prophet was a paedophile; if this were the case, then is it merely a coincidence that the only young girl he married just happened to be the daughter of the nobleman Abu Bakr, his immediate successor? Furthermore, Prophet Muhammad had no reason to wait at all; he could simply have married another young girl who wouldn’t make him wait three to four years at all. Why didn’t he? The answer is obvious: the marriage was political, and it was merely happenstance that Abu Bakr’s only daughter was young at the time. The political need to cement family ties was so great that the betrothal was done years before the actual marriage. The fact that the marriage contract was rushed three to four years before the contract was executed, shows that there was an urgent political need that this marriage fulfilled.

Source: “The Islamaphobe’s Glass House” by Seyed Ibrahim
https://seyedibrahim.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/the-islamaphobe_s-glass-house.pdf

Psychological Maturity Gained through a Person’s Experiences

“In psychology, maturity is the ability to respond to the environment in an appropriate manner. This response is generally learned rather than instinctive.”

Source: Wechsler, David (1 March 1950). “Intellectual Development and Psychological Maturity”. Child Development 21 (1): 45.

“Maturity in psychology has little to do with age, but with the ability to react, cope and reason in an appropriate way for the situation. Maturity is learned through experiences and comes from healthy growth, just like a strong body. A parent gives a child food, rest and exercise for the growth of a strong body. Guidance in coping with emotional situations is what is needed to grow in maturity. The way a person deals with a crisis or makes decisions are good clues about their level of maturity.”

Source: American Psychological Association (APA):
Maturity. (n.d.). In Alleydog.com’s online glossary. Retrieved from: http://www.alleydog.com/glossary/definition-cit.php?term=Maturity

Also the following question was asked on ‘researchgate.net’,

“do you think there is a link between maturation and biochemical changes in the body?”

To this Nelson Elias (according to his profile a former Associate Professor of Orthopedic Department – University of Rio de Janeiro State, also having 111 publications) answered:

“… Of course yes. This link [between maturation and biochemical changes] will depends [sic] on a number of factors ( education, nationality , quality of life, relationship – familiar, scholar, etc )”

Source: http://www.researchgate.net/post/How_can_maturity_be_defined

Finally, the following statement from Jerome Murray, Ph.D pretty adequately says what I have been trying to communicate all along,

“There is no correlation between chronological age, intellectual age, social age, or emotional age. Just because someone is “grown-up” by chronological age doesn’t mean they are “grown-up” emotionally.”

Source: http://www.sonic.net/~drmurray/maturity.htm
(Although from what I have read there is a correlation, just not a significant one)

Not being a psychology major I could get any more quotes from academia, but I was able to get similar statements/conclusions from the following sources,

“…”personal growth” has many dimensions: cognitive, psychological, spiritual, behavioral, and social. It also implies you can develop these dimensions intentionally or “by chance” (experience).”

Source: http://sfhelp.org/gwc/maturity.htm

“Certain life experiences are foundational to the maturation process.”

Source: http://www.twoofus.org/educational-content/articles/why-maturity-matters/index.aspx

Discussions here also have similar ideas:
http://www.quora.com/Is-experience-the-only-way-to-gain-emotional-maturity
http://forum.extalia.net/archive/index.php/t-49183.html?s=4274349b7085bd9ab67ab832591495eb

I think it is accurate to say learning, adapting skills go hand in hand with maturity. It can also be argued that the beforehand presence of these skills or learned behaviour is what leads to maturity (i.e. mature decisions) not the other way around.

Whether Trauma had a Negative Impact on Psychological Maturity

With regards to trauma, it is my personal opinion (at the moment) that, because of the high death rate and low average life spans, these deaths were too common for the people in those times to have the effect of an emotional trauma.
Trauma is defined as “a deeply distressing or disturbing experience”.

“It’s not the objective facts that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your subjective emotional experience of the event.”

Source: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/ptsd-trauma/emotional-and-psychological-trauma.htm

Losing a hand or even a finger may be a traumatic experience for you but for a soldier fighting in some war in the Middle Ages, it probably wasn’t. Losing a close relative nowadays may be a traumatic experience but in early times it is more likely that it wasn’t, or at-least not to the extent it is nowadays, because of the high death rate and low average life spans, these deaths were probably too common for the people in those times to always have the effect of an emotional trauma.
Also,

“Every child will respond to trauma differently. Some will have no ill effects; others may suffer an immediate and acute effect. Still others may not show signs of stress until sometime after the event.”

Source: http://www.apa.org/topics/trauma/

If Trauma caused Decreased Cognitive Ability in Earlier Societies as Compared to Today

Where is the evidence that a 7th century child had less cognitive ability at 9 then a child of 9 now? As far as I know, this is an unsupported assertion.

But for the sake of argument, let’s say that this was the case, then according to this reasoning a person will be an adult at 20 years of age or even later, depending on the amount of ‘trauma’ he/she has experienced. Now remember, 8 children on average were needed by each fertile wife just to maintain the population and the average life spans in those times were 20-30 years. So, half of the women (at-least), have 10 or less years to give birth to 8 children. Disregarding the question of maturity such a scenario is unmaintainable and would have led to the huge decrease, if not extinction, of the human population.

The Requirement of Puberty before Marriage

 

Title: “Can a girl marry before the age of puberty
Source: http://youtube.com/watch?v=ydPhveeMJBo

Title: “Does Islam Allow Child Marriage? – Mufti Menk
Source: http://youtube.com/watch?v=PK593U6JOKk

Puberty

An Australian government Public Health organization, says:

“The first sign of puberty is usually a surge of growth: you become taller; your breasts develop; hair begins to grow in the pubic area and under the arms. This may start from 10 years to 14 years – even earlier for some and later for others.”

According to MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopaedia,

“Precocious puberty is premature development of body characteristics that normally occur during puberty. (Puberty is the period in life when the body changes rapidly and develops reproductive capability). Puberty normally occurs between 13 and 15 years old in boys, and between 9 and 16 years old in girls. In girls, precocious puberty is when any of the following develop before 8 years of age: Breasts, Armpit or pubic hair, Mature external genitalia, First menstruation”

Source: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001168.htm

“Tabari says that she was so young that she stayed in her parents’ home and the marriage was consummated there later when she had reached puberty.”

Source: Karen Armstrong, “Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet”, Harper San Francisco, 1992, page 157

Precocious Puberty

“Precocious puberty is when a child’s body begins changing into that of an adult (puberty) too soon. Puberty that begins before age 8 in girls and before age 9 in boys is considered precocious puberty.
Puberty includes rapid growth of bones and muscles, changes in body shape and size, and development of the body’s ability to reproduce.”

Source: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/precocious-puberty/basics/definition/con-20029745

“… precocious puberty, a condition in which puberty begins at an unusually early age often due to abnormal production of oestrogen…”

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-508020/The-girls-started-going-puberty-THREE.html

In Islam passing puberty is not the only requirement for someone being able to be married, psychosocial maturity or “prudent judgment” is also required. Before a person can be considered to be adequate for marriage they also have to be adequately mature enough to control their finances. A threshold was (and still is) needed to decide when a person is mature enough, that threshold up-till the 18th century was generally taken as puberty like 16-18 years is the threshold for nowadays.

Precocious is defined as “having developed certain abilities or proclivities at an earlier age than usual”, therefore a person going through precocious puberty may have the physical capacity for the consummation of marriage but not the mental capacity, not even in the 7th century.

The Requirement of Puberty, Maturity and Consent

Another point that I hadn’t considered the first time this was used as a counter-argument is as follows:

Arguing that puberty cannot, in any case, be a valid/practical threshold for psychological maturity because of precocious puberty is like arguing that the 18-year-old threshold for adulthood is impractical and should be invalid since some 18-year-olds, because of some mental deficiency, having the brain of an 8 year old are psychologically immature at 18; and since they might attain an 18-year-old’s maturity at about the age of 30, 30 years should be the threshold for attaining legal adulthood.

Effect of Climatic Conditions on Puberty

Although, this reference is talking about animals, it is likely that a similar relation also exists in humans (but it can’t be said for sure considering solely this reference),

“Climate – animal generally have an earlier onset of puberty in warmer climates, however excessive heat may actually delay the onset of puberty”

Source: http://ag.ansc.purdue.edu/nielsen/www245/lecnotes/puberty.html

“Environmental signals related to climate and light deserve some attention in the context of variations in pubertal timing around the world, as well as migrating children with sexual precocity. Temperature and light-darkness rhythms that are influenced by geography and seasons might modulate the reproductive axis. As discussed above (Fig. 2), a north-south gradient in menarcheal age around the world has suggested the possible influence of climatic conditions although most observations indicate that climate in itself has little or no effect on menarche (89). In Caucasian Jewish high school girls, menarche is earlier in the hot city of Elat than in the temperate city of Safad (237). In the 1950s, however, Zacharias and Wurtman (89) observed a similar menarcheal age in Nigerian (238) and Alaskan Eskimo girls (239).”

89.Zacharias L, Wurtman RJ 1969 Age at menarche. Genetic and environmental influences.N Engl J Med 280:868–875 CrossRefMedline
237.Saar E, Shalev C, Dalal I, Sod-Moriah UA 1988 Age at menarche: the influence of environmental conditions. Int J Biometeorol 32:33–35 CrossRefMedline
238.Ellis RWB 1950 Age of puberty in tropics. Br Med J 1:85–89 CrossRefMedline
239.Levine VE 1953 Studies in physiological anthropology: III. Age of onset of menstruation of Alaska Eskimos. Am J Phys Anthropol 11:252

Source: The Timing of Normal Puberty and the Age Limits of Sexual Precocity: Variations around the World, Secular Trends, and Changes after Migration
http://press.endocrine.org/doi/full/10.1210/er.2002-0019

“Recent research has not supported the belief, once widely held, that sexual development occurs at an earlier age in the tropics than in temperate zones. In fact, there is now almost unanimous agreement that climate in itself has little or no effect on menarche. Kennedyz reported that menarche occurs at the same age in Edinburgh, Rome and South Russia, places in which both temperature and humidity differ markedly.”

Source: Zacharias L, Wurtman RJ 1969 Age at menarche. Genetic and environmental influences.N Engl J Med 280:868–875 CrossRefMedline
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:UUYalA89yNIJ:web.mit.edu/dick/www/pdf/97.pdf+&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk

“Abstract
Age at menarche was studied by the recollection method in two groups of Causasian Jewish high school girls, inhabitants of two towns in Israel, Safad and Elat. The two towns differ mainly in climatic conditions. The age at menarche was found to be significantly lower (P<0.02) in the hot town of Elat than in the temperate town of Safad: 13.30±1.21 and 13.58±0.9 years, respectively (mean ±SD). A significant association was found between the age at menarche and the town in which the girls lived. Accordingly, in the hot town of Elat, the percentage of girls who had their first menstrual cycle by the age of 12 years and earlier, was more than double that of the girls in Safad (17.9% and 7.1%, respectively). It is concluded that the environmental temperature, with or without any possible interaction of humidity, is probably responsible for the tendency for an earlier onset of menarche in girls living in the hot town of Elat.”

“Discussion
It is suggested in the literature that climatic conditions have no influence on sexual maturity. The same age at menarche was found in American girls living in the tropical climate of Rio de Janeiro/ Brazil (Eyelet)) 1966) and in Cleveland, Ohio (Simmons and Greulich 1943) and in Polish girls living in the town of Wroclaw (Zukowski et al. 1964). In all three studies the mean age at menarche was found to be 12.6 years. In addition, similar mean ages at menarche were found in girls in southern England (13.49 years; Wilson and Sutherland 1950), in girls in Sierra Leone (13.65 years; Wilson and Sutherland 1955) in girls in Lagos Nigeria (14.22 years; Ellis 1950) and in Alaskan Eskimo girls (14.42 years; Levine 1953). The girls in the above-mentioned studies lived in different countries and in most cases differed in nutritional habits, socioeconomic status and in social behavior. The methods of collecting the data (age at menarche) were different in the various studies and there were probably many other aspects which separated the girls living in different countries. The two groups of girls compared in the present study belonged to the same population. The socioeconomic status, which reflects also the state of nutrition, was identical in both groups. No differences were found in physical activity or in the …”

Source: Saar E, Shalev C, Dalal I, Sod-Moriah UA 1988 Age at menarche: the influence of environmental conditions. Int J Biometeorol 32:33–35 CrossRefMedline
http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Flink.springer.com%2Farticle%2F10.1007%252FBF01623990&date=2015-09-09
http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fstatic-content.springer.com%2Flookinside%2Fart%253A10.1007%252FBF01623990%2F000.png&date=2015-09-09
http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Flink.springer.com%2Farticle%2F10.1007%252FBF01623990%2Flookinside%2F001.png&date=2015-09-09

“Other factors that can influence biology relate to a child’s environment – stress, climate, light cycles and chemical exposures all have established links, though their magnitude is still not entirely understood.”

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/nov/04/why-is-puberty-starting-younger-precocious

“The average temperature of the country or province, is considered the chief factor here, not only with regard to menstruation but as regards the whole of sexual development at puberty.”

Source: Woman, Herman H. Ploss, Max Bartels and Paul Bartels, Woman, Volume I, Lord & Bransby, 1988, page 563.

“The average yearly temperature of the country or province is considered the chief factor here, not only with regard to menstruation, but as regards the whole sexual development at puberty.

Source:  Max Bartels and Paul Bartels; Edited By Eric John Dingwall Hermann Heinrich Ploss, Woman; an Historical Gynaecological and Anthropological Compendium”

Advancement of Puberty Age, and its Worldwide Trends

“… on average the onset of puberty happens between the age of 8 and 12 years in girls and between 9 and 14 years in boys.”

“… a study by Dr. Marcia Herman-Giddens found that in 1860, the average age of the onset of puberty in girls was 16.6 years. In 1920, it was 14.6; in 1950, 13.1; 1980, 12.5; and in 2010, it had dropped to 10.5. Similar sets of figures have been reported for boys, albeit with a delay of around a year.

A big finding from today’s study was the wide differences between ethnic groups. On average, African American girls started getting breasts at 8 years 10 months compared with 9 years 8 months in white and Asian girls, while for Hispanic girls it was around 9 years 4 months. ”

“… indicated the start of puberty just before the age of 10. Previously, 11 and a half was generally seen as the age boys hit puberty. Like girls, the explanations put forward were focused on diet and exercise. ”

One study found that puberty was happening earlier across Europe, although country-level differences persisted. ”

“For example, one study found that children who had been adopted recently from a developing county to Denmark were 10 to 20 times more likely to develop precocious puberty than children in the developed country. The study also found that the difference could not be explained entirely by changes in nutrition, body weight, or body fat. Similar findings were found in studies of children immigrating to Sweden, France, Belgium, Switzerland and the United States.

Other factors that can influence biology relate to a child’s environment – stress, climate, light cycles and chemical exposures all have established links, though their magnitude is still not entirely understood.”

“So, why is puberty happening earlier? The Department of Environmental Health at Boston University sums it up neatly:

The causes of most precocious puberty cases remain unknown. While many of the cases are attributed to excess weight gain or (paradoxically) improved nutrition, exposures to phthalates and other endochrine-disrupting chemicals have also been implicated as possible risk factors. The limited data show that the worldwide incidence of precocious puberty has increased and the age of pubertal changes has decreased over the past two decades.”

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/nov/04/why-is-puberty-starting-younger-precocious

Relating Puberty to Menstruation

Making the onset of menstruation as a condition for a female’s puberty means that the 18 year-old law will also in certain circumstances allow pre-pubertal marriages.

Primary Amenorrhea

Primary amenorrhea is not a very common condition. Dysfunction in the hypothalmus, resulting in primary amenorrhea, has been seen in as many three percent of North American teenage girls, but the majority of those cases do resolve on their own without medical intervention.

Source: https://www.sharecare.com/health/amenorrhea/what-rate-incidence-primary-amenorrhea

Primary amenorrhea is defined as absence of any spontaneous menses in an individual older than 16.5 years. The incidence of primary amenorrhea is 0.1% (Mishell et al. 1997).

Source: https://books.google.com.pk/books?id=xqqtsDmtnUQC&pg=PA404&lpg=PA404&dq=rate+of+incidence+for+primary+amenorrhea&source=bl&ots=uLx7HnHGY6&sig=J_bHJ44j7Nh2HtTvhWeUB2zHsTs&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=%22incidence%20of%20primary%20amenorrhea%22&f=false

A study in India indicated that 11.1% of adolescent girls, who presented with gynecological complaints of menstrual disorders, had Primary Amenorrhea.

However, the incidence of the disease in women is less than 1%, in the United States.

The following comments at the same website indicate the existence of primary amenorrhea in women older than 18.

“hi,i have suffered from same problem ,primary amenorrhea. i m 30 years old .i have … was on hormonal therapy for so many years. is there any chances of pregnancy if i get married…”

“My wife is primary amenorrhea patient n age is 30 years … we want baby soon plz help us”

“… Iam 25 years old, recently married and stressed. I was diagnosed with primary amenorreha a couple years ago and it’s been driving me crazy ever since. I want a baby for me and my husband so badly…”

“I am Suchitra 29 years not attend mensuration.my breast is also not developed may be with this reason…”

“Hi Suchitra! I have the same thing. I am 18, never have had a period and have no breast development. I found out a year ago that I had a tumor on my pituitary gland. This tumor had stopped my growth on everything. I now take medication…”

“Hello mam, I am dhanam. age 30. My problem is primary amenorhea.my hair, breast and ovaries are normal. uterus is small in size like a baby…”

“Augusta~ I have Primary Amenorrhea and never menstrated. My uterus is intact just undersized and my ovaries are there…”

“PLEASE help and email me am stressed my daughter whoz 20 has primary amenorreah and never menstruated…”

Source: http://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/primary-amenorrhea-incidence.htm

The Necessity of Early Procreation in History

“…early procreation was a necessity for human survival. Lifespan ranged from 20 to 30 years, due to high death rates. Even until the 18th century, 8 children were still needed by each fertile wife just to maintain the population. Also, sexual attraction accompanies puberty, which genetically ranges from ages 7 to 13 in women. So, whether one believes this instinct resulted from evolution, or part of God’s plan, procreation after puberty in history is natural and acceptable.”

Source including an comprehensive list of references: http://www.muhaddith.org/earlymarriage/EarlyMarriage-part1.html
some of these references are:

“…Early marriage and procreation of children was the norm in Byzantium…One reason for the promotion of teenage marriage was the emphasis on the virginity of the bride. Another, unstated reason may have been the desire to make the most of the childbearing years; because of the high rate of infant mortality, a woman had to bear many children to insure the survival of a few. Furthermore, since many women died young (if they survived infancy, they had an average life expectancy of about thirty-five years), it behooved them to marry and begin producing children as soon as physically possible.”

Source: Saga Background: Women”, Theban Tribunal Sourcebook

“High mortality logically implies high fertility. For instance, a mean life expectancy at birth of 25 years compels – on average – every woman surviving to menopause to give birth to approximately five children to maintain existing population size. The corresponding rate was higher still for married women: one reconstruction posits a lifetime mean of 8.4 births for continuously married women in Roman Egypt (Frier 2000: 801).”

Source: Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics Population and demography Version 1.0 April 2006 Walter Scheidel Stanford University

The above shows early procreation was a survival tactic, it is true that sometimes it might have been driven by paedophilia but it definitely was not the only, or the most significant, reason. Also it can be argued that considering the life spans stated above (based on information from different sources), waiting up-to 18 years of age for the first child might very well have been extremely detrimental to the human population.

If Brain Development is the Criterion for Physical and Psychosocial Maturity

“According to recent findings, the human brain does not reach full maturity until at least the mid-20s. (…) The specific changes that follow young adulthood are not yet well studied, but it is known that they involve increased myelination and continued adding and pruning of neurons…”

Source: http://hrweb.mit.edu/worklife/youngadult/brain.html

If the contention is that full maturity of the brain should be the threshold for allowing people to start families, given that it can be judged that this measure has obvious benefits to offer and not any substantial ill effects, then in today’s time, I don’t really have any problem with this idea.
But, given that the average life spans of early times ranged from 20-30 years, such an idea would have resulted in at-least about half of the population never getting a chance to bear children, add to this the fact that about “8 children were still needed by each fertile wife just to maintain the population” such a measure might very well have made the human race extinct. Also, in this respect note that there isn’t any evidence (none that I’m aware of), that the brain’s full maturity has any significant effect on starting families.

Definition of a ‘Paedophile’ in the Future?

As a possibly undisputable, point, take the example of the full brain maturity idea; if in the near future 25 years becomes the maturity threshold (which is supported by actual biological facts unlike the 18 year concept), will, a couple of centuries from now, people be debating that a 26 years old (or older) male, marrying an 18 year old female in today’s time constituted an example of paedophilia?

If they do, then we know it would be fallacious to do so, because to the best of our knowledge, and taking under consideration legal and maybe some other requirements, 18-year-olds are generally considered as adult individuals in today’s times.

An 18 year old is Nearer to this Particular Definition of Maturity than a 9 year old

What is essentially being contended is that, we know both 18 and 9 year-olds are psychologically immature but for one marriage is fine but not for the other. In other words, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that, it has just been admitted, marriages between immature people is acceptable, something that Islam doesn’t claim, as long as they are ‘near enough’ to the age of maturity, which in this case is 7 years.

Also, exactly how much is this ‘near enough’ development required before a person can be considered mature enough for starting a family? What irrefutable scientific evidence is there in support of the claim that a 9-year old cannot under any circumstances be psychologically mature enough to get married? Believing something to be a fact, doesn’t necessarily make it so.

Example of Normalcy of Early Marriages in the Modern Age (In a Non-Muslim Culture)

Even today in the European country of Romania there are, 10 year old mothers which is, apparently, considered as normal there,

“A Romanian Gypsy woman whose 10-year-old daughter just gave birth in Spain says she’s delighted to have a new granddaughter and doesn’t understand why the birth has shocked anyone — let alone become an international sensation.”

“She [the 10-year-old’s mother] also said she didn’t understand the attention the case was generating because she and her daughter are Romanian Gypsies, or Roma, and their custom is to allow girls to marry young even though that’s against the law in Romania.”

“In contrast [to the uproar caused in Spain], news about the 10-year-old mother barely registered in Romania, with stories buried inside newspapers focusing on the controversy the birth had caused among Spaniards.”

“But arranged “marriages” between teenagers are relatively common among Roma, who make up about 1.5 million of Romania’s 22 million people. Families “marry off” daughters when they reach puberty, with the “husband” usually being a couple of years older. The marriages are not recognized by the state.”

Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mom-happy-that-her-10-year-old-gave-birth/

By this I am not trying to justify early child bearing.

Example of Normalcy of Early Age Sex in Modern Times (In Non-Muslim Cultures)

As regards to the age of having first time sex, the following is from Unicef’s Innocenti Report Card, 2001.

“But it is among younger teenagers that the kaleidoscope has been most vigorously shaken. According to some sources, for example, seven per cent of American children now have sex even before they have become teenagers.”

Also,

“Similar patterns prevail in Australia where even in 1992 more than 10 per cent of 12 to 14 year-old boys were reporting that they had had sex”

You have to remember at this point that boys are supposed to pass through puberty at a greater age than girls and considering these are 14-30 year old reports, who knows what the current ‘trend’ is?

Child Marriages Due to Poverty & Lack of Education

From what I have read the main causes of child marriages are poverty and lack of education.
According to a report by the British government and UNICEF,

“In every region where child marriage is prevalent, poor women are most affected”

“In the Dominican Republic, India and Bangladesh, for example, rich women marry years later than their poor counterparts. In India, where a third of the world’s child marriages occur, and in the Dominican Republic, the gap between the median age of marriage for the rich and the poor is four years.”

“In all the places where more than 50 percent of women are married as children, those marriages are more common in rural communities.”

“Child marriage is more common among uneducated women in every country where it is still practiced.”

Also, from another source,

“Girls from poor families are nearly twice as likely to marry before 18 as girls from wealthier families.”

The following is from an International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)’s article titled ‘Child Marriage and POVERTY’:

“It [child marriage] is closely linked with poverty and low levels of economic development.”

“In families with limited resources, child marriage is often seen as a way to provide for their daughter’s future.”

“… the majority of parents who married their daughters by age 15 said that they did so for economic reasons. In some cases, girls are married off to pay debts to shop keepers …”

Source:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2014/07/23/heres-proof-that-child-marriage-and-poverty-go-hand-in-hand/
http://www.girlsnotbrides.org/themes/poverty/

Child Marriages before Prophet Muhammad’s times

Talmud: “a girl who is 3 years and 1 day old may be betrothed through sexual intercourse”.

Source: ”Insiders or outsiders: women and rabbinic literature”, Judaism, Summer-Fall, 2003, Dvora Weisberg

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) Delayed the Consummation of Marriage only Because Aisha (RA) got Sick

{Have to confirm this explanation from some Scholar}

This point alludes to the anti-Islam claim that Prophet Muhammad didn’t consummate the marriage only because of the ill health of Aisha (RA), otherwise he wouldn’t have had any problem with consummating the marriage at age six. There are some problems with this theory.
Aisha (RA) is said to have been married in Makkah but she went to the house of her husband in Medina.
Source: http://www.al-islam.org/restatement-history-islam-and-muslims-sayyid-ali-ashgar-razwy/wives-muhammad-apostle-god
Also,
Sahih Bukhari Volume 5, Book 58, Number 234:

“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 …”

Using the above narration, and the likely fact that Aisha (RA) was born in late 613 CE or early 614 CE, so the engagement happened in late 619 CE or early 620 CE, the migration to Medina happened in June 622 CE and then later in Medina Aisha (RA) got sick; therefore, from these pieces of evidence Prophet Muhammad had at-least about two years before Aisha (RA)’s illness to consummate the marriage.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) Delayed the Consummation of Marriage only because he didn’t have the Money for the Dowry

The companions of the Prophet loved him absolutely, they would have given their lives and wealth for the Prophet if he asked. In slandering articles like these, first Prophet Muhammad is accused of child abuse (a huge evil) and somehow, in this point it is also suggested that Muhammad used to not borrow any money (a good habit). So according to this reasoning a person who doesn’t have any problem with being a paedophile, but somehow borrowing money is where he draws the line. Is it just me or do you also think that this anti-Islamic (website’s) author’s argument sucks?

In Islam, a Virgin’s Silence is her “Consent”

This is a red herring, this statement distracts the reader of how no Islamic scholar (male or female) allows consummation of marriage between non-consenting individuals. The bride remaining silent on her wedding is a cultural thing, it is (or in most cases ‘was’) considered an appreciable thing (mainly by females) to show their modesty, respectability or shamefulness. This cultural practice has been depicted in many plays, soap operas, movies, literature etc. in the eastern cultures.
The co-relation with shyness of the bride is established by the following Hadith,
Saihih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3305:

“’A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported: I asked Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) about a virgin whose marriage is solemnised by her guardian, whether it was necessary or not to consult her. Allah’s Messerger (may peace be upon him) said: Yes, she must be consulted. ‘A’isha reported: I told him that she feels shy, whereupon Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Her silence implies her consent.”

Again, at this point I will remind the reader that forced marriages are not allowed in Islam, even if they somehow did occur they will get annulled under the Islamic law,

Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas: “A virgin came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and mentioned that her father had married her against her will, so the Prophet (peace be upon him) allowed her to exercise her choice.”

(Translation of Sunan Abu-Dawud, Marriage (Kitab Al-Nikah), Book 11, Number 2091)

Also, because of legal requirements both the bride and the groom have to sign (or thumb impression for illiterates) a marriage contract, the ‘silent’ consent isn’t even an issue anymore.

Hypocrisy, Concerning the Abhorrence shown for Child Marriages while Simultaneously Accepting Sex between Immature Children

The idea is that child marriages are found repulsive, and I believe that this repulsion is specifically towards the children’s sexual activity, right? But contrary to this we know that the West finds it acceptable for children to have underage sex. Whether someone tries to defend underage sex between consenting under-age children or not, take a look at the following:

“… non-Islamic societies permit and condone sexual activities years before psychological maturity and the legal age of marriage, which causes devastating sexual harm to adolescents, such as the following (…) US statistics:

  • 50% of child sexual abuse offenders are adolescents themselves, committing sexual abuse, child pornography, child prostitution and incest, using deception, force or coercion.
  • 35% of all 17 year olds have been sexually abused.
  • 12% of all 14 year olds have had sex “involuntarily”.
  • “Half of all new HIV infections occur among adolescents”.
  • 70% of 13 year olds who had sex said it was “against their will”.
  • 7% of 12 year olds have had sex.
  • 90% of prostitutes were victims of child sexual abuse.
  • “The average age at which girls first become victims of prostitution is 12-14”.
  • Sexually active teenagers are 3 to 8 times as likely to attempt suicide.
  • 76% of unplanned teen mothers end up on welfare
  • Every year in the world’s richest countries, there are 1.25 million teen pregnancies and 500,000 teen abortions.
  • Countries that choose legalized prostitution as their solution, like Germany, the Netherlands, (…) and Denmark, end up with increased rates of child prostitution and sex trafficking, child pornography, incest, and even legal “beastiality”, sex with animals.”

On the other hand,
“… the Islamic requirement of marriage provides to every sexual relationship and its potential offspring the benefits of faithfulness, emotional support, mutual trust, commitment, parental guidance and wide social support.”
Source and References: http://www.muhaddith.org/earlymarriage/EarlyMarriage-part1.html
It seems that the West’s abhorrence priorities are kind of messed up.

Additional Points that Contradict the Paedophilia Claim

The only argument that supports the paedophilia claim is that the Prophet consummated the marriage with an individual considered a child by today’s definition of it. Even though from the perspective of Prophet Muhammad, there is no valid reason for him to disagree with the father of the bride who, in fact, was the one urging the consummation; additionally, Islam makes the husband responsible for the fulfilment of his wife’s needs. So, while there was no reason for not consummating the marriage there were at-least a few for doing it. Furthermore, given the general acceptance of Muslim exegetes on the idea that Lady Aisha had passed puberty at the time of consummation, if we use the definition of paedophilia that defines children as pre-pubescent, the claim automatically doesn’t fit.

In addition the following valid arguments also contradict the claim.

  1. For example, as far as I know, paedophiles do not just suddenly start having paedophile tendencies, they have them for most of their lives. Why did the Prophet wait until he was 50+ years old for this? Even though there were no social, cultural or religious (besides Islamic) restrictions for this.
    Talmud: “a girl who is 3 years and 1 day old may be betrothed through sexual intercourse”.
    Source: ”Insiders or outsiders: women and rabbinic literature”, Judaism, Summer-Fall, 2003, Dvora Weisberg
  2. Prophet Muhammad didn’t even initiate the engagement.
  3. Prophet Muhammad did have adult relationships, and I don’t think I need to prove that he didn’t have a self-esteem problem.
    “…The typical paedophile is unable to find satisfaction in an adult sexual relationship and may have low self-esteem, seeing sexual activity with a child as less threatening than that with an adult.”
    Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1998.
  4. It is commonly accepted by Muslims and non-Muslims (un-biased) that the Prophet in no sense indulged in “exhibitionism, voyeurism, or rape” or even came close to it. There is not a single reference to indicate that prophet was involved in any such act.
    “In addition to their paedophilia, a significant number of paedophiles are concomitantly or have previously been involved in exhibitionism, voyeurism, or rape.”
    Source: Harold I. Kaplan et al. (Synopsis of Psychiatry, 5th ed. [Williams and Wilkens, 1988], p. 360)
  5. Narrated ‘Abdur-Rahman bin Al-Aswad:
    …Aisha added, “None of you could control his sexual desires as the Prophet could.”
    Source: Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 1, Book 6, Number 299
    I might be wrong but I don’t think any victim of a paedophile will say something like this about her victimiser.
  6. In addition, Prophet waited for Aisha to mature and reach Puberty before the marriage was consummated, this obviously is contrary to the characteristics of a paedophile.

Therefore, from what I have read, the evidence is hugely in favour of refuting the paedophile claim.

Works Cited: http://www.call-to-monotheism.com/why_did_prophet_muhammed_marry_aisha_at_a_young_age__is_that_morally_right__what_about_paedophilia___by_dan_1988

 

 

Extra Resources Uncertain to be Used with the Main Argument

 

Age of Pelvic Bone Fusion

{Needs Criticism, Not sure if this information helps the argument or not}

“One feature in which humans appear to be unique is in our prolonged growth of the pelvis after the age of sexual maturity. Both the total superoinferior length and mediolateral breadth of the pelvis continues to grow markedly after puberty, and do not reach adult proportions until the late teens years (growth in the pelvis of males may continue until 21 of age, and females may complete pelvic growth even later). This prolongation of growth is accomplished by relatively late fusion of the separate centers of ossification that form the bones of the pelvis.”

“A link between patterns of pelvic growth and human life history is supported by the finding that, cross-culturally, variation in maturation rates of female pelves are correlated with variation in ages of menarchy and first reproduction.”

Source: http://carta.anthropogeny.org/moca/topics/age-pelvic-bone-fusion

Teenage Childbearing and Psychological Distress

“… we found that teenage mothers had higher levels of distress than their childless adolescent peers and adult mothers, but the experience of teenage childbearing did not appear to be the cause. Rather, teenage mothers’ distress levels were already higher than their peers before they became pregnant, and they remained higher after childbearing and into early and middle adulthood. We also found that distress did not increase the likelihood of adolescent childbearing except among poor teenagers. In this group, experiencing high levels of distress markedly increased the probability of becoming a teenage mother. Among nonpoor teenage girls, the relationship between distress and subsequent teenage childbearing was spurious.”

Source: “Investigating the Relationship between Teenage Childbearing and Psychological Distress Using Longitudinal Evidence” by Stefanie Mollborn and Elizabeth Morningstar.
http://hsb.sagepub.com/content/50/3/310.abstract

 

 

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