It is very common to notice that whenever a discussion is going on about Islam, one of the natural things is for the topic to derail into maligning the Prophet’s (sallAllahu ‘alyayhi wa sallam) marriage to Aisha (radiyAllahu anha).
First I will like to say; a Muslim in the name of being westernised, civilized or modern should not get embarrassed or questions the sanctity of Muhammad and Aisha marriage. The marriage was divine as it was just. There is no need to hide facts or twist history as if Allah owes anyone any explanation before he makes his decision. There is no need to create excuses like “she was matured“, “Arab grow fast” or “she was tall“, it means we are admitting that there is something wrong with Allah’s decision. Some even go as far as negating fact by saying that “she may not have been 6“.
Apart from the fact that child marriage was a global custom even before the prophet was born, it should suffice a Muslims to belief that Allah who created Aisha (RA) and Muhammad (SAW) decided this marriage by whatever age difference. The most authentic narration told us that Allah showed her to the prophet twice in a dream, and that she was married to the prophet when she was 6 and the prophet 50 and the marriage consummated when she reached puberty at 9 and it remains so.
Those who keep on maligning this marriage cannot even cite any instance when Aisha was ever displeased with her marriage to Nabee (the Prophet) more so she turned out as one of the greatest women of Islam and a champion of the prophet’s legacy till her death. Abu Musa Al-Ashari narrated that “Never had we any difficulty but we approach Aisha for the solution and never did we meet her that we didn’t get any useful information from her”. (Tirmidhi)
Child marriage was practised without any restriction among the Greeks, Asians and Europeans. Roman Christians of the Byzantium Empire practised it never saw it as improper in the historical context since a person at puberty was considered an adult and not a child as the modern word defines it.
In the medieval Jewish community of Ashkenazi, girls were married off as a ketannah. A ketannah (literally meaning little [one]) was any girl between the age of 3 years and that of 12 years plus one day; a ketannah was completely subject to her father’s authority, and her father could arrange a marriage for her without her agreement
In early Christian European societies, children were betrothed to each other as young as infants and would marry when they meet the age of consent 12 for girls and 14 for boys. Christian royal monarchs’ children were married as early as early as age 8-10 mostly to secure a political and/or financial tie. The betrothal is considered a binding contract upon the families and the children. The breaking of a betrothal can have serious consequences both for the families and for the betrothed individuals themselves.
- Anne de Mowbray 8th Countess of Norfolk died as a child bride at the age of nine. She was the bride of Richard of Shrewsbury
- Richard II, aged 29, married his 2nd wife Isabella of Valois in when she was 6, yes 6. They were married for 4 years until his death. The marriage was political, never consummated, and actually grew to like each other as friends if a 29 year old can be “friends” with a 6 year old.
- Henry VIII, aged 49, married Catherine Howard when she was about 16 years old.
- Lady Jane Grey was about 15 when she married her child groom who was about 16 or 17.
- King James I, aged 23, married Anne of Denmark when she was 14.
- Charles I, aged 25, married Henrietta Marie of France when she was 13.
- William III and Mary II ruled jointly. Mary was 15 when she married her 27 year old 1st cousin.
- Richard III, aged 19, married Anne Neville when she was 16.
- Henry VI, aged 23, married Margaret of Anjou when she was 15.
- Henry IV, aged 14, married 1st wife Mary de Bohun when she was 12.
- Richard II, aged 14, married 1st wife Anne of Bohemia when she was 15.
- Edward III, aged 13, married Philippa of Hainault when she was 13.
In mexico they have what is called a “quinceanera (coming-of-age), parties for 15-year-old girls that send the signal that they are ripe for marriage
Islam never made early marriage compulsory but recognizes that sexual desires when unrestrained, underlies the perversion of a society. Islam therefore strongly encourages early marriage as one of the means for restraining sexual desires . Puberty marks the transition from childhood to adulthood and is associated with increase libido that is often characterized by frequent sexual urge. This may explain why premarital sex, rape and pornography is rampant among teenagers under the guises that “puberty comes with a lot of sexual feeling”. So why should that urge not be fulfilled within the confines of marriage?
It is sheer hypocrisy for people with perverted and distorted ideas about morality to consider early marriage a crime yet condone teenage premarital sex under the guise of freedom and support it with contraception and abortion clinics. The usual excuse is that “they are not mentally or emotionally matured for marriage and so the marriage will end in failure“. It will sure end in failure not because they married early, but because right from the start they have not been prepared for that role.
In the past, children wake up as early as their parents and participate in chores and carrying out some responsibility. At a younger age they learn to care for themselves and their sibling and assist their parents. At 10- 12 they help their parents in their responsibilities and at 15, 18, a man (who is now called a boy) may engage in the same business or skill as his father, contribute to the family upkeep at the same time engage in learning. They participate in family decision making and represent their parents where they are found wanting. This naturally prepares him for their future roles as husband /father or wife/mother.
Today young men and women have been wired to believe that they are still kids and so see themselves as boys and girls. They are being spoon fed, over-pampered and overindulged by their parents all in the name of showing them love or giving them the best. They have been allowed to grow up sleeping till 9 in the morning and throughout the weekends instead of preparing the family breakfast or washing the family car. They do nothing for themselves because they have parents, house helps or relatives from the village always at their beck and call. With this attitude unabated they grow up careless, irresponsible, incompetent and unproductive with zero respect for elders and rules. And the worse is they imagine themselves as civilized individual.
The society wants husband as hard-working honest and responsible as the Sahabas (Companions [of Muhammad]), and women as patient, submissive and un-materialistic as the wives of the Sahabas. But how can that be when right under the nose of their parents they are consumed by the culture of twitting, pinging, entertainment and pornography. From unrealistic and baseless TV programmes and shows, they base their criterion for a choice of spouse on good looks, swags and romantic talks. They fail to see love as a mutual and unselfish sacrifice, but as an automatic ticket to the bed. It is the reason why even when they get married, they find themselves unfilled, unsatisfied and detached to the spouse despite all the sexual acrobatic. Something is just missing and they don’t know what it is.
They lack the humility to engage in some jobs and believe they are not old enough to do some adult work, yet they feel old enough to indulge in adult bedroom activities. They do not have the sacrificial sense of handwork and sacrifice of their parents so the parents may spend their lifetime often into old age taking care of these grown-ups and paying for their new founded slavery to latest fashion, latest gadget, bling and swags. And when they eventually get married and reality dawns on them, the eventual this thing is to escape it after a REALITY SHOW of silent grudges, disputes, blames and counter blames.
So before you blame early marriage as a cause of marital failure, first blame parents for not preparing their children adequately for the roles required.
By: Dialog NG
Other Essays by the Author
- A Critical Appraisal of the Boko Haram Insurgence
- The Root of Boko Haram Ideology
- The Dynamics of Boko Haram Followership
- The Clash and the Crack Down (of Boko Haram)
- History of Almajiri Education System
- At-Tahut and Celebrity Worship
- WHAT EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ISLAM