May 5, 2014 By Roshan Nageena

Debate on ‘Marri-age’: Let Children Grow First


With reference to

Excellent article…it covers all the points rather well!

Marriage is meant to be mercy for mankind where two people come together for companionship. Out of mutual love and respect grows a home of security for the next generation of Muslims- boys and girls. This is an important requirement in an Islamic household. A Father who is seen respecting his Wife empowers his daughters to be proud of their gender and its role and a Mother who respects her husband sets the tone for a healthy and happy home. What we see in reality is a far cry from this vision of a happy, mature and healthy home. Men and Women are fighting one another because they simply have not grown up to taking responsibility for their actions. Women must never fear men; they must fear only their Creator.
The marriage age of Muslims in India should not be different from any other community in India. That the media have portrayed it with negative effects on the interests of the Muslim community is indeed unfortunate.

The only factor which led Muslims to the conclusion on child marriage is the early marriage age of Lady Aysha as reported in Bukhari. I, personally cannot believe that the Prophet may have married Lady Aysha when she was only nine. Of course it is a Saheeh hadith but a simple game of Chinese whispers can prove how one tiny bit of information dropped during the game can totally change the phrase or word. I too, like scores of Muslims worldwide, believe Bukhari did a thorough research on hadith; but to err is human. Here are some evidences to clarify my stand,

1.  The idea to marry Ayesha was suggested to the Prophet by one of his companions, Khawlah bint Hakeem, who told him that he needed someone to give him comfort and take care of him after his wife, Lady Khadeejah, had died. When he asked Khawlah if she had anyone in mind, she asked him: ‘Would you prefer a virgin or a mature woman?’ He asked her to name both, and she suggested Sawdah as the mature woman and Ayesha as the virgin. He told her to carry his proposals to both. Indeed, both proposals were accepted. The Prophet married Lady Sawdah shortly afterward, but delayed his marriage to Ayesha until he had emigrated to Madinah some three years later.
We need to look at the Prophet’s family situation to put this suggestion to marry someone like Ayesha in proper perspective. The Prophet had four daughters, two of them being married and two still living with him. So, he was not without company at home. His youngest daughter was at least 13. Can we imagine that the lady who realized that the Prophet needed the comfort of a wife would suggest that he marries a child who was six years of age at the time she made this suggestion? Would she name a child who was several years younger than his youngest daughter? She would be suggesting that he takes a child who would need to be looked after. This is totally unreasonable.

2. In the earliest and most authentic biography of the Prophet, written by Ibn Ishaq, who died in 150 A.H. a list of the people who embraced Islam in its early days is given in a separate chapter. The list includes 51 men and women, but no children. According to the general context of the biography, which remains the best for reliability, these people accepted Islam in the first four or five years of the start of its message. We find Ayesha’s name among them, with the note that she was young at the time. She was certainly young, but old enough to choose her faith and declare herself Muslim. If we say that she was only 10 at the time, and her acceptance of Islam was in year 5, then she would be 19 when her marriage to the Prophet took place, because he married her one year after his emigration to Madinah
(Source: Arab News, Islam in Perspective, dated 13th July 2007.)

The point I’m trying to make is that Lady Aysha could have been 9 or 19; but what the Muslim community needs now are children brought up in secure homes and educated well to stand on their two feet with confidence…Those are the kind of Muslims who can be true to themselves and stand up for truth and justice!

Posted in: Debate