Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    23 Feb '15 10:03
    Writing about Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, the Orientalist scholar W Montgomery Watt wrote: "Of all the world's great men, none has been so much maligned as Muhammad." His quote seems all the more poignant in light of the Islamophobic film Innocence of Muslims, which has sparked riots from Yemen to Libya and which, among other slanders, depicts Muhammad as a paedophile.

    This claim is a recurring one among critics of Islam, so its foundation deserves close scrutiny.

    Critics allege that Aisha was just six years old when she was betrothed to Muhammad, himself in his 50s, and only nine when the marriage was consummated. They base this on a saying attributed to Aisha herself (Sahih Bukhari volume 5, book 58, number 234), and the debate on this issue is further complicated by the fact that some Muslims believe this to be a historically accurate account. Although most Muslims would not consider marrying off their nine-year-old daughters, those who accept this saying argue that since the Qur'an states that marriage is void unless entered into by consenting adults, Aisha must have entered puberty early.

    They point out that, in seventh-century Arabia, adulthood was defined as the onset of puberty. (This much is true, and was also the case in Europe: five centuries after Muhammad's marriage to Aisha, 33-year-old King John of England married 12-year-old Isabella of Angoulême.) Interestingly, of the many criticisms of Muhammad made at the time by his opponents, none focused on Aisha's age at marriage.

    According to this perspective, Aisha may have been young, but she was not younger than was the norm at the time. Other Muslims doubt the very idea that Aisha was six at the time of marriage, referring to historians who have questioned the reliability of Aisha's age as given in the saying. In a society without a birth registry and where people did not celebrate birthdays, most people estimated their own age and that of others. Aisha would have been no different. What's more, Aisha had already been engaged to someone else before she married Muhammad, suggesting she had already been mature enough by the standards of her society to consider marriage for a while. It seems difficult to reconcile this with her being six.
    Cont...
  2. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    23 Feb '15 10:04
    In addition, some modern Muslim scholars have more recently cast doubt on the veracity of the saying, or hadith, used to assert Aisha's young age. In Islam, the hadith literature (sayings of the prophet) is considered secondary to the Qur'an. While the Qur'an is considered to be the verbatim word of God, the hadiths were transmitted over time through a rigorous but not infallible methodology. Taking all known accounts and records of Aisha's age at marriage, estimates of her age range from nine to 19.

    Because of this, it is impossible to know with any certainty how old Aisha was. What we do know is what the Qur'an says about marriage: that it is valid only between consenting adults, and that a woman has the right to choose her own spouse. As the living embodiment of Islam, Muhammad's actions reflect the Qur'an's teachings on marriage, even if the actions of some Muslim regimes and individuals do not.

    Sadly, in many countries, the imperatives motivating the marriage of young girls are typically economic. In others, they are political. The fact that Iran and Saudi Arabia have both sought to use the saying concerning Aisha's age as a justification for lowering the legal age of marriage tells us a great deal about the patriarchal and oppressive nature of those regimes, and nothing about Muhammad, or the essential nature of Islam. The stridency of those who lend credence to these literalist interpretations by concurring with their warped view of Islam does not help those Muslims who seek to challenge these aberrations.

    The Islamophobic depiction of Muhammad's marriage to Aisha as motivated by misplaced desire fits within a broader Orientalist depiction of Muhammad as a philanderer. This idea dates back to the crusades. According to the academic Kecia Ali: "Accusations of lust and sensuality were a regular feature of medieval attacks on the prophet's character and, by extension, on the authenticity of Islam."

    Since the early Christians heralded Christ as a model of celibate virtue, Muhammad – who had married several times – was deemed to be driven by sinful lust. This portrayal ignored the fact that before his marriage to Aisha, Muhammad had been married to Khadija, a powerful businesswoman 15 years his senior, for 25 years. When she died, he was devastated and friends encouraged him to remarry. A female acquaintance suggested Aisha, a bright and vivacious character.

    Aisha's union would also have cemented Muhammad's longstanding friendship with her father, Abu Bakr. As was the tradition in Arabia (and still is in some parts of the world today), marriage typically served a social and political function – a way of uniting tribes, resolving feuds, caring for widows and orphans, and generally strengthening bonds in a highly unstable and changing political environment. Of the women Muhammad married, the majority were widows. To consider the marriages of the prophet outside of these calculations is profoundly ahistorical.

    What the records are clear on is that Muhammad and Aisha had a loving and egalitarian relationship, which set the standard for reciprocity, tenderness and respect enjoined by the Qur'an. Insights into their relationship, such as the fact they liked to drink out of the same cup or race one another, are indicative of a deep connection which belies any misrepresentation of their relationship.
  3. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    23 Feb '15 10:05 / 1 edit
    To paint Aisha as a victim is completely at odds with her persona. She was certainly no wallflower. During a controversial battle in Muslim history, she emerged riding a camel to lead the troops. She was known for her assertive temperament and mischievous sense of humour – with Muhammad sometimes bearing the brunt of the jokes. During his lifetime, he established her authority by telling Muslims to consult her in his absence; after his death, she went to be become one of the most prolific and distinguished scholars of her time.

    A stateswoman, scholar, mufti, and judge, Aisha combined spirituality, activism and knowledge and remains a role model for many Muslim women today. The gulf between her true legacy and her depiction in Islamophobic materials is not merely historically inaccurate, it is an insult to the memory of a pioneering woman.

    Those who manipulate her story to justify the abuse of young girls, and those who manipulate it in order to depict Islam as a religion that legitimises such abuse have more in common than they think. Both demonstrate a disregard for what we know about the times in which Muhammad lived, and for the affirmation of female autonomy which her story illustrates.
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2012/sep/17/muhammad-aisha-truth
  4. Standard member Seitse
    Doug Stanhope
    23 Feb '15 10:13 / 1 edit
    Oh the good ol' jihadist throwing his toys out of the pram
    The hadith stands: the dude popped her cherry around the
    age of 9 and there are no two ways about it.

    If that was 'normal' at the time, then what's with the desperation
    to disprove this? Just take it like a man.

    Sources:

    Sahih al-Bukhari, 5:58:234, 5:58:236, 7:62:64, 7:62:65, 7:62:88
    Sahih Muslim, 8:3309, 8:3310, 8:3311, 41:4915
    Sunan Abu Dawood, 41:4917

    Anything else you post, is just opinion and, like your own, is irrelevant.
  5. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    23 Feb '15 10:18
    Originally posted by Seitse
    Oh the good ol' jihadist throwing his toys out of the pram
    The hadith stands: the dude popped her cherry around the
    age of 9 and there are no two ways about it.

    If that was 'normal' at the time, then what's with the desperation
    to disprove this? Just take it like a man.
    Read the text above and you will find you are refuted. Your training at a Zionist hate camp has equipped you to repeat racist / Islamaphobic insults but not to form your own coherent thoughts or engage in intelligent or informed debate. As a promoter of hate you have nothing useful to contribute and I certainly find your posts tasteless and crass.
  6. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    23 Feb '15 10:42 / 3 edits
    Why would Aisha herself and others give unreliable information about her age at marriage and especially, why would they have a reason to exaggerate how young she was? It is not so strange.
    Early Muslims regarded Aisha's youth as demonstrating her virginity and therefore her suitability as a bride of Muhammad. This issue of her virginity was of great importance to those who supported Aisha's position in the debate of the succession to Muhammad. These supporters considered that as Muhammad's only virgin wife, Aisha was divinely intended for him, and therefore the most credible regarding the debate.
    Child marriage was not unusual and often had political purposes but every society had in place arrangements to protect very young children. Aisha is known to have remained with her own family for some years.

    However, the point to notice is that, at a time when child brides were known in most societies and when the Twentieth Century moral panic about paedophiles had not reached its hysterical zenith (people strongly disapproved and always have and always should but that does not require hysteria, which people like Seitse rely on to close down critical thinking) what was more prominent in the minds of commentators was the value system at the time, saying that virginity was highly prized in a bride and gave her greater status. In polygamous societies, many marriages were to widowed women for example, so not always to virgins. Aisha's proven virginity in turn added to her political and religious credibility.

    So not only did commentators have a political incentive to emphasise her status as a virgin and a child, but Aisha herself had that incentive. They were not thinking about sex but about politics - always far more interesting! - and Aisha had a powerful political role for decades after Mohammed died. She was not weeping about her lost childhood but staking a claim to high political status.

    Incidentally, when more modern Muslims take sides in this debate, it is useful to remember that it is a political / religious and often a sectarian debate far more than it is a moral debate. It is rarely what it seems. And when Seitse takes part and presents the issues in an insulting and offensive manner, he too is playing a political / ideological game and promoting his own extremist position.
  7. 23 Feb '15 11:50
    Originally posted by Seitse
    Oh the good ol' jihadist throwing his toys out of the pram
    The hadith stands: the dude popped her cherry around the
    age of 9 and there are no two ways about it.

    If that was 'normal' at the time, then what's with the desperation
    to disprove this? Just take it like a man.

    Sources:

    Sahih al-Bukhari, 5:58:234, 5:58:236, 7:62:64, 7:62:65, 7:62:88 ...[text shortened]... bu Dawood, 41:4917

    Anything else you post, is just opinion and, like your own, is irrelevant.
    Now, now, I'm sure Mo checked the pubes first. After all, he would check the pubes of his male captors before lopping off their heads, which oddly enough, was also socially acceptable at that time, so it's all good.

    Mo was a swell guy.
  8. 23 Feb '15 11:53
    Originally posted by finnegan
    In addition, some modern Muslim scholars have more recently cast doubt on the veracity of the saying, or hadith, used to assert Aisha's young age. In Islam, the hadith literature (sayings of the prophet) is considered secondary to the Qur'an. While the Qur'an is considered to be the verbatim word of God, the hadiths were transmitted over time through ...[text shortened]... ndicative of a deep connection which belies any misrepresentation of their relationship.
    Are you going to defend Bill Clinton next? After all, the recent scandal is that he was flying around with a pedophile who took along under aged girls for fun.

    I think most left wingers want to reduce the age of consent. At least, that is what I've found to be true.
  9. Standard member Seitse
    Doug Stanhope
    23 Feb '15 11:54
    Originally posted by finnegan
    Read the text above and you will find you are refuted. Your training at a Zionist hate camp has equipped you to repeat racist / Islamaphobic insults but not to form your own coherent thoughts or engage in intelligent or informed debate. As a promoter of hate you have nothing useful to contribute and I certainly find your posts tasteless and crass.
    Your ignorance knows no boundaries.

    If you would know *anything* about Islam, you would
    know that nothing can go against the Q'ran and the hadith.

    Nothing.

    Should I draw a diagram for you? With crayons and all?
  10. 23 Feb '15 11:58
    Originally posted by Seitse
    Your ignorance knows no boundaries.

    If you would know *anything* about Islam, you would
    know that nothing can go against the Q'ran and the hadith.

    Nothing.

    Should I draw a diagram for you? With crayons and all?
    What is funny is that Mo took women slaves and raped them and converted with the sword, but Fin is focused on clearing Mo of any pedophile charges with the added comfort of thinking he was not as bad as people think.

    Hilarious.
  11. 23 Feb '15 11:59
    Originally posted by Seitse
    Oh the good ol' jihadist throwing his toys out of the pram
    The hadith stands: the dude popped her cherry around the
    age of 9 and there are no two ways about it.

    If that was 'normal' at the time, then what's with the desperation
    to disprove this? Just take it like a man.

    Sources:

    Sahih al-Bukhari, 5:58:234, 5:58:236, 7:62:64, 7:62:65, 7:62:88 ...[text shortened]... bu Dawood, 41:4917

    Anything else you post, is just opinion and, like your own, is irrelevant.
    do you take the sayings of the bible literally true as well?


    did the flood really happened too? was there a historical parting of the red sea? will we find the tower of babel's ruins?
  12. 23 Feb '15 13:05 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by finnegan
    In addition, some modern Muslim scholars have more recently cast doubt on the veracity of the saying, or hadith, used to assert Aisha's young age. In Islam, the hadith literature (sayings of the prophet) is considered secondary to the Qur'an. While the Qur'an is considered to be the verbatim word of God, the hadiths were transmitted over time through ...[text shortened]... ndicative of a deep connection which belies any misrepresentation of their relationship.
    What you seem to be saying is that one cannot get a proper perspective on the marriage of Aisha unless its viewed in its historical and cultural context, which is fine, but you must also acknowledge that however desirous the concept of harem is, its morally objectionable to western perception because the idea of women, kept apart from society, languishing in harems is one where she will find it difficult, if not impossible to reach her potential, develop her talents etc

    Of course the Bible has the Kings of Israel keeping harems as well, but these are also morally reprehensible for they were never Biblically sanctioned and indeed Solomon is a case in point where being warned against acquiring wives for himself, they led him into apostasy.

    The point of course that Islam has always attempted to make is that men were given permission to take more than one wife due to there being excessive widows, due to war, as you mention. But again its a very weak argument because one can still look after widows in the community without having to make them your wife and furthermore the practice is open to abuse, with men who can afford to, taking many wives for no other reason than because they have the economic means to do so.

    As for the prophet himself in this regard, there is a certain hypocrisy that is evident because he gives the edict that a Muslim can take up to four wives but that he himself received a special dispensation from God to take more. Again why would God be partial? Its hard to justify.
  13. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    23 Feb '15 13:42
    Originally posted by Seitse
    Your ignorance knows no boundaries.

    If you would know *anything* about Islam, you would
    know that nothing can go against the Q'ran and the hadith.

    Nothing.

    Should I draw a diagram for you? With crayons and all?
    You have tried this line before and when challenged, you protested that you were referring to your notes from a course you attended in Jerusalem. You went there apparently as an education in Zionism. I do not have to keep refuting your ideologically stained hate speech. I have done so already.
  14. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    23 Feb '15 13:42 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    What you seem to be saying is that one cannot get a proper perspective on the marriage of Aisha unless its viewed in its historical and cultural context, which is fine, but you must also acknowledge that however desirous the concept of harem is, its morally objectionable to western perception because the idea of women, kept apart from society, langui ...[text shortened]... ecial dispensation from God to take more. Again why would God be partial? Its hard to justify.
    I am saying what I am saying and not what you think I seem to be saying. I am not arguing in favour of child brides, polygamy or even Islam as a religion. I am arguing against racist (Islamaphobic) insults and historical nonsense peddled by liars.
  15. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    23 Feb '15 13:45
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    What you seem to be saying is that one cannot get a proper perspective on the marriage of Aisha unless its viewed in its historical and cultural context, which is fine, but you must also acknowledge that however desirous the concept of harem is, its morally objectionable to western perception because the idea of women, kept apart from society, langui ...[text shortened]... ecial dispensation from God to take more. Again why would God be partial? Its hard to justify.
    Exodus 21:10 specifically allows polygamy.