Prophet Muhammad and Aisha Siddiqa
by Sabeel Ahmed
Through the centuries, orientalists have advance numerous accusations and far-fetched theories to discredit Islam and its last Prophet, Muhammad (peace be upon him). Praise be to Allah alone, all such accusations have been successfully refuted by the Muslims Ummah. Currently, one of the ‘reinvented’ accusations against the noble character of the Prophet is about his marriage to young Aisha Siddiqa ®.
Let’s probe some of the orientalists’ charges in detail in the light of modern research, historic evidence and the Islamic sources of the Quran and the Sunnah to separate truth from falsehood, and display to the world that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is indeed an exemplary for all of mankind.
Two main theories are often advance by orientalists to attack the pure character of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) on his marriage to Aisha ® at her young age.
A. He was a Pedophile.
B. He was involved in child abuse.
Let’s analyze each theory to dig out the truth, through the Guidance of Allah (SWT).
A. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) married Aisha ® because he was a pedophile?
Definition of a Pedophile:
"Pedophile: also spelled PEDOPHILIA, psychosexual disorder in which an adult's arousal and sexual gratification occur primarily through sexual contact with prepubescent children. The typical pedophile 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." Encyclopedia Britannica, 1998
"pe.do.phil.ia n [NL] (1906): sexual perversion in which children are the preferred sexual object -- pe.do.phil.i.ac or pe.do.phil.ic adj." Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary
The diagnostic criteria for pedophilia according to American Psychiatric Association:
Over a period of at least 6 months, recurrent intense sexual urges and sexual arousing fantasies involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children.
The person has acted on these urges, or is markedly distressed by them.
The person is at least 16 years old and at least 5 years older than the child or children in A.
DSM-III-R Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, ed 3, revised, copyright American Psychiatric Association.
"In addition to their pedophilia, a significant number of pedophiles are concomitantly or have previously been involved in exhibitionism, voyeurism, or rape". (Voyeurism’s the recurrent preoccupation with fantasized or acts that involve seeking out or observing people who are naked, or are engaged in grooming or in sexual activity". Synopsis of psychiatry, Harold I.Kaplan et al., 5th ed., pg360, Publishers: Williams and Wilkens, 1988
Does the Prophet fit the above criteria of a pedophile?
With the above criteria of a pedophile in mind, lets analyze the lifestyle of the prophet and his marriages.
Name of Bride Bride’s age at marriage Comments
Khadija bint khawilad 40 Twice widowed before
Sauda Bint Zama 50 Widow
Aisha bint Abu Bakr 9 Started living with the prophet at the age of 9.
Hafsa Bint Umar bin Khattab 22 Widow
Zainab bint Khuzaima 30
Umm-I-Salma bint Abu Umayia 26 Widow
Zainab Bint Jahash 38 Widow
Juwaeria Bint Harith 20 Widow
Umm-I-Habiba bint Abu Sufyan 36 Widow
Marya Qibtiya bint shamun 17 Virgin, Egyptian
Safia bint Hayi bin Akhtab 17 Widow
Raihana bint umru bin hanafa Not available
Maimuna bint harith 36 Widow
Source: The Prophet of Islam, the Ideal Husband, by Syed Abu Zafar Zain, Kazi Publications, Lahore, Ist Ed., pg. 10-12
Statistics from the above table:
Percentage of his wives who were 17years and older = 91 %
Percentage of his wives who were widows = 75%
Comment: The statistics show that the prophet’s marriage to Aisha at her young age was an exception and not a norm of his other marriages. Furthermore ‘a pedophile’s main mode of sexual satisfaction is with prepubescent girls’, which is contradictory to the 91% of prophet’s marriage to women 17 years and over. An unbiased examination of Prophet’s life and his marriages to his wives blatantly rejects the notion of his lifestyle fitting that of a pedophile. All his brides were aged widows (except Aisha and Marium).
Moreover, according to the criteria in the references cited above in ‘Synopsis of Psychiatry’, a vast majority of pedophiles possess a history of exhibitionism, voyeurism, or rape. Again, there is no single reference from either religious or secular sources that the noble Prophet ever indulged in such sadistic behavior (God forbid). This truth is observed and accepted by both Muslims and unbiased non-Muslims scholars.
"It is impossible for anyone who studies the life and character of the great Prophet of Arabia, who knows how he taught and how he lived, to feel anything but reverence for that mighty Prophet, one of the great messengers of the Supreme. And although in what I put to you I shall say many things which may be familiar to many, yet I myself feel whenever I re-read them, a new way of admiration, a new sense of reverence for that mighty Arabian teacher." – Annie Besant, THE LIFE AND TEACHINGS OF MUHAMMAD, Madras, 1932, p. 4.