// Early Marriage and the Modern World
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« on: Jul 21, 2013 04:59 AM »

Nigerian Lawmakers were at the verge of outlawing early marriage in the country if not for the opposition from some Northern senators. As usual that has ignited a national debate with non Muslims looking for every nasty word to defile Islam and our beloved Prophet (pbuh). A brother posted a good response to that on facebook which I want to share with you.

(By Isah Abubakar Sakpe)
It is common for a discussion about Islam to naturally derail into criticism and attack on the Islamic early marriage and maligning Prophet sallAllahu'alayhi wa sallam’s marriage to Aisha radiyAllahu anha.

First, a Muslim in the name of being westernized, civilized or modern should not get embarrassed or questions the sanctity of Muhammad allAllahu'alayhi wa sallam’s 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. 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.

There is no need to create excuses like"she was matured","Arabs 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 facts by saying that"she may not have been 6". 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 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 practiced without any restriction among the Greeks, Asians and Europeans. Roman Christians of the Byzantium Empire practiced 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 medievial 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.

Marriage as early as age 7, which was considered the “age of reason”, or directly after puberty was the norm for the vast majority of all human society even until the 19th century. According to the Journal of Psychology&Human Sexuality, the “age of consent” throughout history usually coincided with the age of puberty” with “the absolute minimum at seven”. Both that Journal and Encyclopedia Britannica state that age of consent laws were passed from Roman law to the Church to English Common Law which states: “between 7 years and puberty there could be consent but not consummation” until puberty, with no parental consent required from the age of 12. This was confirmed in 1877 by the US Supreme Court. 6 states and the District of Columbia allow this Common Law marriage and such marriages are then constitutionally recognized in all 50 states.

Puberty marks the transition from childhood to adulthood and is associated with emergence of libido and 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 retrained and fulfilled within the confines of marriage?

Globally,the average age at which girls first become victims of prostitution is 12-14. Every year in the world’s richest countries, there are 1.25 million teen pregnancies and 500,000 teen abortions. Non Islamic societies have the higher rates of child abuse, child prostitution and trafficking, child pornography, incest and even legal “beastiality”, sex with animals. These atrocities are not completely absent in Islamic society but when they occur, they are an exception and not the norm and never at the same alarming epidemic proportion.

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, emotionally or psychologically matured for marriage and so the marriage will end in failure. The fact is that even until the 18th century, reaching puberty meant becoming an “adult”, in terms of maturity, behavior and responsibility, as stated in the Journal of Social History. It was only in the industrial mid-18th century that late marriage mentality and psychological maturity started to delay, due to side effects that are proven to delay maturity such as: increasing comforts of life, overindulgence, diminished parental discipline, degraded sexual values and children remaining children longer to complete their education.

In the past, children struggle alongside their parents for physical and economic survival. They carry out chores and responsibility, participate in family or societal decision making and contribute to family or societal progress. This is proven to speed psychological maturity which prepares them for the future role and responsibilities of marriage and parenthood.

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 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 hardworking, honest and responsible as the Sahabas, and women as patient, submissive and unmaterialistic as the wives of the sahaba. But with the late marriage mentality and the society extending their child hood to 18 and telling them their only goal in life is to maximize their material potentials as engineers, doctors, pilot not caring whether they end up as fornicators or homosexuals, they are instead found often found consumed by the culture of twitting, pinging, entertainment and pornography. From unrealistic and baseless TV programs 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 grownups and paying for their new founded slavery to latest fashion, latest gadget, bling and swag. It is therefore ridiculous to “demand late marriage in pre-modern society on the pretense of psychological harm when they actual harm is by the society who treat this young adults as children and fail to prepare them cope for the important role of spouses and parents.

Before you start singing the VVF anthem , VVF is a disease of pelvic inadequacy which can manifest even in a 30 year old. It also a product of excruciating poverty and ignorance in the form of chronic malnutrition, recurrent disease, poor personal, environmental hygiene and late presentation and delayed intervention for complicated pregnancies. This is the issue that needs to be addressed. That is why by comparison, the rate are lower in southern part of the country were teenage pregnancy still abound due to better nutrition and early presentation to the hospital even for out of wedlock pregnancies. That is why a 9, 10, 11 year old European mother will have a successful birth compared to a 20 year old in poor Africa

And to all the “paedophilia slogansit”, Paedophilia is refer to sexual attraction to a prepubertal child with or without consent. The American Psychiatric Association (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th edition text revision), § 302.2 : DSM-IV-TR: Pedophilia Defines “Pedophilia in this terms” Over a period of at least 6 months, recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children”. Islam does not legalize sexual activity with a prepubescent child, but a with a person who has reached puberty within the confines of marriage and with consent.

On a final note, Islam recognizes unrestrained sexual activity as a major underlying factor to the perversion of any society. It therefore strongly encourages early marriage as ONE of the means of restraining sexual desires but never made early marriage COMPULSORY neither did it prescribe a punishment to those who wish to let their children till 30, 40, 50 or never marry. But it is not for you to vilify those who wish to do as the Prophet sallAllahu'alayhi wa sallam practiced neither is it your responsibility to make haram what Allah (SWT), has not declare haram.

"Whoever rejects false deities and believes in Allah has grasped a firm handhold which will never break." Q 2:256"
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« Reply #1 on: Jul 21, 2013 01:04 PM »

walaikum salam,

interesting article, however i do believe there is a difference of opinion about the age of aisha ra upon marriage. but yes even so we can accept that it was a different time and culture. i was just reading a book about the four daughters of the prophet saw and he arranged the marriages of two of his own daughters at young ages at around 7-8 to much older men, the sons of Abu Lahab, and we know how much the prophet saw loved his daughters. this was just the practice of that time.
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« Reply #2 on: Jul 21, 2013 01:27 PM »

What everyone conveniently overlooks, is if there was anything untoward with regards the marriage of the Prophet (saw) & Aisha (ra), the people of the time would have used it to discredit Islam & the Prophet (saw), Muslims were a minority & the enemies of Islam did everything they possibly could to persecute Muslims & ridicule the messenger. If this marriage had been anything but mundane & normal they'd have jumped on it.

And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright. Surah 2  Verse 186
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« Reply #3 on: Jul 21, 2013 08:31 PM »

14 was the age to qualify for jihad. So this whole teenage/adolescence business is nonsense.

Now I know why I feel like I'm 50, although I'm not. Wink
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