we have already clearly established that jewish and christian law allowed for girls to be married off at such a young age. we have also shown that such marriages were not only allowed, but encouraged; they were in fact the norm. yet perhaps a christian polemicist would argue that the matter is not about what the masses did but what the leaders did; after all, prophet muhammad (peace be upon him) was the leader of the muslims, not just any follower. to refute this point, we first point to the christian popes who sanctioned such early marriages and actively encouraged them. but to further weaken their spurious argument, we will cite the example of numerous christian saints who married young girls. therefore, if the christians attack prophet muhammad, then let them first throw stones at their own revered heroes. let us begin:
1. saint augustine: saint augustine, who is credited with having formulated christian theology, betrothed himself to a ten year old girl, and this was when he was thirty-one years of age. he waited two years for her body to mature, after which she moved into saint augustine’s at the age of twelve. how is it then that the christians attack prophet muhammad (peace be upon him) for marrying aisha (peace be upon her) when she was nine or ten, when their venerated saint augustine himself betrothed a ten year old girl?
one such example of betrothal between a mature male and young girl is that of st.
augustine (354-439 a.d.). at the age of thirty-one, augustine betrothed himself to a ten-year-old girl.
(mark e. pietrzyk, http://www.internationalorder.org/scandal_response.html)
the islamaphobe’s glass house hashimi 2. saint agnes: another very famous christian figure in history, saint agnes—who is known as the patron saint of chastity—fielded marriage proposals when she was younger than twelve years old. yet suddenly the christians turn their noses up when we muslims say that aisha (peace be upon her) fielded marriage proposals at a similar age. domestic-church.com says:
saint agnes' name means chaste or pure in greek and lamb or victim in latin.
she has always been regarded by the church as a special patroness of purity. agnes was martyred early in the persecution of diocletian, who began his persecution of christians in march of 303. she was only twelve or thirteen years old at the time of her death (accounts differ). even at that young age, her wealth and beauty had attracted the attention of the young noblemen of rome, who competed with each other for her hand in marriage.
3. saint hedwig of andechs: saint hedwig is revered by the christians as the patron saint of orphans. she was married off at the age of twelve to henry i of silesia.
4. saint rita of cascia: she is considered by christians to be the patron saint of hopeless causes, and was betrothed at the age of twelve to a man named paola mancini.
5. saint mary of jesus crucified: she was betrothed at the age of thirteen.
6. saint elizabeth of portugal, patron of the third order of st. francis, was married off at the age of twelve.
7. saint joseph, the supposed foster father of jesus, was in his nineties when he married the twelve year old mary. some claim that joseph was in his thirties—and not his nineties—but the fact remains that he was a grown man who married a twelve year old.
and there are many other examples from amongst the venerated christian saints…
christian kings, royals, and nobles
the christian royals were marrying girls as young as nine, according to an article written by professor lynda garland of the university of new england:
child brides, whether byzantines or foreign princesses, were the norm rather than the exception, especially from the late twelfth century. irene ducaena, wife of alexius i comnenus, was twelve at her marriage, and empress before she was fifteen; the byzantine princess theodora, manuel's niece, was in her thirteenth year when she married baldwin iii of jerusalem; and margaret-maria of hungary married isaac ii angelus at the age of nine.
(professor lynda garland of university of new england, http://www.roman-emperors.
it should be noted that these christian kings, royals, and nobles married with the blessing and sanction of the church. as such, the countless examples that we will provide serve as a strong proof against the christians and their insincere criticisms of prophet muhammad (peace be upon him). in this article, we will only provide a few of the many examples, as follows:
1. king richard ii, at the age of thirty, married a french princess named isabella who was only seven years old at the time.
2. duchess of milan, bianca of savoy, was married off at the age of thirteen.
3. theodora comnena was married off at the age of thirteen to king baldwin iii, who was more than double her age.
4. king adronikos i komnenos, the valiant christian leader of the byzantine empire, married the twelve year old agnes of france when he was sixty-four years old.
5. king denis of portugal married the twelve year old saint elizabeth of portugal. glass house
6. girolamo riario, lord of imola and forli, married the nine year old caterina sforza.
7. jeanne iii of navarre was wed at the age of thirteen.
8. giovanni sforza married the thirteen year old lucrezia borgia.
9. king haakon vi of norway married the ten year old queen margaret.
10. count agness of essex was betrothed at the age of only three years old and married off at the age of twelve to a man who was almost fifty years of age.
11. prince edward of wales married the french king’s daughter, isabella, who was only seven years old.
12. romanos ii married bertha (renamed eudokia), the daughter of the king of italy, when she was only four years old!
13. stephen milutin, the kral of serbia, married simonis, the daughter of emperor andronikos ii, when she was only five years old. at the time of the marriage, stephen milutin was fifty years old.
14. edward i married the nine year old eleanor of castile.
15. richard of shrewsbury, king edward iv’s son, married the five year old anne mowbray of norfolk.
16. mary stewart married henry viii when she was only six.
and there are many other examples…
perhaps a christian polemicist would argue that these christian royals were individuals and do not represent christianity. yet, this argument is weakened when we take into account that no royal marriage was validated without the consent and approval of the christian church! papal consent was a prerequisite of the time. to illustrate this, we can look at the example of the marriage of prince edward to the young isabella:
given that twelve was the canonical age for marriage, and that in 1298 the pope had stipulated that she should marry prince edward as soon as she reached that age, these dates are viable. in the same document of june 1298, the pope describes isabella as being 'under seven years', which places her birth at any time from 1291 onwards. furthermore, the treaty of montreuil (june 1299) provided for isabella's betrothal and marriage to take place when she reached the respective canonical ages of seven and twelve. so she must have reached seven before may 1303, and twelve before january 1308.
(isabella, http://bookshop.blackwell.co.uk/jsp/bobuk_editorial/ongoing_features/choice/extr act_isabella.jsp)
it is safe to say that if prophet muhammad (peace be upon him) had been christian, then the church itself would have sanctioned his marriage to aisha (peace be upon her)! but because the prophet (peace be upon him) is muslim, the church instead has levied allegations of “pedophilia” against him! this is the two-faced nature of the crusader bigots.
jewish and christian prophets
1. abraham: when the ignorant christians condemn prophet muhammad (peace be upon him) for marrying a young girl fifty years younger than him, they are actually attacking the prophets in their bible as well. do they not recall the story of prophet abraham (peace be upon him) who, according to the bible, slept with hagar (peace be upon her) who was sixty or seventy younger than him? if the christians have an issue with prophet muhammad being in his fifties, do they not say anything when prophet abraham was in his eighties? we read:
sarai his wife took her egyptian maidservant hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. he (abram) slept with hagar, and she conceived…so hagar bore abram a son, and abram gave the name ishmael to the son she had borne. abram was eighty-six years old when hagar bore him ishmael.
(genesis, chapter 16, verses 1–4, 15–16, niv)
2. david: we read in the bible that king david lay beside a young virgin, by which was meant a girl who had just attained the age of puberty. we read:
when king david was old and well advanced in years, he could not keep warm even when they put covers over him. so his servants said to him, ‘let us look for a young virgin to attend the king and take care of him. she can lie beside him so that our lord the king may keep warm.’ then they searched throughout israel for a beautiful girl and found abishag, a shunammite, and brought her to the king.
(1 kings, chapter 1, verses 1–4, niv)
3. isaac: according to the judeo-christian tradition, prophet isaac (peace be upon him) was forty years old when he married rebecca (rivka) who was only three years old at the time! and it should be remembered that prophet isaac is considered by the jews to be one of the most important of prophets, and rebecca is one of the four matriarchs of the jews. what is interesting to note is that just like there are some defeatist muslims who deny that aisha was nine years old when she was married, there are also some defeatist jews who deny that rebecca was three years old when she was married. we refer the reader to the following defeatist website made by contemporary jews who seek to deny what their classical scholars say on the matter:
in this article, the jewish writers admit that they are taught in jewish schools that rebecca was three years old when she was married:
we all came home from school saying that rivka was three years old when she got married, and most of us had a hard time believing it. our teachers explained that people in those days matured faster, so 3 years old then was not what 3 years old is now. what they did not tell us (probably because they did not know), is that there is another opinion that says that she was 14.
how oddly similar is this claim made by these jewish defeatists (“another opinion that says she was 14”) to the claim made by some muslim defeatists who claim that “another opinion says that aisha was nineteen years of age.” jewish apologists further the following argument:
rivka, shortly before her marriage (bereishit 24:16), is called na’arah, which refers to a girl of at least 12 years of age!
muslim apologists use a strikingly similar argument. we cite the example of understanding-islam.com, a muslim website that takes unorthodox opinions:
all those who know the arabic language, are aware that the word "bikr" in the arabic language is not used for an immature nine-year old girl. the correct word for a young playful girl, as stated earlier is "jariyah". "bikr" on the other hand, is used for an unmarried lady, and obviously a nine year old is not a "lady".
both sites (jewish and muslim) engage in some simplistic mathematical arguments in order to find discrepancies in dating. in fact, both groups use similar methodology to question the historicity of these early marriages. what is not similar, however, is the amount of ink wasted attacking prophet muhammad (peace be upon him) on the one hand and on the other hand the silence on prophet isaac’s marriage to the three year old rebecca. the zionists lead the charge in the attacks against prophet muhammad (peace be upon him), so should we now expose their hypocrisy? if they argue that their classical scholars were wrong for saying that the forty year old prophet isaac married a three year old, then logic and fairness dictate that the muslims are also absolved because they too have defeatists who simply deny that aisha was nine at the time of marriage!
4. jesus: and if the christians wish to stick a spear in our hearts by attacking prophet muhammad, then what of prophet jesus’s mother mary (peace be upon her) who was only twelve years old when she was betrothed to the ninety year old saint joseph?
the catholic encyclopedia says:
the priests announced through judea that they wished to find in the tribe of juda a respectable man to espouse mary, then twelve to fourteen years of age. joseph, who was at the time ninety years old, went up to jerusalem among the candidates.
(catholic encyclopedia, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08504a.htm)
according to the “oxford dictionary bible” commentary, mary was twelve years old when she became pregnant. as for the age of saint joseph, the traditional opinion was that he was a ninety year old widower at the time. it has only been very recently that suddenly the defeatists have sought to deny this, claiming that joseph was “only” in his thirties. whether or not joseph was in his thirties or nineties is largely inconsequential, since the fact is that he was a grown man who married a twelve year old girl. in any case, the christian east still accepts the idea that saint joseph was in his eighties and that mary was twelve. an eastern orthodox website says:
an elderly joseph
the new testament apocrypha speak of joseph as an elderly man, a widower with adult children, who was quite reluctant to be included among those from among whom a protector for mary would be chosen. although the apocrypha were not included in the canon of scripture their importance is great and much in evidence in the liturgical texts of some of the great feasts.
however the gospels too give evidence for an elderly joseph. for example he is no longer mentioned after jesus' trip to the temple as an adolescent. note also that as jesus was dying upon the cross he asked john to look after his mother.
that would have been unnecessary - and even insulting to joseph had he been alive. but as an elderly man he would have reposed well before jesus' crucifixion at the age of 32-33. mary, however, would only have been in her middle age…
the christian east's picture of joseph as a courageous, faithful, god-centred elderly widower rings true. it also tells us that "old people" are quite capable of being chosen for and embarking upon extraordinary adventures in which they obtain remarkable success by god's mercy and provision.
this picture may not be very attractive - particularly in a youth-fixated culture such as ours in which "old" has become a pejoritive expression. one can understand the appeal of the youthful joseph. but truth may have an attraction all its own.
therefore, if the christian west seeks to damn the muslims for our belief in an elderly prophet who married a young virgin, then let them cast the first stone against their own brothers in the east first. in any case, even if we accept the claim that saint joseph was in his thirties when he was betrothed to mary (peace be upon her), does this change the fact that mary was twelve years old?
the priest of saint mary’s catholic church said: “mary’s husband is believed to be around 36. mary was only 13 when she married joseph. when she first was arranged with joseph, she was between 7 to 9 years old.” so even the western christians believe that a grown man well into his thirties married a young girl and impregnated her. if the christians of today are shocked at aisha’s age, then should they not be equally shocked by the age of mary? but we find that they are hypocritical in their attitude towards the muslims, and we know this is only because the people hate to accept the truth, and we recognize that all the prophets were maligned and criticized by the disbelieving people.
god will deal with them just like god dealt with all those who maligned the prophets.