Does Islam allow marriage to children?

Why the need to exploit children via..child brides? Does it not say in the Quran what puberty is? What are the motives behind child brides and its popularity? Who are the scholars who would preach such strange ideology? This is serious.

It sure is serious and must end, for it violates human rights, offends Islam, which is absolved of it, attributes abhorrence to the Prophet (PBUH), who is totally innocent of such foul charge, and contradicts the Quran!

The Muqallid scholars (strict followers of predecessors) are the ones who allow child brides. They are trapped by a Hadeeth that is rated authentic, attributed to `Aa’isha (RA) in which she is reported to have said that she was engaged at age six and married at age nine.

Despite the fact that that hadeeth was rated authentic, it has numerous problems. For one, it is solely narrated by her maid. The Arabs were mostly illiterate. They could not read, write or count. That goes double for their women and goes triple for the slaves. If we believe the Matn (content) of the hadeeth, it is most likely an error in counting: mixing six with sixteen and nine with nineteen, as I postulated in this previous post.

Hadeeths narrated by only a few narrators, called Aahaad in Hadeeth discipline, are not to be relied on for mandates or prohibitions. This hadeeth should never have been relied on for allowing what is obviously wrong.

But the problems with this hadeeth do not end there. It is contradictory to the Quran. The Quran has consistently referred to wives as “an-nisaa'”, the same word for women. Not girls. Children are referred to as “al-atfaal” and nowhere in the Quran or the authentic hadeeth is there any mention of allowance to marry a child!

You’re right that puberty is what transitions a girl into a woman. Verse 24:59 makes it clear that this is what ends childhood.

Taqleed (strict following of predecessors) is the culprit in this atrocity. People who follow blindly, even if what they’re following is abhorrent, illogical or factually false, will do wrong and think they’re doing good! What misguidance!

I read your previous post.

Child brides make no sense. No sense. But, in my manner I wish to bring this to light for Muslim women. We have many good and educated women with time on their hands. Insha’Allah I may be able to write an article and bring this light.
Is this hadeeth in Bukari..or Muslim?

Why are we so preoccupied with the age of Aisha. It seems to be one of the major stumbling blocks in our faith. I do not mean to be childish but we are stuck on it.

The Hadeeth is reported in both books. That’s why it’s so problematic. It defies the established consensus that all hadeeths in these two books are authentic. But the reality is that most hadeeths in these two books are authentic, but not all. For two centuries after the two authors, no one has said that all hadeeths reported in the two books were authentic. All they said was that the two books contain more authentic text than all other books, save the Quran.

It wasn’t until the Fifth Century A.H. (After Hijra, the Islamic calendar), that scholars started to declare that all hadeeths in Al-Bukhaari and Muslim were authentic. That broad statement did not go unchallenged, however. Ibn Hazm Azh-Zhaahiri, a highly regarded Sunni Imaam, has written and showed how some of the hadeeths in these two books were not authentic and should not have been included in them. More recently, Sheikh Al-Albaani, a very well known and very respected Hadeeth scholar made the same conclusion.

Once you free yourself from unwarranted assumptions, such as that one, you’re not stuck anymore. The Quran clears up any confusion, if you’re willing to make it judge any issue.

8 Responses to “Does Islam allow marriage to children?”

  1. Aapa says:

    We do have to be proactive and educate everyone.

    You raise an important issue…Are we not told to have a group consensus on any issue? And the basis of the decision is through a search of the Quran and related hadeeths.

    • noclash says:

      Consensus is not binding. It’s reassuring. If consensus is against the Quran or the authentic Hadeeth, it has no value, regardless of who the consenting are. The merit of any argument is not in who said it, but in the evidence and reasoning of it.

  2. Aapa says:

    In reflection it seems that one of the attack modes on Muslims is the Prophet’s marriage to Aisha. How do we as rational and sane Believers counteract the attacks without resorting to emotional and non-productive debates.

    • noclash says:

      With established facts, which is what I tried to do in my posts about it. The evidence is preponderant that the age as reported in the hadeeth is off by ten years. Folks who would not accept that Al-Bukhaari made a mistake by rating that hadeeth authentic, will never be convinced, so any debate about it is futile.

  3. Aapa says:

    Therefore there is no precedence for allowing child brides. It is that simple.

  4. morwen says:

    Could you please explain to me the interpretation of chapter 65:4. It seems that it’s one of the passages that some use to present as contradictions regarding child brides.

    • noclash says:

      Chapter 65 starts with the words, “O Prophet, when you all divorce WOMEN, then …” (65:1). Thus, clearly marriage is to women only, not children! Not once did the Quran mention that children may be married.

      Verse 65:1 then specifies the `Idda, the grace period during which a husband divorcing his wife may cancel the divorce before it becomes final. That period is measured by three menstruations of the wife.

      If the Quran stopped at that, there would be a legal dilemma in cases where the wife has not menstruated! How does one measure the grace period in that case? If `Idda cannot be specified, divorce will be hanging, causing hardship for the wife, who ends up in limbo.

      God never leaves out important details of this sort. That is why the verse you refer to, 65:4, is there. The verse refers to “women who have not menstruated”. That could be the case for women who never menstruate, or for women who have not menstruated for months. This may happen for biological, medical, psychosomatic or genetic reasons.

      The fact that the verse explicitly states WOMEN, excludes children. That should have been obvious to everybody.

  5. morwen says:

    Ok. Thank you. I was just trying to explain this to someone. And I’m not exactly sure how so thank you for the reply. It will help a lot.

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