Critical Analysis: Muhammad’s Wives

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Islam: A Critical Analysis
By: S.T.
Ch.1: Burden Of Proof
Ch.2: Judaism and Islam
Ch.3: Imperfect Text
Ch.4: Qur'anic Grammar
Ch.5: What Others Say
Ch.6: Hypocrisy in Islam
Ch.7: Hell
Ch.8: Violence in Islam
Ch.9: Logical Fallacies
Ch.10: Women in Islam
Ch.11: Muhammad’s Wives
Ch.12: Inheritance Laws
Ch.13: Qur'anic Ethics
Ch.14: Existence of Allah
Ch.15: What is Prophecy?
Ch.16: Unclear Qur'an
Ch.17: The Need for Hadith?
Ch.18: Miscellaneous
Ch.19: Numerical Patterns in the Qur'an
Ch.20: Summary
Ch.20: Quotations
Ch.22: Further Reading

Based on several Ahadith, Muhammad married Aisha when she was six years old and they consummated the marriage when she was nine. Muhammad was 51/54 at the time of the marriage.

Sahih Bukhari: Volume 7, Book 62, Number 88

Narrated 'Ursa:

The Prophet wrote the (marriage contract) with 'Aisha while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years old and she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death).

Sahih Bukhari: Volume 5, Book 59, Number 742:

Narrated 'Aisha:

Allah 's Apostle died when he was sixty-three years of age.

I’ve been exposed to several speculative rationalizations that often contradict one another and each of these rationalizations presents a different set of theological issues.

One of the apologetic arguments that Muhammad was not a pedophile was that he only had one child-marriage, but this shows that he was considering a 2nd.

[1] writes:

In the Sirat Rasul, we read the incredible story that Muhammad, himself, wanted to marry a crawling baby girl a few years before his death. This happened after he married A’isha. The following citation is from the book of Sirat Rasul Allah by Ibn Ishak, the most authentic biographer of Muhammad (pbuh) Most other biographies are based on this monumental work by Ibn Ishak/Ibn Hisham

(Suhayli, ii.79: In the riwaya of Yunus I.I recorded that the apostle saw her (Ummu’l-Fadl) when she was baby crawling before him and said, ‘If she grows up and I am still alive I will marry her.’ But he died before she grew up and Sufyan b. al-Aswad b. Abdu’l-Asad al-Makhzumi married her and she bore him Rizq and Lubaba….(ref.10, p. 311)

Elsewhere, we note that even Hazrat Omor or Umar (spelling variation) married Umm Kulthum, the four years old half-sister of Bibi A’isha! How fantastic!

Apologists have argued that Aisha was a scholar to justify Muhammad’s marriage to a six-year-old. Such arguments imply that Allah was incapable of finding another way to spread Islam than for Muhammad to marry Aisha (other possibilities include opening a university or document his teachings)

[2.106] Whatever communications We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than it or like it. Do you not know that Allah has power over all things?

[2] writes:

Legal Definition of Statutory Rape
Statutory rape laws are based on the premise that until a person reaches the age of majority, that person is legally incapable of consenting to sexual intercourse. Statutory rape was codified into English law more than 700 years ago when it became illegal “to ravish,” with or without her consent, a “maiden” under the age of 12. During the 19th century, states in this country gradually raised the age of consent, in some cases to 21. Today, the age of consent ranges from 14 to 18 years of age, although in more than half of the states the age of consent is 16. The primary intention of statutory rape laws is to protect teenage girls and, recently, boys as well, from being sexually preyed upon by adults. By design, the laws are meant to deter and punish adults who have sex with minors. By definition, these laws are targeting non-forcible sexual activity. The age of consent in Massachusetts is 16 years old. States and counties are generally not pursuing teenage “lovers” who are close in age. Instead, law enforcement agencies typically prosecute statutory rape cases only when there is an age gap of 5 or more years between the minor and their partner.

[3] writes:

What is a Pedophile?

The American Psychiatric Association defines Pedophilia:

A pedophile is a person who over at least a 6 month period has recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children (age 13 years or younger). The fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. The person is at least age 16 years and at least 5 years older than the child or children. Not to include an individual in late adolescence involved in an ongoing sexual relationship with a 12 or 13 year old (straight or gay). Individuals with pedophilia generally report an attraction to children of a particular age range. Some individuals prefer males, others prefer females, and some are aroused by both males and females. Pedophilia involving female victims is reported more than pedophilia involving male victims.

Reference; Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, American Psychiatric Association, 1994.

65:4 shows that the Quran allows a girl that hasn’t yet menstruated to be divorced, implying that such a girl could be married. Given that the Quran doesn’t forbid child-marriage and that Islam encourages following Muhammad’s example, child-marriage is supported by Islam.

[65.4] And (as for) those of your women who have despaired of menstruation, if you have a doubt, their prescribed time shall be three months, and of those too who have not had their courses; and (as for) the pregnant women, their prescribed time is that they lay down their burden; and whoever is careful of (his duty to) Allah He will make easy for him his affair.

Some Muslims deny the several Hadith regarding Aisha’s age. But if those Hadith are false, perhaps many other Hadith are also false. Some Muslims argue that child marriage was acceptable in the 7th century but not today. But such arguments can undermine many other Hadith as well as undermine the premise that Muslims should follow Muhammad’s example.

Muhammad's marriages

"Understanding the Hadith: the sacred traditions of Islam" by Ram Swarup discusses some of Muhammad's marriages: Safiyya

Muhammad's wars and raids not only fed his coffers, they also swelled his harem. Safiyya, a beautiful girl of seventeen years, was the wife of the chief of a Jewish clan inhabiting Khaibar. Muhammad's custom was to make surprise attacks. Khaibar was invaded in the same fashion. Anas narrates [Sahih Muslim 4438]: "We encountered the people at sunrise when they had come out with their axes....."

In any case, many people were butchered, and many others were taken prisoners. "We took Khaibar by force, and there were gathered the prisoners of war," according to Anas. Safiyya, the daughter of Huyayy b. Akhtab, the chief of the Quraiza and al-Nazir was one of them. Her husband, Kinana, was put to a cruel death (Sahih Muslim 3325). ... Anas adds that people "praised her in the presence of Allah's messenger and said: ’We have not seen the like of her among the captives of war’” (SM: 3329). Muhammad...even took her to his bed the same night her husband was killed, in violation of his own command, which enjoined the believers to wait until the beginning of the next menstrual cycle in their captive women. Kinana (Safiyya's husband) was tortured in order to make him reveal his hidden treasure. "Torture him until you extract what he has," Muhammad ordered al-Zubayr b. al-Awwam. The latter "kindled a fire with flint and steel on his chest until he was nearly dead. Then the apostle delivered him to Muhammad b. Maslama and he struck off his head" (Sirat Rasul Allah p 515). …

When the prophet was passing the night with Safiyya in a tent, Abu Ayyub took it upon himself to guard him. In the morning, Muhammad saw him and asked him what he was doing there. He replied: "I was afraid for you with this woman for you have killed her father, her husband, and her people..." (Sirat Rasul Allah p517)


Safiyya was no exception. Many other women...were taken in and treated as part of the war booty. Rihana was a Jewish girl of the Banu Quraizah. After her husband was beheaded in cold blood along with eight hundred other male members of her tribe in the genocide at Medina, Muhammad kept her as his concubine.

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