Pedophilia in the Qur'an

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Prophet Muhammad married Aisha when she was six, and had sexual intercourse with her while she still remained pre-pubescent at the age of nine lunar years. This fact has been recorded many times in Sahih ahadith. This article will discuss the Qur'anic verse that allows Paedophilia.

March 23, 2010: Women protesters hold up copies of the Qur'an outside parliament in Sanaa while stating that a proposed law banning marriages under the age of 17 in Yemen is un-Islamic[1]

Introduction[edit]

The Qur'an has stipulated a waiting period which women must observe before they can remarry. This waiting period must be observed after they are divorced, or if their husbands have died. In the Qur'an, this is called Iddah or Iddat (العدة‎). However, there is one exception to this requirement in Qur'an 33:49:

ياايها الذين امنوا اذا نكحتم المؤمنات ثم طلقتموهن من قبل ان تمسوهن فمالكم عليهن من عدة تعتدونهافمتعوهن وسرحوهن سراحا جميلا

Transliteration: Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo itha nakahtumu almuminati thumma tallaqtumoohunna min qabli an tamassoohunna fama lakum AAalayhinna min AAiddatin taAAtaddoonaha famattiAAoohunna wasarrihoohunna sarahan jameelan

Yusuf Ali: O ye who believe! If ye wed believing women and divorce them before ye have touched them, then there is no period that ye should reckon. But content them and release them handsomely.

From the verse above it is understood that Iddah (stipulated waiting period) is required if sexual contact has occurred within the marriage. If a woman is not touched by her husband, she should not have to observe any waiting period at all.

After the mention of women who have not had their marriage consummated, the Qur'an goes further - discussing the women who need to observe the 'iddah, and the span of time required. We see in Qur'an 65.4:

واللائي يئسن من المحيض من نسائكم ان ارتبتم فعدتهن ثلاثة اشهر واللائي لم يحضن واولات الاحمال اجلهن ان يضعن حملهن ومن يتق الله يجعل له من امره يسرا

Transliteration: Waalla-ee ya-isna mina almaheedi min nisa-ikum ini irtabtum faAAiddatuhunna thalathatu ashhurin waalla-ee lam yahidna waolatu al-ahmali ajaluhunna an yadaAAna hamlahunna waman yattaqi Allaha yajAAal lahu min amrihi yusran

Yusuf Ali: Such of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the prescribed period, if ye have any doubts, is three months, and for those who have no courses (it is the same): for those who carry (life within their wombs), their period is until they deliver their burdens: and for those who fear Allah, He will make their path easy.

Here the 'Iddah is prescribed to three categories of women:

  1. First the phrase: “Yaisna min al-maheedhi” which means “those women who are desperate of menses” is an indication to women who reached the stage of menstruation but do not menstruate and of those who reached menopause. Desperate of menses underlines that it concerns women who though reached the age, fail to menstruate too. Their 'Iddah period is three months.
  2. Next comes, “Wallaee Lam yahidhna” which means “those who have not menstruated yet” This group of females are pre-pubescent girls who have not yet menstruated. Here the 'Iddah prescribed for them is equal to the previous group of women (ie. three months).
  3. Lastly, the women who are pregnant - their prescribed 'iddah is until they have given birth.

The above translation of the verse masks the real meaning, so the verse has to be studied in Arabic. The actual meaning of this verse and its implications are explicitly endorsed by tafsirs as will be shown below.

Analysis of Verse in Arabic[edit]

The Qur'an says in Arabic:

واللائي لم يحضن" فعدتهن ثلاثة أشهر

"and those who never had menses" (because they are underage)
Quran 65:4
Tafsir from al-Islam.com

The transliteration of the verse and the meaning of each portion of the verse is given below:

Wa Al-Lā'ī Lam Yaĥiđna

wa ( وَ ) = and

Al-Lā'ī ( وَاللَّائِي ) = for those who

Lam ( لَمْ ) = did not (negation in past tense) [2]

Yaĥiđna ( يَحِضْنَ ) = menstruate.

Yaĥiđna comes from the verbal root H-Y-D ( حيض ) which means "to menstruate".

The addition of prefix "Ya" and suffix "na" to the root "HYD" shows that the word is used in used in third person, feminine gender, plural, imperfective aspect.[3]

The imperfective aspect, by itself lacks any tense feature. [2] The tensed negatives like lam ( لَمْ ) (negation in past tense), lan ( لن ) (negation in future tense), laa ( لَ ) (negation in present tense) combined with imperfectives decide the tense in this case.

Thus lam Yadrus = He did not study.

In the verse 65:4, Lam Yaĥiđna = 'those who did not menstruate'.

Further the imperfective verb in the context of lam ( لَمْ ) (past tensed negatives) is in the Jussive mood. [2]

The mood is similar to the cohortative mood, in that it expresses plea, insistence, imploring, self-encouragement, wish, desire, intent, command, purpose or consequence. In some languages, the two are distinguished in that cohortative occurs in the first person and the jussive in the second or third. It is found in Arabic, where it is called the مجزوم, majzum. The rules governing the jussive in Arabic are somewhat complex. [4]

Supporting these meanings, from Lane's lexicon, Lam (ل) means 'not':

Lam = ل
lam = Negative particle giving to the present the sense of the perfect; not.[5]
Lane's Lexicon for Lam

From the Lexicon, Arabic word for Menstruate is 'Haiz' (حيض):

Ha-Ya-Dad (Ha-Alif-Dad) = To have her courses, menstruate; Her blood flowed from her womb, to attain the age of menstruation, to make a thing flow.

hada vb. (1) impf. act. 65:4

mahid n.m. 2:222

Lane's Lexicon, Volume 2, page: 322, 323[6]
Lane's Lexicon for Haa

Conclusion:

  • It is clear the verse 65:4 is given as a command to be followed (Jussive mood).
  • The verse itself refers to those women who did not menstruate(in all of past time until the present time), which can include children or girls before puberty or attainment of menarche (first period).

Therefore, the exact translation of this portion of Qur'an 65:4 is "Not menstruated yet" ( لَمْ يَحِضْنَ ). In Arabic, the menstruating process is called HAIDH ( حيض ). It is possible to turn this noun into its verb form. Like we do it with menstruation, "menstruate" is YAHIDH ( يَحِض ). But it is LAM ( لَمْ ) that appears before YAHIDH and the NA ( نَ ) associated with YAHIDH and this puts Islamic apologists in a quandary because it cannot have any other meaning than “Not menstruated yet”. This is the appropriate English translation.

This verse 65:4 should be read as a continuation of Qur'an 33:49. If a woman who has not been used for sex should not have to observe any Iddah at all, as mentioned in 33:49, what is the reason for the prescribed Iddah for those women who have not yet menstruated? This is a clear indication marrying pre-pubescent girls and having sex with them is sanctioned by the Qur'an.

The phrase found in Qur'an 65:4 as "Wallaee Lam Yahidhna" is sometimes mistranslated by apologists. Exact meaning of the phrase is available in Tafsirs (Quran interpretations).

Tafsirs of the Verse[edit]

Only the relevant parts from the Tafsirs will be quoted, because quoting the tafsir's for the verse in their entirety will be space consuming and a waste of effort. What needs to be confirmed will be extracted from Tafsirs. If anyone doubts whether these have been quoted out of context, the reference is given on each tafsir so it can be verified by checking original sources.

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi[edit]

Here, one should bear in mind the fact that according to the explanations given in the Quran the question of the waiting period arises in respect of the women with whom marriage may have been consummated, for there is no waiting-period in case divorce is pronounced before the consummation of marriage. (Al-Ahzab: 49). Therefore, making mention of the waiting-period for the girls who have not yet menstruated, clearly proves that it is not only permissible to give away the girl in marriage at this age but it is also permissible for the husband to consummate marriage with her. Now, obviously no Muslim has the right to forbid a thing which the Quran has held as permissible.
Commentary on Qur'an Chapter 65:4
Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, Tafhim al-Qur'an

Note here what Maududi mentions on giving pre-pubescent girls in marriage and consummating the marriage with them. The interpreter affirms it is permitted by the Qur'an and no Muslims can question or forbid it.

Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen[edit]

Surah al-Talaaq 65:4: If a woman does not menstruate, either because she is very young or old and past menopause, then her ‘iddah is three months, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And those of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the ‘Iddah (prescribed period), if you have doubt (about their periods), is three months; and for those who have no courses (i.e. they are still immature) their ‘Iddah (prescribed period) is three months likewise.[7]
Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen, Majmoo’at As’ilah tahumm al-Usrah al-Muslimah, p. 61-63

The reason for bringing two more recent scholars is to show that nothing has changed in the Islamic tenets on marrying and having sex with pre-pubescent girls, even in this modern era.

'Ibn Kathir[edit]

The `Iddah of Those in Menopause and Those Who do not have Menses Allah the Exalted clarifies the waiting period of the woman in menopause. And that is the one whose menstruation has stopped due to her older age. Her `Iddah is three months instead of the three monthly cycles for those who menstruate, which is based upon the Ayah in (Surat) Al-Baqarah. [see 2:228] The same for the young, who have not reached the years of menstruation. Their `Iddah is three months like those in menopause. This is the meaning of His saying.

Al-Jalalayn[edit]

And [as for] those of your women who (read allā'ī or allā'i in both instances) no longer expect to menstruate, if you have any doubts, about their waiting period, their prescribed [waiting] period shall be three months, and [also for] those who have not yet menstruated, because of their young age, their period shall [also] be three months - both cases apply to other than those whose spouses have died; for these [latter] their period is prescribed in the verse: they shall wait by themselves for four months and ten [days] [Q. 2:234]. And those who are pregnant, their term, the conclusion of their prescribed [waiting] period if divorced or if their spouses be dead, shall be when they deliver. And whoever fears God, He will make matters ease for him, in this world and in the Hereafter.
Qur'an 65:4
Tafsir al-Jalalayn

Ibn Abbas[edit]

(And for such of your women as despair of menstruation) because of old age, (if ye doubt) about their waiting period, (their period (of waiting) shall be three months) upon which another man asked: “O Messenger of Allah! "What about the waiting period of those who do not have menstruation because they are too young?” (along with those who have it not) because of young age, their waiting period is three months." Another man asked: “what is the waiting period for those women who are pregnant?” (And for those with child) i.e. those who are pregnant, (their period) their waiting period (shall be till they bring forth their burden) their child. (And whosoever keepeth his duty to Allah) and whoever fears Allah regarding what he commands him, (He maketh his course easy for him) He makes his matter easy; and it is also said this means: He will help him to worship Him well.
Qur'an 65:4
Tafsir Ibn Abbas

Al-Wahidi[edit]

(And for such of your women as despair of menstruation…) [65:4]. Said Muqatil: “When the verse (Women who are divorced shall wait, keeping themselves apart…), Kallad ibn al-Nu‘man ibn Qays al-Ansari said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, what is the waiting period of the woman who does not menstruate and the woman who has not menstruated yet? And what is the waiting period of the pregnant woman?’ And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse”. Abu Ishaq al-Muqri’ informed us> Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn Hamdun> Makki ibn ‘Abdan> Abu’l-Azhar> Asbat ibn Muhammad> Mutarrif> Abu ‘Uthman ‘Amr ibn Salim who said: “When the waiting period for divorced and widowed women was mentioned in Surah al-Baqarah, Ubayy ibn Ka‘b said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, some women of Medina are saying: there are other women who have not been mentioned!’ He asked him: ‘And who are they?’ He said: Those who are too young [such that they have not started menstruating yet], those who are too old [whose menstruation has stopped] and those who are pregnant’. And so this verse (And for such of your women as despair of menstruation…) was revealed”.
Qur'an 65:4
Al-Wahidi, Asbab al-nuzul

Al-Tabari[edit]

The interpretation of the verse "And those of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the 'Iddah (prescribed period), if you have doubt (about their periods), is three months; and for those who have no courses (i.e. they are still immature) their 'Iddah (prescribed period) is three months likewise". He said: The same applies to the 'idaah for girls who do not menstruate because they are too young, if their husbands divorce them after consummating the marriage with them.
Tafsir Al-Tabari, 14/142

Al-Zamakhshari[edit]

روي أن ناساً قالوا: قد عرفنا عدة ذوات الأقراء، فما عدة اللائي لا يحضن؛ فنزلت: فمعنى إِنِ ٱرْتَبْتُمْ }: إن أشكل عليكم حكمهن وجهلتم كيف يعتددن فهذا حكمهنّ، وقيل: إن ارتبتم في ذم البالغات مبلغ اليأس وقد قدروه بستين سنة وبخمس وخمسين، أهو دم حيض أو استحاضة؟ { فَعِدَّتُهُنَّ ثَلَـٰثَةُ أَشْهُرٍ } وإذا كانت هذه عدة المرتاب بها، فغير المرتاب بها أولى بذلك { وَٱلَّٰۤئى لَمْ يَحِضْنَ } هن الصغائر

Qur'an 65:4
Al-Zamakhshari, Al-Kashshaaf

The bold text means “Those who have not menstruated” are young girls.

Tabrasi[edit]

{ واللآئي لم يحضن } تقديره واللآئي لم يحضن إن ارتبتم فعدتهن أيضاً ثلاثة أشهر وحذف لدلالة الكلام الأول عليه وهن اللواتي لم يبلغن المحيض ومثلهن تحيض على ما مرَّ بيانه.

The bold text translates as “They are those who haven’t reached the age of menstruation”. Tabrasi comments on the phrase “Wallaee Lam yahidhna” = “Those who have not menstruated yet” in the verse.

Al-Shoukani[edit]

{ فَعِدَّتُهُنَّ ثَلَـٰثَةُ أَشْهُرٍ وَٱللاَّئِى لَمْ يَحِضْنَ } لصغرهن، وعدم بلوغهن سن المحيض، أي: فعدتهن ثلاثة أشهر

Qur'an 65:4
Al-Shoukani, Fath al-Qadir

The bold part translated as: “Those who have not menstruated yet” are young girls who have not reached the age of menstruation.

Abu-Hayyan[edit]

واللائي لم يحضن } ، فالعدة هذه، فتلخص في قوله: { إن ارتبتم } قولان: أحدهما، أنه على ظاهر مفهوم اللغة فيه، وهو حصول الشك؛ والآخر، أن معناه التيقن للإياس؛ والقول الأول معناه: إن ارتبتم في دمها، أهو دم حيض أو دم علة؟ أو إن ارتبتم في علوق بحمل أم لا؛ أو إن ارتبتم: أي جهلتم عدتهن، أقوال. والظاهر أن قوله: واللائي لم يحضن } يشمل من لم يحض لصغر،

Qur'an 65:4
Abu-Hayyan

The bold: “Those who have not menstruated yet” denotes those not menstruated because of being young.

Evidence from the Hadith[edit]

From Imam Bukhari in his book of Tafsir and hadith collections:

CCCLXXXIV: The Tafsir of Surat at-Talaq

Mujahid said that "if you have any doubt" (65:4) means if you do not know whether she menstruates or not. Those who do not longer menstruate and those who have not yet menstruated, their 'idda is three months.
(39) CHAPTER. Giving one's young children in marriage (is permissible).

By virtue of the Statement of Allah : "...and for those who have no (monthly) courses (i.e. they are still immature).. (V.65:4) And the 'Idda for the girl before puberty is three months (in the above Verse).

5133. Narrated 'Aishah; that the Prophet wrote the marriage contract with her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death).
"The Translation of the Meanings of Sahih Al-Bukhari" (archived)
Al-Bukhari (au.), Muhammad M. Khan (tr.), Dar-us-Salam Publications, vol. 7, book 67, ch. 39, p. 57, ISBN 9960-717-38-0, June 1, 1997, http://archive.org/download/SahihAl-bukhari9Vol.Set/SahihAl-bukhariVol.7-Ahadith5063-5969.pdf.
 

From Sahih Muslim:

Chapter 10: It is permissible for the father to give the hand of his daughter in marriage even when she is not fully grown up.
Capter heading for Sahih Muslim 8:3309 to Sahih Muslim 8:3311

The following Muwatta hadith shows it's permissible to marry girls who have not reached puberty:

Yahya related to me from Malik that he had heard that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, visited Umm Salama while she was in mourning for Abu Salama and she had put aloes on her eyes. He said, "What is this, Umm Salama?" She said, "It is only aloes, Messenger of Allah." He said, "Put it on at night and wipe it off in the daytime."

Malik said, "The mourning of a young girl who has not yet had a menstrual period takes the same form as the mourning of one who has had a period. She avoids what a mature woman avoids if her husband dies."

Malik said, "A slave-girl mourns her husband when he dies for two months and five nights like her idda.

Malik said, "An umm walad does not have to mourn when her master dies, and a slave-girl does not have to mourn when her master dies. Mourning is for those with husbands."

The following is from Fath al-Bari, the most authoritative commentary on Sahih Al-Bukhari:

واللائي لم يحضن , فجعل عدتها ثلاثة أشهر قبل البلوغ ) ‏ ‏أي فدل على أن نكاحها قبل البلوغ جائز

"and those who never had menses, their prescribed period is three months before puberty, which indicates that giving her into marriage before puberty is permissible."[8][9]

Recent Fatwas[edit]

IslamOnline.net is the sixth most popular Islamic website on the internet, according to Wikipedia. The following excerpt is taken from a December 2010 fatwa.

The Noble Qur'an has also mentioned the waiting period [i.e. for a divorced wife to remarry] for the wife who has not yet menstruated, saying: "And those who no longer expect menstruation among your women - if you doubt, then their period is three months, and [also for] those who have not menstruated" [Qur'an 65:4]. Since this is not negated later, we can take from this verse that it is permissible to have sexual intercourse with a prepubescent girl. The Qur'an is not like the books of jurisprudence which mention what the implications of things are, even if they are prohibited. It is true that the prophet (PBUH) entered into a marriage contract with A'isha when she was six years old, however he did not have sex with her until she was nine years old, according to al-Bukhari.
Is it permissible to restrict the age at which girls can marry?
Submitted by Ahmad, IslamOnline, December 24, 2010
Getting married at an early age is something that is confirmed by the book of Allah, the Sunnah of his Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam), the consensus of the scholars and the actions of the companions, and the Muslims who came after them.

Moreover, the interest of Shariah proves it. So the claim that this was abrogated is not correct. And the Hadith did not include that meaning; it just states that a virgin woman is not to be married until consulted.

The evidence from the Qur'an is:

1. The saying of Allah: "And those of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the 'Iddah (prescribed period), if you have doubts (about their periods), is three months, and for those who have no courses [(i.e. they are still immature) their 'Iddah (prescribed period) is three months likewise, except in case of death]". (At-Talaq 65:4)

So, Allah set rulings of marriage, divorce and waiting period for the women who have not yet had menses, i.e. the young girls.

The Iddah (waiting period) does not take place except after marriage.
Child marriage in Islam
Islamweb, Fatwa No. 88089, June 24, 2004

Apologetic Objections[edit]

The Qur'an prohibits marriage to pre-pubescent females[edit]

Modern apologists who reject the tafsirs and the ahadith often wish to present Qur'an 65:4 as having been 'mistranslated' or 'misunderstood' throughout the ages by all of their own Islamic scholars. Instead they wish to re-translate 65:4 in a less harmful way, and then point to other verses in the Qur'an in an attempt to show that Allah did not allow Muslim men to marry pre-pubescent females. The favourite verse for this is usually Qur'an 4:6:

وابتلوا اليتامى حتى اذا بلغوا النكاح فان انستم منهم رشدا فادفعوا اليهم اموالهم ولاتاكلوها اسرافا وبدارا ان يكبروا ومن كان غنيا فليستعفف ومن كان فقيرا فلياكل بالمعروف فاذا دفعتم اليهم اموالهم فاشهدوا عليهم وكفى بالله حسيبا

Transliteration: Waibtaloo alyatama hatta itha balaghoo alnnikaha fa-in anastum minhum rushdan faidfaAAoo ilayhim amwalahum wala ta/kulooha israfan wabidaran an yakbaroo waman kana ghaniyyan falyastaAAfif waman kana faqeeran falya/kul bialmaAAroofi fa-itha dafaAAtum ilayhim amwalahum faashhidoo AAalayhim wakafa biAllahi haseeban

Yusuf Ali: Make trial of orphans until they reach the age of marriage; if then ye find sound judgment in them, release their property to them; but consume it not wastefully, nor in haste against their growing up. If the guardian is well-off, Let him claim no remuneration, but if he is poor, let him have for himself what is just and reasonable. When ye release their property to them, take witnesses in their presence: But all-sufficient is Allah in taking account.

Pickthal: Prove orphans till they reach the marriageable age; then, if ye find them of sound judgment, deliver over unto them their fortune; and devour it not by squandering and in haste lest they should grow up Whoso (of the guardians) is rich, let him abstain generously (from taking of the property of orphans); and whoso is poor let him take thereof in reason (for his guardianship). And when ye deliver up their fortune unto orphans, have (the transaction) witnessed in their presence. Allah sufficeth as a Reckoner.

Shakir: And test the orphans until they attain puberty; then if you find in them maturity of intellect, make over to them their property, and do not consume it extravagantly and hastily, lest they attain to full age; and whoever is rich, let him abstain altogether, and whoever is poor, let him eat reasonably; then when you make over to them their property, call witnesses in their presence; and Allah is enough as a Reckoner.

Both Yusuf Ali and Pickthal render the phrase of "marriageable age"/"age of marriage", whereas Shakir says "attain puberty", the actual word used is Nikah which literally translated means "fuck" [10] . Zuwaj [11] is the correct word for marriage in Arabic, but the Qur'an uses both words in reference to marrying women; Nikah for human females and Zuwaj for the Houris. This means that Shakir's translation of "attain puberty" is not correct, as the actual word being translated is used regarding marriage and has nothing to do with puberty.

Furthermore, this verse is not even discussing marriage; it's talking about those who have guardianship over male orphans; that when they judge them to be mentally mature enough, they should give over their property to them. The verse simply says that you can start testing them for this maturity when they reach "marriageable age" - it does not specify that age. The Tafsir's agree with this understanding of 4:6:

Giving Back the Property of the Orphans When They Reach Adulthood

Allah said,

[وَابْتَلُواْ الْيَتَـمَى]

(And test orphans) meaning, test their intelligence, as Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Al-Hasan, As-Suddi and Muqatil bin Hayyan stated.

[حَتَّى إِذَا بَلَغُواْ النِّكَاحَ]

(until they reach the age of marriage), the age of puberty, according to Mujahid. The age of puberty according to the majority of scholars comes when the child has a wet dream. In his Sunan, Abu Dawud recorded that `Ali said, "I memorized these words from the Messenger of Allah ,

«لَا يُتْمَ بَعْدَ احْتِلَامٍ، وَلَا صُمَاتَ يَوْمٍ إِلَى اللَّيْل»

(There is no orphan after the age of puberty nor vowing to be silent throughout the day to the night.) In another Hadith, `A'ishah and other Companions said that the Prophet said,

«رُفِعَ الْقَلَمُ عَنْ ثَلَاثَةٍ، عَنِ الصَّبِيِّ حَتَّى يَحْتَلِمَ، وَعَنِ النَّائِمِ حَتَّى يَسْتَيْقِظَ، وَعَنِ الْمَجْنُونِ حَتَّى يُفِيق»

s(The pen does not record the deeds of three persons: the child until the age of puberty, the sleeping person until waking up, and the senile until sane.) Or, the age of fifteen is considered the age of adolescence. In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Ibn `Umar said, "I was presented in front of the Prophet on the eve of the battle of Uhud, while I was fourteen years of age, and he did not allow me to take part in that battle. But I was presented in front of him on the eve of the battle of Al-Khandaq (The Trench) when I was fifteen years old, and he allowed me (to join that battle). `Umar bin `Abdul-`Aziz commented when this Hadith reached him, "This is the difference between a child and an adult. There is a difference of opinion over whether pubic hair is considered a sign of adulthood, and the correct opinion is that it is. The Sunnah supports this view, according to a Hadith collected by Imam Ahmad from `Atiyah Al-Qurazi who said, We were presented to the Prophet on the day of Qurizah, whoever had pubic hair was killed, whoever did not was left free to go, I was one of those who did not, so I was left free. The Four Sunan compilers also recorded similar to it. At-Tirmidhi said, "Hasan Sahih. Allah's statement,

[فَإِنْ ءَانَسْتُمْ مِّنْهُمْ رُشْداً فَادْفَعُواْ إِلَيْهِمْ أَمْوَلَهُمْ]

(if then you find sound judgment in them, release their property to them,) Sa`id bin Jubayr said that this portion of the Ayah means, when you find them to be good in the religion and wise with their money. Similar was reported from Ibn `Abbas, Al-Hasan Al-Basri and others among the Imams. The scholars of Fiqh stated that when the child becomes good in the religion and wise concerning with money, then the money that his caretaker was keeping for him should be surrendered to him.

{ وَٱبْتَلُواْ ٱلْيَتَامَىٰ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا بَلَغُواْ النِّكَاحَ فَإِنْ آنَسْتُمْ مِّنْهُمْ رُشْداً فَٱدْفَعُواْ إِلَيْهِمْ أَمْوَالَهُمْ وَلاَ تَأْكُلُوهَآ إِسْرَافاً وَبِدَاراً أَن يَكْبَرُواْ وَمَن كَانَ غَنِيّاً فَلْيَسْتَعْفِفْ وَمَن كَانَ فَقِيراً فَلْيَأْكُلْ بِٱلْمَعْرُوفِ فَإِذَا دَفَعْتُمْ إِلَيْهِمْ أَمْوَالَهُمْ فَأَشْهِدُواْ عَلَيْهِمْ وَكَفَىٰ بِٱللَّهِ حَسِيباً }

Try, test, well the orphans, before reaching maturity with regard [the duties of] religion and [before] they can [legally] manage their own affairs, until they reach the age of marrying, that is, until they have become eligible for it through puberty or [legal] age, which, according to al-Shāfi‘ī, is the completion of fifteen years; then, if you perceive in them maturity, that is, right [judgement] in matters of religion and their property, deliver their property to them; consume it not, O guardians, wastefully, without due merit, and in haste, that is, hastening to expend it, fearing, lest they should grow up, and become mature, at which time you will be obliged to hand it over to them. If any man, who is a guardian, is rich, let him be abstinent, that is, let him abstain from the orphan’s property and refrain from consuming it; if he is poor, let him consume, of it, honourably, that is, in line with the wage for his work. And when you deliver to them, the orphans, their property, take witnesses over them, that they have received it and that you are absolved [of the obligation], so that if any dispute occurs, you are able to refer to a clear proof: this is a command [intended] for guidance. God suffices as a reckoner, as a guardian of His creatures’ deeds and as a reckoner of these [deeds] (the bā’ [in bi’Llāhi] is extra).
Qur'an 4:6
Tafsir al-Jalalayn

{ وَٱبْتَلُواْ ٱلْيَتَامَىٰ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا بَلَغُواْ النِّكَاحَ فَإِنْ آنَسْتُمْ مِّنْهُمْ رُشْداً فَٱدْفَعُواْ إِلَيْهِمْ أَمْوَالَهُمْ وَلاَ تَأْكُلُوهَآ إِسْرَافاً وَبِدَاراً أَن يَكْبَرُواْ وَمَن كَانَ غَنِيّاً فَلْيَسْتَعْفِفْ وَمَن كَانَ فَقِيراً فَلْيَأْكُلْ بِٱلْمَعْرُوفِ فَإِذَا دَفَعْتُمْ إِلَيْهِمْ أَمْوَالَهُمْ فَأَشْهِدُواْ عَلَيْهِمْ وَكَفَىٰ بِٱللَّهِ حَسِيباً }

(Prove orphans) test the intelligence of orphans (till they reach the marriageable age) the age of puberty; (then, if ye find them of) if you see that they possess (sound judgement) righteousness in Religion and a tendency to protect their wealth, (deliver over unto them their fortune) then give their wealth which is with you; (and devour it not squandering) it in transgression and unlawfully (and in haste) in haste lest the orphan grows older and consumes it little by little (lest they should grow up) for fear that they grow older and stop you from devouring their wealth. (Whoso (of the guardians) is rich) and needs not the orphan's wealth, (let him abstain generously) because of his richness from taking of the property of orphans, nor should he diminish anything from their wealth; (and whoso is poor) and needy (let him take thereof in reason (for his guardianship)) in measure, such that he is not in need for the wealth of orphans; it is also said that this means: he should take from the wealth of orphans in proportion with the measure of his work regarding this wealth; and it is also said that this means: he can take from the wealth of orphans as a loan to be paid back. (And when ye deliver up their fortune unto orphans) when they reach the legal age, (have (the transaction) witnessed in their presence) when you deliver it to them. (Allah sufficeth as a Reckoner) Allah suffices as a witness. This verse was revealed about Thabit Ibn Rifa'ah al-Ansari.
Qur'an 4:6
Tafsîr Ibn Abbas

{ وَٱبْتَلُواْ ٱلْيَتَامَىٰ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا بَلَغُواْ النِّكَاحَ فَإِنْ آنَسْتُمْ مِّنْهُمْ رُشْداً فَٱدْفَعُواْ إِلَيْهِمْ أَمْوَالَهُمْ وَلاَ تَأْكُلُوهَآ إِسْرَافاً وَبِدَاراً أَن يَكْبَرُواْ وَمَن كَانَ غَنِيّاً فَلْيَسْتَعْفِفْ وَمَن كَانَ فَقِيراً فَلْيَأْكُلْ بِٱلْمَعْرُوفِ فَإِذَا دَفَعْتُمْ إِلَيْهِمْ أَمْوَالَهُمْ فَأَشْهِدُواْ عَلَيْهِمْ وَكَفَىٰ بِٱللَّهِ حَسِيباً }

(Prove orphans…) [4:6]. This was revealed about Thabit ibn Rifa‘ah and his uncle. Rifa‘ah died when his son Thabit was very young. The uncle of Thabit went to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and said: “The son of my brother is an orphan under my care, what is lawful for me from his wealth? And when should I give him back his wealth?” And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse.
Qur'an 4:6
Al-Wahidi, Asbab Al-Nuzul

The Arabic word “Nisa” does not refer to young females[edit]

Apologists claim that the Qur'an only uses the word Nisa to refer to mature, adult women, therefore 65:4 cannot be talking about pre-pubescent females. This is indeed a weak argument, which we can refute using the Qur'an itself. Here are some verses that use the word "nisa":

Transliteration: Waith najjaynakum min ali firawna yasoomoonakum sooa alAAathabi yuthabbihoona abnaakum wayastahyoona Nisaakum wafee thalikum balaon min rabbikum AAatheemun

Yusuf Ali: And remember, We delivered you from the people of Pharaoh: They set you hard tasks and punishments, slaughtered your sons and let your women-folk live; therein was a tremendous trial from your Lord.
Transliteration: Waqala almalao min qawmi firawna atatharu moosa waqawmahu liyufsidoo fee alardi wayatharaka waalihataka qala sanuqattilu abnaahum wanastahyee Nisaahum wainna fawqahum qahiroona

Yusuf Ali: Said the chiefs of Pharaoh’s people: “Wilt thou leave Moses and his people, to spread mischief in the land, and to abandon thee and thy gods?” He said: “Their male children will we slay; (only) their females will we save alive; and we have over them (power) irresistible."
Transliteration: Waith anjaynakum min ali firawna yasoomoonakum sooa alAAathabi yuqattiloona abnaakum wayastahyoona Nisaakum wafee thalikum balaon min rabbikum AAatheemun

Yusuf Ali: And remember we rescued you from Pharaoh’s people, who afflicted you with the worst of penalties, who slew your male children and saved alive your females: in that was a momentous trial from your Lord.
Transliteration: Waith qala moosa liqawmihi othkuroo niAAmata Allahi AAalaykum ith anjakum min ali firawna yasoomoonakum sooa alAAathabi wayuthabbihoona abnaakum wayastahyoona Nisaakum wafee thalikum balaon min rabbikum AAatheemun

Yusuf Ali: Remember! Moses said to his people: “Call to mind the favour of Allah to you when He delivered you from the people of Pharaoh: they set you hard tasks and punishments, slaughtered your sons, and let your females live: therein was a tremendous trial from your Lord.
Transliteration: Falamma jaahum bialhaqqi min AAindina qaloo oqtuloo abnaa allatheena amanoo maAAahu waistahyoo Nisaahum wama kaydu alkafireena illa fee dalalin

Yusuf Ali: Now, when he came to them in Truth, from Us, they said, "Slay the sons of those who believe with him, and keep alive their females," but the plots of Unbelievers (end) in nothing but errors (and delusions)!...

In the above verses, the word "Nisa" is referring to female infants. To understand this clearly, we must look to the Exodus account, because these verses were plagiarized from the Bible.

"And the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah; and he said: ‘When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, ye shall look upon the birthstool: if it be a son, then ye shall kill him; but if it be a daughter, then she shall live.’
And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying: ‘Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.

Moreover the Quran itself clarifies “Who the Nisa are”.

‏ويستفتونك في النساء قل الله يفتيكم فيهن ومايتلى عليكم في الكتاب في يتامى النساء اللاتي لاتؤتونهن ماكتب لهن وترغبون ان تنكحوهن والمستضعفين من الولدان وان تقوموا لليتامى بالقسط وماتفعلوا من خير فان الله كان به عليما

Transliteration: Wayastaftoonaka fee alnnisa-i quli Allahu yufteekum feehinna wama yutla AAalaykum fee alkitabi fee yatama alnnisa-i allatee la tu/toonahunna ma kutiba lahunna watarghaboona an tankihoohunna waalmustadAAafeena mina alwildani waan taqoomoo lilyatama bialqisti wama tafAAaloo min khayrin fa-inna Allaha kana bihi AAaleeman

Literal: And they ask for your opinion/clarification in the women, say: "God decreed/clarifies in them (F), and what is read/recited on you in The Book in the women orphans/minors that lose their father, those who (F) you did not give them (F) what was written/dictated to them (F), and you desire that you marry them (F), and the weakened from the children/new borns, and that you take care of to the orphans/minors that lose their father with the just/equitable; and what you make/do from goodness, so that God was/is with it knowledgeable."[12]

In summary, when Muslims asked Muhammad who the "Nisa" were, he said they were the:

  1. Orphans
  2. Female wards
  3. Those you desire to marry
  4. The weakened from the children or new born.

This verse applies to married teenagers[edit]

There is an alternative interpretation that does not involve pederasty, which is sexual activity between young girls and boys, i.e. early teenage years when menstruation may not have begun (or become regular) among girls, who are married to boys similar in age. This type of marriage was not uncommon in Semitic cultures, for example some scholars suggest that Mary (the mother of Jesus) was somewhere between the ages of twelve and fourteen when she married Joseph (although it should be noted that non-canonical gospels suggest Joseph was a mature man, possibly as old as ninety[13]). Given that sexual activity among teenagers is common among many cultures, including Western ones, this appears to be the most reasonable interpretation.

Given the evidence from the Islamic texts themselves, this interpretation is not the 'most reasonable' as asserted. We have ample evidence that Muhammad (who is considered the uswa hasana - perfect example) married and had sex with a pre-pubescent Aisha, we have evidence that Muhammad's companions also did it and that Muslims to this very day are marrying pre-pubescent females and having intercourse with them. In none of these cases are the husbands comparable in age to the wife. So even though this is a possible interpretation, it is by no means the only reason that Muhammad revealed this verse - as evidenced also in the tafsir's provided above. Simply put, Muhammad did not specify an 'iddah for those whom menstruation was not present, so one had to be sent regarding these 3 groups of women. Nowhere in the Qur'an or the ahadith does it discuss teenagers marrying teenagers (ie. to 'explain' this verse) and all the evidence that we have points to [much] older men marrying and having sexual relations with pre-pubescent females.

65.4 talks only of the 'Iddah and not of sexual activity[edit]

Often pointed out is the fact that 65.4 does not explictly discuss consummation or other sexual activity in regards to any of the females discussed in the verse; it merely sets the prescribed 'Iddah required for each. The 'iddah (prescribed waiting period) for females is required after a divorce or widowing, so that a child's father can be correctly idenfitied. This is established in Qur'an 33:49. The verse is quoted above.

Here are some tafsirs on this ayah:

(يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ إِذَا نَكَحْتُمُ الْمُؤْمِنَـتِ ثُمَّ طَلَّقْتُمُوهُنَّ مِن قَبْلِ أَن تَمَسُّوهُنَّ فَمَا لَكُمْ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِنْ عِدَّةٍ تَعْتَدُّونَهَا فَمَتِّعُوهُنَّ وَسَرِّحُوهُنَّ سَرَاحاً جَمِيلاً)

49. O you who believe! When you marry believing women, and then divorce them before you have sexual intercourse with them, no `Iddah have you to count in respect of them. So, give them a present, and set them free in a handsome manner.)

This Ayah contains many rulings, including the use of the word Nikah for the marriage contract alone. There is no other Ayah in the Qur'an that is clearer than this on this point. It also indicates that it is permissible to divorce a woman before consummating the marriage with her.

(الْمُؤْمِنَـتِ)

(believing women) This refers to what is usually the case, although there is no difference between a believing (Muslim) woman and a woman of the People of the Book in this regard, according to scholarly consensus. Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib, Al-Hasan Al-Basri, `Ali bin Al-Husayn Zayn-ul-`Abidin and a group of the Salaf took this Ayah as evidence that divorce cannot occur unless it has been preceded by marriage, because Allah says,

(إِذَا نَكَحْتُمُ الْمُؤْمِنَـتِ ثُمَّ طَلَّقْتُمُوهُنَّ)

(When you marry believing women, and then divorce them)

The marriage contract here is followed by divorce, which indicates that the divorce cannot be valid if it comes first. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "If someone were to say, `every woman I marry will ipso facto be divorced,' this does not mean anything, because Allah says:

(يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ إِذَا نَكَحْتُمُ الْمُؤْمِنَـتِ ثُمَّ طَلَّقْتُمُوهُنَّ)

(O you who believe! When you marry believing women, and then divorce them....). It was also reported that Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "Allah said,

(إِذَا نَكَحْتُمُ الْمُؤْمِنَـتِ ثُمَّ طَلَّقْتُمُوهُنَّ)

(When you marry believing women, and then divorce them.) Do you not see that divorce comes after marriage A Hadith to the same effect was recorded from `Amr bin Shu`ayb from his father from his grandfather, who said: "The Messenger of Allah said:

«لَا طَلَاقَ لِابْنِ آدَمَ فِيمَا لَا يَمْلِك»

(There is no divorce for the son of Adam with regard to that which he does not possess.) This was recorded by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah. At-Tirmidhi said, "This is a Hasan Hadith, and it is the best thing that has been narrated on this matter. It was also recorded by Ibn Majah from `Ali and Al-Miswar bin Makhramah, may Allah be pleased with them, that the Messenger of Allah said:

«لَا طَلَاقَ قَبْلَ نِكَاح»

(There is no divorce before marriage.)

(فَمَا لَكُمْ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِنْ عِدَّةٍ تَعْتَدُّونَهَا)

(no `Iddah have you to count in respect of them.) This is a command on which the scholars are agreed, that if a woman is divorced before the marriage is consummated, she does not have to observe the `Iddah (prescribed period for divorce) and she may go and get married immediately to whomever she wishes. The only exception in this regard is a woman whose husband died, in which case she has to observe an `Iddah of four months and ten days even if the marriage was not consummated. This is also according to the consensus of the scholars.

(فَمَتِّعُوهُنَّ وَسَرِّحُوهُنَّ سَرَاحاً جَمِيلاً)

(So, give them a present, and set them free in a handsome manner.) The present here refers to something more general than half of the named dowery or a special gift that has not been named. Allah says:

(وَإِن طَلَّقْتُمُوهُنَّ مِن قَبْلِ أَن تَمَسُّوهُنَّ وَقَدْ فَرَضْتُمْ لَهُنَّ فَرِيضَةً فَنِصْفُ مَا فَرَضْتُمْ)

(And if you divorce them before you have touched (had a sexual relation with) them, and you have fixed unto them their due (dowery) then pay half of that) (2:237). And Allah says:

(لاَّ جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِن طَلَّقْتُمُ النِّسَآءَ مَا لَمْ تَمَسُّوهُنَّ أَوْ تَفْرِضُواْ لَهُنَّ فَرِيضَةً وَمَتِّعُوهُنَّ عَلَى الْمُوسِعِ قَدَرُهُ وَعَلَى الْمُقْتِرِ قَدْرُهُ مَتَـعاً بِالْمَعْرُوفِ حَقًّا عَلَى الْمُحْسِنِينَ)

(There is no sin on you, if you divorce women while yet you have not touched them, nor fixed unto them their due (dowery). But bestow on them gift, the rich according to his means, and the poor according to his means, a gift of reasonable amount is a duty on the doers of good.) (2:236) pIn Sahih Al-Bukhari, it was recorded that Sahl bin Sa`d and Abu Usayd, may Allah be pleased with them both, said, "The Messenger of Allah married Umaymah bint Sharahil, and when she entered upon him he reached out his hand towards her, and it was as if she did not like that, so he told Abu Usayd to give her two garments. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said "If the dowery had been named, she would not be entitled to more than half, but if the dowery is not been named, he should give her a gift according to his means, and this is the "handsome manner.

(يٰأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ آمَنُوۤاْ إِذَا نَكَحْتُمُ ٱلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ ثُمَّ طَلَّقْتُمُوهُنَّ مِن قَبْلِ أَن تَمَسُّوهُنَّ فَمَا لَكُمْ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِنْ عِدَّةٍ تَعْتَدُّونَهَا فَمَتِّعُوهُنَّ وَسَرِّحُوهُنَّ سَرَاحاً جَمِيلاً)

O you who believe if you marry believing women and then divorce them before you have touched them (read tamassūhunna or tumāsūhunna) that is, before you have copulated with them, there shall be no [waiting] period for you to reckon against them, [no] waiting period [needed to preclude pregnancy] or otherwise. But provide for them, give them what they can use for [securing] comforts, in cases where no dowry has been fixed for them; otherwise theirs is to retain half of what was fixed, but no more — this is what Ibn ‘Abbās said and it is [the opinion] followed by al-Shāfi‘ī’; and release them in a gracious manner, leave them be without [the intention to cause them any] harm.
Qur'an 33:49
Tafsir al-Jalalayn

(يٰأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ آمَنُوۤاْ إِذَا نَكَحْتُمُ ٱلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ ثُمَّ طَلَّقْتُمُوهُنَّ مِن قَبْلِ أَن تَمَسُّوهُنَّ فَمَا لَكُمْ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِنْ عِدَّةٍ تَعْتَدُّونَهَا فَمَتِّعُوهُنَّ وَسَرِّحُوهُنَّ سَرَاحاً جَمِيلاً)

(O ye who believe! If ye wed believing women) without naming the amount of their dowry (and divorce them before ye have touched them) before you had sexual intercourse with them, (then there is no period that ye should reckon) by counting the months or the periods of menstruation. (But content them) as is due by divorce by giving them at least a scarf or shawl (and release them handsomely) divorce them without any harm done to them.
Qur'an 33:49
Tafsir 'Ibn Abbas

This verse effectively removes the apologist's objection to Qur'an 65.4 as we see clearly that if a man has not consummated his marriage with his wife then she does not need to observe an 'iddah. If Qur'an 65.4 specifies that pre-pubescent females must observe a 3 month 'iddah then clearly sexual intercourse is halal to Allah.

This verse is only talking about adult women who don't know if they are pregnant[edit]

The very reason 65:4 was revealed in the first place, was as a clarification to an existing revelation by Allah. Allah had already revealed that women must wait 3 menstrual periods before they can end the 'iddat and be free to marry again. This is in Qur'an 2:228:

And the divorced women should keep themselves in waiting for three courses; and it is not lawful for them that they should conceal what Allah has created in their wombs, if they believe in Allah and the last day; and their husbands have a better right to take them back in the meanwhile if they wish for reconciliation; and they have rights similar to those against them in a just manner, and the men are a degree above them, and Allah is Mighty, Wise.

However, after this, Muslim men went to Muhammad to ask about those who did not presently have their menses - how do they measure the 'iddat in those cases? It is in this circumstance that Allah sent down the clarification (65:4) for the three groups of women that did not have menstruation, therefore they could not wait the '3 menstrual cycles' as mandated by Qur'an 2:228.

Those Muslims who make this claim are ignoring what all of their own scholars have said about 65:4; that it is referring to the peri-menopausal and post menopausal women, the pre-pubescent girls and the pregnant women. The women who are currently menstruating are told in Qur'an 2:228 that they must wait 3 menstrual cycles, therefore this apologetic is also debunked.

This verse is applied to unconsummated widows[edit]

Another claim is that Qur'an 65.4 doesn't necessarily mean that Muslim men can have sex with pre-pubescent females because there may be cases where a man has married a pre-pubescent female, but while waiting for her to attain menstruation before consummating the marriage, he died. The 'iddah could be referring to a situation such as this. This claim is invalid because the Qur'an specifies the 'iddah for all widows to be 4 months and 10 days; in Qur'an 2:234:

And (as for) those of you who die and leave wives behind, they should keep themselves in waiting for four months and ten days; then when they have fully attained their term, there is no blame on you for what they do for themselves in a lawful manner; and Allah is aware of what you do.

This verse clearly contradicts this particular apologist claim, since the 'Iddah specified in Qur'an 65.4 is for a different amount of time, therefore the verses are referring to different situations.

Conclusion[edit]

The Qur'an in verse 33:49 states that no 'Iddah is prescribed for a woman who has not had intimate contact with her husband, but goes on to stipulate the 'Iddah for pre-pubescent girls in verse 65:4, meaning the holiest text of Islam supports marrying and having sex with prepubescent girls. This is definitive proof that the Qur'an endorses pedophilia, something that is considered by many people to be the most serious of all sexual crimes.

This page is featured in the core article, Islam and Pedophilia which serves as a starting point for anyone wishing to learn more about this topic Core part.png

See Also[edit]

Translations

  • A version of this page is also available in the following languages: French. For additional languages, see the sidebar on the left.

External Links[edit]

The following links show that girls as young as 8 months have been able to menstruate. This does not mean it is acceptable to have sex with them:

References[edit]

  1. YEMEN: Deep divisions over child brides - IRIN, March 28, 2010
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Elabbas Benmamoun, Arabic morphology: The central role of the imperfective, Lingua 108 (1999) 175-201
  3. Arabic grammar - Wikipedia
  4. Jussive - Wikipedia
  5. Lam = ل - StudyQuran
  6. ح = Ha - StudyQuran
  7. The ‘iddah of a woman divorced by talaaq - Islam Q&A, Fatwa No. 12667
  8. Al-Islam (Arabic text)
  9. IslamWeb (Arabic text)
  10. Lane's Lexicon: Volume 8, Page 102 - Nun-Kaf-Ha
  11. Lane's Lexicon - Zay-Waw-Jiim
  12. 4. An-Nisa - Women (سورة النساء) - Revealed in Madinah (English: Literal) - IslamicNature, accessed November 27, 2011
  13. St. Joseph - New Advent (For more on the marriage between Joseph and Mary, see Joseph the Pedophile)