A Refutation of 'The Islamophobe's Glass House'
This is a refutation of Ibn al-Hashimi's "The Islamophobe's Glass House: Refuting the Claim that Prophet Muhammad was a Pedophile".
- 1 Islamophobes
- 2 The Logical Fallacies Begin
- 3 Islamic Law
- 4 The 'Exception' Loophole
- 5 "But they did it too!"
- 6 What is 'sexually mature'?
- 7 Aisha, pediatrician and child psychologist
- 8 "Adult women play with dolls too!"
- 9 "Too young to care for bread dough, but old enough for sex!"
- 10 "Islamic law is better than American law"
- 11 What's a Pedophile?
- 12 See Also
- 13 External Links
- 14 References
On first examination, one notices that the author grabs the reader's attention by using the label "Islamophobe" for a person claiming that Muhammad was a pedophile. Rather than discuss the logical fallacies required to make such a statement, we'll go ahead and move on to the Disclaimer which discusses Islamophobes themselves.
The author proceeds to explain how most Islamophobes are Jews and Christians. Now, when one reads this declaration:
is it really accurate to label a Christian or Jew afraid of the ideology preaching such things to be an "Islamophobe"? Fear of Islam for a Christian or Jew is justifiable and would not qualify as a phobia considering a long history of persecution of Jews and Christians in Islamic countries has proved the precarious position the People of the Book hold under Shari'a.
The disclaimer goes on to explain that the author recognizes that only a small portion of Jews and Christians are Islamophobes, and he rambles on about Quranic views of the People of the Book. What the reader will notice, however, is that this book's target will likely not be atheists, secularists, humanists, etc. but will in fact be against the Jews and Christians.
The Logical Fallacies Begin
In his introduction titled "The Glass House", the author reveals that the first way he is going to prove Muhammad was not a pedophile is by applying the logical fallacy of ad hominem tu quoque. His first claim is that Jewish law permits a man to marry a girl as young as three years of age, and Christian law permits a man to marry a girl as young as seven years of age. Regardless of what history presents us, it is illogical to hold today's Christians and Jews accountable for the actions of people calling themselves Christians and Jews hundreds of years ago.
The author fails to recognize the difference between the Jewish people as a nation and the religion known as Judaism. There is no "Jewish law" in practice today. The State of Israel does not incorporate the Torah or the Talmud in its legislation. Someone can be a Gentile and yet practice Judaism. The holy scriptures of Judaism are compiled in the Tanakh (known as the Old Testament to Christians). Nowhere in these scriptures are pedophilic relationships described or condoned. Rabbinic commentary is compiled in the Talmud; however these writings are not considered scriptural or the words of God. Even if pedophilic relationships are described and condoned in the Talmud, it does not mean that such things must be found acceptable to Jews. The contributers of the Talmud are not considered "the best examples of humanity" and nowhere in the scriptures are Jews commanded to obey them and emulate their lifestyles and teachings.
There is no such thing as "Christian law." Christianity was never intended to be a political ideology or enforced as a rule-of-law. In fact, the earliest Christian writings instructed Christians to obey the established rule-of-law of the authorities in place (ie the Roman empire.) The author's entire premise is illogical. Just because a group of people in history who followed a particular religion allowed child marriages does not mean that such practices can be attributed to the religions themselves. He is appealing to several logical fallacies such as confusing cause and effect, appeal to authority, and guilt by association, not to mention that so far the book's entire argument is ad hominem.
It's interesting to note that the author brings up Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Joseph. Relying on 2nd century AD non-canonical (not considered to be Christian scripture) writings, the author states that Mary was thirteen years old when she was betrothed to the ninety-year-old Joseph. Of course, the author forgets to mention that, unlike Joseph, proof of Muhammad's pedophilia can be found within Sahih Islamic sources such as Bukari and Muslim (which are second only to the Qur'an for reliability among 90% of all Muslims), and, unlike Muhammad, Joseph is not considered the uswa hasana (perfect human). Joseph's moral character holds no importance within Christian theology. He could have been insane and it would not matter to a Christian. Moreover, according to both the Christian scriptures and the Islamic ones, Mary was a virgin when she conceived and gave birth to Jesus; therefore, her relationship with Joseph was not a sexual one until after the birth of Christ, if ever. In fact, Mary's Perpetual virginity is an essential article of faith for the majority of Christians (including the Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox Christians), and the same non-canonical writings which are used to gather information on Joseph and Mary's age, also confirm Mary's status as "ever virgin" (in The History of Joseph the Carpenter, Jesus says on Joseph's death "my mother, virgin undefiled"), thus completely destroying the authors argument.
Moving on through the book, the author presents us with information about societies in history that allowed marriages at the onset of puberty. He seems to imply that because such things were permitted in the distant past and even the not-so-distant past then somehow people who believe such things are wrong are, in fact, wrong. Would the author have us stagnate the societal evolution that has served to protect human beings by abolishing slavery and child marriages? Simply because something has been practiced by human beings does not mean that the practice was morally right. Here the author reveals his dependency on yet another logical fallacy: appeal to common practice.
After sixty-seven pages of logical fallacy, the arguments about Islamic law begin. The author confirms that according to Shari'a girls can be betrothed by their fathers to older men before they are old enough to give consent. He then proceeds to deceive the reader with some clever use of doublespeak. The author uses the word "mature" although the Islamic definition of the word is most certainly not how the average reader understands mature. The author states that because Aisha was not mature enough, she remained in her father's house for three years before her marriage was consummated. The author never explains to us what "maturity" really entails, especially sexual maturity. By begging the question, the author encourages the reader to assume that because Muhammad did not have sex with Aisha at the time of the marriage contract but instead waited three years, then that must mean she was mature enough for sex.
The author then goes on to explain the concept of annulment under Islamic law and that a girl can annul her marriage when she reaches puberty. In reality, however, it is not an easy thing for a young girl to annul her marriage. Attempts to annul such marriages have proved to be incredible undertakings for such children, and girls without access to transportation and communication with legal authorities can make it virtually impossible. For more information, read about recent cases of contemporary pedophilic Islamic marriages. The author then makes a telling statement:
If a girl feels that she is not ready for marriage and a sexual relationship at the age of ten, however she has already experienced menarche, what Islamic court is going to believe that this is a valid excuse for revocation of a marriage? On the surface it would appear that a girl has rights under Shari'a, but on closer examination one realizes that a girl can be married before she is old enough to consent to it, and her marriage cannot be annulled unless she can prove that something is wrong with it according to Islam's definition of "wrong." What the author also fails to mention is that Islam is a culture, a way of life, and a girl submerged within such a culture experiences pressure not only from her family but also from her husband's family and the community in which she lives. According to the Hadith, a virgin's silence is taken as consent! (Sahih Bukhari 9:85:79) A quiet, intimidated girl can easily be taken advantage of in such situations where her father arranges a marriage to a much older man. Also, most girls in such countries where child marriages are commonplace have no understanding about the biology of the human body and the risks of pregnancy at such a young age. Menarche does not mean that a girl is a fully matured human being, either physically or mentally.
Shari'a is not designed to protect the weak and powerless. This form of law relies on the assumption that all Muslims are good, moral people and therefore would not think to mistreat a girl in their care. Such an assumption is not only unrealistic, but it is dangerous as well.
The author brings up the "Western concept of betrothal" and yet fails to define what that exactly is. In the West girls cannot be married until they have reached the legal age of consent (which is typically 18 years of age), and if a girl wants to get married earlier than that it requires her parents' permission or a petition for emancipation. The Western law is designed to protect girls from getting married against their will and protect children from being exploited by adults.
The author uses deceiving language once again when he refers to "Christian law" and "Biblical law." Number one, there is no modern, practical application of Biblical law anywhere. Number two, the New Testament is not a book of legislation or rule-of-law. It is a compilation of writings authored by the earliest Christians describing the ministry of Jesus and instructing Christians on moral behavior within their own lives. None of it is enforceable by one human being upon another.
Even if Protestant and Catholic doctrines discourage divorce, Christian women are only beholden to the laws in which they live. Just because a woman's church leaders tell her not to leave her husband, it doesn't mean that she can't. In the West, she is able to divorce her husband just as easily as an atheist, Jew, Hindu, or Muslim. The entire premise of the author's argument is based on his perception of Christianity and not fact. The very fact that he implies that there is "Christian law" should alert the reader that the author is being intellectually dishonest.
The 'Exception' Loophole
The author continues with the explanation that Islamic marriage to immature girls is "the exception, not the rule." However, when one reads what the "exception" is, then the author's argument falls apart:
One wonders what exactly the word "good" means here. Likely it is another example of doublespeak. As we see from the author's further explanation,
it is likely that it was not really the girl's interest that the father had at heart but rather his own political position. The only way a girl might benefit from such a "powerful" alliance would be a luxurious lifestyle.
The author then appeals to moral relativity as an explanation for why Abu Bakr accepted Muhammad's marriage offer for Aisha. "It was the societal norm," he explains. Displaying an advertant denial of the facts, the author goes on to excuse such a marriage because "the Prophet wished to seal an alliance through this marriage; delaying the alliance would mean putting the fledgling Muslim polity at risk."
This is ludicrous considering Abu Bakr was a member of Muhammad's tribe and viewed himself as Muhammad's brother in Islam. Why would an "alliance" be necessary with someone already considered one of Muhammad's closest allies?
Loophole after loophole enables adult men to take advantage of young girls. The author states:
"But they did it too!"
The ad hominem tu quoque continues as the author describes, yet again, the marriage of immature girls in other religions. And then he commits blatant falsehoods by declaring:
Nowhere in the Jewish or Christian scriptures is permission given to a man to have sex with a child. None of the prophets or religious leaders in those scriptures are described as taking a child-bride. Jesus emphasized two very important rules declaring them to be one of the greatest of laws and the summation of the Law and Prophets, respectively: Love your neighbor as yourself and in all things, do unto others as you would have them do to you. If a man truly loved his daughter, could he ever think to put her in harm's way or give her hand in marriage against her will to a much older man? Christianity defines morals. It is not, however, intended to define a society's legislature and penal code. Christianity is supposed to help a person become moral so that the laws they do come up with are just. Christianity is not supposed to tell a person exactly what laws must be put in place over a society. Humans are instead encouraged to evolve morally, and so their laws are permitted to evolve with scientific discovery and improved ethics.
Also, comparing Judaism and Christianity to Islam is like comparing apples to oranges. The Judeo-Christian religions are just that--religions. Islam is not only a religion, but it is also a political ideology and a rule-of-law intended for ALL people to follow. According to Islam, even Christians and Jews are to be subjected to Islamic rule, and although permitted to practice their religious beliefs, they are still required to obey the Islamic laws.
What is 'sexually mature'?
Continuing to the section about consummation, the author argues that according to Islamic law:
Now, this is an interesting statement in deed. One has to wonder what the definition of harmed is considering Muhammad and his fellow Muslims were not biologists or child psychologists. It is doubtful that they understood the very negative affects a sexual relationship could have on a child so young, and would they have been aware of the increased risk of complications such as cephalopelvic disproportion, obstetric fistulas, fetal death, infant death, and maternal death? Never mind that pregnancy at such an early age greatly increases a girl's risk of stunting her growth and developing osteoporosis and dental problems due to the depletion of calcium from her bones.
With improved science and information about child psychology and child growth and development, the phrase "no harm whatsoever" expands exponentially in definition. Muhammad and his followers, in their ignorance, may honestly not have believed any harm could come from having sex with young girls. In that, the Prophet has an excuse. However, this simply proves that Muhammad was not really a knowledgeable Prophet of God with complete moral understanding, but rather that he was a typical 7th century Arab with typical 7th century Arabian knowledge.
Moving on to the Puberty section, the author provides a single, oversimplified definition of puberty as "the definition of puberty according to the English language", revealing his dependency yet again on intellectual dishonesty. He quotes:
First of all, puberty is not necessarily a static "time"; it is also a process. A person is in one of three states of being: (1) pre-pubescence, (2) pubescence (meaning the person is experiencing puberty and has not yet completed it), or (3) post-pubescence (meaning the person has completed puberty and is now a fully mature adult).
Simply because someone is in puberty does not mean that they have sexually matured to a safe and healthy point of having a sexual relationship and children.
Secondly, the definition of puberty is as follows:
In other words, puberty is the process a child goes through in order to become an adult. The onset of puberty does not make a child suddenly an adult who is physically and psychologically ready for a sexual relationship. For primitive societies with no sophisticated understanding of such a process, it is understandable that they would assume a girl was mature at menarche. However, as our knowledge has grown, we now know that menarche does not make a girl suddenly a woman. Islam, however, cannot truly incorporate such knowledge without also admitting that Muhammad, in his ignorance, had sex with someone who should not have been having sex yet.
The author concedes that "just because a girl had her first period, this does not mean that her body is sexually mature." And perhaps many Islamic scholars would agree with this. However, it is doubtful that 7th century Arabs would have had such an understanding. As the author already has proved, ancient societies associated menarche with sexual maturity and saw no problem with marrying girls once they began menstruating.
The argument so-called Islamophobes have is not that Muhammad should have known better, but rather that he didn't know better and therefore committed an act that is defined as "pedophilia" today. His companions also had pedophilic relationships because in their ignorance, they believed that it was not morally wrong to do so.
One must wonder what the 7th century Arabs meant when they used the term for puberty. Were they referring to the process by which a girl matured into an adult woman, or were they referring to menarche? When they described someone as being "physically mature" did they mean that the process had been completed or did they mean that the girl was menstruating? The author has provided for us proof that ancient societies assumed that menarche meant "ready for sex" and therefore married girls at such a time. Even if Aisha had begun menstruating, it still means that Muhammad did something that even some Islamic scholars today would find reprehensible.
The author begs the question by having the reader assume that Abu Dawud meant "physical maturity" as we understand it to mean today when he recorded: "Aisha had reached physical maturity (at the time when her marriage was consummated).
After tying himself in convoluted explanations about puberty and consummation of marriage, the author proceeds to reiterate his ad hominem arguments. He illogically associates the Western practice of not persecuting homosexuals with the idea that Christians somehow now view homosexuality to be moral. Providing no sources whatsoever, the author states that Abraham (who is not considered to be a prophet by the Jews and Christians), married someone sixty or seventy years his junior. He also misquotes the Bible when he states that King David married a young virgin while an old man on his deathbed. If one reads the story in question, it is made clear to the reader that he was not having a sexual relationship with the girl but rather that she was hired to be a bed-warmer (since body heat is best when an electric blanket is not available). The blatant, unreferenced lies continue as the author declares that Rebecca was three years old when she married the forty-year-old Isaac. In the Torah, she was described as a girl physically capable of carrying jugs of water from a well and providing water to multiple camels. She was able to communicate her willingness to marry Isaac when his servant presented his offer of marriage, and she had the foresight to veil herself upon meeting her betrothed.
Aisha, pediatrician and child psychologist
There seems to be no end to the foolish arguments present by the author. Exploring the section titled "Was Aisha Pre- or Post-Pubertal?", we read:
According to the author's logic: An average lifespan of twenty makes a nine-year-old girl ready for sexual intercourse! This is not logic! A does not equal B no matter how much the author wants us to believe it is so.
Inadvertantly the author reveals Aisha's ignorance about puberty and maturity by quoting:
The author begs the question AGAIN when he then states:
The author had already spent considerable time reiterating that ancient societies viewed menarche as maturity, but that Islamic scholars now should not interpret it as such; however, when a 7th century Arab woman makes the ridiculous claim that a nine-year-old girl is in fact a woman, the author would have us believe that this must mean Aisha was physically mature when her marriage was consummated.
Isn't it quite possible that Aisha considered herself a woman at the age of nine because she was married at the age of six and her husband had sex with her only three years later? Considering that she was not a medical doctor or a child psychologist, her statement that "when the girl reaches nine years of age, she is a woman" only goes to show her profound ignorance. She associated sex with adulthood, rather than associating adulthood with sex (as it should be).
"Adult women play with dolls too!"
The arguments take a confusing turn as the author discusses Aisha's dolls. He attempts to prove that because some adults play with dolls then Aisha could very well have been an adult even though the ahadith record that she was playing with dolls at the time her marriage was consummated. After having quoted non-sahih ahadith and Islamic scholars to prove his previous arguments, in order to defend against a sahih hadith that explains only prepubescent girls were permitted to play with dolls, the author states:
So, only the Islamic canon may be referred to in regards to underage Islamic marriages, but the author need not limit himself to the Jewish and Christian canons when discussing underage marriages in Jewish and Christian societies. His double-standard is embarrassingly obvious.
However, the reader must remember that Muslims are forbidden from making any images of God's creation whether it be in paintings or sculptures. A Muslim is not to even allowed to pray in a room that has photographs of people on the wall. The author explains this well.
It would make sense that an adult woman capable of understanding such things would be forbidden from having things like dolls which are small replicas of humans and other creatures, just as the statements made in this hadith reiterate:
While the author would have us accept the statements as truth made by modern-day Islamic scholars, he would have us ignore the Fateh-al-Bari, a 15th century Islamic scholar's famous commentary on the Sahih Bukhari. He also brings up a hadith in a less-trustworthy hadith (the Sunan Abu Dawud) to prove that Muhammad did not rebuke Aisha for not playing with dolls, therefore it must not have been forbidden for pubescent and post-pubescent women. This requires the assumption that Muhammad followed all of Islam's rules. Many of the Quran's verses were revealed upon necessity, and Muhammad himself violated several of its edicts. The author's premise is based upon the assumption that Shari'a was perfected at the time of this hadith's occurence (unlikely considering the Quran was still in the process of being revealed) and that Muhammad always abided by the laws presented in the Quran. In fact, Muhammad violated the Quran on several instances. The author's tangent on dolls in Islam continues for at least ten pages as he attempts to prove that Aisha was an adult playing with dolls rather than a pubescent, or even pre-pubescent, child.
"Too young to care for bread dough, but old enough for sex!"
The author's next argument is regarding Aisha's immaturity. He mentions the ahadith commonly referenced on Islamophobic websites that Islamophobes use to prove that Aisha was immature when she was married. These ahadith are: Sahih Bukhari 3:48:805, Sahih Bukhari 3:49:829, and Sahih Muslim 37:6673. Apparently the author feels that Bassam Zawadi, an Islamic apologist who focuses on Islam vs. Christianity debates, is a more knowledgeable scholar of Arabic than the ones responsible for the widely available translations of Bukhari and Muslim ahadith, because he argues that Aisha was described as simply "young" not "immature." Apparently a girl's young age excuses her from chores like keeping the goats from eating bread dough, however it is not indicative of being too young for sexual relations. One has to wonder if the author has any daughters.
Moving on to the section titled "Who Decides When a Girl is Mature?", we are told that according to Islamic law, it is the father who decides the readiness of the girl. He states:
Oh, I don't know...the mother perhaps? Maybe the sister? Or how about the daughter herself?! But as we recall in the Quran:
Although the vast majority of fathers on this planet are not perverts and probably have their daughter's well-being at heart, the Islamic law fails to protect those girls whose fathers are sexually deviant or incredibly selfish enough to marry their daughters to much older men in order to increase their political or societal positions.
"Islamic law is better than American law"
The author goes on to make a nonsensical argument about how Islamic law protects girls whose fathers are sexually abusing them, and then moves on to discuss marital laws in the United States. On and on he rambles about the differences in state laws, all the while displaying his ignorance of said laws since he fails to mention that parental permission is required before the court-of-law in order for a girl under the age of eighteen to be married anywhere in the United States. There are only a few states that will allow marriage for teenages under the age of eighteen without parental permission IF there is a pregnancy. And even with parental approval, most states require COURT APPROVAL for teenagers under the age of sixteen. The purpose of the law is not so that the government can have control over teenagers' relationships, but rather to protect children and teenagers from exploitation.
The author argues that it is haram for a father to oppress his daughter. Well, that's all fine and dandy, however just because something is described as sinful it doesn't prevent someone from doing just that. He states:
After making this nice-sounding statement, the author fails to provide any references of such a thing occuring under Islamic law. He then goes on to discuss forced marriages and how they are haram. Many times coersion and pressure occurs privately in the home, so the court is usually not involved when a girl's entire community pressures her to faithfully obey her parents and abide by strict rules that segrate her from men and even her own betrothed. Would such a girl even know how to go about refusing a marriage without putting her reputation and perhaps even her life at risk? Under Islamic law, the burden of proof is placed on the girl. She must go to court in order to refuse a marriage. Since marriage is not considered an individual undertaking between two people who are interested in one another but rather a contract made between two families, a girl is easily exploited and left with only complicated and difficult avenues of escape.
The author continues in a tiring discussion about legal marriage ages and governments and concludes the topic with an appeal to moral relativity: "It would be absolute hubris for the post-modern man to look down on the sociological norms of ancient civilizations." Well, Mr. Hashimi, it would not be hubris if that norm is supposed to be based on the lifestyle of a man claiming to be the Messenger of God and the best example of humanity.
What's a Pedophile?
The author then tries prove that Muhammad would not fit the definition of a pedophile. He quotes only a small part of the definition and then leads the reader into a tangle of logical fallacies.
See if you can follow this...
A. "Puberty is sexual maturity" (This is an inaccurate definition.) B. "Islamic scholars are agreed that puberty is a precondition for marriage" (This is a gross over-generalization and deceiving considering many Islamic scholars agree that menarche defines puberty. Besides, Muhammad was not answerable to Islamic scholars.) C. "Aisha moved into the Prophet's house after she attained the age of puberty" (Puberty according to 7th century Arabia standards, not 21st...but the author fails to explain this.)
The author's logic: Since B requires A, that must mean C; therefore Muhammad is not a pedophile. Sorry, Mr. Hashimi but this simply does not add up.
The article the author quotes to define pedophilia also states: "An adult who engages in sexual activity with a child is performing a criminal and immoral act and this is never considered normal or socially acceptable behavior." The criteria for pedophilia is as follows:
B. The person has acted on these sexual urges, or the sexual urges or fantasies cause marked distress or interpersonal difficulty;C. The person is at least age 16 years and at least 5 years older than the child or children in Criterion A.
Muhammad had sex with Aisha from the time that she was nine years old until his death nine years later. He was 44 years her senior. Just because 7th century Arabs may have considered Aisha a woman does not mean that if she were born today she would be seen in the same light. A nine-year-old girl today would still be considered a child by the very society that relies upon the DSM-IV-TR criteria for pedophilia.
The reader should be aware that this definition is not the world's only definition. It is amusing that the author relies on an American definition when he also criticizes America for trying to protect children by enforcing such "high" legal ages of consent. The DSM-IV-TR criteria is simply what American psychologists use in order to formally diagnose the pathological disorder of pedophilia. In reality, American law enforcement uses the term "pedophile" in a much broader sense. A 54-year-old man who has sex with a nine-year-old girl would easily be labeled a pedophile according to law enforcement standards considering the typical definition of a pedophile is "an adult who is sexually attracted to young children." A man need not be exclusively attracted to children in order to be labeled as a pedophile. As the author has proved for us with the Sahih Bukhari, Aisha was considered a young girl even after the consummation of her marriage.
According to the World Health Organization, pedophilia is defined as:
Therefore, if Aisha had in fact experienced menarche an American psychologist might not be able to give a formal diagnosis of pedophilia; however, in America Muhammad would be arrested for rape and other crimes against a minor, as would Abu Bakr for facilitating such an arrangement and, if Muhammad ever got out of prison, for the rest of his life he would have to register as a sex offender. American law enforcement as well as American society would view him as a pedophile.
The remainder of the book is not really a logical argument but rather a reiteration of points such as "the marriage was a socio-political alliance" and "Jews and Christians should not be pointing the finger at Muhammad." The author failed to prove that the label of "pedophile" is inaccurate for a 54-year-old man who has sexual intercourse with a nine-year-old girl.
- Responses to Apologetics: Muhammad and Aisha
- Logical Fallacies - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Logical fallacies
- The Talmud Does Not Permit Sex With A Three Year Old - Gil Student, The Real Truth About The Talmud (archived), http://talmud.faithweb.com/articles/three.html
- Muhammad, Aisha, Islam, and Child Brides - Silas, Answering Islam
- new testament apocrypha - the history of joseph the carpenter - Interfaith Online