Aisha and Puberty
This page is independent/supplementary to the doll-playing exegesis used in Muhammad and the Clinical Definition of Pedophilia which in itself proves her status as pre-pubescent at the time of consummation.
Most Muslims are unaware that the Sahih ahadith say that Aisha, the wife of Muhammad, was below the age of puberty when she was at least fourteen years old, and remained in that state till the age of sixteen. This is because they have never read the Sahih ahadith in Arabic. The collectors of Hadith were generally not ashamed of the truth. Even being some of the most devout Muslims to have ever lived, they had still slavishly preserved many authentic narrations which reflect very poorly on the character of Muhammad. However, some modern Muslims and apologists in the West are ashamed that their prophet would marry and have sex with a pre-pubescent young girl, so they may claim that there is no evidence that Aisha was below the age of puberty. On the contrary, they may insist that she was already past the age of puberty, even though they do not possess the evidence to back this claim.
We do not need to accept on blind faith the unsubstantiated claims of these Muslims since we have the original sahih ahadith. What do these say about Aisha’s pubertal status? The evidence is clear from the collection of Imam Bukhari. Hence, we will base our proposition on the famous “Translation of the Meanings of Sahih Al-Bukhari Arabic-English” by Dr Muhammad Muhsin Khan, published by the Islamic University - Al-Medina Al-Munauwara, Saudi Arabia.
Before we address the scriptural evidence, a few biological truths are worth noting. Apologetic claims which appeal to science can be summarised by the following argument.
- There is little difference in the size of boys and girls until the age of ten, the growth spurt at puberty starts earlier in girls but lasts longer in boys.
We also read that
- The first signs of puberty occur around age 9 or 10 in girls but closer to 12 in boys.
Women in warmer environments reach puberty at a much earlier age than those in cold environments.
- The average temperature of the country or province is considered the chief factor here, not only with regard to menstruation but as regards the whole of sexual development at puberty.
In truth there is no significant climatic effect on the age at which girls reach nubility (i.e. between warm Arabia and cold Europe) and the average age at menarche (first menstrual cycle), after a rise during the 19th century, has only recently began to fall. For girls in the Medieval (5th to 15th century) Middle East, the average age at menarche was between 12 to 13 years of age.
Ancient Rome 12-14
Medieval Europe 12-14
Medieval Middle East 12-13
- working class women 15.7
- upper class women 14.6
London 1855 (hospital patients) 15.5
Germany 1869 15.7
Scotland 1870 15.6-16.6
London 1880 (middle class) 15
U.S.A. late 19th century 12-14
Early 20th CenturyUSA 1905 14-15.7
In an attempted tu-quoque, the apologist claims "Marriage at the early years of puberty was acceptable in 7th century Arabia as it was the social norm in all Semitic cultures". With a little fact-checking you will find that in the Middle Ages, Jewish girls were traditionally married off around the age of 12-13, which was also the average age at menarche. However, this only strengthens the case against Aisha having reached her first menses when consummating her marriage to Muhammad, and it also opposes the assertion that this consummation between a 54 year old man and a 9 year old girl would have been the accepted cultural norm. In fact, in Jewish culture, a large age gap between the spouses was opposed, yet the age gap between Muhammad and Aisha was a massive 45 years. As they themselves have left behind no written records, there is no evidence of pedophilic marriages being accepted among the non-Muslim Arabs of Muhammad's time. The only sources we have are Muslim sources, so to claim that such a marriage was a cultural norm among all Arabs is baseless conjecture.
To further justify Muhammad's marriage, the article ends with the following:
What they seem to ignore is that the Qur'an actually permits sex with girls who have not yet menstruated, a fact which is perfectly consistent with Muhammad having sex with a pre-pubescent Aisha. Instead, many apologists claim marriage and sex with a post-pubertal girl is acceptable behaviour which is validated by nature itself. What they fail to understand is that nature is not perfect, nor does it have to be for us humans who are capable of reasoning.
Lina Medina (born September 27, 1933, in Ticrapo, Peru), had her menarche at age 8 months, and after giving birth to her first child at the age of 5 years and 7 months (under unknown circumstances), she is the youngest mother in history. Following the logic used by many apologists, it would mean having sex with this child when she was 8 months old is acceptable behaviour. Giving birth at 5 years hardly meant this child was "mature". To view an image of Lina, 7 and a 1/2 months into pregnancy, click here.
We now move onto the scriptural evidence. Here are some of the relevant sahih hadith:
[Author’s note: in this hadith, Ayesha was 15 years old – according to Muhsin Khan]
[Author’s note: in this hadith, Aisha had not reached puberty – according to Muhsin Khan]
In the first hadith Sahih Bukhari 7:62:118, Dr Muhsin Khan in the official text published in Islamic University - Al-Medina Al-Munauwara, Saudi Arabia says, “Aisha was 15 years then.” Some Muslims might claim that it was only Muhsin Khan’s opinion that Aisha was 15 years old at that time. However, this is irrelevant since Muhammad would have bedded Aisha by then. This is because this incident of Aisha watching the Abyssinian/Ethiopian slaves throwing spears in the mosque took place in Medina because according to Abu Dawud, Eid festivals were instituted only in Medina.
We know from other ahadith that Muhammad married Aisha in Shawwal, 1 Hijri. However, the first Eid al-Adha would have taken place at the earliest two months later in Dhul Hijja. Hence these two “Aisha watching the Ethiopians” ahadith tell us that she was below the age of puberty more than two months after Muhammad had sex with her. Muhsin Khan stated that this was about six years later.
In the second hadith Sahih Bukhari 7:62:163, Muhsin Khan added the phrase “who has not reached the age of puberty” in parentheses. Some Muslims might claim that this phrase is in parentheses, and therefore it was only his opinion, not in the original Arabic. However, this is false since the parenthetical phrase explains the Arabic phrase, “jariyathin hadeethaathil sanna”. This phrase is also found in the following hadith when Aisha was 14 years old.
[Author’s note: in this hadith, Aisha was about 14 years old]
In Arabic, the phrase “jariyathil hadeethaathil sanna” literally means “pre-pubertal girl of new/recent/young age”. The word “jariya” has several meanings, but only one can fit Aisha. It means a pre-pubertal girl, a singer, slave girl/woman, concubine, or maid. The last four definitions show that it is a pejorative term, just like the word ‘boy’ was used by white people to describe black male slaves, even if adults.
slave girl, female slave, bondmaid, bondwoman, odalisque girl, odalisque
‘Jariya’ is sometimes translated as ‘young playful girl’, but it is never used to describe a mature woman, particularly one who is married, unless that person is below the age of puberty. ‘Jariya’ is also sometimes translated as ‘young girl’ or ‘young woman’. However, this does not mean that the subject has passed the age of puberty because the Arabic meaning is not the same as the English understanding of the phrase ‘young woman’. In other words, the Arabic term ‘jariya’ carries the same meaning as the English understanding of the phrase ‘young woman’ to mean ‘girl’ or ‘lass’ (Roget’s Thesaurus).
This is proven by Mufti Sayed Abdul Jaleel Saheb, Sheikh - ul- Hadith - Madressah Talimuddeen who said, “In the Arabic language, the word "Jaria" is generally used for a young, immature girl (who has not reached the age of puberty as yet).”
The understanding that Aisha was below the age of puberty is emphasized by the phrase “hadeethaathil sanna”, which means ‘new’, ‘beginning’, or ‘initial age’. This phrase carries the notion of immaturity because it is the initial age, bearing in mind that the phrase does not mean ‘new’ as in a “change” (which is a possible understanding of the English word ‘new’), but refers to the initial phase or beginning. Hence, “jariyathil hadeethaathil sanna” means a young girl in the first period of her youth, which can only mean the age before puberty.
Ayesha Bewley of the Maliki School has also translated al-Bukhari, but merely translated this phrase to ‘young girl’. This is not the true meaning of the phrase as it does not specifically convey the notion that Aisha bint Abu Bakr was below the age of puberty. Hence, some Muslims might delude themselves into thinking that ‘young girl’ in this translation does not say anything about puberty. It does – in Arabic.
Other ahadith also show Aisha was a jariya, or a pre-pubertal girl:
Narrated Yusuf bin Mahk:While I was with Aisha, the mother of the Believers, a person from Iraq came and asked, "What type of shroud is the best?" 'Aisha said, "May Allah be merciful to you! What does it matter?" He said, "O mother of the Believers! Show me (the copy of) your Qur'an," She said, "Why?" He said, "In order to compile and arrange the Qur'an according to it, for people recite it with its Suras not in proper order." 'Aisha said, "What does it matter which part of it you read first? (Be informed) that the first thing that was revealed thereof was a Sura from Al-Mufassal, and in it was mentioned Paradise and the Fire. When the people embraced Islam, the Verses regarding legal and illegal things were revealed. If the first thing to be revealed was: 'Do not drink alcoholic drinks.' people would have said, 'We will never leave alcoholic drinks,' and if there had been revealed, 'Do not commit illegal sexual intercourse, 'they would have said, 'We will never give up illegal sexual intercourse.' While I was a young girl of playing age, the following Verse was revealed in Mecca to Muhammad: 'Nay! But the Hour is their appointed time (for their full recompense), and the Hour will be more grievous and more bitter.' (54.46) Sura Al-Baqara (The Cow) and Surat An-Nisa (The Women) were revealed while I was with him." Then 'Aisha took out the copy of the Qur'an for the man and dictated to him the Verses of the Suras (in their proper order)
The Arabic phrase here is “jariyathan al-aban”.
Narrated Yusuf bin Mahik:I was in the house of 'Aisha, the mother of the Believers. She said, "This revelation: "Nay, but the Hour is their appointed time (for their full recompense); and the Hour will be more previous and most bitter." (54.46) was revealed to Muhammad at Mecca while I was a playful little girl."
The Arabic phrase here is “jariyathan al-aban”.
Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah:When I got married, Allah's Apostle said to me, "What type of lady have you married?" I replied, "I have married a matron' He said, "Why, don't you have a liking for the virgins and for fondling them?" Jabir also said: Allah's Apostle said, "Why didn't you marry a young girl so that you might play with her and she with you?'
The Arabic phrase here is “jariyathan thulaibuha”. It shows that 'jariya' is the opposite of ‘matron’ or a mature woman.
The two hadiths above, tell us the age when Aisha got her first menses. Her marriage was consummated in the year 622, and this journey for hajj took place in 629. Therefore, Aisha was about sixteen years old at the time of her first menstruation.
In summary, Dr Muhsin Khan in the official text published in the Islamic University; Al-Medina Al-Munauwara, Saudi Arabia, says in two related ahadith that Aisha had not reached puberty when she was 15 years old, and in another two it is shown she first menstrated at the age of sixteen. The text is published by Dar Al-Fikar, with a signed prologue of many scholars, and is attested by Muhammad Amin Al-Ansari PhD, Adviser and Head of Sharia Department, in the same University.
Hence, from the original Arabic, it is clear that Aisha was below the age of puberty at the age of 14 (at the time of the raid on the Bani Mustaliq) or 15 (at the time of the Ethiopian slaves dancing incident), and begun her first menstrual period at the age of 16 (during the journey for hajj). We know that Muhammad ‘udkhilath’ (sexually penetrated) her when she was nine years old, and that the average age at menarche was between 12 to 13 years of age. Thus, putting all the evidence together, it is without a doubt that Muhammad had sex with a child below the age of puberty.
- Average age at menarche in various cultures - Medieval Middle East, 12-13 Years
- Bojlen and Bentzon - "The Influence of Climate and Nutrition on Age at Menarche: A Historical Review and A Modern Hypothesis" - (1968)
- Kiddushin (tosafot) 41a
- Yebamot 44a
- Sanhedrin 76a
- Six decades later, world’s youngest mother awaits aid - The Telegraph, August 27, 2002
- Arabic to English dictionary.sakhr.com
- Quote taken from QURANIC AYAH WHEREIN ALLAAH T A' ALA HAS DECLARED THE PROHIBITATION OF MUSIC. tazkiyah.info