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"My mercy extends to all things. I shall ordain it for those who do right, and practice regular charity, and those who believe in Our signs; especially those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own scriptures, in the Torah and the Injil.
For he commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil, and he allows them as lawful what is good (and pure) and prohibits them from what is bad (and impure). He releases them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them.
The enemies of the Prophet now have different names and come from different places than they did during the life of RasulAllah, but their insolence, vulgarity and general lack of anything resembling manners or civility have not changed at all.
Anas reported: The Messenger of God was the best of all the people in conduct . [agreed]
Abdullah bin 'Amr ibnal 'Aas reported: the Messenger of God did not use indecent speech nor did he listen to it. He used to say, "The best of you is the best among you in manners .'' [agreed].
The Character of the Prophet Through the Eyes of Non-Muslims
It is impossible for anyone who studies the life and character of the great Prophet of Arabia, who knows how he taught and how he lived, to feel anything but reverence for that mighty Prophet, one of the great messengers of the Supreme.
Annie Besant, The Life and Teachings of Muhammad, 1932, p. 4
The Character of the Prophet Through the Eyes of Non-Muslims
When the sources are closely scrutinized, it is clear that those of Muhammad's actions, which are disapproved by the modern West, were not the object of the moral criticism of his contemporaries … His contemporaries did not find him morally defective in any way .
W. Montgomery Watt, Muhammad: Prophet and Statesman, 1961, page 229.
On the contrary, some of the acts criticized by the modern Westerner show that Muhammad's standards were higher than those of his time. In his day and generation he was a social reformer, even a reformer in the sphere of morals. He created a new system of social security and a new family structure, both of which were a vast improvement on what went before… he established a religious and social framework for the life of many races of men.
I have studied him - the wonderful man and in my opinion far from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the Savior of Humanity . I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness: I have prophesied about the faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable to the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today.
… the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet, the scrupulous regard for pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle. When I closed the 2nd volume [of his biography], I was sorry there was not more for me to read of that great life.
The Authentic Historical Record of the Prophet’s Marriage to 'Aisha
'Aisha narrated that the Prophet was betrothed (zawaj) to her when she was six years old and he consummated (nikah) his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years.
The Messenger of God said (to me): "You have been shown to me twice in (my) dreams. A man was carrying you in a silken cloth and said to me, 'This is your wife.' I uncovered it; and behold, it was you. I said to myself, 'If this dream is from God, He will cause it to come true.'" - Bukhari
His marriage to 'Aisha was in fact full of bliss for both families, as is seen in the hadith.
'Aisha was his favorite wife, the only virgin that he ever married, and after his death, one of Islam's greatest scholars, consistently called upon by the Companions for clarification on numerous Islamic matters.
The Cultural Norms of the Era of the Prophet Muhammad
Solomon and Rehoboam (refer to 1 Kings 11 and 14 for further reference)
Mary, the Mother of Jesus
Like other women of her day, Mary would have been married around the age of twelve, the onset of puberty. The marriage would have been arranged by her parents, normally to an older man. A year or so after betrothal, they would have been married. - Dr. Helen K Bond
Historically, the attitude of the English common law was that a person under 7 yrs lacked the mental ability to consent to marriage, and that between 7 yrs and puberty there could be consent but not a consummated marriage .
At common law, therefore, the marriage of a person between the ages of 7 and 12 or 14 was "inchoate" and would become "choate" on reaching puberty, if no objection was raised.
The common law of England has been the subject of unstinted eulogy and it is, undoubtedly, one of the most splendid embodiments of human genius. It is a source of profound satisfaction to Catholics that it came into being as a definite system and was nurtured, and to a great extent administered, during the first ten centuries of its existence by the clergy of the Catholic Church .
If any marriage took place before the age of seven, the partners, not the parents, (although it would be a difficult task to separate one from the other) had to confirm their consent when they reached maturity.
The lay authorities accepted the Church's doctrine on marriage, but betrothals and marriages did occasionally take place before the parties were seven years old. Ward, English Noblewomen in the Later Middle Ages
"A matron should not be given in marriage except after consulting her; and a virgin should not be given in marriage except after her permission." The people asked, "O Prophet of God! How can we know her permission?" He said, "Her silence (indicates her permission). - Bukhari
The Medical Aspects Related to Puberty and Adolescence
Part of the wisdom then behind the Prophet Muhammad's marriage to 'Aisha, just after she reached puberty, is to clearly establish this as a point of Islamic Law, even though it was already a cultural norm in all Semitic societies, including the one in which Jesus lived.
Majority of Islamic jurists say that the earliest time that a marriage can be consummated is at the onset of sexual maturity, or bulugh, meaning puberty.
Also is the age in which a person, man or woman, becomes legally responsible under Islamic Law.
Already the norm of all Semitic cultures, and is still the norm in many societies today.
Was It Unusual for Aisha to Reach Puberty at Nine?
According to a 1997 landmark study published in the medical journal Pediatrics , nearly 50% of African-American girls and 15% of Caucasian American girls begin to develop breasts and/or pubic hair by age eight!
Marissa Carter, a Galveston, Texas, housewife, could not believe it when her daughter Sharon, at the tender age of 4, seemed to be developing breasts. The tiny buds that appeared on the little girl's chest were gone within a couple of weeks, but three years later, they reappeared, and this time they grew--along with pubic hair and hair in Sharon's armpits.
So after a series of medical consultations, the Carters (all these names have been changed at the families' request) put Sharon on lupron, a hormone that slams the brakes on puberty--only to see their happy little girl go into terrible mood swings. "I had a child acting like she was in menopause," says Carter. The parents decided to stop the treatment, and by age 9, Sharon had full-blown breasts and was getting her period …
If these were isolated cases, they might be chalked up to statistical flukes. But it seems as if everywhere you turn these days--outside schools, on soccer fields, at the mall--there are more and more elementary schoolgirls whose bodies look like they belong in high school and more and more middle schoolers who look like college coeds.
"Young girls [in the 5-to-10-year-old range] with breasts or pubic hair--we encounter this every day we're in clinic," says Dr. Michael Freemark, chief of pediatric endocrinology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.
The question that naturally arises from this discussion then is this: is promiscuous sex amongst our young rapidly advancing girls the solution to this pandemic, as opposed to what those "primitive" societies in the past did in similar circumstances, which was early marriage?
In our own arrogance we now stand face-to-face with the reality of that very question.
In sharp contrast to the exploitive relations which we have left our naïve daughters to in this, the twenty first century, let us reflect for a moment on what became of young 'Aisha after her marriage to Muhammad.
'Aisha, the Mother of the Believers as she was named in the Qur'an, was not only a model for wives and mothers, but she was also a commentator on the Qur'an, an authority on Hadith and knowledgeable in the disciplines of Islamic Law, Arabic history and literature.
For those who question the role of women in Islam, one needs only look back at how she was regularly consulted in countless and diverse religious matters both during the life of the Prophet, and even more after his death.
'Urwa ibnal Zubair says, " I did not find anyone more proficient [than Aisha] in the knowledge of the Qur'an, the Commandments of Halal (lawful) and Haram (prohibited), Ilmul-Ansab and Arabic poetry. That is why even senior companions of the Prophet used to consult Aisha in resolving intricate issues ".
Ibn Qayyim and Ibn Sa'ad, Jala-ul-Afham, vol. 2, p. 26.
Is There Any Justice in Portraying Muhammad As So?
The American Psychiatric Association further defines a pedophile as: a person who over at least a 6 month period has recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child.
Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, American Psychiatric Association, 1994
But do you mean to tell me that the man who in the full flush of youthful vigour, a young man of four and twenty (24), married a woman much his senior, and remained faithful to her for six and twenty years (26), at fifty years of age when the passions are dying married for lust and sexual passion? Not thus are men's lives to be judged. And you look at the women whom he married, you will find that by every one of them an alliance was made for his people, or something was gained for his followers, or the woman was in sore need of protection.
Oddly enough though, the one arena where one is sure to find an abundance of pedophiles and sexual deviants is not in Islam, but in mainstream Christianity.
The Reasons behind the Sudden Surge of Today's Attacks on the Prophet Muhammad
It is most amazing to see these Christian hooligans of today focusing their efforts on characterizing the Prophet of Islam as a "pedophile", at exactly the same time that hundreds, if not thousands, of people across the United States are coming out of the darkness to detail the years of utterly humiliating and devastating sexual abuse that they suffered at the hands of clergy from every denomination of organized Christianity represented in the United States.
"Although we find the numbers of molesting clergy staggering, our figures undoubtedly reflect only a fraction of these cases," notes Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor of Freethought Today and author of the 1988 book Betrayal of Trust: Clergy Abuse of Children.
"It has to be stressed that many criminal cases are not necessarily reported by newspapers, and that most cases of clergy abuse of children never reach the criminal courts in the first place.
A majority of victims, 60% of whom were boys, were molested on church property or during church-sanctioned outings.
The profile of the typical minister charged with molesting children: a 45-year-old man (ages ranged from 24 to 80 at the time of arrest), with 4 to 5 named victims, most often boys in their early teens.
Most ministers, however, were suspected of molesting many other children. Conservatively, the 190 clergy [in this one study] had at least 4,000 other victims, for a low estimate of an average of 21 victims each. These children were not included in charges for pragmatic legal reasons, because they had been molested in other cities and times, or because the statute of limitations had been exceeded.
The Prophet Muhammad's marriage to 'Aisha upon her reaching the age of puberty, viewed both in the light of Absolute Morality and the cultural norms of his time, was far from being an immoral act, but instead was an act containing valuable lessons for generations to come.
Moreover, this marriage followed the cultural norms of all Semitic peoples, including those of Biblical times. Based on this, and other information elaborated upon above, it is grossly hypocritical for Christians to criticize the Prophet's marriage to 'Aisha at such a young age.
Additionally, it is important to note that the Prophet Muhammad has been sent as, amongst other things, a role model and example of excellent conduct for the believers. With this understanding in mind, one can look back into the Prophet's life to see his example in many different marital settings, both monogamous and polygynous.
We also see his various dealings with his wives, as some were younger, others older; some were virgins upon marriage, and others divorced or widows.
It is furthermore both unreasonable and impractical to judge societal practices dating back nearly fifteen hundred years ago by comparing them to the ones in the current age.
In a time when the average life expectancy was nearly half of what it is today, and an era where fifteen and sixteen year old youths, like the Companion Usama bin Zayd, were sometimes made the commanders of imperial armies, the marriage of girls at the age of puberty was not only reasonable, but in fact the norm in most cultures around the world.
On the contrary, it heretofore remains unknown how modern society will cope with the current rise in early puberty among its young girls, and the threat this presents to them. It may yet teach us the appreciation for the efforts and ways of those that came before us.