Investigating the marriage and consummation of the Prophet Muhammad to Aisha.
Note: Read the entire thing till the end before making judgements.
In this post i will completely refute this allegation in absolute detail so it may be satisfactory to all people.
If its not obvious enough its one of the most popular if not the single most popular allegation thrown against Islam or specifically the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Matter of fact this is so popular to the point it may be known to almost everyone reading this post hence i will not spend too much time explaining this. The irony is this is probably on of the most easiest allegations to refute at least for me.
People who claim this allegation mostly do the following things:
5.Leaving important information about the marriage and consummation.
Here will will be the following points to refute this entirely:
- Aisha was Physically and Mentally mature for the marriage and consummation
- Abu bakr and Khawla advised the marriage
- Aisha was not raped
- Aisha and the dolls
- Aisha consented and was overjoyed
- The minimum age of marriage in Islam
- The Prophet Muhammad as a moral example
- A historical narrative
- Answering Objections.
1# Aisha was Physically and Mentally mature for the marriage and consumation
This entire allegation is built on the following Hadiths.
that the Prophet (ﷺ) married 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).
 Sahih al-Bukhari 5133
Narrated Sahih al-Bukhari 5133
Aisha: that the Prophet (ﷺ) married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old. Hisham said: I have been informed thatAisha remained with the Prophet (ﷺ) for nine years (i.e. till his death).
“Narrated Hisham’s father: Khadija died three years before the Prophet departed to Al-Madina. He stayed there for two years or so and then he wrote the marriage (wedding) contract with Aishah when she was a girl of six years of age, and he consummated that marriage when she was nine years old” Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 236).
What many do know in fact is the fact Aisha had reached puberty and physical and mental maturity during this age.
Firstly let us look at Aisha’s own statements before jumping into medical/biological evidence that she was physically and mentally mature.
Aisha: "When the girl becomes 9 years old, she has become a woman."
This one Hadith single handedly refutes the entire thing in a whole but we want more evidence. Let us further continue.
It has been medically proven that puberty starts around 8-10 which not only affirms Aisha’s statement but also proves Aisha had reached maturity during consummation.
In 2017, the international journal ‘Nature’ published a study of girls in America hitting puberty as early as 6 and 7 years of age.
“Marcia Herman-Giddens was a physician’s associate in the 1980s … Many girls in her clinic at the paediatrics department of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, had breast buds by the age of 9 or 10 … The age of puberty, far from being a biological constant, has been changing for much of human history, and the clearest evidence is seen in women. …
Menarche affected Palaeolithic girls between the ages of 7 and 13 (based on analysis of bone length, to indicate the amount of oestrogen exposure) … It typically begins at the age of 9 or 10, but sometimes as early as 6 or 7.” Jessa Gamble, “Puberty: Early Starters,” Nature 4th October 2017
Sandra Steingraber’s book ‘The Falling Age of Puberty in US Girls’ carefully traced the complex and interlocking relationships between puberty and the consequences of the maturation process on young women:
“Many of us have heard the anecdotal evidence and may even know someone – a neighbour, a niece, a daughter: girls with breast buds and pubic hair at age 6 or 7 and first menstruation for 8-year-olds becoming the norm, not the exception … “Normal” puberty onset can range from ages 8-13 years of age and may take, on average, 1.5 to 6 years to complete.) Kathleen O’Grady, Early puberty for girls: The new ‘normal’ and why we need to be concerned, Canadian Women’s Health Network 2008, Volume 11, Number 1
Jennifer Knudtson of the University of Texas in his book ‘Puberty in Girls’ also confirms the current age of puberty differs from that three centuries ago, and for girls, puberty begins around age 8 to 13 years.
In a leading book of Human Sexuality, John Bancroft (formerly director and currently senior research fellow The Kinsey Institute) in his book ‘Human Sexuality and Its Problems’ argue countries relatively close to the Equator (such as Arabia), tend to have an earlier age at puberty:
“The factors that determine onset of puberty … are not well understood. But there has been a well-documented difference across ethnic groups. In general, young people who come from Mediterranean countries, or countries relatively close to the Equator, tend to have earlier age at puberty than those from more Northern or Southern societies.” John Bancroft, Human Sexuality and Its Problems, p. 191.
The same thing is mentioned in another leading book of clinical gynecologic endocrinology and infertility, adds black American girls begin puberty between ages 8 and 9 and white American girls by age 10 (similar age of A’isha (when the marriage was consummated).  Speroff et al, Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility, 6th ed, p. 401
The endocrinologists Peter Gluckman and Mark Hanson clarified the point between biological and psychosocial maturation as it’s a relatively recent phenomenon and the onset of puberty does not decide the adulthood of a given person today, this same judgment does not apply to people of the past.  Gluckman and Hanson, “Evolution, Development and Timing of Puberty,” Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, 17:1 (2006), p. 10
A similar approach is taken by two bio archaeologists, Sian Halcrow and Nancy Tayles who consider the importance of alignment of social processes with biological maturation:
‘Also, in contrast to modern Western society where social age is closely linked to chronological age, in many “traditional” societies, stages of maturation are acknowledged in defining age.’ Siân Halcrow and Nancy Tayles, The Bioarchaeological Investigation of Childhood and Social Age, p. 203.
Contemporary females face different social and geographic factors that determine their physical and psychosocial fitness.
Professor Mary Lewis warned against anachronistic thinking regarding childhood and maturity in the past:
“No matter what period we are examining, childhood is more than a biological age, but a series of social and cultural events and experiences that make up a child’s life … What is clear is that we cannot simply transpose our view of childhood directly onto the past. Mary Lewis, The Bioarchaeology of Children, p. 4.
For more further evidences that the age maturity takes place during 6-10 visit the following links:
Matter of fact this is so well known even 9th century Islamic Scholar Imam Sha’fi acknowledges this proven fact.
Note: Imam Sha’fi was also scholar in the field of medicine as well that being one of his interests.
“I have seen many girls in Yemen undergo menses (reach the age of puberty) at the age of nine.” Dhahabi, Siyar A’lam an-Nubala’, Vol. 10, p. 91
Bayhaqi narrated a similar statement regarding the girls of Tihamah in Arabia.
narrated that ash-Shaafa‘i said: The earliest age at which I heard of girls reaching puberty was the women of Tihaamah who reach puberty at the age of nine. Sunan Al Kubra 1588
Bayhaqi also narrated another story similar to it
In San‘aa’ I saw a grandmother who was twenty-one years old; she reached puberty at the age of nine and gave birth at the age of ten, and her daughter reached puberty at the age of nine and gave birth at the age of ten. As-Sunan al-Kubra by al-Bayhaqi (1/319)
So this confirms that this not something only found in modern medical research but also found in documents way earlier. Which also includes Islamic ones as well.
This also affirms that that Aisha’s statement that when a girl reaches the age of nine she becomes a woman is medically true!. And it also means that she was physically mature for the consumation! As we saw by here own words.
However let us look at many further more clear evidences which affirm this. But this time from the Islamic sources not the medical ones.
Narrated AISHA: (the wife of the Prophet) I had seen my parents following Islam since I attained the age of PUBERTY. Not a day passed but the Prophet visited us, both in the mornings and evenings.” Sahih al-Bukhari volume 1, Book 8, Hadith 465
Here we have Aisha explicitly from here narrations state that she had reached puberty ever since her parents had been following Islam
Some critics have cast doubt on the Hadith where it mentions that Aisha hit “puberty” and claim that the translation that was made by the renowned scholar Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan is unreliable. As such we looked at Arabic-English Dictionaries on the word a’qal. The late professor Hans Wehr (1909 – 1981) who studied at the University of Munster published a book, “A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic”. He comments on the word “A’qal”:
“… a’qal more reasonable; brighter, smarter, more intelligent | … a’qal al’umr the most reasonable time of life, the years of reason and MATURITY.” Hans Wehr A Dictionary of Modern written Arabic [Edited by John Milton – Spoken Language Services, Inc. 1976], page 737
Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan’s rendering of “puberty” in the first report is line with Professor Hans Wehr’s understanding of the Arabic language.
The narrations presented prove that Aisha had already hit puberty before the consummation of the marriage taken place.
There is even more evidence from Islamic sources to back this fact up
Narrated Aisha, :
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) married me when I was seven or six. When we came to Medina, some women came. according to Bishr’s version: Umm Ruman came to me when I was swinging. They took me, made me prepared and decorated me. I was then brought to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), and he took up cohabitation with me when I was nine. She halted me at the door, and I burst into laughter.
 Sunan Abu Dawud Book 41, Hadith 4915
Abu Dawud said: That is to say: I menstruated, and I was brought in a house, and there were some women of the Ansari in it. They said: With good luck and blessing. The tradition of one of them has been included in the other.
Here again we see Aisha herself says was menstruating which she means reached puberty. Which also affirms the previous evidences.
Aisha narrated “My mother intended to make me gain weight for me to (consummate the marriage with the Prophet) and send me to the (house of) the Messenger of Allah (saw). But nothing which she desired benefited me till she gave me cucumber with fresh dates to eat. Then I gained like the best kind of plump.” Sunan Abi Dawud 3903, Ibn Majah Hadith 3324
So this is even more interesting evidence. Here we see Aisha herself was getting ready for the consummation. And her mother was even helping her. Which means that she had no problem and was mature in every way for the consummation. Which also refutes the falsely alleged exaggerated claim she was raped.
Now here is the last evidence which puts the nail in the coffin.
“Aishah said: “The Messenger of Allah married me when I was six years old. Then we came to Al-Madinah and settled among Banu Harith bin Khazraj. I BECAME ILL AND MY HAIR FELL OUT, THEN IT GREW BACK AND BECAME ABUNDANT. My mother Umm Ruman came to me while I was on an Urjuhah with some of my friends, and called for me. I went to her, and I did not know what she wanted.
She took me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house, and I was panting. When I got my breath back, she took some water and wiped my face and head, and led me into the house. There were some woman of the Ansar inside the house, and they said: ‘With blessings and good fortune (from Allah).’ (My mother) handed me over to them and they tidied me up.
And suddenly I saw the Messenger of Allah in the morning. And she handed me over to him and I was at that time, nine years old.” Sunan Ibn Majah volume 3, Book 9, Hadith 1876. Grade: Sahih (Darussalam)
Narrated Aisha: The Prophet engaged me when I was a girl of six (years). We went to Medina and stayed at the home of Bani-al-Harith bin Khazraj. THEN I GOT ILL AND MY HAIR FELL DOWN. LATER ON MY HAIR GREW (again) and my mother, Um Ruman, came to me while I was playing in a swing with some of my girl friends. She called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted to do to me.
She caught me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house. I was breathless then, and when my breathing became Alright, she took some water and rubbed my face and head with it. Then she took me into the house. There in the house I saw some Ansari women who said, “Best wishes and Allah’s Blessing and a good luck.”
Then she entrusted me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage). Unexpectedly Allah’s Apostle came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age. Sahih al-Bukhari volume 5, Book 58, Hadith 234
It’s important to pay close attention to the above two narrations. Some may wonder, what is important about the part in the narration that is capitalized in bold, where it says,
“Then I got ill and my hair fell down. Later on my hair grew”
This part of the Hadith shows explicitly from the point of science that Aisha hit puberty before the marriage was consummated with the Prophet . Hair loss is common among women. Hair loss happens when a girl goes through changes with her body i.e, hitting puberty.
Shannon Harrison, Melissa Piliang and Wilma explain why, when hair disorders occur:
Alopecia is the general term for hair loss. Hair loss can occur from the scalp and any hair-bearing part of the body. Hair has great social and cultural importance, and patients with hair loss experience anxiety and concern…..
 Current Clinical Medicine: Expert Consult [Second edition – Elsevier Inc, 2010], by Shannon Harrison, Melissa Piliang, & Wilma Bergfeld, page 289 – 290
….The most common form of hair loss is androgenetic alopecia (pattern hair loss), which increases with age; at least 80% of white men show some degree of thinning by the age of 70 year. Androgenetic alopecia OCCURS WITH THE ONSET OF PUBERTY and in males is dependent on circulating androgens. FEMALE PATTERN HAIR LOSS (female androgenetic alopecia) ALSO STARTS AFTER PUBERTY…”
Dr. Lisa Akbari:
“Studies show that hair loss affects approximately one third of all women. Although hair loss is most commonly seen after menopause, it can begin AS EARLY AS PUBERTY.” Every Woman’s Guide to Beautiful Hair at Any Age: Learn What Can Be Done to keep a beautiful head of hair for a lifetime [SourceBooks, Inc – Naperville, Illinois, 2007] by Lisa Akbari page 70 -71
“Androgenic alopecia may develop in a WOMAN at any time AFTER THE ONSET OF PUBERTY, although it most often occurs during the perimenopausal period or at times of hormonal change. Primary Care for Women [Second edition – Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2004] by Gisela Torres and Stephen K. Tyring, page 838)
The following facts we can gather from this evidence:
(1) Aisha got ill and a lot of her hair started falling (hitting puberty).
(2) After a while (months or year(s)) her hair grew again.
(3) Aisha states that she was 9 years old when the marriage was consummated and this is when she started living with Prophet Muhammed as the report states:
The claim that “Aisha was a prepubescent girl when her marriage was consummated”, the evidences presented refutes this. From the perspective of modern science, the scholars attest that Aisha did indeed hit puberty before the marriage was consummated. Not only that we see Aisha’s own narrations and medical evidence also refutes this.
Heres what a few Objective Orientalists say about this:
There are many orientalists who acknowledged the fact that A’isha was mature when she married the Prophet and it is something not to be condemned historically not morally. for example, Nabia Abbott, an American female orientalist and has written much anti-Islam literature, argued about the marriage:
“In no version is there any comment made on the disparity of the ages between Mohammed and Aishah or on the tender age of the bride who, at the most, could not have been over ten years old and who was still much enamoured with her play.” Abbott, Aishah-The Beloved of Mohammed, Al-Saqi Books, p. 7
The contemporary female orientalist specialised in the life of Prophet Muhammad (saw) the Karen Armstrong© agreed with Tabari on the maturity of A’isha (ra) at the time of marriage:
“Tabari says that she was so young that she stayed in her parents’ home and the marriage was consummated there later when she had reached puberty.” Karen Armstrong, Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet, Harper San Francisco, 1992, page 157
Regardless of the above two female orientalists mistakes in presenting Islam and its sources, but their objective feminism did not find any problem with the clear fact presented in the issue.
Now what is the conclusion of this point? Well i will not present my conclusion and say if Aisha was physically and mentally mature or not. I will present the great 9th century maliki scholar Al-Dawudi’s conclusion which he concludes with
“And Aishah’s body had been matured. [i.e. reached ‘good Youthfulness’ (Shabaaban husna)] – may Allah be pleased with her“ Sharh Sahih Muslim 9/207 by Imam Nawawi
And Islam Q/A one of the most famous authoritative websites reached a similiar conclusion as Al-Dawudi
Based on that, the Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) consummated his marriage with ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) when she had reached puberty or was very close to it. Islam Q/A,Answer Number 122534
Obviously both of them acknowledge with this and all the other evidences presented above prove the Prophet Muhammad consummated the marriage with Aisha as a suitable age.
2# Abu bakr and Khawla advised the marriage
Many(like the previous point) are actually ignorant of this fact. The reason why this marriage and consummation came to be in the first place because Khawla advised it because she was afraid of the Prophet Muhammads depression after Khadija’s death. And matter of fact even Abu Bakr had urged as many claim “He was forced”.
“After Khadijah died, Khawlah bint Hakeem,…said: ‘Wouldn’t you marry, O prophet of Allah?’ He said: ‘Who?’ She said: ‘If you like, a virgin, or a previously married woman.’ He said: ‘Who is the virgin?’ She said: ‘The daughter of the most beloved creature to you, Aisha daughter of Abu Bakr.’ He said: ‘And who is the previously married?’ She said: ‘Sawda bint Zama; she believed in you and followed you, in what you say.’ He said: ‘So go, and mention me to them.’
So she entered Abu Bakr’s house and said: ‘O Um Ruman, what great good and blessing did Allah grant you!’ She said: ‘And what is that?’ She said: ‘The Prophet PBUH sent me to propose his marriage to Aisha.’ She said: ‘Wait for Abu Bakr to come.’ Abu Bakr came and she said: ‘O Abu Bakr, what great good and blessings did Allah grant you!’ He said: ‘And what is that?’ She said: ‘The Prophet PBUH sent me to propose his marriage to Aisha.’ He said: ‘Is she good for him? She is his brother’s daughter.’
She returned to the Prophet PBUH and mentioned that to him. He said: ‘Return and tell him I am your brother and you are my brother in Islam, and your daughter is good for me.’
She returned and mentioned that to him. He said: ‘Wait.’ And he went out. Um Ruman said that Mutim Ibn Adiyy had proposed for her to his son, and by Allah, Abu Bakr never made a promise and broke it… He returned and told Khawlah: ‘Invite the Prophet PBUH to come over.’ She invited him, and he married him to her, while Aisha was six years old then…
Aisha said: ‘Then we moved to Madinah and lived among bani al Harth al Khazraj, in al Zanh.’
She said: ‘Then the Prophet PBUH came and entered our house, and men and women gathered around him. And my mother came to me… and then said: ‘These are your parents, so may Allah bless them for you and bless you for them’… And the Prophet consummated our marriage in our house… and I was nine years old that day’.” From Imam Ahmad (Good Hadith according to Ibn Hajar in Fathul Bari, with other hadiths corroborating many of the details including Tabarani as good, Al Hakim in Mustadrak as authentic, and Abdulrazaq in Mustadrak)
“The Prophet ﷺ pained for Khadijah’s (death) to the point they feared for him (to die), until he married Aisha.” Al Isabah by Ibn Hajar,  Al Bidayah wal Nihayah” by Ibn Kathir
The Prophet did not approach Abu Bakr directly, rather, using the applicable etiquette, he replied to Khawla’s suggestion: “So go, and mention me to them”.
So we literally have Abu Bakr inviting the Prophet to marry his daughter. Along with the suggestion of Khawla since the companions feared because of his depression after the death of his wife Khadija.
Abu Bakr’s question to Khawla “Is she good for him? She is his brother’s daughter” was not an objection, rather, a question due to the pre-Islamic norm that assigned blood ties which do not actually exist, such as in adoption. The Prophet corrected this false notion through Khawla.
If Abu Bakr had any hesitation, he would simply have used the acceptable justification that she was already engaged, but instead he told Khawla to “Wait” and went immediately to request permission from Aisha’s previous fiancé.
Other sources affirm this fact
“This is an account of the same circumstances related by al-Bayhaqi through Ahmad b. Abd al-Jabbar, as follows, ‘Abd Allah b. Idris al-Azdi related to us, from Muhammad b. Amr, from Yahya b. Abd al-Rahman b. Hatib who reported, ‘A’isha said, ‘When Khadija died Khawla, daughter of Hakim, came and said, ‘O Messenger of God, would you like to be married?’ ‘To whom?’ he enquired. ‘It could, if you wish, be to a virgin or to a woman previously married,’ she replied. ‘Which virgin, and which previously married?’ he asked.
‘The virgin could be the daughter of that creation of God whom you love best; the previously married woman would be Sawda, daughter of Zam’a. She has expressed belief in you and become your follower.’ ‘Make mention of me to them, he told her.’” The Life of the Prophet Muhammed (‘Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya’) [Translated by Professor Trevor Le Gassick, Garnet Publishing – Copyright 2000, The Center for Muslim Contribution To civilization], by Ibn Kathir, volume 2, page 96
“In other words the messenger of Allah desists from marrying? He said: And who [do you suggest]? She said: Do you want a young woman (bakra) or an old woman (thayiba)? He said: So who is the young woman? She said: The daughter of the most beloved of Allah’s creation to you, ‘Aisha bint Abi Bakr. And he said: Who is the older woman? She said: Sawdah bint Zama‘ah. He said: So go and mention me to both of them.“ . Abu al-Qasim al-Ṭabarani, al-Mu‘jam al-Kabir (Cairo: Maktabah ibn Taymiyah, 1994), 5923:23  “A Modern Matn Criticism on the Tradition on Aisha’s Age of Marriage: Translation and Analysis”, p. 18-19
So khawla was the one who suggested to marry Aisha when the Prophet said “which virgin”. The reasoning behind that suggestion of course as we see previously becuas the prophet was saddened after the death of Khadija.
Barnaby Rogerson comments on this, regarding Khawlah suggesting the marriage and saying that the marriage was consummated years later when Aisha had physically matured, “after her menstruation”:
“After Khadijah died the Prophet’s household and his daughters were cared for by Khawlah, the wife of one of his loyal followers. After the first period of mourning had passed, Khawlah suggested that he should find another wife. She herself put forward two candidates, the very beautiful Aisha, daughter of Abu Bakr, and Sawdah, a motherly thirty-year-old.
Muhammad chose both of them Sawdah, of the Muslims who had taken refuge in Abyssinia, had recently been widowed. She was therefore immediately available and moved in to take charge of the household. Aisha, then still a pre-pubescent virgin, was betrothed by her father BUT DID NOT PHYSICALLY BECOME MUHAMMAD’S WIFE UNTIL SHE WAS CONSIDERED SEXUALLY MATURE, AFTER HER MENSTRUATION.” The Prophet Muhammad: And the Roots of the Sunni-Shia Schism [Hachette Digital, 2003], by Barnaby Rogerson page 55
It actually makes sense now on why the Prophet did NOT marry other women at earlier ages aside from Aisha. Its because the marriage of Aisha was recommended by Khawla. And it now it also makes sense why the marriage was recommended in the first place. That being because the Prophet was saddened after the death of Khadija.
3# Aisha was not raped
This is a baseless allegation and also a blatant lie. There is literally zero evidence which proves Aisha was raped hence this is simply an over-exaggaration without any evidence to back it up.
Furthermore with all the evidences and proofs provided earlier completely refute this claim in a whole since we see Aisha was not prepubescent and had reached mental and physical maturity.
But for the sake of this argument we will refute this anyway with further proof.
According to the the oxford learners dictionary rape is defined as “to force somebody to have sex with you when they do not want to by threatening them or using violence”  https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/rape_1?q=Rape
There is no evidence which proves this happened with Aisha. Hence this is baseless and completely false.
To further point out the Prophet said a virgin is not to be married except after her permission.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “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 Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! How can we know her permission?” He said, “Her silence (indicates her permission). Sahih al-Bukhari 5136
Means no one forced Aisha to marry the Prophet. Because as we know it. Aisha was a virgin when married to the Prophet.
I will further speak about Aisha giving consent to the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in the later points but all of this should be enough to refute the Myth that Aisha was “raped”.
4# Aisha and the dolls
This is allegation is based of the following Hadith
Narrated ‘Aisha: I used to play with the dolls in the presence of the Prophet, and my girl friends also used to play with me. When Allah’s Apostle used to enter (my dwelling place) they used to hide themselves, but the Prophet would call them to join and play with me. (The playing with the dolls and similar images is forbidden, but it was allowed for ‘Aisha at that time, as she was a little girl, not reached the age of puberty.) Sahih Al-Bukhari, volume 8, Book 73, Number 151
The fallacy claims that the proof of Aisha’s childhood is her saying that “her dolls were with her” when “she was taken to his house as a bride when she was 9”. But Ibn Hajar cites in Fathulbari that the Muslim scholars deduced from the context of this hadith, the permission to play with dolls regardless of age as a means to learn about matters of the home and raising children.
It should be noted the part where it’s in brackets,
(“The playing with the dolls and similar images is forbidden, but it was allowed for ‘Aisha at that time, as she was a little girl, not yet reached the age of puberty”.)
This is not part of the report, it is in fact a commentary of Sahih Bukhari titled ‘Fath-al-Bari’, written in the year 1428, by Shafi qadi, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani.
(I used to play with the dolls in the presence of the Prophet… the Prophet would call them to join and play with me)
Ibn Hajar later on explains the meaning and context of this Hadith.
“And from this hadith was deduced the permission to keep dolls and toys for girls to play with them, and that this was excluded from the general prohibition of keeping images (statues), and (The Judge) Iyad affirmed it, and related it was the majority (opinion), and that they (the majority) allow selling dolls to girls to train them from (the time of) their youth, about the matter of their homes and children; He (Iyad) said and some (the minority) had the opinion that it (the permission) is abrogated.” Sahih al-Bukhari 6130 with commentary from Fath al-Bari, Vol. 13, p. 143.
This quote of Judge Iyad is also in “The Explanation of Sahih Muslim”.
I [Ibn Hajar] say: To say with certainty, [that she was not yet at the age of puberty] is questionable, though it might possibly be so. This, because A’isha (ra) was a 14-year-old girl at the time of the Battle of Khaybar—either exactly 14 years old, or having just passed her 14th year, or approaching it. As for her age at the time of the Battle of Tabook, she had by then definitely reached the age of puberty.
Therefore, the strongest view is that of those who said: “It was in Khaybar” [i.e., when she was not yet at the age of puberty], and made reconciliation [between the apparent contradictory rulings of the permissibility of dolls in particular and the prohibition of images in general]… Fath al-Bari, vol.13 (n.d.), p. 143.
This explanation by Ibn Hajar reveals a number of important points which run contrary to the initial impressions of the Hadith. The first and most obvious issue with Ibn Hajar’s commentary is that he admits that Aisha was at least 14 years of age at the time this narration takes place, putting her well above the average age of the onset of puberty in the Near East during late antiquity (and even by today’s standards). This is most likely why Ibn Hajar felt his own conclusion was questionable.
Despite his own doubts, however, he suggests she must have not reached puberty due to reasons completely unrelated to her actual biological or psychosocial maturity.
However, what makes Ibn Hajar’s opinion even more tenuous is that his view was countered by other master scholars of hadith and Islamic jurisprudence, such as Imam al-Bayhaqi (d. 1066), who claimed that the prohibition was only declared after the events narrated in the hadith in question.
“The prohibition of pictorial and figural representations is confirmed from the Messenger of Allah ﷺ from many sources. It is likely that what is accepted in the narration of Abu Salamah from Aisha (ra) preceded the expedition of Khaybar and that was before the forbiddance of images and representations, then their forbiddance was after that.” Ahmad Ibn Husayn Bayhaqi, Al-Sunan Al-Kubra, V. 10, Ed. Muhammad ‘Abd al-Qadr Ata (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyah, 2003), p. 371.
However this does bring anything special to the table. Not only do we have more than enough evidence which clearly affirms Aisha was sexually,mentally and physically mature but Adult women can also play with dolls. Which makes this baseless.
Indeed, playing with dolls by adults is also common in many recent societies, as educational preparation for motherhood. It is ridiculous to claim that merely playing with dolls or swings is evidence of physical or even mental maturity.
“Highly valued toys and childhood objects can be curated well into adulthood and passed on to subsequent generations of children; therefore, artefacts found in the archaeological record may not adequately reflect the full range of material culture used and cherished by the users.“ Laurie Wilkie, “Not Merely Child’s Play: Creating a Historical Archaeology of Children and Childhood,” in Children and Material Culture, Ed. Joanna Sofaer Derevenski (New York: Routledge, 2000), p. 102.
The BBC America produced a documentary which show women above the age of 18 play with dolls:
“Monica Walsh, a 41-year-old wife and mother of a 2-year-old daughter from Orange County, N.Y., has one doll – “Hayden.” And, yes, she told Lauer, she plays with her doll “the same way a man might make a big train station and play with his train station or play with his sports car, his boat or his motorcycle.”
“Fran Sullivan, 62, lives in Florida and has never had children. She brought two reborns to New York, “Robin” and “Nicholas,” and said she has a collection of more than 600 dolls of all kinds, including a number of reborn dolls.” (“Bogus baby boom: Women who collect lifelike dolls”, by Mike Celizic, online source (last accessed 8th February 2017), Teddy bears: Adults on their stuffed toy companions” (BBC Magazine., Published 8 February 2013), online source (Last accessed 8th February 2017, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21367728
Additionally, this is also supported by the New York Times
Dr. Juliette Peers says that it was very fashionable for adult women to carry dolls in public in the early 20th century:
“As dolls were becoming closely identified with medicalized norms of girls’ behaviour, many adult doll-type products began production in the 1920s and 1930s. Some of these, such as the Lenci felt dolls from Italy, crossed over from adult mascot or living room decorations into the realm of children’s toys.
Others-such as the pinchusion dolls and porcelain dolls in the shape of hair tidies, bookends, perfume bottles, vases powder bowls, powder puffs, lamp bases and face brooches- would have been familiar items to the younger teen at least in their personal home environment and their mother’s room, if not standing on the girl’s dressing table o decorating her bedroom.
DURING THE 1920S, IT WAS TRENDY FOR ADULT WOMEN TO CARRY DOLLS IN PUBLIC, especially in urban areas, as a fashion accessory, and perfume flasks, purses and handbags were produced with doll or teddy bear faces. The Nancy Ann Story Book Company of California produced small dolls in series that encouraged young girls to collect the whole set.
The Nancy Ann Dolls crossed over from the younger to a young ADULT AUDIENCE, who regarded them a mascots and ornaments. Because the Nancy Ann dolls were extremely popular, the company had to switch to locally produced dolls when the supply sources in Axis countries became unavailable during World War II.” Girl Culture: An Encyclopedia [Claudia Mitchell, Jacqueline Reid-Walsh (editors), GP – Greenwood Press, 2008] by Dr. Juliette Peers, volume 1, page 28
Claudia Mitchel says:
“Collectible dolls are often given as presents to girls by doting parents and grandparents, as well as being bought as personal items by adult women.” Girl Culture: An Encyclopedia [Claudia Mitchell, Jacqueline Reid-Walsh (editors), GP – Greenwood Press, 2008] by Dr. Juliette Peers, volume 1, page 36
5#Aisha consented and was overjoyed
This lie dares to claim that “Aisha did not consent to the marriage.”
Not only did she consent to the marriage according to Islamic and medical requirements. Aisha was overjoyed, and stated 6 priveleges directly relating to her marriage:
“Ibn Sa’d said:…Aisha said (in appreciation): ‘I have been given features not given to any woman. The Prophet (peace be upon him) married me when I was seven, the angel brought him my image in his hand to look at it, he consummated our marriage when I was nine, I saw the angel Gabriel, I was his most beloved wife, and I attended his diseased till he died, not witnessed but by me and the angels’.” Al Isabah fi Tamyeez al Sahabah (The correct differentiation between the Companions”), by Ibn Hajar
6#The minimum age of marriage in Islam
Before knowing the Islamic perspective of the age of marriage, it is worth reviewing the validity of our understanding of the issue of puberty, marriage age and their socio-historical and psychological context.
Society defines the role of each member in the society; at what age he should marry, vote, work, graduate, join the army, and so on. Societies even disagree on each of these issues as it varies from place to place and culture to culture. What is fascinating is that each societies’ principles work and the expectations are accomplished.
From a psycho-social point of view, the stages in life, such as adulthood, childhood or manhood, are not only mental or physical signs but also historically and culturally different treatments and expectations. In our present time, the concept of childhood was widely invented and exaggerated because of the expectations we predict from children.
clarified the point between biological and psychosocial maturation as it’s a relatively recent phenomenon and the onset of puberty does not decide the adulthood of a given person today, this same judgment does not apply to people of the past:
“This mismatch between the age of biological and psychosocial maturation constitutes a fundamental issue for modern society. Our social structures have been developed in the expectation of longer childhood, prolonged education and training, and later reproductive competence. This emerging mismatch creates fundamental pressures on contemporary adolescents and on how they live in society.’ Peter Gluckman and Mark Hanson, “Evolution, Development and Timing of Puberty,” Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, 17:1 (2006), p. 10
A similar approach is taken by two bio archaeologists Sian Halcrow and Nancy Tayles who says:
“Also, in contrast to modern Western society where social age is closely linked to chronological age, in many “traditional” societies, stages of maturation are acknowledged in defining age…These stages take into account not only the chronological age but also the skills, personality and capacities of the individual.
“Also, in contrast to modern Western society where social age is closely linked to chronological age, in many “traditional” societies, stages of maturation are acknowledged in defining age…These stages take into account not only the chronological age but also the skills, personality and capacities of the individual. Siân Halcrow and Nancy Tayles, “The Bioarchaeological Investigation of Childhood and Social Age, p. 203
Professor Mary Lewis warned against anachronistic thinking regarding childhood and maturity in the past and it is:
“No matter what period we are examining, childhood is more than a biological age, but a series of social and cultural events and experiences that make up a child’s life … The Western view of childhood, where children do not commit violence and are asexual, has been challenged by studies of children that show them learning to use weapons or being depicted in sexual poses…What is clear is that we cannot simply transpose our view of childhood directly onto the past.” Mary Lewis, The Bioarchaeology of Children, p. 4.
The classical scholarship, relying on biological facts and processes, do not fix puberty to a given age but argue it varies. What determines maturity depends entirely on a society’s normative judgments of sexual attractiveness and functionality
Jurists identified two types of marriage: a contractual marriage (similar to what the Prophet contracted when A’isha was 7 or six ) which could be legally conducted at a point in a person’s life and later be revoked through their own volition.
On the other hand, there are some scholars nullify this Ijam’, such as the Iraqi Tabi’i jurist and judge Abdullah ibn Shabramah (d. 144 A.H.), the second-century jurist and Qadi of Basrah Uthman al-Batti and the third-century Mutazilite jurist and Qadi Abu Bakr al-Assam.
They argue it is not legally valid to contract the marriage when she or he has not yet reached the puberty. They claim the purpose of marriage is having sex and increase of offspring and these two purposes are not achievable by such contract and so useless. they also argue the two parties are the one who is entitled to such decision, so why others do it for them before they reach the age of consciousness. Sarkhasi, al-Mabsutt, Vol. 4, p. 212-213)
Some later scholars accepted their view, such as the seven-century Hanbali Mujtahid Jurist Imam Ibn Taymiyyah, as some of the contemporary jurists, such as the Hanbali jurist ibn Uthaymeen. They argued the Prophet said:
“A virgin is not to be married except after her permission.” Sahih Bukhari 5136.
Given the small girl is still a virgin who has not yet reached the age of consciousness and so her stipulated permission is not legally or socially valid, so the condition that the Prophet stipulated can’t be fulfilled. So they must wait until she is conscious enough for such a decision and seek her permission.
According Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen:
“It is not permissible (for the father) to marry off his sagheera daughter if she did not reach the puberty. Because if her permission is required, her permission in that age is not deemed. ….
This is the right view: the father is not permitted to marry off her daughter except after puberty and when she reaches puberty, he is not permitted to marry her off except after her permission.”  Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, al-Sharh al-Mummti’ ‘Ala Zaad al-Mustanqa’, Vol. 12, pp. 57-58
Here we see Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen who agrees it is not permissible for a father to marry off his daughter if she did not reach puberty. Which by todays standards is morally acceptable.
Now lets come to the consummation which is what matters the most.
The second type of marriage is a consummated marriage (similar to the consummation of the Prophet’s marriage when A’isha was 9) that required both parties to be physically capable of sexual relations given the logical implication that such a union would lead to this outcome.
The Maliki Jurist Ibn Battal said:
“It is not permitted for her husbands to consummate the marriage except if she is capable the sexual affairs and can afford men’s (sexual desire). Ibn Battal, Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 7, pp. 172-173
The state of each woman differs (from one to another) in this matter according to their capability and endurance.”
So this refutes the Myth that Islam permits sexual intercourse with prepubescent girls.
The same thing is penned by Ibn al-Mullaqan in his commentary on Sahih al-Bukhari at-Tawddih, Vol. 24, pp. 216-218 
and the tenth-century Hanafi jurist Ibn an-Najeem in his juristic book al-Bahr ar-Ra’iq, Vol. 3, p. 128 
According to Al-Siwasi Al-Hanafi :
“and to him she should not have pleasure from sexual intercourse with her, and it was mentioned in Al-Thakhira that pleasure is the purpose of sexual intercourse and in it the the judgment of the Hakim he said: it’s not allowed for the young that cannot have sexual intercourse, until she reach the stage of being able to endure it wither she is in the house of her husband or the father and there was a disagreement regarding that, it was said : she should be at least seven years old, and Al-‘Atabi said: our scholars chooses nine years old, but it’s corrected not to minimize it because it’s different from one girl to another” Sharih Fatih Al-Qadir Vol.3 Page.383
I.e what he is saying is that biologically each girl has her own minimum age of being able physically to endure sexual intercourse, this doesn’t mean that you can have sex with her even directly after birth, but as explained earlier she need to be tested to detriment when she is ready physically and mentally.
According to Ibn Najim Al-Masri
and scholars disagreed in the time of consummation of marriage with a young one, some said that he can’t have sexual intercourse until she is matured, some said until she is nine years of age, some said if she was fat and can endure it then he can, if not he can’t be allowed Al-Bahir Al-Raiq Vol.3 Page.210
This applies as the same as before. All girls do not go through the same age of puberty. Some may go through it in 9 some higher or lower than that. But however it is generally accepted that is not permissible to consummate unless the girl gives here permission and is physically and sexually matured.
Imam Nawawi narrated this is the view of the three Imams of Fiqh; i.e. Abu Hanifah, Shafi’i, and Malik:
“Malik, Shafi’i and Abu Hanifah said: The is measured by her capability of the sexual relationship and it varies from individual to individual and it is not limited to a certain age.” Sharh Sahih Muslim, Vol. 9, p. 206
Again as we saw before it varies from person to person but generally accepted that sexual intercourse should not be done unless she is able to do so sexually and biologically.
In a collective work of contemporary jurist committee, scholars argue if the bride is not capable of sexual relations, the marriage can’t be consummated regardless of her age:
If she is skinny and feeble, not capable of sexual relation and she may be medically harmed (by doing so), the husband is not permitted to consummate the marriage, even if she is old.” Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyah, Vol. 1, p. 287
So this eplicitly means that sexual relations with a woman who is not sexually and physically mature and can be harmed medically in Islam. This also means if a woman is in that phase then it is not permissible to have sexual relations with them as we previously saw.
Feminist critics of Islamic Law, such as Professor Judith Tucker, understood the point and said:
“A marriage could be contracted before either party was ready for sexual intercourse, but a marriage could not be consummated until both bride and groom were physically mature. Such maturity was not equated with puberty (the marker of legal majority), but rather could be reached before its onset. … Until such time, the marriage, although legally contracted, clearly lacked an essential element.” Judith Tucker, “Muftis and Matrimony: Islamic Law and Gender in Ottoman Syria and Palestine,” Islamic Law and Society, 1:3 (1994), p. 271.
Conclusion: There is no minimum or maximum age for marriage in Islam. Key determinants are signs of development and fitness. What determines maturity depends entirely on a society’s normative judgments of sexual attractiveness and functionality. The only condition of consummating the marriage is both parties must be physically capable of sexual relations and marriage responsibilities.
#7 The Prophet Muhammad as a moral example
This particular allegation goes something like this:
A.Prophet Muhammad is the perfect role model for all time.
B.Prophet Muhammad did something that is considered unacceptable to do today (i.e. the marriage to Aisha)
C.That means Prophet Muhammad is not the perfect role model for all time.
Asadullah Ali debunks this objection, writing:
“False dichotomy. Muhammad is always perfect because he dealt with the conditions of his time in a perfectly moral way. The problem here is that you seem to believe conditions for society are always static. If the average life expectancy was like 30 1400 years ago, it’s perfectly rational to marry as early as possible.
Saying we don’t follow that today is not an admission to his lack of perfection, but a basic understanding of human development and history. Condemning him for this action is evidence of a lack of education. And anyone who claims this is “subjective morality” is even dumber.“
A false dichotomy is a logical fallacy, it is addressed in two different forms as either a Black and White Fallacy or a False Dilemma Fallacy.
Another objection is that human lifespans have been nearly consistent for 2000 years which is usually cited along with this article https://www.livescience.com/10569-human-lifespans-constant-2-000-years.html 
This is refuted by John Hawks which can be found here.
But testing the “Bad Science” assertion is much easier – if human lifespan had really not changed in 2000 years, then 35-year-olds shouldn’t have left their skeletons very often in the Roman catacombs. Unfortunately (for them), we find those 35-year-old bodies. A rough estimate (gleaned from tomb inscriptions that give ages) is that half of Romans who lived to age 15 – and therefore escaped juvenile mortality – were dead before age 45.
Also an important thing to note down all of the evidences and demonstrations show that the Prophet Muhammads marriage to Aisha was not morally wrong. Lets do an analysis:
Aisha was physically and mentally mature during the marriage and consummation ✓
Aisha was not raped ✓
Aisha was not prepubescent ✓
Aisha had reached puberty and was medically ready for the consummation ✓
Hence there is literally nothing morally wrong.
Now does that means now every Muslim have to marry a 9 year old?
Short answer: No
Long answer: Nooooo
Because a girl may mature during different ages and as demonstrated(above with the evidences). All girls will NOT mature in the same age and will differ. Which means the Prophet Muhammad is still a moral example for all time.
8# A Historical narrative
Many recent critics of Islam claim that Muslims claiming “It was a norm” back then is historically false and there is no historical evidence which suggest that there are people marrying at an early age.
That would be entirely incorrect. There are more than enough well evidences which completely affirm this. So expect this to a very long section.
Now one might wonder and say when did cirticism of the Prophet Muhammads marriage to Aisha began. Well not too long ago.
The critics of Islam, before the 20th century, did not condemn the issue of the Prophet’s marriage with Aisha nor his number of wives. Starting with Quraysh, Christian and Jews in Arabia, Christian missionary in Muslim Spain and every Islam critic all over the century and all over the globe. Which includes the crusades where Christians started to gave the Prophet a bad imagery.
For example, the eight-century first writer to criticise Islam and the Prophet was John of Damascus (Χρυσορρόας / Chrysorrhoas) in his book ‘Heresy of the Ishmaelites’ he did not condemn that notion.
Going to the eighteenth-century English historian Edward Gibbon wrote a chapter in his book ‘The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire’ about the life of the Prophet (saw) and he mentioned his marriage with A’isha at that early age and did not condemn it.
It began with the criticism presented by David Samuel Margoliouth (d. 1940) in his book, Mohammed and the Rise of Islam published in 1905.
But prior to 1905 there is no historical record of criticism regarding this topic.
The eighteenth century Islam critic Humphrey Prideaux who wrote an entire book criticising Islam and the Prophet entitled ‘The True Nature of Imposture Fully Displayed in the Life of Mahomet’ trying to disprove his Prophethood, but he finds himself even defended the issue of the Prophet’s marriage with A’isha.
He said on the issue of A’isha’s age at marriage:
Ayesha was then not six years old, and therefore he did not take her into his bed till two years after when she was full eight years old. For it is usual in those hot countries as it is all India over, which is in the same clime with Arabia, for women to be ripe (reach the puberty) for marriage at that age, and also to bear children the year following. Prideaux, the life of Mahomet, p. 52
So anyone who claims that Muslims are the only one who claims Aisha’s marriage was common during that age and time is without a doubt a liar or ignorant.
All the other writers and thinkers of Europe, such as George Bernard Shaw, Simon Ockley who wrote the history of the Prophet and Arabs, William Blackstone, Goldziher, Theodor Nöldeke and others, did not condemn this notion.
The popularity of this criticism began to increase later on in the 20th century.
The British historian and orientalist David Samuel Margoliouth (d. 1940) was the first to criticise this issue in history in his book “Mohammed and the Rise of Islam” published in 1905. He inked the first recorded critical statement of the Prophet’s marriage. His view resulted in increasing criticism of the age of A’isha.
But let us now see when people used to historically marry young.
When one hears about a marriage contract with a 6 or 7 years old girl, the marriage consummated when she was 9, stereotypes and tropes abound, based on contemporary constructions built on secular liberal outlooks, changing social dynamics and norms.
Historically however this act was normal in many civilisations, no one ever considering it as immoral or abnormal.
It is unusual to think generations of parents across multiple civilisations as if they did not care for their children, entire societies suffering from some collective mental disorder.
One of the main reasons why people used to marry young is due low life expectancy.
“During the Roman Empire, the average life expectancy of humans was about 22-25 years.”  http://www.uwyo.edu/winwyoming/bullets/2004/bullets11-04.htm
“The average life expectancy for a male child born in the UK between 1276 and 1300 was 31.3 years.”  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/241864.stm
“Throughout most of human history, death came at an early age–25 to 30 years was a typical lifespan. The essential element of the human condition was a day-to-say struggle to fend off death…Increasing life expectancy at birth from the lower 20s to the high 20s around 1750 took thousands of years.
Over the next two centuries, life expectancy in the richest countries suddenly accelerated and tripled. From the mid-18th century to today, life spans in the advanced countries jumped from less than 30 years to about 75 years.” https://books.google.com.bd/books?id=1ixRxAsdLKwC&pg=PA26&lpg=PA26&dq=18th+century+history+was+human+life+expectancy&source=web&ots=64iSt2R0Jo&sig=nuMiuWMIEOOfNvBPuqVrm9Hlbkw&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false
Hence this is not suprising that people used to historically marry earlier.
“Thomas, Lord Berkeley, was contracted to Margaret, daughter of Gerald Warren, Lord Lisle, in the forty-first year of Edward III; and by reason of her tender age – she was then only about seven years old.” E. J. Wood. The Wedding Day in All Ages and Countries. New York: Harper & Bros, 1869, pp. 209-210.
In the 19th century the consent for delaware was 7
 M. Dabbagh. Parental Kidnapping in America: An Historical and Cultural Analysis. North Carolina: McFarland, 2011, p. 128.
“It needs to be remembered that many Medieval widows were not old, important heiresses were often married between the ages of 5 and 10 and might find themselves widowed while still in their teens.” Margaret Wade Labarge, A Medieval Miscellany, p. 52.
Even in the West, we find Shakespeare’s Juliet was 13 years old when she married Romeo, reflecting social conventions where women in her circumstances would marry in their early teens if not sooner. In the dialogue with her mother, her mother scolds her:
“Well, think of marriage now; younger than you here in Verona ladies of esteem are made already mothers: Romeo and Juliet: Act 1, Scene
by my count, I was your mother much upon these years that you are now a maid.”
In 1880 ,Alabama,California,Florida,Georgia,Kansas,Michigan,Mississippi,Montana,New york,New jersey,Pennsylvania,Texas,North carolina,Utah,South Dakota,North Dakota,Tennessee and many others had the age of consent to 10!  http://chnm.gmu.edu/cyh/teaching-modules/230?section=primarysources&source=24
Even countries like Russia also had the consent a to 10  Ibid.
“Until the late 20th century U.S. age of consent laws specifically names males as perpetrators and females as victims. Following English law, in which the age was set at 12 in 1275 and lowered to 10 in 1576, ages of consent in the American colonies were generally set at 10 or 12. The laws protected female virginity, which at the time was considered a valuable commodity until marriage.
The theft of a girl’s chastity was seen as a property crime against her father and future husband. If two people were married and had sex, no matter what their age, no crime was committed because a woman was her husband’s property. In practice, too, the consent laws only protected white females, as many non-white females were enslaved or otherwise discriminated against by the legal system.” Sex and Society, Volume 1 page 54
“The statutes governing the minimum age under which sex cannot be legally consensual, and laws concerning marriage and workers rights, were modified to reflect these changing discourses around childhood. Age of sexual consent, for example, rose from 7 during colonial times to 10, 12, and eventually as high as 14 during the eighteenth centuries.
By the late 1800s, the average age of consent in the United States was 14. Across the nation, however the age of consent was raised slowly, unevenly, and with great reluctance.” Not My Kid: What Parents Believe about the Sex Lives of Their Teenagers By Sinikka Elliott page 14-15
“At what age is a person capable of making and informed decision about whether or not to engage in sex? Would it be7,10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, or 21? Over the last 300 years, all the ages listed above were thought to be that magic age at which one could make such a decision, and all the ages listed above have, at various times, been inscribed into law as the age of consent to sex.” Adolescent Sexuality: A Historical Handbook and Guide by Carolyn Cocca page 15
“According to British common law during the colonial period, the age of consent was seven. Today we are astounded that girls of this age were assumed to know enough about sex (or about sin) to make such a decision competently.” American Families Past and Present: Social Perspectives on Transformations by Susan M. Ross page 40
“Traditionally, across the globe, the age of consent for sexual union was a matter for the family to decide, or a tribal custom. In most cases, this coincided with signs of puberty, menstruation for a woman and pubic hair for a man. Sir Edward Coke in 17th century England ‘made it clear that the marriage of girls under 12 was normal, and the age at which a girl who was a wife was eligible for a dower from her husband’s estate was 9. The American colonies followed the English tradition, and the law was more of a guide. For example Mary Hathaway of Virginia, was only 9 when she was married to William Williams.
Portugal, Spain, Denmark and the Swiss canons, initially set the age of consent at 10–12 years and then raised it to between 13 and 16 years in the second half of the 19th century. Historically, the English common law set the age of consent to range from 10- 12. In the United States, by the 1880s, most states set the age of consent at 10-12, and in one state Delaware, the age of consent was only 7. Social and resulting legal attitudes toward the appropriate age of consent have drifted upwards in modern times.
For example while ages from 10 to 13 were typically acceptable in Western countries during the mid-19the century, the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century were marked by changing. I believe that a lot of our current mores come from reluctance to let our children mature mentally as quickly as our bodies do.
Keep in mind that not all societies share Western mores. And to my surprise, until the latter part of the 19th Century, Children in the Western nations were engaged and married at a much earlier age.
The trend to give children more time to mature is relatively new. In his book, The Emphatic civilization, (Penguin, NY, 200) Jeremy Rifkin points out that the concept of adolescence only emerged during the last decade of the nineteenth century and the first three decades of the twentieth century. Society started to think of childhood as extending beyond puberty, into the later teenage years. Before that, children were considered to graduate into adulthood with the onset of puberty.” What’s Wrong in America: A Look at Troublesome Issues in Our Country By Arthur Siccan
Notice how the age of consent was similar to the Prophet consummating his marriage to Aisha? In most states and countries the age of consent 7-10! While the Prophet consummated the marriage at 9. Which means it was historically alright.
Merril D. Smith says that the age which a girl could marry was 10 to 13 in most societies,
“To that end, from ancient times to the present, many societies have acted to try to safeguard children from rape and other forms of sexual degradation, though they might define sexual degradation differently from era to era and from place to place. One way societies have tried to protect young girls is through laws that designate a statutory age of consent.
Such laws prohibit men from having sexual relations with females under a specified age on legal theory that they are too young and immature to make informed decision and, therefore, are incapable of giving a legal consent. Historically, the age of consent was set at 10 or 13 years, depending on the era and the culture, and tended to coincide with female puberty, which was also the age at which a female could marry without parental permission.” Encyclopedia of Rape by Merril D. Smith page 40
These are clear enough evidences which prove marrying at an earlier was a norm.
Also an important thing to remember is that the term “paedophile” does not apply here. Because the term “paedophile” first appeared in 1886 and not prior to that.
This norm is also present Jewish texts. Specifically the Talmud
According to the Babylonian Talmud:
“Mishnah: A girl of the age of three years and one day may be betrothed by intercourse…Gemara: Our Rabbis taught: A girl of the age of three years may be betrothed by intercourse; so R. Meir. But the Sages say: Only one who is three years and one day old…
Gemara: Our Rabbis taught: A girl of the age of three years may be betrothed by intercourse; so R. Meir. But the Sages say: Only one who is three years and one day old.” Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Niddah 44b http://www.come-and-hear.com/niddah/niddah_44.html#PARTb
“R. Joseph said: Come and hear! A maiden aged three years and a day may be acquired in marriage by coition, and if her deceased husband’s brother cohabits with her, she becomes his.” Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 55b http://www.come-and-hear.com/sanhedrin/sanhedrin_55.html#PARTb
“Rab said: Pederasty with a child below nine years of age is not deemed as pederasty with a child above that. Samuel said: Pederasty with a child below three years is not treated as with a child above that.
24. What is the basis of their dispute? — Rab maintains that only he who is able to engage in sexual intercourse, may, as the passive subject of pederasty throw guilt [upon the active offender] Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 54b http://www.come-and-hear.com/sanhedrin/sanhedrin_54.html#PARTb
24. (rabbi scholar footnote) I.e. Rab makes nine years the minimum; but if one committed sodomy with a child of lesser age, no guilt is incurred. Samuel makes three the minimum.”
This norm is also present in Dharmic religions like Hinduism.
Interestingly enough the norm marrying girls during an earlier age is also present in the religion of Hinduism.
A girl should be given in marriage before (she attains the age of) puberty
22.He who neglects it, commits sin
23.Some (declare, that a girl shall be given in marriage) before she wears clothes. Sacred Laws of Arya:Gautama 18:21
“A man, aged thirty years, shall marry a maiden of twelve who pleases him, or a man of twenty-four a girl eight years of age; if (the performance of) his duties would (otherwise) be impeded, (he must marry) sooner. ” Manu 9:94
“A person of thirty years of age should wed a girl of ten years of age called a Nagnika. Or, a person of one and twenty years of age should wed a girl of seven years of age.” Mahabharata XLIV (p.18)
Rama is said to have married Sita when she was 6 years old . Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kanda 3.47.3-5
Krishna is said to have married Rukmini when she was only eight years old. Although Hindu text doesn’t mention the age of Krishna at the time of his marriage with Rukmini but the way Hindu text describes him shows that he was an adult at the time of his marriage with prepubescent Rukmini. And other Puranas also shows his sexual intercourse after marriage which is enough to prove that he was a fully grown man. Skanda Purana V.iii.142.8-79
So this proves that Krishna married Rukmini when she was only eight years old. Srimad Bhagavatam the most authentic Purana of Krishna devotees explicitly states that she had not attained puberty,
 Srimad Bhagavatam 10.53.51 (J.M. Sanyal Translation)
“Beholding that charming princess Rukmini gifted with a beautiful waist, a countenance adorned with Kundalas, not attaining the age of puberty, with a golden mekhala beautifying her waist, with rising signs of womanhood, with moving eyes as if in fear…”
“My daughter has come to a marriageable age; I have no money. Her age has exceeded ten years; the marriageable age limit has been exceeded. Alas! What am I to do?” Devi Bhagavatam 3.27.40 (Swami Vijnananda Translation)
Matter of fact Swami Vivekananda a Hindu scholar admits that Hinduism permits marrying young before even attaining the age of puberty!
“…A girl of eight is married to a man of thirty, and the parents are jubilant over it…. And if anyone protests against it, the plea is put forward, “Our religion is being overturned.” What sort of religion have they who want to see their girls becoming mothers before they attain puberty even and offer scientific explanations for it?
Many, again, lay the blame at the door of the Mohammedans. They are to blame, indeed! Just read the Grihya-Sutras through and see what is given as the marriageable age of a girl. … There it is expressly stated that a girl must be married before attaining puberty. The entire Grihya-Sutras enjoin this…” The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume 6/Epistles – Second Series/LXXI Rakhal [ https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Complete_Works_of_Swami_Vivekananda/Volume_6/Epistles_-_Second_Series/LXXI_Rakhal ]
So now Hindus can’t deny that early marriage is sanctioned by Hinduism and started because of Hinduism. Swami Prabhupada the founder of ISKCON wrote,
”…As soon as a woman attains the age of puberty, she immediately becomes very much agitated by sexual desire. It is therefore the duty of the father to get his daughter married before she attains puberty…” A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada on Srimad Bhagavatam 4.25.42 [ http://vanisource.org/wiki/SB_4.25.42 ]
Even Sadhguru a famous Hindu scholar and apologist admits that people generally used to marry earlier!
“It’s a tragic situation. We should realise that we are a society in transition. There was a time when girls would be married at 15. Now they are not married till 25 and 30. http://www.newindianexpress.com/education/edex/2016/jun/13/Seven-minutes-with-the-Sadhguru-939639.html
So this should be enough to bust the myth that people did not marry earlier.
Final thoughts: As we can see we can conclude the marriage and consumation is not what many thought it was. Aisha was physically and mentally mature during the marriage and consummation which was advised by Khawla and agreed by Abu bakr.We see Aisha’s overjoynesss and appreciation and also see how this type of marriages were a norm in the earlier days. However above all we see that this in anyway does not affect the Prophet Muhammads ﷺ moral character which he has said to have.
Now i will reply to some Objections to finish this off:
Objection #1 : Your Prophet told one of his companions to marry a young girl so he can fondle with him!
Narrated Jabir bin `Abdullah:
While we were returning from a Ghazwa (Holy Battle) with the Prophet, I started driving my camel fast, as it was a lazy camel A rider came behind me and pricked my camel with a spear he had with him, and then my camel started running as fast as the best camel you may see. Behold! The rider was the Prophet (ﷺ) himself. He said, ‘What makes you in such a hurry?”
I replied, I am newly married ” He said, “Did you marry a virgin or a matron? I replied, “A matron.” He said, “Why didn’t you marry a young girl so that you may play with her and she with you?” When we were about to enter (Medina), the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Wait so that you may enter (Medina) at night so that the lady of unkempt hair may comb her hair and the one whose husband has been absent may shave her pubic region. Sahih Bukhari Book 67, Hadith 17
Firstly the Hadith is not referring to children but is talking about marrying virgins or previously-married-women aka matron. We know this because by it being affirmed by another Hadith.
Narrated Jabir bin
Abdullah: I was accompanying the Prophet (ﷺ) on a journey and was riding a slow camel that was lagging behind the others. The Prophet (ﷺ) passed by me and asked, "Who is this?" I replied, "Jabir binAbdullah.” He asked, “What is the matter, (why are you late)?” I replied, “I am riding a slow camel.” He asked, “Do you have a stick?” I replied in the affirmative. He said, “Give it to me.” When I gave it to him, he beat the camel and rebuked it. Then that camel surpassed the others thenceforth.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Sell it to me.” I replied, “It is (a gift) for you, O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ).” He said, “Sell it to me. I have bought it for four Dinars (gold pieces) and you can keep on riding it till Medina.” When we approached Medina, I started going (towards my house). The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Where are you going?”
I Sa Sahih Bukhari Book 40, Hadith 9
d, "I have married a widow." He said, "Why have you not married a virgin to fondle with each other?" I said, "My father died and left daughters, so I decided to marry a widow (an experienced woman) (to look after them)." He said, "Well done." When we reached Medina, Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "O Bilal, pay him (the price of the camel) and give him extra money." Bilal gave me four Dinars and one Qirat extra. (A sub-narrator said): Jabir added, "The extra Qirat of Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) never parted from me." The Qirat was always in Jabir binAbdullah’s purse.
You see? The prophet did NOT recommend marrying children who did not reach puberty rather in this case he was talking to his companion about marrying a virgin(which during those times were a bit young but that does not mean they will not be mature). This does that prove anything.
Moreover the Prophet himself in general recommended marrying virgins. Which prove the Prophet said virgins not children.
and it is affirmed by one of the scholars
Shaykh Mustafa al-Ruhaybaani said:
“It is Sunnah for the one who wants to get married to marry a virgin, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to Jaabir, ‘Why not a virgin whom you could play with and she could play with you?’ (agreed upon) – unless there is a reason for which marrying a previously-married woman is better, in which case he should choose such a woman over a virgin, in order to serve that interest.” Mataalib Uli al-Nuha, 5/9, 10)
There is no reason to assume the Prophet meant prepubescent girls since the Hadith is explicit and affirm by one of the scholars.
Hence this NOT support marrying prepubescent girls as many are mistaken to do so.
This Hadith is also in Sunan An Nasai but with different wordings which prove the Prophet did NOT command to marry children but VIRGINS.
Narrated Jabir: It was narrated from Jabir that he married a woman at the time of the Messenger of Allah, and the Prophet met him and said: “Have you got married, O Jabir?” He said: ‘Yes.’ He said: ‘A virgin or a previously-married woman?’ I said: ‘A previously-married woman.’ He said: ‘Why not a virgin who would play with you?’
I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, I have sisters, and I did not want her to come between them and I.’ He said: ‘THAT’S BETTER THEN . A woman may be married for her RELIGIOUS COMMITMENT her wealth or her beauty. You SHOULD CHOOSE the one who is RELIGIOUSLY COMMITTED, may your hands be rubbed with dust (may you prosper).’” Grade: Sahih (Darussalam) Sunan an-Nasa’i 3226
Objection #2: Aisha washed semen off your Prophets clothes!
Narrated ‘Aisha: Sahih Bukhari Volume 1 Hadith 233
I used to wash the semen off the clothes of the Prophet and even then I used to notice one or more spots on them.
So? Aisha was the Prophet Muhammads ﷺ WIFE. His legally contracted,physically and sexually matured wife. Hence there is literally nothing wrong with it what so ever.
Objection #3: Your Prophet used to bathe with Aisha in a single pot.
‘Aisha narrated: “The Prophet and I used to take a bath from a single pot of water after Janaba”. Sahih Bukhari Volume 1, Book 5, Hadith Number 263
Strangely, there is nothing in the text that implies anything about menses. The term “Janaba” in realiy literally means nothing but more than a state of impurity that one is in after after sexual intercourse.
Furthermore, the Prophet’s ﷺ actions, of sharing a pot when bathing, was not exclusive to A’isha. In Hadith 253 in Sahih Bukhari, Ibn Abbas narrates that he the Prophet ﷺ did the same with Maymoona:
Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: Sahih Bukhari Volume 1 Book 5 Hadith 253
The Prophet and Maimuna used to take a bath from a single pot.
While Um-Salam(One of the Prophets wives) says:
Narrated Zainab bint Abi Salama:
Um-Salama said, “I got my menses while I was lying with the Prophet under a woolen sheet. So I slipped away, took the clothes for menses and put them on. Allah’s Apostle said, ‘Have you got your menses?’ I replied, ‘Yes.’ Then he called me and took me with him under the woolen sheet.” Um Salama further said, “The Prophet used to kiss me while he was fasting. The Prophet and I used to take the bath of Janaba(sexual impurity) from a single pot.” Sahih Bukhari Volume 1 Hadith 319
Hence to conclude this is a biased observation. The wives of the Prophet were all engaged in sharing information about their private lives with the Messenger since doing such would lead to insight regarding what is prohibited and what is permissible. Plus they are all his WIVES.
There are countless examples of couples even today who are known of sharing a shower together.
The same implies for the Prophet.
Objection #4: Response to “Wikislam” regarding the Hadith where Aisha says “When the woman is 9 she is a woman.
The original article can be found here: https://wikiislam.net/wiki/Responses_to_Apologetics_-_Muhammad_and_Aisha#cite_note-Mum.org-26 
A while ago Wikislam attempted to refute the following Hadith:
Narrated Aisha: “When the girl becomes 9 years old, she has become a woman.” Jami at-Tirmidhi 1109
How they tried to refute this is by misrepresenting and misrepresenting this Hadith according to their own will. I encourage the readers to read their original article before reading this which is linked above.
“If we were to accept this interpretation made by apologists, it would mean Aisha is also making an incorrect blanket statement.”
Response: That would be incorrect. It has been proven by almost all medical research which prove girls tend to hit puberty in the age of 7-10
For more evidences which affirm this please visit #1 point above. I will be later citing more evidences which i did not include previously which i saved for this response to prove it.
“Not many girls go through puberty at the age of 9, especially in the Middle East during Aisha’s lifetime,”
While Biological evidence and reality suggest otherwise. For proof visit https://health.usnews.com/wellness/for-parents/articles/2017-04-06/why-are-girls-starting-puberty-earlier 
All most all Biological researchers agree on the average puberty may hit for girl from 7-10
And Humphrey Prideaux says
 Prideaux, the life of Mahomet, p. 52
“Ayesha was then not six years old, and therefore he did not take her into his bed till two years after when she was full eight years old. For it is usual in those hot countries as it is all India over, which is in the same clime with Arabia, for women to be ripe (reach the puberty) for marriage at that age, and also to bear children the year following.”
So it is clear that it was usual for females the same age of Aisha to reach puberty during those ages. As wikislam falsey claims not.
“yet she appears to be claiming all 9 year-olds go through puberty.”
Anyone with atleast a bit of sense of understanding will know she may not be refering to every 9 year-old individually but rather claiming most may go through that phase during their life times. And long behold it is indeed true with the evidences i provided previously.
“So the only conclusion that can be drawn from this erroneous interpretation is that this “great scholar of Islam” was stupid.”
The only was who was “stupid” are the buffoons at wikislam who love to spread misinformation by lying to their readers.
Here they assume that is the only conclusion based on their biased analysis, as i again mentioned previously the evidences i presented above refute this. And further more evidences can be found here https://www.fatherly.com/health-science/when-does-puberty-start/
And according to some, puberty might also begin as early as 6!
“If we take a rational approach to reaching conclusions, we can clearly see this alleged narration does not prove Aisha had attained puberty. “she has attained puberty” is written in parenthesis, meaning it was added by the translator and was not taken from the original source.”
This is actually the most irrational approach to reach conclusions. While it is true that “she has attained puberty” is later added by the translator and cannot found in the original sources. But the only rational unbiased way to interpretating and understanding this is assuming she meant puberty.
Because there seems to be no other logical possibility. Hence the translators interpretation is the most rational considering the fact its also affirmed by biological evidences(presented above). Hence when Aisha said “she is a woman” its far more rational to believe that she meant puberty as the translator suggests.
“She was also a young child who had been sexually defiled at the age of nine, so obviously she would consider that moment in time to have been the moment when she went from being a child to becoming a women.”
Except she was not a “young child” who was “sexually defiled”. Notice how wikislam starts to slowly exeggarate the things a bit?
All the earlier evidences including # 1 point alongside all the proofs scattered through out proof only one thing. And that is Aisha had reached sexual and physical maturtiy. And was not a child.
The only thing Wikislam can conclude things with is their baseless speculations which they have zero evidences to stand on with.
” Her statement had absolutely nothing to do with attaining puberty.”
Here we see Wikislam attempted to refute this Hadith by twisting and misinterpretating so it can be as mcuh satisfactory to them as possible to dishonestly support biased and irrational view on this Hadith. Not only that they completely went again spreading misinformation on this particular topic(again).
Objection #5 Your Prophet said that a woman’s silent is her consent!!!
Aisha reported: I said, “O Messenger of Allah, should women be asked for their consent before marriage?” The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Yes.” I said, “Indeed, sometimes a virgin is too shy to speak when asked.” The Prophet said, “Her silence is her consent.” Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6547  Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1420
This is entirely a Strawman. The Hadith is exclusively talking about virgins.
It just a common saying in Language we use, It’s refering to who someone is too shy to say yes out of embarrassment
The prophet makes it very clear in the first sentence that you have to have her consen’s like when we say “I will take your silence as a yes that you are guilty of this”. and it says “sometimes”
To begin with this is not the entire saying. This Hadith is only one part of the statement of the Prophet rergarding giving consent for consummation
The entire Hadith goes as follows:
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “It is essential to have the consent of a virgin (for the marriage). I said, “A virgin feels shy.” The Prophet; said, “Her silence means her consent.” Some people said, “If a man falls in love with an orphan slave girl or a virgin and she refuses (him) and then he makes a trick by bringing two false witnesses to testify that he has married her, and then she attains the age of puberty and agrees to marry him and the judge accepts the false witness and the husband knows that the witnesses were false ones, he may consummate his marriage.” Sahih al-Bukhari 6971
This is refering to exclusively refering to Virgins who may feel “shy” as this Hadith narrated by Aisha states. Not only that! This Hadith is also EXPLICITLY stating that it a girl much reach the age of puberty for the marriage to be consummated! So this Hadith refutes 2 things in 1 narration!
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