Earlier this month we saw””or rather, were once again reminded””that Islam permits pedophilia in the guise of “marriage”: Top Saudi cleric, Dr. Salih bin Fawzan, issued a fatwa asserting that there is no minimum age for girls to marry, “even if they are in the cradle,” and that the only criterion is that “they are capable of being placed beneath and bearing the weight of the men.”
While this practice speaks for itself, it is interesting to witness the great lengths some Muslims go to justify or rationalize it””or even to turn it into a source of pride.
Consider, for example, this Muslim cleric discussing Muhammad’s marriage to the child Aisha when she was nine. Far from blushing for shame, the cleric actually uses this anecdote to boast of the prophet’s “patience” and “magnanimity.” Translation of relevant excerpt follows:
The story of the prophet’s marriage to Aisha reveals to us aspects like the prophet’s conduct with Aisha, and more importantly the aspect regarding the relationship between the husband and wife, to show how one should treat his wife, just as the prophet did with Aisha.
We know that Asia’s mother went to take her down from the swing that she was playing on to fix her hair and prepare her for the prophet so he could enter her [have sex with her]””and she did that all on the same day.
Aisha’s own account in Sahih Bukhari is telling enough: she talks about how her mother hurriedly prepared her and then “handed” her over to Muhammad, and how “nothing surprised me but the coming of Allah’s Apostle to me in the forenoon.”
The cleric continues:
So you see, she was playing with her fellow playmates even though her day of consummation was that very same day””and all that they did was to fix her up for the prophet so he could have sex with her.
Now what do we see when the prophet married Aisha? Did he go to her and say “Okay that’s it, you’re married, you’re now a grown up, you”re supposed to be mature, you need to do this and that; you need to forget about your toys and your little friends; you are now a wife of a man, you have to see to my needs” and that’s it?
No. The prophet allowed her to continue playing with her toy dolls””indeed, the prophet even sometimes gave her such things to play with. [This hadith has more details, including how Aisha’s little girl friends would “hide themselves” whenever the prophet came to her until he called them out.]
It should be noted that the cleric recounted the above with much awe and amazement””as if to say, “Look how indulgent and open-minded our prophet was!”
In fact, such was the cleric’s whole point: to show that Islam, according to the example of Muhammad, expects older Muslim husbands to be patient with their younger wives: “The older husband should not expect the younger wife to be at his level of maturity; rather, he should go down to her level, for he is capable, whereas she is not.”
As “gentlemanly” as this ostensibly sounds, it is yet another example of how Muslim scholars deal with Muhammad’s lifestyle: because they cannot condemn or ignore his practices, they inevitably go to great lengths to rationalize or justify them””to find the good in every situation their prophet was involved in, while being oblivious to all the bad.
Thus here we have a cleric straining to find a positive aspect to Muhammad’s pedophilia””that he was patient and indulgent of his child-bride””while ignoring the heart of it: that the man Islam is built around desired to have sex with a child in the first place.
Raymond Ibrahim, an Islam specialist, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum. He writes regularly for Jihad Watch.