Pre-puberty Girls and Muslims and Marriage

Does the Quran allow Sex with immature girls? No!

An allegation by Islamophobes on the internet; they claim the Quran allows sex with pre-pubescent girls, this is a hateful and bigoted allegation that has no other intention but to demonize Muslims. By Yahya Snow

Of course this claim contains no truth and is absurd. There are abundant claims of this fallacious and hateful nature on the internet. The internet is an unregulated media which means it can be a safe-haven for all sorts of hate-mongers and aberrations; in this case their vile and unscholarly claims are directed at Muslims.

I am a student of comparative religion and it astounds me that anybody can make such sullying claims against any religion, through study you realise that all religions teach good basic morals and encourage good and just actions.
Another aspect of this bizarre claim that truly saddens me is that this ignorant claim is supported by some Christian evangelical groups on the internet. I say anybody who supports claims of this nature has nothing to do with any religion but has everything to do with the devil’s work. My message to any Christian who supports such dehumanising claims is thus; fear God, for you are working inequity.

Having condemned their actions as hateful, ignorant and as propaganda used to demonize Muslims we must do the scholarly thing and look at their claim and show it to be false in a scholarly fashion so that people who may be unsure realise that the Quran does not support pedophilia. Let us examine their claim.

They claim that the Quran, chapter 65 verse 4, allows pedophilia. The verse in question is speaking of…As their fallacious claim is hinged on this reference allow us to quote an English translation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali:

65:4- Such of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the prescribed period, if ye have any doubts, is three months, and for those who have no courses (it is the same): for those who carry (life within their wombs), their period is until they deliver their burdens: and for those who fear Allah, He will make their path easy.

As you can see, the verse is actually pertaining to divorce and it is not instructing Muslims in pedophilia. One may ask how did the Islamophobes come to such a horrific allegation. Is it a totally baseless allegation or do they support it with some sort of argumentation?

Well their allegations are based on two fallacious arguments, both of which are addressed:

Their first argument:
Their allegation is in fact based on ‘those who have no courses’. They allege that this term refers to those who are still pre-pubescent. They are correct; it does refer to those who are yet to have their period. The problem here is that the islamophobic critic adds into this verse their own interpretation. They allege that this verse means that Muslims can have sex with pre-pubescent girls (paedophilia) as Muslims are allowed to conduct marriages between immature girls and men. This, of course, is their mischievous addition to the text. It may fool the one who is unversed with the context and the norms of the time in Arabia.

In Semitic communities, including Jewish communities (the community of Jesus included too) people would marry off their daughters to older men despite their daughters being immature (i.e. pre-pubescent). The girls would have to wait for maturity (ie puberty) before consummating the marriage. Of course (in Islam) once the girl has reached a mature age she decides if she wants the marriage to stand (I stress this so nobody goes away with the idea that Islam allows forced marriage). If she agrees upon it then she can consummate the marriage and live as husband and wife. The term to describe this (marrying off before maturity) would be ‘betrothal’, the most well known example of betrothal in history would be that of Mary being betrothed to Joseph, before Mary and Joseph came together for consummation (i.e. before Mary’s full maturity) she became pregnant with Jesus via immaculate conception.

This example is not given to digress but to illustrate that this did happen it is an example that Christians, Jews and Muslims can relate to. None of the communities mentioned (Islamic, Christian or Jewish) allowed sex with the girl before maturity so any accusation that disagrees with this fact is a false accusation. As we are speaking of Muslims I feel compelled to show that Islam does not allow sex with immature girls. This will be highlighted through two examples:

1. Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) took part in this type of union too where the parents of a lady named Aisha betrothed their daughter (Aisha) to Muhammad (pbuh) and Muhammad (pbuh) and the parents of the girl waited until she had reached puberty before consummation of the marriage was allowed to take place. This is a recorded fact in history and the waiting period was roughly three years.
2. The all-encompassing example in this regard is given by looking at Islamic Law which is based on the Quran and the teachings of the last Prophet of Allah. So the bigot really should have looked at Islamic law (Jurisprudence) concerning marriage before making such an allegation. Islamic law does not allow sex with minors (both girls and boys). According to Islamic Law males can only have sexual contact with a female, if both parties are physically and mentally mature. The physical aspect refers to the maturity (having reached puberty) and mentally mature refers to somebody who is mentally capable (for example, you may have a mentally handicapped lady who has attained physical maturity but may be mentally handicapped, thus she would be deemed to be amongst those who are not eligible for marriage).

Their second argument:

The alternative argument follows a slightly different despite leading to the same allegation. The argument follows the same unscholarly skeleton as their first argument; both arguments are built on their own interpolations and interpretations into the clear text of the Quran.

In this case they bring forth another verse from the Quran (33:49) and try to impose their understanding of the verse into the previously mentioned Quranic verse (65:4); I will quote an English translation of the Quran of the new verse, 33:49-

O ye who believe! When ye marry believing women, and then divorce them before ye have touched them, no period of ‘Iddat have ye to count in respect of them: so give them a present. And set them free in a handsome manner.

Just to help the reader understand an Iddah/Iddat is merely a woman’s post marital waiting period (of time), this period of time must expire before she marries again. There are four wisdoms behind the Iddat period (given by Abdul-Karim Zidan, Nazarat fi ash-Shari`ah al-Islamiyyah):

1- To discern whether the woman is pregnant or not. 2- Shari`ah has ordained the period of `Iddah to avoid any confusion of lineage which may result from the woman’s pressing need of marriage. 3- The period a woman spends in `Iddah whether short or otherwise sheds light on the seriousness of marriage and how far it is a sacred bond. 4- It allows the man and the woman to think twice before breaking up the family tie, especially in cases where divorce is revocable. (Source: The Kuwaiti Encyclopaedia of Fiqh)

So, in short, the Quran (33:49) teaches us that that there is no Iddat if the man did not touch the wife (i.e. he did not have sex with her). However, for the immature girl we realise she has an Iddat. One may wonder what is the benefit for an immature girl to have an Iddat. We must remember that the girl’s family would have been responsible for setting up the marriage therefore any breaking of this marriage contract would have been between the husband (and/or his family) and the family of the girl. Family ties are very important in Islam therefore an Iddat gives the two parties a period of time to reconcile. In short, emotions would be more prominent in this type of divorce as opposed to a divorce between a mature female and male.

Going back to their claim; the Islamophobe uses verse 33:49 and then suggests that the previously mentioned verse (65:4) allows sex with pre-pubescent girls as 65:4 teaches Muslims that girls who have not had puberty have an Iddat if they are divorced. This is their claim, it is not substantiated by the Quran, and nowhere does the Quran allow sex with pre-pubescent girls. The Islamophobe uses textual acrobatics and his own interpolations in order to argue for his allegation.
The Quran gives a general instruction in 33:49 but simply gives an exception in 65:4. So it is clear that girls (immature) who have been married and are divorced are afforded an Iddat despite not having had sex with her husband. These girls are immature girls who have never even lived with the husband never mind having had sex with the husband. These immature girls live with their parents/guardians until they reach maturity and only after that they can consummate the marriage if the girl agrees to the union. Contrary to the Islamophobes’ claims these girls are not allowed to have sex with the husband until they reach maturity. This is proven by the following five pieces of evidence:

The Prophet Muhammed married an immature girl and waited three years (i.e. waited for her to reach maturity before consummating the marriage, this is documented in the reference section).(1) This action of the Prophet Mohammed shows Muslims that sex with pre-pubescent girls is not allowed, this is evidenced by the fact that the Prophet Mohammed did not consummate the marriage immediately (i.e. when the girl was pre-pubescent).(4) This action scuppers the Islamophobe’s argument because the actions of the Prophet oppose their unscholarly claims.
Islamic Law is based on the Quran and the actions of the Prophet Muhammed. Islamic Law does not allow sex with pre-pubescent girls, in fact Islamic Law does not allow sex with minors (both girls and boys), and this is shown in al-Fath by Al-Hafiz ibn Hajar. According to Islamic Law males can only have sexual contact with a female, if both parties are physically and mentally mature. This is a key point as the Law is based on the Quran as well as teachings of the Prophet so if the Islamophobe was correct then Islamic Law would allow sex with pre-pubescent girls. This is not the case and pours a comprehensive refutation upon the perverted claims of the Islamophobe. (3)
No mufassireen (commentators of the Quran) or companion of the Prophet viewed the verse 65:4 as allowing sex with immature girls. The mufassireen and companions of the Prophet are authoritative sources on the Quran and if they did not deem it to allow pre-pubescent sex then it is safe to say that the Quran does not allow such a thing.
The Quran (4:6) illustrates to us quite clearly that there is an ‘age of marriage’. This is another key point as it directly opposes the claim of the Islamophobe. (2)
No non-Muslim scholar such as Karen Armstrong or W.M. Watt made such a claim, surely if they believed the Islamophobe then they would have voiced the claim.

Based on the evidence outlined above; it is clear that the Quran does not allow sex with pre-pubescent girls.
Just to put all this into perspective, the Quran, the Prophet, the companions of the Prophet, the Mufassireen, Muslims scholars, non-Muslims scholars and Islamic Law all disagree with the Islamophobe’s claim. The Islamophobe has no evidence to back up his claim; he merely has conjecture and his own perverted interpretation of the Quran. An interpretation that is in opposition to the Quran, the Prophet, the companions of the Prophet, the Mufassireen, Muslims scholars, non-Muslims scholars and Islamic Law.

So my message to the Islamopobe is thus; if you make a claim in a scholarly field then you must bring evidence to back your claim up and not conjecture and your own faulty interpretations that differ to all the authoritative interpretations and sources.

The first rule of making a positive assertion is:

‘Bring your evidence if you are truthful’

The Islamophobe is making a positive claim, therefore the burden of proof is on him, just to remind him; your own interpretation, speculation and conjecture does not constitute as evidence and nor can it be substituted for evidence. If I employed the same shoddy scholarship and deceptive argumentative approach as the Islamophobes have shown here I could state:

‘Barack Obama is from the planet Mars and his parents are Superman and Lara Croft. Because Mars is in the same solar-system as the Earth and Superman came to the planet Earth and met Lara Croft’

The questioner may ask me to prove this claim, using the Islamophobe’s argument I would merely restate my claim and interpolate a load of speculation and conjecture into the fold. Silly! The Islamophobe’s claim is also described as ‘silly’!

Their claim can be dismissed as untruthful, untrustworthy, unsubstantiated and shoddy to the extent that is an insult to the term ‘a school-boy error’.

To summarize:

The Islamophobe interpolates his own sad views into the Quran by claiming that the Quran allows sex with the pre-pubescent girl. This is dismissed as errant nonsense by all those who know about the concept of betrothal, Islamic history, Islamic scholarship, Islamic Law, the Quran, the Seerah and non-Muslim scholarship of Islam. It just goes to show that a ‘little knowledge is dangerous’, I would like to add that severely stunted knowledge coupled with a hateful agenda is even more dangerous as illustrated by the nature of the ignorant claims of the Islamophobes. W.Montgomery Watt (a Western scholar of Islam) speaks about the sexually charged critique that critics of Islam level at Islam and he suggests that men often project their own faults onto others and criticize others for what is really a more serious flaw in themselves. (5) This is food for thought for the Islamophobe as it points the finger at them. The issue of Christian clergy and abuse of children in their care and extreme evangelical Chrsitian’s ‘sexual claims’ against Islam springs to mind. This is quite apposite as a lot of anti-Islamic material originates from ‘not so loving’ evangelical Christians.

If that is not enough for the Islamophobes then nothing will suffice.

May Allah guide us all and keep us away from the trickery of the Islamophobes, may Allah also help the Islamophobes see the inequity and deception in their claims. Ameen.

References

1. Karen Armstrong, Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet, Harper San Francisco, 1992, page 157
2. Quran translation (A.Y. Ali) for 4:6-
And try orphans (as regards their intelligence) until they reach the age of marriage; if then you find sound judgement in them, release their property to them, but consume it not wastefully, and hastily fearing that they should grow up, and whoever amongst guardians is rich, he should take no wages, but if he is poor, let him have for himself what is just and reasonable (according to his work). And when you release their property to them, take witness in their presence; and Allah is All Sufficient in taking account.
3.
http://www.islamweb.net/ver2/Fatwa/ShowFatwa.php?lang=E&Id=84343&Option=FatwaId
4. http://thefactsaboutislam.blogspot.com/search/label/Accustaion%20of%20Paedophilia%20against%20the%20Prophet%20Muhammed%20%28saw%29%20Refuted
5. What Is Islam by W.Montgomery Watt, Longman Group, Second Edition, 1979, pg230

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