I recently received an email from a reader critical of my post Muslims and Muhammad: The Impossible Task. She wrote, "I was a Christian and I left because they always preached the information you have. When I sat with a Muslim from the Sunnah and he explained the truth of the religion from reliable sources I instantly converted.
"As for what you said about Aisha, there is nothing correct in it. For example, he did make a marriage contract with her at 6 years old, but it was not consumated until she reached adulthood at 9. People in those days, even Christians, married and reached adulthood earlier, which has been proven scientifically. Just look at these times it is not uncommon to see young adults pregnant at 9...I can go on and on correcting your misinformation."
I was driving home from work today listening to Dr. Laura. A caller said she was feeling guilty about not wanting to visit her grandfather. Twenty years earlier, when she was 6 years old, he had sexually molested her. Now he was dying in the hospital, and she was conflicted over her feelings towards him.
It took Dr. Laura only a few seconds to get to the point. The caller did not need to feel at all guilty about not wanting to visit the abusive grandfather. It would be good when he died, because at least he could never rape another young child. Hell, it would have been better if he had died 25 years ago, because then he would never have molested her!
The thought struck me like a thunder clap. How was this caller's experience any different than that of Aisha? She was 9 years old when Muhammad robbed her of her childhood and forced her into a sexual relationship. He was 54 - perhaps the same age as the grandfather. Her father Abu Bakr sacrificed the innocence of his daughter for the demands of his Prophet. Aisha went from playing on the swing at her parent's home to playing with her dolls on the floor at the house of Muhammad.
My correspondent only repeated two of the many justifications reached by "Muslims from the Sunnah" who "explain the truth of the religion from reliable sources". The first is that although Aisha was only six when Muhammad told Abu Bakr he wanted her, she was nine when he penetrated her. She was an adult, they argue, at the ripe old age of 9. Really? She was nine years old! Secondly, they claim, it was the culture of the day. Again, really? A Prophet who adapts himself to the culture rather than lifting the culture to new levels?
I think some of the other justifications are much more creative. Some Muslims argue that Allah wanted Aisha to be with Muhammad as many years as possible, since she was the author of more than 3,000 authentic Hadiths. If she had been 14 when he married her, they note, that number would have been cut in half!
Many Western Muslims find it easier to simply deny Hadiths that are offensive to their Prophet, even though these Hadiths have been accepted as authoritative for 1400 years. Aisha was a teenager when she married, they argue, without any original source documentation.
Perhaps the most interesting argument is the circular one used by many Muslim apologists including Turkish writer Fethullah Gulen here. Prophets are perfect and cannot sin. Therefore nothing that a Prophet does can be considered sin. Murder committed by a Prophet cannot be called murder, because a Prophet is perfect and cannot commit murder. Rape done by a Prophet is not rape, because a Prophet is perfect and does not rape. A Prophet's molestation of a nine-year-old child cannot be molestation, because the Prophet is perfect and does not molest.