Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What a Billion Muslims Really Think

This video was inspired by the book "What a Billion Muslims Really Think," co authored by John Esposito, and Dalia Mogahed. It presents data from polling real people in Muslim majority countries, and analyzes the data to show how the media in the west totally misrepresents the Muslim opinion on terrorism. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Extreme Evangelicals: "New Apostolic Reformation" trying to rid Muslims of Demonic possession.

On the 24th of August, 2011, Terry Gross of WHYY, an NPR affiliate interviews Rachel Tabachnick on her show, Fresh Air.

In the audio below, you can hear what this group plans to do around the country. Specifically, from point 25:00 in the audio, you can hear that this group intends to go to Michigan, where a large population of Muslims reside, with the aim of removing the demonic possession of Islam. Listen to the whole audio for full context of how they plan to infiltrate the U.S. government, and their influence in Uganda. Talk about "creeping Sharia."

Read more on Tabachnick's blog.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The “Allah is the Moon-God” Nonsense Could be the Stupidest Anti-Muslim Conspiracy Theory Yet...

The anti-Islamic movement will stop at nothing to concoct theories, and sometimes falsehoods to disparage Islam. The following article is part of a series featured on LoonWatch by Danios.

This article is page I of My God is Better Than Yours (IV), which is part 9 of the Understanding Jihad Series. See My God is Better Than Yours I, II, and III. (In retrospect, I haven’t used the best numbering system and it will require a bit of cleaning up later on…)

Robert Morey first wrote about his “Allah is the moon-god” theory in The Islamic Invasion (1992) and then later reproduced it with minor changes in a twenty page booklet entitled The Moon-God Allah in the Archeology of the Middle East (1994). The latter has fallen out of print, and Morey himself refers readers to The Islamic Invasion “for more information” about his moon-god theory. It is this book then that I will refute.

Morey’s theory was refuted by Muslim preacher Shabir Ally in Robert Morey’s Moon-god Myth & Other Deceptive Attacks on Islam, which is a surgical deconstruction of Morey’s nonsense. Morey whined that Ally used “ad hominem slurs such as ‘deceptive’ and ‘dishonest.’” Ally did say that Morey used “deceptive methods” and “dishonest tactics,” but since this was in reference to Morey’s methodsand tactics–and not his person–how then is this an ad hominem attack, let alone a “slur?”

Fascinatingly, in this very same article Robert Morey referred to the Muslims in the audience as “terrorists;” now that’s a slur, one which conflates Muslim with terrorist. Morey issued his response to Shabir Ally, saying (emphasis added):

Let every Muslim terrorist please take note of the fact that I, Robert Morey, did not invent the idea that Allah came from Il or Ilah. Nor did I invent the idea that Allah in pre-Islamic times can be traced back to the Moon-God.

Not only this, but Morey insinuates that Shabir Ally is a terrorist, saying his book is “an example of terrorism.” And yet somehow Robert Morey is complaining of ad hominem attacks? This is a case of right-wing projection. In fact, Ally maintained a rather mild tone in his writing, and did not question Morey’s academic qualifications and credentials.

Having said that, I have myself called to question Robert Morey’s academic qualifications and credentials–and have found them to be completely bogus. It is completely licit in academic circles to question the legitimacy of a source, especially if someone furthers a bizarre and new view on a controversial topic.

* * * * *

Robert Morey first mentions the moon-god theory on page 42 of The Islamic Invasion. Here he provides the background behind his theory: he argues that moon-worship was the dominant religious practice in pre-Islamic Arabia. (He will later argue that the Prophet Muhammad simply continued worship of this moon-god.) To buttress his theory, Morey argues that:

1) The Sabeans were the dominant religious group before Muhammad’s time.

2) The Sabeans primarily worshiped the moon.

3) The Quran itself mentions the Sabeans and their worship of the sun, moon, and stars!

These three points are used to argue that the Prophet Muhammad simply continued the worship of the Sabean moon-god. In Morey’s own words on page 42:

The Sabeans

The dominant religion that had grown very powerful just before Muhammad’s time was that of the Sabeans’.

The Sabeans had an astral religion in which they worshiped the heavenly bodies. The moon was viewed as a male deity and the sun as the female deity. Together they produced other deities such as the stars. The Quran refers to this in Sura 41:37 and elsewhere.

They used a lunar calendar to regulate their religious rites. For example, a month of fasting was regulated by the phases of the moon.

The Sabean pagan rite of fasting began with the appearance of a crescent moon and did not cease until the crescent moon reappeared. This would later be adopted as one of the five pillars of Islam.

All three of these points are dubious. With regard to the first point, there is no proof at all that the Sabeans were the dominant religious group before Muhammad’s time. Robert Morey provides absolutely no proof for this statement of his (like many of the other claims in his book). Morey simply assumes that if he says something definitively enough, the reader will just believe him.

However, the truth is that the Sabeans were but a small minority in Mecca, to the point where just a few generations later the Arab chroniclers weren’t even quite sure who the Sabeans were, a confusion that continues up until this day. Therefore, Robert Morey’s starting point–that the Sabeans constituted the dominant religious group in Mecca at the time of Muhammad–has absolutely no factual basis to it whatsoever.

What little is known about the religion of the pre-Islamic Arabs is that they were polytheistic and worshiped rocks and idols. Says Professor Jonathan P. Berkey on p.42 The Formation of Islam(emphasis added):

The dominant religious traditions of pre-Islamic Arabia remained polytheistic, but little can in fact be known with certainty about them. There has been much debate among historians of religion about the origin and character of Arabian religion–for example, whether it represented a “primitive” form of Semitic religion, or instead a degenerate form of the more sophisticated traditions of the Fertile Crescent (paralleling the traditional Muslim account according to which Muhammad’s role was to restore a primitive monotheism associated with Abraham). There are signs of litholatry [the worship of stones] among the Arabs, although by the time of Muhammad most of the various deities had acquired faces and personalities. Several hundred Arabian deities are known from the Muslim sources, the most prominent of which were those identified by the Arabs as the three “daughters of Allah”–Manat, Allat, and al-’Uzza–a trinity which was, according to the later Muslim tradition, accorded a special place among Muhammad’s tribe of Quraysh and their allies around the advent of Islam, and to which prominent (although ambiguous) mention is made in the Koran. Behind the specific deities, the Arabs were also probably aware of Allah. For some he may have represented a remote creator god, possibly related to the Semitic El; some Western scholars have suggested (again, paralleling in a way the traditional Muslim account) that he represents a deus otiosus [a creator god who largely retires from the world and is no longer involved in its daily operation] who had over the centuries been eclipsed by more particularized and localized deities. Allah apparently played little role in religious cult.

He concludes:

It is in fact difficult to say much with confidence regarding pre-Islamic Arabian religion.

Prof. Berkey’s quote is actually sufficient to refute the entire moon-god theory. Let us, however, focus on the following: Morey’s claim that the “dominant religion that had grown very powerful just before Muhammad’s time was that of the Sabeans’…[who] had an astral religion in which they worshiped the heavenly bodies” is not supported by the evidence. Where did Morey get his information that the “Sabean religion” was the predominant religious group before Muhammad’s arrival? In fact, this is completely contrived.

The pre-Islamic Arabs were polytheistic and worshiped “several hundred Arabian deities.” They started out as stone-worshipers, and these stones eventually developed into anthropomorphic idols. The pre-Islamic Arabs worshiped many different gods. The moon-god was but one of many–and not even the most important of them. As Prof. Paul Fouracre puts it on page 320 of his book The New Cambridge Medieval History, the pre-Islamic Arabs “were animistic and varied; they worshiped stones, trees, and idols.” The fact that the pre-Islamic Arabs worshiped the moon doesn’t mean Allah is the moon-god any more than he is the stone, tree, sun, or star god.

So, why then did Robert Morey single out the moon, as opposed to stones, trees, the sun, and the stars? Is it not simply to buttress his conspiracy theory? Such is the modus operandi of the conspiracy theorist: facts that support a conspiracy are highlighted and exaggerated, while other facts are minimized or ignored altogether.

As for what gave him the idea in the first place, Morey most likely noted the crescent symbol often used to represent Islam, and this gave him the idea that Muslims worshiped the moon. The Moozlums use the symbol of the crescent to represent their faith, so they must then worship the moon! Quite simply, the moon-god nonsense is based primarily in this simple, simplistic, and stupid idea–one which I will refute later in this article series.

I have as of yet completely ignored the white elephant in the room: scholars are unsure whether or not the Sabeans are to be considered synonymous with the Sabians mentioned in the Quran, as the Arabic spelling of the two words differs significantly. What is perfectly clear, however, is that neither the Sabeans or Sabians were the predominant religious group at the time prior to Muhammad’s arrival. Indeed, the early Muslims were themselves unsure who the Sabians mentioned in the Quran refers to, a confusion that hardly would have existed had the Sabeans/Sabians been the predominant religious group prior to the arrival of the Islamic religion.

Morey’s second point–that the Sabeans/Sabians worshiped the moon–is also questionable. He passes this off as undisputed fact, when in fact scholars–both Islamic and Western–are not exactly sure who or what the Sabeans/Sabians worshiped. This is not surprising, considering that it is not even accepted who exactly the Sabeans/Sabians were!

As for his third point, Morey tries to invoke the Quran as proof of his argument, saying:

The Sabeans had an astral religion in which they worshiped the heavenly bodies. The moon was viewed as a male deity and the sun as the female deity. Together they produced other deities such as the stars. The Quran refers to this in Sura 41:37 and elsewhere.

In fact, verse 41:37 (and the surrounding passage in which it is contained in) says nothing at all about the Sabeans/Sabians. The Sabians are only mentioned three times in the Quran: in verses 2:62, 5:69, and 22:17. In each of these three instances, no mention at all is given of any moon-god. As for 41:37 which Morey mentioned, this verse actually is a slap on the face of the moon-god theory, as it reads:

And from among [God's] signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Do not bow down in worship to the sun or to the moon, but bow down to the God (Allah) who created them, if it is truly Him you serve. (Quran, 41:37)

How much clearer could the Quran be? This single verse is enough to refute the entire moon-god theory: the Quran, the holy book of Islam, categorically forbids worship of the moon. Although this verse does indicate that moon-worship existed in pre-Islamic Arabia, it should be remembered that (1) the moon was but one of many objects the pagan Arabs worshiped and (2) the Quran categorically rejected and forbade such worship. Allah was not the moon according to Islamic theory; rather, He created the moon, along with the sun, the stars, and everything else.

* * * * *

In addition to 41:37 above, there are other verses along the same lines–verses that show clearly that the Quran teaches that the sun and the moon are merely creations of God (Allah) and not God (Allah) the Creator:

Your Lord is God (Allah), who created the heavens and earth in six Days, then established Himself on the throne; He makes the night cover the day in swift pursuit; He created the sun, moon, and stars to be subservient to His command; all creation and command belong to Him. Exalted be God, Lord of all the worlds! (Quran, 7:54)

It is He (God) who made the sun a lamp, and the moon a light. (Quran, 10:5)

It is God (Allah) who raised up the heavens with no visible supports and then established Himself on the throne; He has subjected the sun and the moon each to pursue its course for an appointed time; He regulates all things… (Quran, 13:2)

It is He (Allah) who created night and day, the sun and the moon, each floating in its orbit. (Quran, 21:33)

Not only does the Quran say that Allah created the moon, but it also says that He will basically destroy it on Judgment Day:

When is the Day of Resurrection? (Say:) When the eyes are dazzled, and the moon becomes dark, and the sun and the moon are fused together, then on that Day will man exclaim: “Where can I escape?” (Quran, 75:6-10)

The Hour draws near and the moon is rent asunder. (Quran, 54:1)

In yet another passage, one of God’s prophets–Abraham (Ibrahim in Arabic)–explicitly rejects moon-worship after he notices that the moon sets:

When the night grew dark over him [Abraham] saw a star and said, ‘This is my Lord,’ but when it set, he said, ‘I do not like things that set.’ And when he saw the moon rising he said, ‘This is my Lord,’ but when it too set, he said, ‘If my Lord does not guide me, I shall be one of those who go astray.’ Then he saw the sun rising and cried, ‘This is my Lord! This is greater.’ But when the sun set, he said, ‘My people, I disown all that you worship beside God (Allah). I have turned my face as a true believer towards Him who created the heavens and the earth. I am not one of the polytheists.’ (Quran, 6:77-78)

Another one of God’s prophets, Joseph, has a divine dream which involves the moon (along with the stars and the sun) bowing down to him which would make no sense if Muslims understood the moon as God (God does not bow to His creation):

Joseph said to his father, “Father, I dreamed of eleven stars and the sun and the moon: I saw them all bow down before me.” (Quran, 12:4)

The moon (along with the earth, the sun, the stars, and everything else in the universe) bows down in worship to God (Allah):

Do you not see that everything in the heavens and the earth bow down in worship to God (Allah): the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the trees, and the animals? (Quran, 22:18)

The moon not only submits itself to God, but God made the moon subservient to humankind (and therefore the moon cannot be God, since humans are subservient to God–not the other way around):

It is God (Allah) who created the heavens and the earth, who has sent down water from the sky and with it brought forth produce to nourish you. He has made ships subservient to you, sailing the sea by His command, and the rivers as well. He made the sun and the moon subservient to you, constant in their courses. He has made the night and the day subservient to you… (Quran, 14:32-33)

By his command, [God] has made the night and the day, the sun, moon, and stars allsubservient to you. (Quran, 16:12)

The Quran explains that God created the moon to help humans calculate the months of the year and to make a calendar:

They ask you about the crescent moons. Say: “They are time-marks for the people and help determine the time of Hajj (pilgrimage).” (Quran, 2:189)

[God] made the sun and the moon for reckoning time. (Quran, 6:96)

An interesting factoid would be worthwhile to mention here: did you know that the English wordmonth comes from moon? AstronomyOnline explains:

Phases and Time:

The Moon has played a vital role in the formation of our Calendar. The word “month” comes from a root word “moon” or “moonth,” the time it takes the Moon to go from New Moon to New Moon.

It seems like the Quran’s understanding of the moon is pretty spot-on: the moon helps calculate the months of the year.

* * * * *

There are other Quranic verses that could be cited, but for brevity’s sake (since I’ve always been known for brevity) let’s move on to the next point…

Update I: Page II has been published.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Project Drinkable: Gazzah

Assalamu Alaikum,

Let us use this Ramadan to alleviate the plight of Palestinians in Gaza. Let us donate what we can to ease the sufferings of other humans.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Walid Shoebat the Con Artist

Since 9/11, there has been an industry of "Ex-Muslims" and "Ex-terrorists" who literally sell fraudulent stories to unsuspecting people. These frauds basically prey on the insecurities of their victims.

One of such frauds, is Walid Shoebat whose claim to fame is that he is an ex-terrorist, therefore, an expert on all terrorism related Issues. Furthermore, he is an ex-Muslim who understands the mindset of Muslims. The problem with all his claims is that there are irreconcilable inconsistencies in his stories.

A few years ago, Shadid Lewis, "MrIslamAnswersback" on Youtube made a video edited together to show these inconsistencies during interviews Walid Shoebat had given, while he also shows how Jorg Luyken of the Jerusalem Post exposed some if the inconsistencies in the Shoebat tale.

On 7/13/11 and 7/14/11, another expose was done of Walid Shoebat, and how his story does not seem to be consistent with reality was aired by CNN's Anderson Cooper's AC360. Watch below;

Part 1 and part 2

He has blamed this CNN investigation on CAIR, with no tangible evidence. On his website, he tries to refute the findings of the investigation by CNN, but all he does is more obfuscation, not giving any extra detail of his alleged involvement with terrorism. For example, in the "fact" section debunking "lie #5" he links to the United Nations' report that mentions bombings around, not of Bank Leumi in 1978. What he seems to have forgotten is that by his own account to Fox News' Bill O'Reilly in the video by Shadid Lewis linked above, his alleged attack on the bank was in 1976, not 1978. Without bothering to prove that he was actually in prison, he links an article by Eileen Fleming, who also casts boubts on Shoebat's story. He seems to not have read the article, because for some reason, he thinks that the article corroborates his claim of being in prison for bombing of the bank, when the article actually calls his story "fictional." A relative did mention according to the article, that he was in prison for "about two weeks in Mascubia Prison" in 1977, not 1976, the year of the alleged bombing. His crime was that he was caught "distributing Palestinian flags," not a terrorism related crime, but perhaps civil unrest/disorderly conduct(which I think is an unjust arrest, if it indeed occurred as described).

In his bid to debunk the exposition of the inconsistencies in his story, he mentions his "cousins" and other relatives with the last name "Shoebat," yet he claims on his website, that his name "Walid Shoebat" is an assumed name.

Is is high time the world became familiar with the fraudulent people amongst us, taking advantage of the uninitiated for their own personal gains.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Free Qur'an Project


Who is it that would loan Allah a goodly loan so He will multiply it for him and he will have a noble reward? [Qur'an: 57:11]

The Qur'an Project allows each and every one of us to contribute towards a national Dawah project, granting us all the opportunity to benefit from the work and receive a portion of the good deeds insha'Allah! This is a unique project in that not only are we distributing FREE English Translations of the Qur'an to non-Muslims, the book itself is more than just a simple translation. It is in fact a fully comprehensive guide for non-Muslims, who insha'Allah can benefit in learning about the many aspects of Islam such as how to become a Muslim, and a short guide on performing wudu and salaah -- just to name a few.

What we're asking for is financial contributions towards the printing of further copies. This will enable us to carry on with the good work of spreading the Deen of Islam. Just imagine the benefits of being involved in this project, even if you donate just a little. Every non-Muslim who reverts due to receiving a copy of our book, will be sure to utilise the contents due to the vast number of issues covered. It functions as a simple guide for new Muslims, who can study the basics and develop a sound understanding of the fundamentals of Islam. So, every word acted upon and every action implemented will mean that you receive an on-going share of the reward insha'Allah - can any of us afford to turn down an opportunity like this?

Please spread the word, get involved and secure your share!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

America's Founding Fathers on Islam

Today, we see many Americans go out of their way to indirectly denounce the first amendment usually when it comes to Islam. This is born of the erroneous belief that America was founded on the principles of Christianity, and allowing Islam to flourish in America will prove competitive for Christian evangelism.

However, based on scrutiny of some documents written by Americans during the era in which the founding fathers of America lived, we see that there was considerable tolerance of Islam, and respect for the Prophet(PBUH). According to this article written by James Huston where he pointed to the fact that many of the Africans brought to America as slaves were Muslims, with numbers probably in their thousands, we see some accolades showered on Islam. From Thomas Jefferson, to George Washington, to Richard Henry Lee, there was tolerance for Islam.

Many people are not interested in learning about history, or it's implication in the contemporary world. It just feels comfortable to be spoon fed with information, and taught whom to hate. Unfortunately, there is enough guilt to go around as far as that is concerned.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wife Beating in Islam: What's the fuss all about?

The occurrence of men beating their wives certainly predates the prophet-hood of Muhammad(pbuh). This also happened across cultures, and still does. Allah(SWT) confirms this in the Qur'an and critics of Islam jump all over it, but fail as many Muslims, to see that this protects a woman from being physically abused by her husband.

The verse in question is the 34th verse of Surat Al Nisa (Qur'an 4: 34), which says;

Men shall take full care of women with the bounties which God has bestowed more abundantly on the former than on the latter,and with what they may spend out of their possessions. And the right­eous women are the truly devout ones, who guard the intimacy which God has [ordained to be] guarded. And as for those women whose ill-will you have reason to fear, admonish them [first]; then leave them alone in bed; then beat them; and if thereupon they pay you heed, do not seek to harm them. Behold, God is indeed most high, great!

I have highlighted some words from the Arabic text that would be further addressed later in this post. First the text would be broken down to show that there are five(5) different commandments in that single verse, and one(1) affirmation.

First Commandment: "Men shall take full care of women with the bounties which God has bestowed more abundantly on the former than on the latter,and with what they may spend out of their possessions." This is a commandment by Allah(SWT) to Muslim men, that they are responsible for the maintenance of their wives financially, and are also responsible for their security. According to the sunnah of the prophet(pbuh),

Narrated Mu'awiyah al-Qushayri: "I went to the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) and asked him: What do you say (command) about our wives? He replied: Give them food what you have for yourself, and clothe them by which you clothe yourself, and do not beat them, and do not revile them.”
(Sunan Abu-Dawud, Book 11, Marriage (Kitab Al-Nikah), Number 2139)

It is clear that the responsibility of the Muslim man includes caring for his wife, spending his money for her upkeep, honoring and protecting her.

One Affirmation: "And the righteous women are the truly devout ones, who guard the intimacy which God has [ordained to be] guarded." The Arabic word highlighted above, صَّالِحَا

Second Commandment: "And as for those women whose ill-will(rebellion) you have reason to fear, admonish them..." The Arabic words highlighted from the text are نُشُوزَ which is literally "rebellion," and فَعِظُوهُنَّ which literally means "admonish them." This is referring to rebellion in the sense that a woman (who is mentioned above as a devoted Muslim) has abandoned her duty as a wife, and is not acting in a way to ensure that what Allah(SWT) has deemed private between her and her husband remains private. A Muslim woman who is doing things that can compromise her marriage, be it emotional, or psychological abuse of her husband is deemed to be in rebellion. This however, is unbecoming of a God-fearing woman.

Nevertheless, if a devoted Muslim woman gets carried away, and get involved in actions that threaten her marriage, the Muslim man(her husband) is commanded by Allah(SWT) to "admonish her." There are many men around the world who would respond to their wives with violence and intimidation when such "rebellion" occurs, and Allah(SWT) is well aware of this. Instead of allowing the men to respond however they deem fit, by being silent on the issue, Allah(SWT) commands admonishment. To 'admonish' means to 'gently disapprove of.' There is no way to gently disapprove of someone when you are in a rage, so by default, a Muslim man to be able to follow this commandment, has to find a way to calm down before addressing his wife on the issue of contention, even though she may be clearly in the wrong. It is only through such civil discourse that the husband can hear his wife out, and she can confirm or dispel his fear. Basically, Allah(SWT) is commanding the husband to let cooler heads prevail.

It is inconceivable that anyone whether a man, or woman who is God fearing and righteous قَانِتَاتٌ would respond haughtily or disdainfully to being admonished. Such is not a character expected of a Muslim. As the prophet mentioned in his sunnah;

Sahih Muslim Chapter# 40, Book 1, Number 0164:

It Is narrated on the authority of Abdullah b. Mas’ud that the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him), observed: He who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of pride shall not enterParadise. A person (amongst his hearers) said: Verily a person loves that his dress should be fine, and his shoes should be fine. He (the Holy Prophet) remarked: Verily, Allah is Graceful and He loves Grace. Pride is disdaining the truth (out of self-conceit) and contempt for the people.

Also in the Qur'an, Allah(SWT) frowns upon arrogance in people:

(Qur'an 7:146) "From My messages shall I cause to turn away all those who, without any right, behave haughtily on earth: for, though they may see every sign [of the truth], they do not believe in it, and though they may see the path of rectitude, they do not choose fo follow it-whereas, if they see a path of error, they take it for their own: this, because they have given the lie to Our messages, and have remained heedless of them,"

(Qur'an 40:35) " ... such as would call God’s messages in question without having any evidence therefor:[a sin] exceedingly loathsome in the sight of God and of those who have attained to faith. It is in this way that God sets a seal on every arrogant, self-exalting heart.”

(Qur'an 16:23) "Truly, God knows all that they keep secret as well as all that they bring into the open -[and,] behold, He does not love those who are given to arrogance."

So, logically, and supposing that both the husband and the wife have followed the commandments of Allah(SWT) as outlined in the verse thus far, the issue would have insha Allah been resolved at this point. This is evidence of the Supreme Wisdom of Allah(SWT), the third commandment in the verse, which is to "leave them alone in bed," would never take place, let alone the fourth commandment which is "beat them."

Even if the problem could not be resolved as a result of not following the commandments on the part of either the husband or the wife, or both, Allah(SWT) has allowed for the husband to beat his wife. This however, is symbolic that the husband is at his wit's end, not as a show of power or intimidation. It should be light and not be on the face. It is a bigger sin for the husband to jump to the fourth commandment without following the first, second, and third commandments.

In conclusion, we see that the verse of the Qur'an (4:34), is (with all parties following the commandment prescribed by Allah) a code for protection of women from violently abusive husbands. For wives whose husbands do not follow the commandments set out in this verse, and other things that cause agony for the wife, Allah(SWT) says in Qur'an 4:128;

"And if a woman has reason to fear ill-treatment نُشُوزَ from her husband, or that he might turn away from her, it shall not be wrong for the two to set things peacefully to rights between themselves: for peace is best, and selfishness is ever-present in human souls. But if you do good and are conscious of Him - behold, God is indeed aware of all that you do."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Muhammad's (PBUH) marriage to Aisha(ra): A Historical Perspective.

Due to the availability of Sahih(sound) hadiths, we are privy to the marital life of the Prophet Muhammad(pbuh)amongst other parts of his illustrious life. According to Sahih Bukhari Volume 7, Book 62, Number 88:
Narrated 'Ursa:

The Prophet wrote the (marriage contract) with 'Aisha while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years old and she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death).

This hadith shows that the wife of Muhammad(pbuh) was young when she was betrothed to him. We can also see from the hadiths that Aisha(ra) had reached puberty at the time she was still living with her parents ie. before she moved to the prophet's(pbuh) house, according to the following hadith.

Volume 1, Book 8, Number 465:
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. My father Abii Bakr thought of building a mosque in the courtyard of his house and he did so. He used to pray and recite the Qur'an in it. The pagan women and their children used to stand by him and look at him with surprise. Abu Bakr was a Softhearted person and could not help weeping while reciting the Quran. The chiefs of the Quraish pagans became afraid of that (i.e. that their children and women might be affected by the recitation of Quran)."

So, this gives us an idea that pubescence was at least one of the criteria for eligibility to get married, or consummate marriage.

Historically, this is not the first or the last time, or the only civilization that such marriages occurred. In ancient Rome, puberty was a preceding factor in consideration for marriage. Usually when someone reached puberty, marriage is expected soon after[1]. In some cases, for instance that of Octavia, the daughter of Clauduis, who was given in marriage at the age of one to L. Junius Silanius, puberty was not a prerequisite[2].

There are also such examples up to and beyond 12th century AD. One of the influential Christians at this time, and a proponent of the Canon Law, Gratian, argued that the age of consent should be puberty[3]. In 17th century Great Britain, there were records of brides as young as nine years of age, claiming the estates of their late husbands[4]. Up to a third of the estate is bequeathed to the wife.

A study of medieval records especially of the period between 1236 AD - 1384 AD shows that there were females married at the age of nine. These records show that some of the marriages of girls in their early teens were to much older men[5]. As late as the 19th century United States of America, the age of consent was as low as ten years old[6].

It is clear from the above that the practice of early marriage is abundant in history, and not a monopoly of the Arabs. Different cultures, and civilizations used puberty as a yardstick for the determining of maturity or the age of which an individual can consent to marriage.

1. Freidlander L. 1913 "Roman Life and Manners Under the Early Empire. London: Gough. pp. 228

2. Balsdon J.P.V.D 1962 "Roman Women: Their History and Habits" London: The Bodley Head pp. 177

3. Brundage, James. 1987. "Law Sex and Society in Christian Europe" Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

4. Furnivall, Frederick J. 1897. Child Marriages, Divorces, and Ratifications in the Diocese of Chester, AD 1561-6. London: Early English Text Society. pp xxxvi

5. Post, G.B. 1974 "Another Demographic Use of Inquisitions Post Mortem." Journal of the Society of Archivists. 5: 110 - 114

6. Posner, Richard A. and Katherine B. Silbaugh 1996. "A Guide to America's Sex Laws" Chicago: University of Chicago Press pp 44.