My answer is NO. Prophet Muhammad never married a child and according to my deep scholarly work and understanding of the religion and the culture of the Arabs, this great Man of God never married a child. Let me show you facts and I hope you will see the light why many Muslims are making a scandalous claim about the pious Prophet of Allah.
Aisha (May the peace of God be with her) is the child in question. First, we must know who Aisha was and at what age she was betrothed to the great Prophet. We must also understand in what era and what was considered righteous and right to the laws where they resided in regard to marriage. Then, we must put into consideration the two main point of the authority of Islam which is the Hadiths and the Holy Quran.
I tell most people, that the Hadiths in Islam are like the Gospels in the Bible. Information about the life and words of the Prophet which according to many Islamic scholars and myself may, or have some interpolation due to ethnic, political, and cultural interference.
This being said, the other point of authority is the Holy Qu’ran, the direct words and Revelation from God to the Prophet compiled and made available in the lifetime of the prophet. Though, there were times the Muslim community was attacked the original Quran was protected and a full volume of it was duplicated across all regions. This was prior to the times when Christians are fighting their own leaders about the originality of the Holy Bible seeing that the Romans made scandalous additions that justifies and protects their beliefs and lifestyle. So this was what the Muslims were fighting against.
Many Hadiths and scholars said Prophet Muhammed married a child but what did the Quran say about marriage age? Quran 4:6 says “And test the orphans [in their abilities] until they reach marriageable age. Then if you perceive in them sound judgment, release their property to them” This tells you that good judgment, sound mind, and ability to show maturity were the only bases prescribed by the Quran for a marriageable age. This verse alone has proved that there is a conspiracy to dent the image of the Prophet in regard to the exact age Aisha was married. Without a doubt and my sole protection of the image of the prophet, Aisha must have been married to the prophet (or consummated) at the age of 19, 20, 21, or 25years of age.
Now let’s go further to prove my claim. Prior to the affianced of Aisha to the Prophet, he was married to Khadija who was 15years older than the Prophet and they were married as One Man, One Wife for 25years. She was rich and famous but the Prophet was a pious man with an impeccable humble nature.
Khadija has to meet her Lord and she died, this made the Prophet heartbroken. He refused to marry again according to records because he loved his late wife. But his close friend Abu Bakr who loved the Prophet so much was concerned for him and how lonely he might be and chose to give his daughter Aisha who was previously betrothed to another man at the age of six but now she was already 9 years and was still young but wise.
The Prophet refused but with so much persuasion, he agreed but on the condition that the girl reaches a marriageable and sane age suitable for her to handle his affairs as Khadija did. Also, Aisha union with the Prophet was strong because of His longstanding relationship with Abu Bakr, as was the tradition of the Arab.
Marriages were a way of resolving feuds, cementing relationships, and caring for widows or orphans which lead to why the Prophet after marrying Aisha went on to marry other wives, this act was a norm and was never condemned by Allah and only men with pious character and righteous judgments were allowed to marry more than one wife according to Islamic guidelines in the time of the Prophet. Many Muslims had one wife.
Aisha’s age, in the Arabian culture and the seventh century, adulthood was defined as the onset of puberty (this much is true, and was also the case in Europe – even today in Nigeria some cultures allow marriage to women after they see their periods). Interestingly, of the many criticisms of the Prophet made at the time by his opponents, none focused on Aisha’s age at marriage.
Many Muslims doubt the idea that Aisha was six or nine on her consummation; relying on much work of studying seeing that at a time where there was no birth registry, and where birthdays were never celebrated how could it be known the actual year of Aisha?
And if the prophet was persuaded, and looking at his pious nature and the society of that time, it is concluded that Aisha was between 19 and 21 of age when the Prophet married her and not the six years as said by many. It can also be that this story might just be about the previous man to who Aisha was betrothed since the life of the Prophet was about protecting abused women, and orphans and setting slaves free. This was why Mekka hated him and many other cities around the Arabian region even most Christian nations.
There is no way the Prophet will be so low as to marry a child, because as a living embodiment of Islam, His actions reflect the Quran’s guidelines on marriage, even if the actions of some Muslim regimes and individuals do not.
The fact that Iran and Saudi Arabia make this legal using Aisha’s case as a reference of authority, I beg to say this, it is morally inaccurate to feel a child with so much expected in marriage can fit the category of married people or be given out in marriage. In the old, many men put out their daughters for marriage to perverts and evil men who lust for women and children in exchange for money, and women were considered less in the society, this was the fight of the prophet in his lifetime. He preached against the inhuman treatment of slaves and women. And this was alien to the then Arabian elites.
The Islamophobic depiction of the Prophet’s marriage to Aisha as motivated by misplaced desires fits within a more comprehensive Orientalist depiction of Muhammed as a philanderer. This idea dates back to the crusades. According to Kecia Ali: “Accusations of the lust and sensuality were a regular feature of medieval attacks on the prophet’s character and, by extension on the authenticity of Islam”.
Since the early Christians heralded Christ as a model of celibate virtue, Muhammed – who had married several times – was considered to be driven by sinful lust. Aisha’s marriage to the Prophet was a loving one full of respect, and tenderness, which should be a base for marriage to any and every Muslim. My study into their marriage life shows that they would drink from the same cup, and compete with each other in a horse race, and other games. This is an indication that they had a deep connection that belies any misrepresentation of their relationship and the standard for marriage in Islam.
Aisha was a strong woman and by Allah was a comfort for the Prophet as she was very supportive and even went to defend Islam in war during the time of the Prophet. Studies show she was an embodiment of love, activism, knowledge, and a spiritual model for many Muslim women to date.
Those who manipulate her story to justify the abuse of young girls, and who manipulate it in order to depict Islam as a religion that legitimates such abuse have more in common than they think. Both demonstrate a disregard for what we know about the times in which the Prophet lived, and for the affirmation of female autonomy that her story illustrates.
I therefore in humility encourage my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters, to study and read as prescribed by the Prophet, to embrace peace and sanity, and make bold the distinctiveness of the religion with regard to modesty and sane judgment so that our reward in the hereafter will be joyful rather than regrets.
I hope my study is accepted and thoroughly criticized for any biased reasoning. I made this research with deep understanding without bias and by Allah’s guidance. I am Victor UzihBen, founder of Abdulraafi Institute, and the Abdulraafi House of Allah.