An American lady, with whom I used to
correspond about Islam, was interested in this religion because
of her Muslim boyfriend. She admitted that the thought of
Muhammad having sexual intercourse with a 9-year-old girl
appalled her but she was relieved to know that there are some
Muslims who deny it and this is the subject of a controversy not
agreed by all the Muslims. This is what I wrote in response.
“There are people who deny the holocaust.
This happened only 55 years ago and it is very well documented.
Yet it has not stopped some people to deny it. So they start a
controversy. Would you doubt the holocaust because it is a
subject of a controversy? Intelligent people are not affected by
controversies. They look at the facts and are not swayed by
hearsays. Feeble-minded people become confused and do not know
which way to turn. These people switch off and avoid the issue
altogether, because for them, making a decision is not an easy
task. That is why some people start the controversy.
Only a few years ago Sheikh Baaz in Saudi
Arabia issued a fatwa that any one who said the Earth is round
is Kafir. Obviously this did not go very far but he started a
controversy. So what is your opinion about the shape of the
Earth? Would you stay out of it because it is a controversial
issue? How about the evolution? There are many Muslims as well
as Christians who do not agree with evolution.
They believe in the Biblical and Quranic fables of Adam and
Eave and the creation. This is a big controversy. Are you going
to stay away from it? Is it a none-issue for you? Almost
everything under the Sun is a controversial issue. From death
penalty to hunting, from spending money for space exploration to
aiding the poor countries, everything is a controversy. Even the
very subject of religion is a controversial issue. So you cannot
walk away from responsibility when you are faced with
I agree that morality
is relative and we should not judge the ancient people’s
morality with our modern morality.
Obviously we all cringe when we think of
pedophilia and acknowledge that it is a shameful act of
immorality. But during the time of Muhammad, and even today in
some Islamic countries, marrying a 9-year-old child was not
immoral. In fact
was given to Muhammad with the consent
of her parents and no one raised an eyebrow. The question is, if
sleeping with a nine year old child was not deemed bad and
therefore was not considered immoral, was it ok? Not everything
that a society accepts as moral is right. Having sex with a
minor may not have been immoral for Arabs 1400 years ago, but it
is now, as it was then, unethical. Moralities are defined by
circumstances, but ethics transcend time and space. They are
rooted in logics. Morality can vary from culture to
culture, from time to time and from person to person. Who is to
determine what is moral and what is not? “
Having sex with a minor may not have been
immoral for Muhammad and his contemporaries in that uncivilized
culture, but it was ethically wrong. If Muhammad was a messenger
of God or an honorable man, as he made his Allah to proclaim him
thus, he should have known that what he was doing was
dishonorable and unethical.
Although it is true that in the past people
married at very young age. And it is also true that occasionally
wealthy old men married very young girls. We have to realize
that these people acted on their culture. We do not condemn them
for they did not know better. What they did was the norm. But we
do condemn those cultures.
However, we cannot forgive with the same
amnesty those who claimed to be the standard of rectitude
amongst mankind. If average people could not distinguish the
right from the wrong, the messengers of God, if they were from
God, should have known better. If their claim was true, if their
knowledge was divine, if they were inspired, they should not
have followed the tradition of their people but should have set
the example. Muhammad followed the morality of his people. But
that morality was ethically wrong. He claimed to be the best
human and the last messenger of God. According to him God has
said to people all he wanted to say in the Quran and his religion is
complete. There is no more guidance to come and his examples and
teachings are all we need to know and follow for eternity.
Yet what he did and said, under the light of modern values prove
to be very wrong.
Now we realize that we cannot live by his
examples any more, nor can we practice his teachings. Our
morality has changed. We would certainly put a man in jail if he
wanted to follow the Sunnah of the prophet in this day and age
and "marry" a 9-year-old child. We would not allow
someone to take people as slaves or trade in slavery
as Muhammad did.
If we cannot follow the morality of
Muhammad any more, if what he said and did do not fit in this
modern day, why we need Muhammad? What part of his teachings
should we accept and what part should we discard? Who will
determine that? This is an important question. If we give
ourselves the freedom to pick and choose the teachings that most
suit us we should give the same freedom to others.
Suppose you believe that marriage to a
minor should be outlawed, or you do not feel that polygyny is appropriate
any more for this day and age. Suppose you disagree with
slavery, male or female circumcision, beating of the wives and
do not believe in Jihad any more. You prefer to concentrate on
other parts of Islam that you like, e.g. Salat, Zikat, Haj, etc.
This is your choice. But can you deny other Muslims whose
choices are distinct from yours? How could you stop a Muslim who
wants to follow those teachings of Islam that you consider
outdated? By what authority can you dissuade one who wants to
spread Islam by Jihad, like Muhammad did? How can you prohibit
him not to assault sexually a 9-year-old child by marrying her?
What would you say to a Muslim who wishes to marry up to four
wives and decides to punish them by beating them if they are
disobedient, as the Prophet instructed him to do? If you use
logic in picking the teachings that are best, you are saying
that logic is superior to revelation and therefore you are
subscribing to the freethinker’s way of thinking not
Many Islamic countries have realized that
true Islam is impractical. Very few of them can practice it
faithfully; they all have modified it to certain extent and have
incorporated secularism into their laws to make life bearable.
Those that do follow Islam are hells on Earth. Interestingly the
civility and the progress of these countries are proportionate
to the level of their secularization. In the Middle Ages, when
religion had plunged Europe into the dark ages, Islamic
countries were progressive and prosperous. This was possible
because of the tolerance of the rulers of those days, their
independence from the Mosque and their disinterest to implement
Zakaria Ar-Razi, one of the greatest minds of
Islamic world, attacked religion in general and Islam in
particular with a force unthinkable in this day. He wrote:
“The prophets—these billy goats
with long beards, cannot claim any intellectual or spiritual
superiority. These billy goats pretend to come with a message
from God, all the while exhausting themselves in spouting
their lies, and imposing on the masses blind obedience to the
"words of the master." The miracles of the prophets
are impostures, based on trickery, or the stories regarding
them are lies. The falseness of what all the prophets say is
evident in the fact that they contradict one another: one
affirms what the other denies, and yet each claims to be the
sole depository of the truth; thus the New Testament
contradicts the Torah, the Koran the New Testament. As for the
Koran, it is but an assorted mixture of "absurd and
inconsistent fables," which has ridiculously been judged
inimitable, when, in fact, its language, style, and its much
vaunted "eloquence" are far from being faultless.
Custom, tradition, and intellectual laziness lead men to
follow their religious leaders blindly. Religions have been
the sole cause of the bloody wars that have ravaged mankind.
Religions have also been resolutely hostile to philosophical
speculation and to scientific research. The so-called holy
scriptures are worthless and have done more harm than good,
whereas the "writings of the ancients like Plato,
Aristotle, Euclid, and Hippocrates have rendered much greater
service to humanity."
This kind of criticism of Islam today,
would carry the death sentence. Can any intellectual speak so
freely against Islam calling the prophets “Billy Goats” as
Ar-Razi called them disdainfully in these days and live? Does
the fatwa against Salman Rushdie ring a bell? It is clear that
in those days of the golden age of Islam, Islamic countries
enjoyed a freedom and a level of secularization that has since
been disappeared. And along with that, the glory of Islamic
world also has ebbed. Islam can be used as an index of barbarity
and backwardness. The more a country applies Islam, the more
uncivilized and uncultured it becomes.
I have no doubt that if Islam was
eliminated completely, we’ll regain the past glory of those
secular days and even surpass it. There is no reason to believe
that the black-eyed race of Middle East is inferior to the
blue-eyed Europeans. The number of Middle Eastern
scientists, academics and scholars in the West is an indication
that given the opportunity we are no less intelligent than any
other race. The reason that we are backward, uncivilized and
barbaric in our native countries is because Islam has taken away
our dignity, humanity and intelligence. Islam has brainwashed
us, and like a drug has damaged the minds of our people.
Aisha the Child Wife of Muhammad
About the Age of Ayesha.