In the case of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the age of Aisha was around the age of puberty when she married Prophet Muhammad. Christians criticize the Prophet’s marriage to her on the grounds that she was too young. However, Christian law not only permitted girls to marry at the age of puberty but rather it was encouraged by the church to marry at this young age. When girls reached near the age of puberty, they were considered marriage material.
These pre-pubescent and young girls were usually married off to the much older men, even as older as their grandfathers.
Age of Marriage Under Jewish Law
It is mentioned on the Jewish website, jewfaq.org, which says that the minimum age for marriage under Jewish law is 13 for boys, 12 for girls; however, the engagement can take place before that.
The age of twelve comes close to the beginning of puberty. According to Jewish law, marriage at this age is not just permissible, but rather it is proactively encouraged and fathers are counseled to wed their pubescent daughters as soon as possible.
In Jewish traditions, it is also said that a man who marries off his sons and daughters near the period of puberty will receive the scriptural blessings; “you shall know that your tent is in peace” (job 5:24), evidently understood to mean that if one’s children were married, they would not yield to sexual temptation” (bible, 1997:p49-50).
Thus, according to Jewish law, which allows men to marry twelve-year-old girls, but today she would be considered “child brides”. Even the age limit of twelve is also not absolute like Christianity; rather twelve years old is just the age at which a girl can herself choose to get married. Before that, however, her father can have her married off, without her consent. According to Jewish religious law (halacha), which in Israel confers soundness on the marriage of Jews conducted within its borders, it is possible to marry a young girl of any age, but the girl herself may choose to marry only when she has reached the age of 12 and a half.
The Talmud recommends that a daughter should be given in marriage at around the age of twelve means the beginning of puberty, but Jewish Rabbis were historically permitted to marry their daughters off even before that age. Astonishingly, the wife could be as young as three years old and according to Jewish law, such marriages were legitimately sealed by the man having sex with the baby. In the ancient world, Jewish law appeared to necessitate an act of intercourse for an engagement to be recognized as a marriage. The early-marriage practice of Israel found recognition in Christendom, whose advanced children bedded and wedded at or even before puberty…at the time of st. paul, girls were married at puberty or a little before. The early marriage age may be endorsed to various factors like, an effort to avoid the temptation of sexual affairs before marriage or the effort to arrange the best possible match both socially and economically, or the uncertainty of dispersion Jews during the age of evictions from Spain and Ottoman spreading out, moving them to establish ties that would assure the children’s financial future or maybe the desire to increase a new generation of Jews as quickly as possible to reassure the continuity of their people.
According to many Jewish scholars, a girl should be married off as soon as she hits puberty and no later. There is an article in a journal on women in Judaism, we find that Jews were continued marrying at the age of puberty up until world war I. Girls got married at the age of nine, following the tradition of marrying daughters at age eight to ten. If the girl could not get married until the age of fifteen she used to lose hope of marriage, because she would be considered an old girl. Despite these principles, at the end of the nineteenth century, families still married their daughters at the age of twelve and thirteen. After world war I, the situation altered somewhat for the better when the legal age for marriage was an increase to fifteen.
Jewish girls “got married at the age of nine”, a practice which continued up until the end of world war I”. But they have the problem with Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), as he got married to Aisha at a young age, which actually was her age of puberty. Why then are the Jews criticizing Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) for marrying Aisha at the age of nine? Is this not hypocrisy? Is this not a case of that you live in a house of the glass and throwing stones to other’s houses? Why is it that Christian adversaries criticize only Muslims but say nothing at all to their Jewish colleagues? Why they only target Muslims by targeting Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), but not touching their Jewish counterparts? To conclude, we close with the words of Mark E. Pietrzyk: according to the Talmud, the suggested age for marriage is sometime after twelve for females, and thirteen for males. Marriage below these ages was generally discouraged. However, a father was allowed to get engaged in his daughter to another man at an earlier age, and sexual intercourse was regarded as a valid means of sealing an engagement. The age limit for engagement through sexual intercourse was astonishingly low. According to the Talmud, “a girl of the age of three years and one day maybe engaged by intercourse.”
Age of Marriage under Hindu Law
Many Hindus have ill feelings towards Islam. They think that Muslims have encroached their land demolished their temples many centuries ago. As a consequence, some of them attack Prophet Muhammad by blaming him of being a pedophile. However, let’s have a quick look at the Hindu religious manuscripts which will be enough to refute them. According to the Hindu religious scripture known as the Manu-Smriti, in chapter Gautama (18-21) it is mentioned that a girl should be given in marriage before puberty. In chapter Vashistha (17.70) it is mentioned that due to fear of the appearance of the menses, the father must marry his daughter while she still runs about naked. If her father doesn’t get her married and keeps her at home after the age of puberty, sin falls on the father. In the chapter Bodhayana (4.1.11) it is stated that let father give his daughter in a marriage to a man who has not broken the oath of chastity, while she still goes on naked, and who also possesses good qualities, or even to one who deprived of good qualities; let him not retain the his daughter in his house after she has attained the age of puberty.
In an article entitled “child marriage in Nepal” which states that in the ancient Hindu manuscript of 400 to 100 bc, there are stringent ethical commandments that instruct the father to marry off his daughter at a very young age. These religious scriptures state that the idol age for a girl to get married is between is 8 and 10. It has also been stated that a girl should not delay marriage more than three years after reaching puberty, and if she has not been given by then in marriage by her father, the scripture even command the daughter to get married on her own. Such religious manuscripts like the Bishnu Sutra and Gautam Sutra instruct the father to marry his daughter within three weeks of reaching puberty, and not later than that. Likewise, another saint, Parasara also said that the parents or guardians of a girl in who attains puberty before marriage will certainly go to hell. Such rules forced by the so-called “holy ones” had their consequence upon the religious population, and the practice of child marriage was inflexibly established by 200 bc.
According to the encyclopedia of religion and ethics, it was considered that if the father allows his daughter to reach puberty in his house, he will be sinful and the girl herself fell to the condition of a Sudra, the low caste, marriage with whom is not considered prestigious for the husband, rather this marriage involved degradation and humiliation on the part of the husband. The Smrti of Manu fixes the age of husband and wife at 30 and 12 or 24 and 8 respectively; in the later work of Hinduism like Brhaspati and the instructive portion of the Mahabharata give the wife’s age in these cases as 10 and 7 respectively, while another later scripture gives 4 to 6 years as the lower and 8 years as the upper limit for giving a daughter in marriage. There is ample evidence that these dates were not only hypothetical.
The firm command regarding marriage before her attaining puberty gains added strength from the detail that disregard of it is represented as gone with evil consequences for the father. While Manu is contented to portray the father as guilty who does not give his daughter in marriage at the proper time. It is also stated in Vasistha that “for the fear of attaining puberty, let the father give his daughter in marriage while she is still going on naked. If the father keeps her at home after the marriageable age, sin falls upon the father.” 38 The performance of child marriage, at least among the Brahmans, most upper and respected caste in Hinduism, became vital and fundamental for orthodox Hinduism.
This is an average age of marriage among various religions in a different parts of the world, which means many girls were getting married much younger than that. Then why are the disbelievers criticize Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who married Aisha more than 1,400 years ago? It is merely illogical to judge a marriage that took place 1400 years ago, on the ground of the laws of the 21st Century.
Cite this essay
Child Marriage and Religion. (2020, Sep 09). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/child-marriage-and-religion-essay