Is it true that Prophet Muhammad married a minor? If yes, can all Muslims marry minors?

The definition of the age of majority and marriage has drastically changed in rather recent human history. When the Abrahamic religions had emerged, women were not citizens and considered commodities of their fathers, brothers, or in-laws. Brides had prices and it was their fathers who decided to whom to sell their daughters.

For both Arabs and Jews in the Middle East sales of daughters could (and in some regions still can) take place long before the girls “ripened”, It was also possible for a groom to purchase a bride at a young age and wait until she becomes old enough to marry and have intimate relations with.

In Judaism, Christianity, and Islam adulthood, therefore marriageability, starts with puberty. In other words, whom we call an adolescent is an adult in Abrahamic religions who can “marry” someone with the blessing of God.

For example, the 16th Century Spanish King Philip’s fourth wife was his niece, Anna of Austria. Anna was sent to his uncle pre-puberty, but Anna and her uncle had to wait till Anna’s puberty to consummate their “love”.

Likewise, in the 7th century Prophet Mohammed’s last wife Aisha was given to him pre-puberty however, Prophet Mohammed waited for Aisha’s adolescence to marry her. . The only difference between King Philip and Prophet Mohammed is that the latter’s wife was not his niece.

In conclusion, Prophet Mohammed’s last “marriage” was to an adolescent. That said, he was not the inventor of -what we today call- child marriage. In fact, child marriage among Orthodox Jews in the US as well as in some Muslim majority countries,

Afterword

This article is not the justification of child marriages in defense of Prophet Mohammed. However, understanding the societies they live in is critical in the accurate appreciation of historical figures.

As far as their marriages are concerned King Philip and Prophet Mohammed were both men of their time, not pedophiles, There are perhaps tones of reasons to criticize Prophet Mohammed but pedophilia is not one of them.

Trivia

Did you know that up until 2013, the age of consent was 13 in Spain and 12 in Vatican City?

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