Therefore, in order for Shamoun to successfully argue that Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not marry Aisha when she hit puberty, he must prove that Aisha did not emit any sexual fluid, begin her menstrual cycle or grow pubic hair at the time she consummated the marriage with the Prophet (peace be upon him). How he can prove such a thing is beyond me.
Is it so difficult to believe that Aisha could have hit puberty and been able to consummate at that age? I don't believe so.
The Cambridge World History of Food says:
Albrecht von Haller (1775), for example, claimed that girls in the southerly regions of
Asia, where the climate was warm, were marriageable in their eighth year and gave birth in their ninth or tenth year; conversely, women in Arctic regions did not menstruate until age 23 or 24. This view was shared by other eighteenth-century writers, most notably J.F. Freind (1738), Herman Boerhaave (1744), and Montesquieu (1751). (The World History of Food, p.1455, Source) Cambridge
The Christian royals were marrying girls as young as nine, according to an article written by Professor Lynda Garland of the
: University of New England
Child brides, whether Byzantines or foreign princesses, were the norm rather than the exception, especially from the late twelfth century. Irene Ducaena, wife of Alexius I Comnenus, was twelve at her marriage, and empress before she was fifteen; the Byzantine princess Theodora, Manuel's niece, was in her thirteenth year when she married Baldwin III of Jerusalem; and Margaret-Maria of Hungary married Isaac II Angelus at the age of nine. (Professor Lynda Garland of University of New England, Agnes-Anna of France,wife of Alexius II and Andronicus I of the Comneni Dynasty, Source)
It is also interesting to note that Aisha considered herself to be a woman at the age of nine when she stated:
When the girl reaches nine years of age, she is a woman. (Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Kitab: al-Nikah, Bab: Maa Jaa'a fee Ikraah Al Yateemah 'alaa al tazweej, Hadith no. 1027, Source)
Shaikh Abdur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri in his commentary on Sunan al-Tirmidhi said:
أن عائشة قد كانت أدركت وهي بنت تسع سنين
Aisha knew (that she hit puberty) when she became nine years old. (Shaikh Abdur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri,Tuhfat AI-Ahwadhi, Kitab: al-Nikah, Bab: Maa Jaa'a fee Ikraah Al Yateemah 'alaa al tazweej, Hadith no. 1027, Source)
Thus, we have a statement from Aisha herself that clearly seems to indicate that she was aware of hitting puberty at age nine.
One may argue that this still doesn't mean that all nine year old girls are physically or psychologically capable of engaging in sexual intercourse and could be physically or psychologically harmed if they did so.
However, we must remember the "don't harm yourself or cause harm to others" principle in Islam.
Something might generally be deemed to be permissible or even recommended, yet could be forbidden at times.
For instance, fasting could be prohibited for a person with diabetes:
If fasting is difficult for him and will cause him harm, such as a man who has kidney disease or diabetes and similar cases where fasting will cause harm. In this case fasting is haraam. (Source)
We must remember to apply this principle to all situations. Therefore, if it happens to be that a woman will undergo physical or psychological harm if she were to engage in sexual intercourse at an early age, then doing so will be haram for her.
We have no reason to believe that Aisha has undergone such problems. Thus, why can we object then?
Also, regarding the narration that stated that when Aisha was fourteen the Prophet (peace be upon him) found her dolls; the narration does not say that she was playing with them. It only says that they were in her possession. The only way the Prophet (peace be upon him) found out was because they were uncovered by the curtain covering her storage room. So this narration only shows that she was still in possession of them, but not necessarily playing with them. Plus, if she was in a habit of playing with them, why would she cover them up with a curtain in her storage room and why did the Prophet (peace be upon him) just find out about them? He would have seen her always playing with them.
There was nothing immature about playing with dolls. Interestingly one says:
The toy dolls that existed before the 1700's served chiefly as playthings for adults as well as for children.At that time, adults and children were more alike in their attitudes and interests than they are today, and childhood as we know it did not really exist. Youngsters were regarded as little adults and were expected to act like them. They shared the work of supporting the family with their parents. People of nearly all ages enjoyed the same simple toys, including dolls and jack-in-the-boxes. Most of the dolls were shaped and dressed like adults.
Adults first came to regard childhood as a special time during the 1700's and especially the 1800's. The first dolls specifically for children probably were made in the 1700's. The dolls themselves looked the same but could be dressed as babies, children, women, or men. In the West, the first doll to be designed as a baby appeared at the London Exhibition of 1851 and came from
. (Source) Japan
Many over aged girls even today still keep their Barbie dolls. Look at what this individual says:
I love Barbie. As an only girl, I played with her a lot. When I got Ken, Barbie's first boyfriend, they would go out on dates in Barbie's car. Barbie was very independent & she always wanted to pick Ken up.
Thanks to my special niece I could continue to play with Barbie as an adult...we would have a lot of fun! My niece is getting older now and I'm afraid it's true that the Brat dolls have all but taken over her playroom. I like the Bratz dolls but I will always be most fond of Barbie :)
Happy Birthday Barbie xoxo
I also personally know of a 23 year old girl in my Masters class who is very intelligent and still keeps a teddy bear in her car.
Thus, to argue that Aisha must have not hit puberty because she played with or was in possession of dolls is not a strong nor is it a convincing argument.