Sunday, May 2, 2010

Tarek Fatah: Muhammad's Marriage to Aisha

I have recently become interested in the writings of Tarek Fatah who is a pakistani-canadian and frequently writes on topics related to Islam. He aims to expose Islamism or the islamic political establishment founded by the muslim brotherhood and the likes of Hassan Al-Banna and Maududi. I personally thought of him as a secular western intellectual whose soul aim was to expose and question islamic thought. Naturally I assumed a defensive posture to his writings but recently he wrote an article against Wafa Sultan, an extremist anti-arab racist hate monger who denounces everything that is muslim. She declared war on islam and put me in a very uneasy place, although i am a secular agnostic but to go against the very essence of an entire culture and mythology was something that i wasn't comfortable with.

Wafa Sultana visited a jewish synagogue and openly berated Muhammad's marriage to Aisha and calling him a child rapist and a criminal. Muhammad's marriage to Aisha was personally for me an eye opener a long time back and something which was for me very difficult to believe. Most of the religious exploration i did in my teenage years convinced me that Aisha was indeed 9 years old when the marriage was consummated. I never for once heard any religious leader tell me otherwise. I am inspired by Muhammad although not in a religous way but i do believe that he happens to be one of the most influential spiritual, political and religious leader. What troubled me was how islamists justified their own child marriages by citing this example over and over again. Child brides is a tradition of many arab and primitive muslim countries.

But then again, i read Tareq Fatah who completely anhilates the religious establishments view on this issue and gives historical evidences that she might be over 20 years of age when she got married to Muhammad. The entire 9 year old view is based on a couple of hadiths and the failure of muslim thought to question and intelligently debate hadiths has led us to believe that there isn't another explanation. Historical resources otherwise contradict these hadiths, hence from now on, no perverted islamist has any authorized reason to marry a child, thanks to Tarek Fatah.

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