Over at Indigo Jo Blogs, there's the oft-repeated argument over Aishah's age when she was married to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Instead of replying there (because the following is so lengthy), I'm posting this response here, and will link the response over in the comments section of IJB's thread.
This particular response is not mine, but was written by a woman whose nick was Ruqaiyyah. The post was taken from Beliefnet (where I used to be a regular), and was originally written on 24 April 2001.<> I have edited her post slightly for grammar, punctuation, and spelling; otherwise, the words are hers:
Dear Cassian, AAWR. This will probably be one of the most difficult replies I have to write in this dialogue, because there is so much that needs to be said. You have done a great deal of research, and have pointed out various references, but at the same time, every single point you raise in my opinion you have gained the wrong interpretation.
But let us start at the beginning with the facts; yes, the Prophet (pbuh) was over
My own conclusion is that she was born in
So, my first part of my answer is that the whole business of Aishah's age is debatable. I have a booklet on the subject, if you are interested, published by IPCI in Birmingham.
The second part of my answer is to consider the thorny issue of pedophilia. There is all the difference in the world by adult men committing indecent sexual acts on small children, and the issue of love (which might not even be a physical thing at all) between an adult and a child. The Prophet (pbuh) was well known for his great love for children, but certainly with no sexual content to it whatsoever. He had many children himself, the four girls surviving and two sons dying, at which he adopted his four-year old cousin Ali and brought him up and also adopted a
At the same time, we have to realize that the culture was very different; the usual age for a girl's marriage was once she reached puberty and her periods commenced, thus making her technically 'adult'; it was the same for Jewish people - and we might observe how the Virgin Mary was presumably only
Another aspect I would like you to consider is the very deep love that can exist between an older person and a tiny child. I cannot be the only grandma to whom a little grandson has seriously declared that he loves me, and will marry me when he grows up. I love him, too, more than any other human being. But you will have to take my word when I say there is no question of any pedophilia involved. You will also have to take my word when I tell you that when I was
So, I have to conclude that the love between the Prophet (pbuh) and his best friend's daughter - whom he knew from her birth - was not pedophilic at all, but a very sincere and deep mutual love. The fact that he may have engaged her at the age of
The fact that the Prophet (pbuh) dreamed about Aishah is nothing suspicious - there was no suggestion whatsoever in the hadith that the dream was of a sexual nature, just that they were destined to marry. So, to get back to your opening paragraph, yes - it was all normal.