A brief overview of the age of consent in pre-modern societies

A brief overview of the age of consent in pre-modern societies:

The paper begins by emphasizing that historically, age of consent almost always coincided with the age of puberty, unlike the notions of the age of consent today.


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The paper, then goes on to describe an important reason why women were married off as young as possible, often immediately when they hit puberty.

Some physicians still argue, that biologically, women at 14 are capable of childbearing.


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Age of consent (and hence marriage), was around 12-14 for girls, in the Greek and Roman empires.

Women could be betrothed without their consent, and it was not uncommon for marriages to be consummated even before the girl attained puberty.


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The paper then quotes the example of the Prophet ﷺ, along with St Augustine further strengthening the fact that it was perfectly acceptable to be betrothed to biologically pre-pubescent girls, but consummation would often be delayed until they were mature.

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Girls above 7 could consent, but some took an objection to it, stating 7 was too old an age, in the 12th century.

According to law, the husband could technically r@pe his pre-mature wife, and it would be regarded as consummation of marriage.


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Strangely, age of consent was highly flexible, and girls younger than 7 were often married off, and marriages of girls younger than 12 were pretty commonplace and normal.

Equally, no one saw an issue with an extremely old man marrying a girl younger than 12, due to custom.


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The paper then goes on to critique modern historians, that use modern notions of sex and consent to completely deny or overlook what was the norms of the past, and hence distorting actual history in the process, for example, as with Thomas Jefferson.

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There are many commissions that recommend bringing down the age of consent to 14 in today's day and age.

Hence, Islamophobes really have no basis to stand on when criticising our Nabi ﷺ, for something that was considered normal across history just upto recently.


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Girls above 7 could consent, but some took an objection to it, stating 7 was too old an age, in the 12th century.

According to law, the husband could technically r@pe his pre-mature wife, and it would be regarded as consummation of marriage.


View attachment 204637 View attachment 204638

Strangely, age of consent was highly flexible, and girls younger than 7 were often married off, and marriages of girls younger than 12 were pretty commonplace and normal.

Equally, no one saw an issue with an extremely old man marrying a girl younger than 12, due to custom.


View attachment 204639 View attachment 204640

The paper then goes on to critique modern historians, that use modern notions of sex and consent to completely deny or overlook what was the norms of the past, and hence distorting actual history in the process, for example, as with Thomas Jefferson.

View attachment 204641 View attachment 204642 View attachment 204643 View attachment 204644

There are many commissions that recommend bringing down the age of consent to 14 in today's day and age.

Hence, Islamophobes really have no basis to stand on when criticising our Nabi ﷺ, for something that was considered normal across history just upto recently.


View attachment 204646
Just because it was "normal" doesn't mean it was okay. As time goes our morality changes and we learn to realize how some stuff are fucked up. Its not right for a 14 year to be married off, look at the choices you made when you were 14 and look at how you think now.

What people have against your prophet is, he didn't claimed to be a normal guy but he claimed to be a Messenger of a God So his actions should have been different from everyone else.

He Knew that worshipping an idol was stupid but he couldn't figure out that marrying a 6 y/o while being 53 was wrong? He is even claimed to be an example for all mankind which means whatever he did should fit in every timeline.

Also before you go on how others married younger or other shit, i explained he claimed to be a messenger of a god while those others lived there life as everyone else NOTE that.

NOTE: God could have told him that doing those actions was wrong but didn't bother to do so, Why is that? there you go he was a normal guy following whatever other did As long as he was okay with it

Anyways hope that explains.
 
Just because it was "normal" doesn't mean it was okay. As time goes our morality changes and we learn to realize how some stuff are fucked up. Its not right for a 14 year to be married off, look at the choices you made when you were 14 and look at how you think now.

What people have against your prophet is, he didn't claimed to be a normal guy but he claimed to be a Messenger of a God So his actions should have been different from everyone else.

He Knew that worshipping an idol was stupid but he couldn't figure out that marrying a 6 y/o while being 53 was wrong? He is even claimed to be an example for all mankind which means whatever he did should fit in every timeline.

Also before you go on how others married younger or other shit, i explained he claimed to be a messenger of a god while those others lived there life as everyone else NOTE that.

NOTE: God could have told him that doing those actions was wrong but didn't bother to do so, Why is that? there you go he was a normal guy following whatever other seen as normal as long as it benefits him or its okay with him.

Anyways hope that explains.
I only brought up historical context to show people how history & culture changes, and the only reason you think his ﷺ marriage to Aisha رضي الله عنها was “immoral” is not because of any good reason, it’s due to your modern day environment. Had you been born a few centuries ago or in the 7th century, you wouldn’t have an issue with his ﷺ marriage. You have no moral arguments or good reasons to believe his ﷺ marriage to Aisha رضي الله عنها at a young age was wrong, all you got is subjective claims and emotional arguments. What you have to say is irrelevant.

And yes, he ﷺ is the messenger of God and every decision he made was perfect including marrying Aisha رضي الله عنها at a young age. We Muslims are not ashamed of this nor do we have an issue with it, rather we are pleased and proud.
 
I only brought up historical context to show people how history & culture changes, and the only reason you think his ﷺ marriage to Aisha رضي الله عنها was “immoral” is not because of any good reason, it’s due to your modern day environment. Had you been born a few centuries ago or in the 7th century, you wouldn’t have an issue with his ﷺ marriage. You have no moral arguments or good reasons to believe his ﷺ marriage to Aisha رضي الله عنها at a young age was wrong, what you have to say is irrelevant.

And yes, he ﷺ is the messenger of God and every decision he made was perfect including marrying Aisha رضي الله عنها at a young age. We Muslims are not ashamed of this nor do we have an issue, rather we are pleased and proud.
As i said "normal" doesn't mean its fine. yes it was immoral for him to marry her but okay.

If you Muslims are so proud of it why do many Muslim complain about old guys going back to their shitty homeland to marry a child? they know for sure that its immoral to do so but they will find a way to excuse for their leader.

Anyways if you can't understand any point that i have made. Its better for me to not reply so i don't waste my time trying to make a wall understand how gravity works
 
Did you hear about Callmecarson a youtuber getting called a 'PEDO' for texting and asking out a17 year old women while he was 19 years old! He ended up getting cancelled by the mob. You can't make this stuff up!
 
As i said "normal" doesn't mean its fine. yes it was immoral for him to marry her but okay.

If you Muslims are so proud of it why do many Muslim complain about old guys going back to their shitty homeland to marry a child? they know for sure that its immoral to do so but they will find a way to excuse for their leader.

Anyways if you can't understand any point that i have made. Its better for me to not reply so i don't waste my time trying to make a wall understand how gravity works
1) Despite what you or many Westerners may feel, you guys are not the objective standard of truth and morality. There’s nothing immoral about “child” marriage as long as harm and exploitation doesn’t exist and if it’s within the best interests of the girl. Each case is different and it should be evaluated on an individual basis. The state should intervene to make sure the young bride is physically mature enough and she’s married to a suitable partner and no harm exists. Those Muslims who protest “child” marriages are protesting for various reasons, one of the reasons is because the practice goes unrestricted (lacks state supervision) and in such scenarios, these girls are being sold off like candy, which leads to harm & exploitation.

One of the key general principles in Islam is that God does not burden people with laws and actions that are beyond their inherent capabilities (cause them harm) or that are exceedingly difficult to their nature,

“Allah does not charge a soul except within its capacity...O our Lord, and do not burden us with what we have no power (over)”. (Quran, 2:286)

As a general rule, this applies to all aspects of shari’ah, be it worship, personal or civil matters, et cetera, so if for example someone is mentally or physically incapable of performing the hajj or keeping fasts, they will not be expected to. Similarly based on this rule, if they are unable to undertake a marital life such as they aren’t physically ready, they will not be permitted (much less expected) to.

So any harm that occurs in a child marriage cannot be linked to Islam, as the religion itself forbids all forms of harm.

2) The case of Aisha رضي الله عنها is different, she was married to a suitable partner who was the best of all creation ﷺ and the marriage was within her best interests. The marriage to the Prophet ﷺ of Allah is a blessing in itself. Aisha رضي الله عنها was physically mature enough for marriage and she lived a happy marital life, there was no harm involved. Aisha’s رضي الله عنها parents did what was within her best interests and I trust their opinions and decisions over some dirty Islamophobes 1400 years later.
 

Aurelian

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Just because it was "normal" doesn't mean it was okay. As time goes our morality changes and we learn to realize how some stuff are fucked up. Its not right for a 14 year to be married off, look at the choices you made when you were 14 and look at how you think now.

What people have against your prophet is, he didn't claimed to be a normal guy but he claimed to be a Messenger of a God So his actions should have been different from everyone else.

He Knew that worshipping an idol was stupid but he couldn't figure out that marrying a 6 y/o while being 53 was wrong? He is even claimed to be an example for all mankind which means whatever he did should fit in every timeline.

Also before you go on how others married younger or other shit, i explained he claimed to be a messenger of a god while those others lived there life as everyone else NOTE that.

NOTE: God could have told him that doing those actions was wrong but didn't bother to do so, Why is that? there you go he was a normal guy following whatever other did As long as he was okay with it

Anyways hope that explains.
"As time goes our morality changes"
"yes it was immoral for him to marry her"
If their were morally alright to marry under 18 yrs old at that time, how you can judged him with modern principles
 
"As time goes our morality changes"
"yes it was immoral for him to marry her"
If their were morally alright to marry under 18 yrs old at that time, how you can judged him with modern principles
Modern principles are subjective and change over time, the future age of consent might change up to 25 in the future and future generations would be slandering their ancestors for marrying under 25. This is called the fallacy of presentism or anachronism, judging the past using present subjective morals.

Islamophobes and Non Muslims don’t have any legitimate or rational arguments against the Prophet’s ﷺ marriage to Aisha رضي الله عنها, all they have is baseless assumptions, subjective opinions, emotions and slanderous insults.
 
Just because it was "normal" doesn't mean it was okay. As time goes our morality changes and we learn to realize how some stuff are fucked up. Its not right for a 14 year to be married off, look at the choices you made when you were 14 and look at how you think now.

What people have against your prophet is, he didn't claimed to be a normal guy but he claimed to be a Messenger of a God So his actions should have been different from everyone else.

He Knew that worshipping an idol was stupid but he couldn't figure out that marrying a 6 y/o while being 53 was wrong? He is even claimed to be an example for all mankind which means whatever he did should fit in every timeline.

Also before you go on how others married younger or other shit, i explained he claimed to be a messenger of a god while those others lived there life as everyone else NOTE that.

NOTE: God could have told him that doing those actions was wrong but didn't bother to do so, Why is that? there you go he was a normal guy following whatever other did As long as he was okay with it

Anyways hope that explains.
Back in those times it was normal because usually people died early so they matured faster then today’s age back in the day teenagers and pre teens were sent to war. In fact just recently in America men were allowed to marry underage women in the 1800s like Thomas Jefferson
 
Back in those times it was normal because usually people died early so they matured faster then today’s age back in the day teenagers and pre teens were sent to war. In fact just recently in America men were allowed to marry underage women in the 1800s like Thomas Jefferson
These articles provide some interesting information about the age of consent in the West just in the 1800s.

Age of consent in European & American history:


The age of consent laws in America 1800s:


This article here pretty much decimates Islamophobic contentions & arguments surrounding the Prophet’s ﷺ marriage to Aisha رضي الله عنها:


Arthur Siccan presents a historical snapshot of England, Europe and the Western Hemisphere in
general:

“Traditionally, across the globe, the age of consent for sexual union was a matter for the family to decide, or a tribal custom. In most cases, this coincided with signs of puberty, menstruation for a woman and pubic hair for a man. Sir Edward Coke in 17th century England made it clear that the marriage of girls under 12 was normal, and the age at which a girl who was a wife was eligible for a dower from her husband’s estate was 9. The American colonies followed the English tradition, and the law was more of a guide. For example, Mary Hathaway of Virginia was only 9 when she was married to William Williams. Portugal, Spain, Denmark and the Swiss cantons initially set the age of consent at 10-12 years and then raised it to between 13 and 16 years in the second half of the 19th century. Historically, the English common law set the age of consent to range from 10-12. In the United States, by the 1880s, most states set the age of consent at 10-12, and in one state, Delaware, the age of consent was only 7. Social and resulting legal attitudes toward the appropriate age of consent have drifted upwards in modern times. For example, while ages from 10 to 13 were typically acceptable in Western countries during the mid-19th century, the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century were marked by changing.” (A. Siccan, What’s Wrong in America. Indiana: Trafford Publishing, 2012.)
 
This obsession with age of consent laws is ignoring the actual basis on which it was set upon-- marriage. Marriage wasn't just a social union but an economic one and by looking at it from that angle, variation in official ages of consent across history begin to make sense. Nobles married young to secure land or preserve lineage and since peasants and serfs didn't have land or lineage, they tended to marry later. Think of the age of consent as reflecting the practical use marriage had.
 
*It was an interesting document, but the part about anaemia being more of an issue than narrow birthing hips is a pretty city-centric issue. The diet of the Somali definitely didn't have this issue so that doesn't explain the marriage age of a girl being so young.

Continuing from the main point, it wouldn't make sense to use older forms of age of consent to inform current laws. In an industrial or even post-industrial society, marriages tend to be later because society needs a more specialised workforce so a low age of consent isn't desirable.
 
1) Despite what you or many Westerners may feel, you guys are not the objective standard of truth and morality. There’s nothing immoral about “child” marriage as long as harm and exploitation doesn’t exist and if it’s within the best interests of the girl. Each case is different and it should be evaluated on an individual basis. The state should intervene to make sure the young bride is physically mature enough and she’s married to a suitable partner and no harm exists. Those Muslims who protest “child” marriages are protesting for various reasons, one of the reasons is because the practice goes unrestricted (lacks state supervision) and in such scenarios, these girls are being sold off like candy, which leads to harm & exploitation.

One of the key general principles in Islam is that God does not burden people with laws and actions that are beyond their inherent capabilities (cause them harm) or that are exceedingly difficult to their nature,

“Allah does not charge a soul except within its capacity...O our Lord, and do not burden us with what we have no power (over)”. (Quran, 2:286)

As a general rule, this applies to all aspects of shari’ah, be it worship, personal or civil matters, et cetera, so if for example someone is mentally or physically incapable of performing the hajj or keeping fasts, they will not be expected to. Similarly based on this rule, if they are unable to undertake a marital life such as they aren’t physically ready, they will not be permitted (much less expected) to.

So any harm that occurs in a child marriage cannot be linked to Islam, as the religion itself forbids all forms of harm.

2) The case of Aisha رضي الله عنها is different, she was married to a suitable partner who was the best of all creation ﷺ and the marriage was within her best interests. The marriage to the Prophet ﷺ of Allah is a blessing in itself. Aisha رضي الله عنها was physically mature enough for marriage and she lived a happy marital life, there was no harm involved. Aisha’s رضي الله عنها parents did what was within her best interests and I trust their opinions and decisions over some dirty Islamophobes 1400 years later.

It's better to avoid those slippery slopes and just ban it altogether, no point allowing something to happen that can and does go wrong a lot of the times and certainly would be harmful for those young girls.

Aisha married before age 10, Idk how you can say she was mature enough.

We're not talking about a young teen here...

I just wonder, if Islam is true, why Allah allowed it to happen knowing full well it would be considered unacceptable in the future.
 
It's better to avoid those slippery slopes and just ban it altogether, no point allowing something to happen that can and does go wrong a lot of the times and certainly would be harmful for those young girls.

Aisha married before age 10, Idk how you can say she was mature enough.

We're not talking about a young teen here...

I just wonder, if Islam is true, why Allah allowed it to happen knowing full well it would be considered unacceptable in the future.
1. You said: “It's better to avoid those slippery slopes and just ban it altogether, no point allowing something to happen that can and does go wrong a lot of the times and certainly would be harmful for those young girls.”

My response: The same can be said about Adult marriages (18+) as harm & abuse still exists & it isn’t absent in any marriage. Contrary to popular claims, child marriages have been normal in most pre modern societies and its entailments were practiced, or at the very least accepted (with some variations in the exact ages). Had the practice been harmful in most or all cases, they would have certainly been rejected as they would run contrary to basic human family values and survival. Yet, up until only relatively recently, most people throughout Human history didn’t have a problem with such marriages. In fact, it is extremely rare to find anyone before 1905 criticizing his marriage to Aisha رضي الله عنها, as such criticisms was virtually non existent. The Prophet’s ﷺ worst enemies who smeared him with everything imaginable did not even think of his ﷺ marriage to Aisha رضي الله عنها as a flaw, neither did any Non Muslim many centuries after his ﷺ death which goes to show you that such criticisms are baseless and subjective.

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Aisha رضي الله عنها was 6 when she was married and 9 when the marriage was consummated, she was physically mature enough and many scholars say she reached the Islamic definition of puberty at the time of consummation, which would have made her mentally mature since Adulthood was considered to be puberty in pre modern societies, and Allah knows best. Physical maturity, development & puberty fluctuates, everyone grows at their own pace and it isn’t surprising even in our society to see a 10 year old or a 12 year old who’s tall & big for their age and have grown a lot faster.

Aisha رضي الله عنها seemed to considerherself 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)

Shaikh Abdur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri in his commentary on Sunan al-Tirmidhi said:

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)

Maliki Scholar Al-Dawudi رَحِمَهُ الله said:

“And Aishah’s body had been matured. [i.e. reached ‘good Youthfulness’ (Shabaaban husna)] – may Allah be pleased with her” (Sharh Sahih Muslim 9/207 by Imam Nawawi)

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2. You said: “Aisha married before age 10, Idk how you can say she was mature enough. We're not talking about a young teen here.”

My response: Aisha رضي الله عنها married the Prophet ﷺ with the consent & blessings of her parents, and they had the right to decide what was within the best interests of their daughter just like most parents would. What is the issue with this? What is wrong in an agreement/contract between 2 consenting parties? Can you explain why this would be incorrect? Her parents cared about her best interests & well being, there isn’t any evidence that they put their daughter through risk of being harmed, and I trust their decisions over what some Islamophobic loser says in the 21st century.

Also there’s a difference between a marriage contract and consummation of the marriage in Islamic law, learn to distinguish between the two. A marriage contract is comparable to a betrothal or engagement, it can happen at any age but consummation of the marriage can only happen once the person grows up and is physically mature enough to have sexual intercourse without it causing them harm. In Islamic law, a minor who’s married, once they reach the Islamic definition of puberty, they have the choice to continue the marriage or divorce the spouse

- Ibn Battal رَحِمَهُ الله writes:

“The scholars agreed that it is permissible for fathers to marry off their young daughters even if they are in the cradle, except it is not permissible for their husbands to consummate the marriage with them until they are prepared to safely have intercourse.”

Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari 7/172

As Ibn Battal رَحِمَهُ الله stated here, it’s permissible for a father to contract marriages for their minor daughters, even if they are little babies in a cradle, but consummation can only occur once they grow up & they’re physically mature & able enough to have sexual intercourse without harm.


- Ubadah ibn al-Samit رضي الله عنه reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ issued a decree, “Do not cause harm or return harm.” (Sunan Ibn Mājah 2340)

- Abu Sa’id al-Khudri رضي الله عنه reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Do not cause harm or return harm. Whoever harms others, Allah will harm him. Whoever is harsh with others, Allah will be harsh with him.” (al-Sunan al-Kubrá 11070)

The authentic Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ is quite clear, anything that’s harmful is to be prevented at all cost, and this can be applied in all situations including Marriage and the consummation of it.

- The Maliki Jurist Ibn Battal رَحِمَهُ الله said:

“It is not permitted for her husbands to consummate the marriage except if she is capable the sexual affairs and can afford men’s (sexual desire). The state of each woman differs (from one to another) in this matter according to their capability and endurance.”

Ibn Battal, Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 7, pp. 172-173

- Imam Nawawi رَحِمَهُ الله narrated this is the view of the three Imams of Fiqh; i.e. Abu Hanifah, Shafi’i, and Malik:


“Malik, Shafi’i and Abu Hanifah said: The is measured by her capability of the sexual relationship and it varies from individual to individual and it is not limited to a certain age.”

Sharh Sahih Muslim, Vol. 9, p. 206

- In a collective work of contemporary jurist committee, scholars argue if the bride is not capable of sexual relations, the marriage can’t be consummated regardless of her age:

If she is skinny and feeble, not capable of sexual relation and she may be medically harmed (by doing so), the husband is not permitted to consummate the marriage, even if she is old.”

Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyah, Vol. 1, p. 287

The scholars are unanimously agreed that one who isn’t capable and mature enough for intercourse should not be having sex, as it would certainly harm them.

Imam Nawawi رَحِمَهُ الله writes:

“Know that Al-Shafi’i رَحِمَهُ الله and his companions encouraged a father or grandfather not to marry off a virgin girl until she reaches maturity and he obtains her consent, that she may not be trapped with a husband she dislikes.”

Sharh al-Nawawi ‘ala Sahih Muslim 1422

The scholars have agreed that contracting marriages on behalf of minors is only permissible in the case that it is within their best interests, otherwise it’s better if the minor reaches puberty (the Islamic definition of puberty) and consents to
marriage.

3. You said: I just wonder, if Islam is true, why Allah allowed it to happen knowing full well it would be considered unacceptable in the future.

Our morality comes from the Shariah which is objective and fixed throughout time. Our morals do not come from what modern day secular western society considers moral or immoral which is purely subjective and changes over time. What Islamophobes have to say about Islam or the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is irrelevant since they can’t even prove their morals to be objective and binding upon us, and we do not care about their opinions.
 
@Tamir You say that but a Muslim man marrying a girl that young today is looked down upon even by Muslims, so clearly it's not fixed throughout time.

Heck if that was the case, slavery would be fine too.
 

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