Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Don't Cue the Gershwin Tunes for This One: the "Love" Story Between Islam's Founder and His Child Bride

I don't think this is quite what Cupid had in mind:
The love story of Mohammed and Aisha began, as so many of these tribal love stories do, when the prophet of Islam felt a compelling need to marry a six-year-old-girl and the girl’s father wanted an alliance with the rising power of Mohammed. Mohammed’s father was his first real ally outside the family, except that thanks to the rape and abuse of a little girl, he wasn’t “outside the family” at all.
The abuse of Aisha is the foundation of Islam. Due to this “marriage,” Aisha’s father was able to succeed Mohammed and become the First Caliph. After his death she was the pivot that helped split Islam into Sunnis and Shiites. It is all but impossible to imagine Islam as we know it today without her.
What was the marriage of Mohammed and Aisha like? Aisha was playing on her swing set, and then she was brought into the house and placed on Mohammed’s lap. She continued playing with dolls and lived with Mohammed and his other wives until he died when she was only eighteen. Afterward, as the widow of the prophet, she was forbidden to remarry and compelled to remain celibate for the next 50 years. But she got her own back by playing a role in the assassination of two Caliphs.
There isn’t much love in this story, but there certainly is a great deal of tragedy, and yet there are countless Sunni girls named Aisha who are raised to view her as the embodiment of Muslim womanhood. Countless little girls continue to be sexually abused because of the Islamic precedent set by Mohammed’s sexual abuse of Aisha. The horrors stemming from that would have driven Shakespeare to drink poison.

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