In the name of Allāh,
the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Peace and Blessings of Allāh on Mohammad.
Allāh–the Glorious and the High,
Lord of the worlds
Mohammad–who brought the world
to our feet and eternity to our arms.
(See also (Allah) A God Who Hates-by Wafa Sultan)
If Mohammad was a “rapist” and “pedophile” as critics charge, it is not credible that Mohammad would have married only one young girl when he could have married any number of girls/women (before the number of wives were limited and capped at four).
If Mohammad was a “womanizer” as critics charge, it is not credible that Mohammad would have lived a life of celibacy for twenty-five years; lived in a monogamous marriage for twenty-nine years (from 25-54); and married mostly widows with children, elderly and divorced instead of relish himself with vestal nubiles.
Unless critics can prove that Mohammad was a ”rapist” and “pedophile” –and they cannot prove so– critics need to rein in their tongues and pens. Muslims who have the resource may haul them before the Judiciary to substantiate their charges against Mohammad.
Unable to find any flaw(s) in the teachings of Islam (as the system from Allāh, God, the All-knowing All-wise, cannot be imperfect), the critics of Islam turned to tailoring the Prophet Mohammad–cloaking him in the garb of hedonism.
Ibn Warraq wrote in his book Why I am Not a Muslim (p.14) that “One book mocks the Prophet; another refers to the Prophet as a child molester (alluding to Muhammad’s nine-year-old bride, Aisha).” (Though this does not address the charge against Mohammad, it is to be noted that Mohammad also married elderly widows, and with children. Saudah, who had no other relations, being one such widow. Also, he deferred consummation of his marriage to ‘Aisha for five years).
Given the prevalence of, and the availability of, pornographic material, both in print and on screen, in modern times it would not be any wonder if children as young as eight and nine are aping the procreation act. What then was the age of sexual knowledge and sexual maturity in 7th Century Arabia where drunkenness and looseness of the loins were the prevalence of the day? What was the age of marriage in such a society devoid of prospect for career development as in modern times?
Perhaps it is not uncommon for people to be married at different ages according to the climate and period in time, and culture. And, there are some younger girls who are more developed anatomically than some older girls.
Tradition tells us that Al-Mughira said that “he attained puberty at the age of twelve,” and Al-Hassan bin Salih said “I saw a neighboress of mine who became a grandmother at the age of twenty-one” (the footnote to this narration explains that “This woman attained puberty at the age of nine and married to give birth to a daughter at ten; the daughter had the same experience”) –(Bokhari Vol. 3, ch. 18, heading of # 832).
In fact, as Muhammad Ali noted, ‘Aisha was at first “betrothed to Jubair, son of Mut’im;” and that the Prophet’s consummation of his marriage to ‘Aisha “was delayed for five years on account of ‘Aishah’s age, which was only nine at the time of nikah, according to a report of Ibn Sa’d.” 1
If Mohammad married ‘Aisha for carnal pleasure it is doubtful that he would have delayed his matrimonial rights for full “five years.” If ‘Aisha was not of marriageable state it is doubtful that Mohammad would have married her. Considering the fuel that Mohammad would be giving to his opponents (not to mention the loss of support from his own followers) by undertaking such a marriage.
Webster defines “molest” as “burdensome, annoying,” “to make indecent advances to.” Thus, even adults–male and female –can be victims of molestation (of unwanted and indecent advances). There is no molestation in a man being with his wife.
To label Mohammad a “child molester” is slander.
Some countries may have laws forbidding it but are there no ten-year old girls in the world who are capable, and have inti-mate relations with men? And why is it not permissible for one to marry until the age of 16 or 18, but it is permissible for her to have a legion of sexual partners?
According to the Toronto Star, Tuesday, October 12, 1999, “the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland has revealed it is paying the bills of a poor, pregnant 12-year-old to prevent her from having an abortion.”(Unless she was raped, how long has this “12-year-old” been having sex before she became pregnant? If a twelve year-old can have sex, become pregnant, and deliver, why can’t a fourteen-year old be a wife)?
The Toronto Star, Thursday, February 11, 1999 notes: “At 14, Kimberly is a veteran of Toronto’s sex trade;” written by “Michelle Shephard,” the article says about Kimberly that she “began selling her body when she was 11 years old.”
The Toronto Star, Saturday, April 29, 2000, Section J8, says: “Sordid child sex trade booms in Costa Rica;”reporter “Glenn Garvin,” notes that the girls say “they’ve been working as prostitutes for a year, since they were 11 and 12,” the “youngest” of these prostitutes was one who was a “9-year-old.”
The Toronto Star Wednesday, August 9, 2000, in its article, “U.S. teen birth rate at 60-year low, agency reports,” says that the drop in births were “4 percent among girls aged 10 to 14.”
Another report notes that “At least 17 Israeli soldiers are under investigation” for having sex with “an 11-year-old girl.” According to the girl “the sex was consensual.”2
The Toronto Star, Thursday, November 4, 2010 (p. A19), in its article “Mom elated 10-year-old gave birth to daughter,” notes that in Spain a “Romanian mother” was “delighted” she had a “new granddaughter.” Assuming that the girl’s pregnancy was full-term and that she became pregnant the first time she had sex she must have been 9 years and three months old (on the younger end, and being in her tenth year of birth) or 10 years and three months old (on the older end, and in her eleventh year of birth) when she became pregnant. And if the girl did not become pregnant the first time she had sex then (taking the younger end) she must have been 9 years old (or even younger) when she began having sex. (She should be asked).
(Disturbing as the above is, this is to draw attention to the fact that the young female is capable of intimate relations, which seems to be the root of the critic’s objection against the Prophet. Unless these ‘street- girls’ were selective their clientele may include 50-60 year-old men; it is doubtful that such a girl, or one in a society where 14 year-olds are permitted to marry, would refuse to be the wife of a 60 year-old king).
If girls as young as 9-12 years old are capable of engaging in prostitution or illicit relations why are they not capable of engaging in the dignity of marriage? Surely it is preferable that a young girl (or any woman) be wife than prostitute or “slut”.
While, rightly, there are laws protecting children from sexual exploitation, the fact remains that female(s) as young as “9-year-old” are capable of, and are having sex and giving birth.(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_youngest_birth_mothers)
(Christians who use Mohammad’s marriage to ‘Aisha to denigrate Mohammad must look at their Bible which sanctions killing males of all ages and enslaving females of all ages; the Bible commands:
“….thou shalt smite every male thereof: But the women, and the little ones…shalt thou take unto thyself;” -(Deuteronomy 20:12-14)
“And they warred against the Midianites, as the Lord commanded Moses….And Moses said unto them…Now therefore kill every MALE among the LITTLE ONES (of the captives), and kill EVERY WOMAN who hath known man by lying with him, but ALL THE WOMEN CHILDREN, that have not known a man by lying with him (virgin girls) KEEP ALIVE FOR YOURSELVES (for the Israelites to know who was virgin they would have had to literally “finger” these little girls; this is what the Christian God, Jesus, requires)….and of WOMEN that had not known man by lying with him (virgin girls), were 32,000 (of which half, 16,000, went to the soldiers) … EVERYONE KEPT HIS BOOTY FOR HIMSELF”–(Numbers 31:1-53. You can bet that these little virgin girls were kept alive not for ploughing fields or for altar-girl service). (See Christianity-Sex Slaves & Prepubescent Girls).
Regarding the many marriages of the Prophet Mohammad Muhammad Ali notes:
“The marriages of the Holy Prophet have furnished his critics with the chief implement of attack on him, and the low-minded missionary has gone so far as to call him a voluptuary on that account, though he dare not apply that word to the husband of a hundred wives. Therefore I give below full particulars regarding the Prophet’s marriages. His life as regards his marriages may be divi-ded into four periods. Briefly these are: (1) A celibate life up to twenty-five. (2) A married state with one wife from 25 to 54. (3) Several marriages from 54 to 60. (4) No further marriage after 60. As regards the first period, the life of a celibate youth living in a warm country till 25, the testimony of a hostile writer like Sir William Muir is that “all authorities agree in ascribing to the youth of Muhammad a modesty of deportment and puri-ty of manners rare among the people of Mecca”. In fact, in Arabia at the time profligacy was the order of the day and it was among people who prided themselves on loose sexual relations that the Prophet led a life of transcendent purity.
Then comes the second period from 25 to 54. His first marriage was contracted while he was twenty-five years of age, and the widow Khadijah whom he married was forty years old, i.e., fifteen years his senior. It was with her, and her alone, that he passed all the years of his youth and manhood until she died three years before the Hijrah, when he was already an old man of fifty. This circumstance alone is sufficient to give the lie to those carpers who call him a voluptuary. After her death, while still at Makkah, he married Saudah, a widow of advan-ced age. He also married ‘A’ishah, his only virgin wife, while still at Makkah, but her marriage was consum-mated five years afterwards in the 2nd year of the Hijrah.
Then followed the flight to Madinah, and subsequent to the Flight he had to fight many battles with his ene-mies, the Quraish, or such tribes as sided with the Qur-aish. The result of these battles was a great discrepancy between the number of males and females, and as his favourite followers fell in the field of battle fighting with his enemies, the care of their families devolved upon the Prophet and his surviving companions. In the battle of Badr fell Khunais, son of Hudhafah, and the faithful ‘Umar’s daughter Hafsah was left a widow. ‘Umar offered her to ‘Uthman and Abu Bakr in turn, and she was at last married by the Holy Prophet in the third year of the Hijrah. ‘Abd Allāh, son of Jãhsh, fell a martyr at Uhud, and his widow Zainab, daughter of Khuzaimah, was taken in marriage by the Prophet in the same year. In the next year Abu Salamah died, and his widow, Umm Salamah, was taken to wife by the Prophet. The events are narrated in the last section, leading to Zainab’s divorce by Zaid; the Prophet married her in the fifth year of the Hijrah under circumstances already narrated. Umm Habibah was one of his devoted follow-ers who fled to Abyssinia with her husband, ‘Ubaid Allāh, who there became a Christian, and when he died his widow found comfort in being taken as a wife by the Holy Prophet in the seventh year of the Hijrah.
Besides these widows of his faithful followers whom it fell to his lot to take under his protection, the Prophet took three widows of his enemies in marriage, and in each case this step led to the union and pacification of a whole tribe. These three, Juwairiyah, Maimunah and Sa-fiyyah, he married in the years six and seven of the Hijrah. Regarding one of these, it is sufficient to note that, when the Prophet took Juwairiyah for a wife, over a hundred families of the tribe of the Bani Mustaliq, to which tribe she belonged, were at once liberated by the Muslims.
The fourth period is that when war came to an end; a reference to this is contained in v. 52: “It is not allowed to thee to take wives after this”. Thus it will be seen that all the marriages of the Prophet were due either to feelings of compassion for the widows of his faithful followers or to put a stop to bloodshed and ensure union with some tribe. Compare also 4:3a, where it is shown that the permission for polygamy was given under simi-lar circumstances; in fact, many of the companions had to follow the example of the Prophet.”3 (For the Prophet’s marriage to ‘Aisha through Divine Revelation, please see video at end of page)
Mohammad having relations with his young wife does not negate him from being Prophet of God.
(Mohammad taught that prophets of Allāh, God, were sinless–Qur’an 21:25-28).
-Lot had relations with his daughters–(Genesis 19:30-38), this does not negate him from being prophet of God;(The ages of these daughters of Lot are not given; perhaps they were about the same age as ‘Aisha, and that Biblical girls had similar life-style as Arab girls; notably, whereas Arab girls were buried alive, Biblical children were sacrificed to the fire-god, Molech; Jephthah sacrificed his daughter as a “burnt offering”–(Lev. 18:21; Judges 11:30-40. Also, that Lot was made “drunk” does not negate the fact that he committed incest; he may have been drunk but he was conscious and functional and must have know the girls were his daughters, moreover as he had no wife).
-David had relations with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba; and had a “young virgin” to keep him warm because he “gat no heat”–(2 Samuel 11:1-5; 1 Kings 1:1-4), this does not negate him from be-ing prophet of God. (and Christians sing his praise to the extent of their lungs and in beautiful, melodious tones; and they crab at Mohammad).
-Abraham is said to have had relation with his half sister–(Genesis 20:2, 12), this does not negate him from being prophet of God.
-Jesus had a woman “kissed” his feet and “wipe them with the hairs of her head”–(Luke 7:37-38), this does not prevent him from being prophet of God –he is even revered as God/son of God.
It is not presumptuous to say it is acceptable for a man to have carnal relations with his wife, than for a man to have carnal relations with his daughter(s), or with another’s wife, or with his half sister; or for God/son of God to have a woman kiss his feet and wipe them with her hair.
Nor is it presumptuous to say it is degrading for God(s) to have engaged in indecencies4 than for a mortal to be in the company of his wife.
And, be it seventh century Arabia or twentieth century Modern Era, it is not presumptuous to say that the choice preferable for a young girl would be one as a wife rather than her being a courtesan.
The Prophet Mohammad was born into a custom that engaged in child marriages. As he could not change a practice of society until he received Divine revelation, the Prophet, in recommend-ing “thighing” –simulated intercourse– with child brides, was anticipating an end to intimacy with young girls; and by marry-ing ‘Aisha and delaying consummation of his marriage to her, he was hoping to change society of pre-teen marriages by his action. This practice did end, as Muhammad Ali notes:
“there is no case on record showing that the marriage of a minor through his or her guardian was allowed by the Prophet after details of the law were revealed to him at Madinah. His own marriage with ‘Aishah which took place when she was nine years of age, is sometimes looked upon as sanctioning the marriage of a minor through his guardian, but there are two points worth consideration in this matter. In the first place, ‘Aishah’s nikah at nine was tantamount only to an engagement, because the consummation of marriage was postponed for full five years, to allow her, no doubt, to attain majority. In the second place, ‘Aishah’s nikah was performed in Makkah long before the details of the Islamic law were revealed to the Prophet, and therefore her marriage at nine can be no argument for the marriage of a minor.”(The Religion of Islam, p. 601).
Muslims who marry minors have no recourse to Islam for such a marriage. The Prophet’s marriage to ‘Aisha is no precedent for Muslims. The Prophet not only postponed consummation of his marriage to ‘Aisha for five years, he also married women of advanced age, and had their free consent. He was not pandering to prurient desire(s). (See also (Allah) A God Who Hates-by Wafa Sultan; Islam-women).
The Bible supports Mohammad’s marriage to ‘Aisha:
(A Christian critic wrote (on the Internet):
“the Holy Bible makes a reference to the general age of a girl considered for marriage. The reference is found in a parable where God likens Israel to a baby girl whom Yahweh took in and then eventually married.” The verse in reference reads: “On the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean, nor were you rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths. No one looked on you with pity or had compassion enough to do any of these things for you. Rather, you were thrown out into the open field, for on the day you were born you were despised. Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, ‘Live!’ I made you grow like a plant of the field. You grew up and developed and became the most beautiful of jewels. Your breasts were formed and your hair grew, you who were naked and bare. Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign LORD, and you became mine. I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you. I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put leather sandals on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments. I adorned you with jewelry: I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck, and I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was fine flour, honey and olive oil. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen. And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign LORD.” Ezekiel 16:4-14. God mentions that the young babe attained the age for lovemaking after her breasts had formed and her pubic hairs had grown, clear signs of puberty. The reason we believe that the reference is to pubic hair is because a) the hair on the head of a girl grows many years before reaching the time of puberty, and b) the connection to nakedness suggests that the exposure of her body parts needed to be covered since it was shameful for them to be exposed for all to see. In other words, there was no shame for the hair of a girl’s head to be uncovered, but exposing one’s pubic hairs would be.” Pay attention to the fact that it is only after the young girl attained maidenhood, puberty, that God passed by again and thenproceeded to marry her. God’s spreading the corner of his garment and making a covenant with the young maiden refers to marriage.” “Thus, we have a biblical text establishing puberty as the minimum age for marriage.” (The Christian also notes the views of others and concludes): “In light of the foregoing we conclude that the Bible does set forth the acceptable age of marriage. Yahweh’s parable to his people presupposes their prior knowledge and acceptance of the marriageable age being set sometime after a young maiden has attained puberty. Anything be-fore this would be viewed as abnormal and unusual.” (Highlight added).
Thus, according to the Christian and Ezekiel 16:4-14 above a girl is ready for marriage when her breasts are formed and she has pubic hair which are indications of puberty.
And according to news report and other materials on the Internet an alarming number of girls in America –from those examined, 10 percent of Whites, 14 percent of Hispanics and 23 percent of Blacks– begin puberty at the age of seven (7), developing breasts, pubic hair and even menstruating.
Thus, according to the Christian’s God/Bible girls of about eight or nine and even seven are capable of marriage.
And as noted above “Al-Hassan bin Salih said “I saw a neighboress of mine who became a grandmother at the age of twenty-one” (the footnote to this narration explains that “This woman attained puberty at the age of nine and married to give birth to a daughter at ten; the daughter had the same experience”).
Obviously then, Arab and Jewish girls must have developed “breasts” and “pubic hair” and menstruating at an early age –which is accordance with the Bible, Ezekiel 16:4-14– as the Christian points out (and also in accordance to modern reports).
In fact, seems that Eastern girls also began/begin womanhood at the age of about seven (7) as the Biblical declaration finds resonance in Hinduism which teaches that “after being seven years old, the sooner a girl is married, the better.”5
Further, as noted above, apart from Al-Hassan bin Salih’s neighboress who “attained puberty at the age of nine and married to give birth to a daughter at ten;” it notes the following reports:
-“Mom elated 10-year-old gave birth to daughter;”
-“U.S. teen birth rate at 60-year low, agency reports,” saying that the drop in births were “4 percent among girls aged 10 to 14;”
-“the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland has revealed it is paying the bills of a poor, pregnant 12-year-old to prevent her from having an abortion;”
-“At 14, Kimberly is a veteran of Toronto’s sex trade;” she “began selling her body when she was 11 years old;”
-in Costa Rica girls say “they’ve been working as prostitutes for a year, since they were 11 and 12,” the “youngest” of these prostitutes was one who was a “9-year-old;”
-“At least 17 Israeli soldiers are under investigation” for having sex with “an 11-year-old girl;” according to the girl “the sex was consensual.”
That these 12-9 year-old girls, having “breasts” and “pubic hair,” and even menstruating can be wives is substantiated by the Bible. And the 9, 10 and 11, were probably having sex before these ages.
Mohammad’s marriage to ‘Aisha is supported not only by historical and medical facts, but, whereas Christians try to denigrate Mohammad for marrying ‘Aisha, the Christian’s Bible exoner-ates and supports Mohammad for marrying ‘Aisha.
(One critic charged that in today’s society Mohammad’s marriage to ‘Aisha would be viewed as “rape.” Given the above information. If this critic was living in Seventh century Arabia she may have had her wretched tongue cut off for slandering Mohammad).
Notably. Whereas it is generally accepted that the Prophet Mohammad married ‘Aisha when she was nine years old, Ghulam Nabi Muslim M.A. in his book Lady ‘A’ishah’s age at the time of the consummation of her marriage to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sas) has presented material showing that at the time of marriage to the Prophet ‘Aisha was eighteen or nineteen year’s old, (see ‘Aisha’s marriage-9 or 19?). If Br. Ghulam’s submission is incorrect, the Prophet Mohammad’s marriage to ‘Aisha at nine was, as shown above, no “impropriety.”
While Christians carp at Mohammad for marrying ‘Aisha, Abishag, a “young virgin” was taken, and perhaps without her consent, and given to “lie” with the aged king David because “he gat no heat”–(1 Kings 1:1-4). Surely if the king can be given a “young virgin” because he “gat no heat” he can be given one when he does “gat heat.” As Ghulam Nabi points out in his book noted above: “The intention was certainly for sexual enjoyment, otherwise there was no necessity of looking for a young, beautiful virgin. A much older woman, perhaps a widow, could have performed all these duties, including lying with the king to keep him warm.” (Any wonder the Israelites soldiers were allowed to take young “virgin” girls as war booty–Numbers 31:17-18).
Ghulam Nabi also notes an account of Joseph’s marriage to Mary and points out: “While the Western Christian churches may not accept these accounts as authentic, the Eastern churches in Europe do accept that Mary was 12 years old and Joseph a widower 90 years old when they married. (Emphasis added).
While there is no set age for marriage in Islam (or in Christianity) one’s age of marriage is dependent upon maturity of intellect.
However, though a girl may have maturity of intellect this does not mean she is to be given in marriage against her will. There is NO forced marriage in Islam; a woman has the right to choose her husband.
Says the noble Messenger of Allāh:
-“A matron should not be given in marriage except after consulting her; and a virgin should not be given in marriage except after her permission”–(Bokhari Vol. 7, # 67, 68; Vol. 9, # 98, 100);
-a virgin’s consent, because of bashfulness, is expressed by her silence–(Bokhari Vol. 7, #68; Vol. 9, # 98, 100-101);
-and that “If a man gives his daughter in marriage in spite of her disagreement, such marriage is invalid”–it notes the dissolution of such a marriage by the Prophet on behalf of a “matron” who disliked the marriage her father had arranged–(Bokhari Vol. 7, # 69; Vol. 9, #78).
A woman may also propose to a man–(Bokhari Vol. 7 #’s 48, 53, 54). There is a report of a woman proposing marriage to the Prophet–(Bokhari Vol. 3, #505).(For more on marriage see Islam-women).
To repeat. Who sets this “legal age” of marriage? In contrast to Christianity which relegates little virgin girls as sex slaves.
Whereas Mohammad put an end to marriage/sex with young girls, modern man was yet sanctioning this abomination and even with little boys. I note a few examples taken from the website:
“In Medieval and early modern European societies, the age of marriage remained low, with documented cases of brides as young as seven years, although marriages were typically not consummated until the girl reached puberty (Bullough 2004). Shakespeare’s Juliet was just 13, and there is no hint in the play that this was considered to be exceptional. The situation was similar on the other side of the Atlantic; Bullough reports the case in 1689 of a nine-year-old bride in Virginia. At the start of the nineteenth century in England, it was legal to have sex with a 10 year-old girl.” 
“In 1962, the American Law Institute recommended that the legal age of consent to sex- that is, the age below which sex is defined as statutory rape- be dropped in every state to age 10 (Katchadourian and Lund 1972: 439). In fact, until the mid 1960s, the legal age of consent in Delaware was 7 (Kling, 1965: 216). So a 50 year old man could legally have sexual intercourse with a 7 year old boy or girl.” 
“Until the late 20th century U.S. age of consent laws specifically names males as perpetrators and females as victims. Following English law, in which the age was set at 12 in 1275 and lowered to 10 in 1576, ages of consent in the American colonies were generally set at 10 or 12. The laws protected female virginity, which at the time was considered a valuable commodity until marriage. The theft of a girl’s chastity was seen as a property crime against her father and future husband. If two people were married and had sex, no matter what their age, no crime was committed because a woman was her husband’s property. In practice, too, the consent laws only protected white females, as many non-white females were enslaved or otherwise discriminated against by the legal system.” 
“At what age is a person capable of making and informed decision about whether or not to engage in sex? Would it be7,10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, or 21? Over the last 300 years, all the ages listed above were thought to be that magic age at which one could make such a decision, and all the ages listed above have, at various times, been inscribed into law as the age of consent to sex.” 
How wise then that Islam has set the age of marriage as the age of maturity of intellect.
Video on the Prophet Mohammad’s marriage to ‘Aisha through Divine Revelation:
1. Tabaqat, Vol. VIII, p.42. cited in M. Ali, The Early Caliphate, p. 4.
2. Toronto Star, Tuesday, May 2, 2006, page A11.
3. Muhammad Ali, comm. Qur’an 33:50.
4. Base acts have been attributed to Gods of Hinduism; See Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty, Siva, The Erotic Ascetic.
5.Murtahin Billah Fazlie, Hinduism and Islam, A Comparative Study, p.193. The text states:
“Hindu Scriptures prescribe early marriage for girls. For this reason, the practice of early marriage of girls was widely prevalent in Hindu society in India until it was prohibited by an Act of the British colonial government in March 1891. The Act was vehemently criticized by Hindu leaders as it, in their view, was a gross interference in their customs and religion.
The practice of early marriage for girls was in accord with the legislation given by Manu in his Dharma Shastra. This legislation has several provisions. (See Oman, pp. 181-86; Wilkins, 1975, pp. 195-96). There is no atonement for a man who has had intercourse with a Vrishali (i.e a woman who has period before her marriage). The father, mother, and elder brother who tolerate a girl in her period before marriage go to hell. A Brahman who will marry such a girl is not to be spoken of or admitted into society. The marriage of a girl is to be celebrated after she is seven years old, otherwise it becomes repugnant to the dictates of religion. At the age of eight she becomes a Gaury (i.e. Siva’s consort, whom is regarded as ideal Hindu wife). At the age of nine a Rohini (i.e. the wife of Chandra, the moon), and at the age of ten an ordinary girl. In other words, after being seven years old, the sooner a girl is married the better. If the father does not provide her with a husband before she is eleven, she is justified in seeking one for herself.” (pp. 192-193).