Paedophilia - Underage Marriages of Girls
Inserting one's own interpretation and ideas from personal prejudices and whims into verses are common doings of people who read the Qur'an with a twisted and insincere objective. Many text-books are filled with such interpretations. In this article, we are concerned with a verse in Surah At-Talaq, which is used by traditional groups to propagate the claim that the Qur'an endorses child marriages (marriages of girls who are below the age of puberty), and the "husbands" right to have sexual intercourse with her. Their stance has become a particular point of attack for anti-Islamic writers. Translations have also emerged that are either intentionally, or un-intentionally inconsistent with the Arabic grammar of the verse, and these attempts have become a further point of attack by Anti-Islamic writers.
وَاللائِي يَئِسْنَ مِنَ الْمَحِيضِ مِنْ نِسَائِكُمْ إِنِ ارْتَبْتُمْ فَعِدَّتُهُنَّ ثَلاثَةُ أَشْهُرٍ وَاللائِي لَمْ يَحِضْنَ وَأُولاتُ الأَحْمَالِ أَجَلُهُنَّ أَنْ يَضَعْنَ حَمْلَهُنَّ وَمَنْ يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَلْ لَهُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِ يُسْرًا
"And those among your women who despair of menstruation, if you have any doubt, their appointed (waiting) time is three months, and (same) for those who did not menstruate. As for those who are pregnant, their term shall be when they have given birth. Whoever is mindful of Allah, He will make his matters easy for him." (Qur'an 65:4)
The deviated at heart strike the controversy using the term "and those who did not menstruate" - ( وَاللائِي لَمْ يَحِضْنَ - wallaa-ee lam yahidna).
Traditional writers use this part of the verse to mean those who did not menstruate yet. The critical word here, not found in the original Qur'an is "yet". By this interpretation, it would mean this part of the verse is in reference to girls who have not started menstruation, and therefore, are still below the age of puberty. And since the verse is discussing the process of divorce for them, it must be approving of their marriages. They then propagate that child [forced] marriages of daughters are valid and pious deeds committed by the father. They state explicitly that sexual intercourses with prepubescent girls, by their alleged adult "husbands" is endorsed by Allah in the Qur'an! Therefore, they seek to authorise paedophilia using the Book of Allah. Also, such scenarios are by default rapes of children, since children are not developed in sexual awareness and their teachings involves sexual imposition of a man upon a child girl who subsequently surrenders under the circumstances. The traditionalists connect the child bride with their relentless teachings of a wife's obligation to obey and surrender to the sexual whims of her husband, which only worsens the sexual exploitation and abuse of children. The mindset of these people have been diagnosed in the Qur'an:
"When they commit an indecent act (Fahish / فَاحِشَة), they say, "We found our fathers doing it and Allah commanded us to do it too." Say: "Allah does not command indecency (fahshaa / فَحْشَاء), or do you say things about Allah you do not know?" (Qur'an, 7:28)
When these people read the Qur'an, they always seek to find ways to validate their extra-Quranic writings and ideas of revered men using the Qur'an, as with many other lewd ideas they try to validate, such as sex with concubines. When a person freed of their prejudices listens to the original Arabic Qur'an recited to him, or reads it in the written form, he or she interprets it naturally as intended by Allah. There is no room for confusion in this verse.
The true meanings are very obvious and clear just by listening to or reading the verse. This part of the verse is in reference to those women who did not menstruate. That is, those adult women who never menstruated. Having a look at the context, the verse starts off by discussing the waiting period for those who have ceased menstruation e.g. due to menopause, ("وَاللائِي يَئِسْنَ مِنَ الْمَحِيض / Those who despair of menstruation"). It has laid the context of adult women who are of menstruating age. The following portion "وَاللائِي لَمْ يَحِضْنَ - wallaa-ee lam yahidna", "those who did not menstruate" is from the context of adult women, who are meant to menstruate, but did not menstruate when they passed the age of menstruation. The waiting period for such women is the same. The insertion of the word "yet", i.e. those who did not menstruate "yet" is only their insertion and not at all suggested by the Qur'an.
Notice in the above paragraph, our use of the words "did not menstruate" (underlined). Those words are also the exact translation of the words, "لَمْ يَحِضْنَ - lam yahidna" in the Qur'an. The above paragraph successfully used them to refer to adult women, then, why is there confusion when it comes to the Qur'an? Our use did not sound at all that it is referring to those who have not "yet" menstruated, and neither does the Qur'an's usage.
Today, "fatwas" (verdicts) exist elaborating on the permissibility of an adult male committing sexual intercourse with a child. Interestingly, anti-Islamic writers argue for them in order to defame the Qur'an. Proponents of child-marriages argue if the Qur'an intended to mean those who do not menstruate in adult age, it would use لَا يَحِضْنَ - laa yahidna, "do not menstruate" (i.e. continuous present) rather than لَمْ يَحِضْنَ - lam yahidna, "did not menstruate" (did not in the past). However, the Quranic choice of the use of the grammatical form "لَمْ يَحِضْنَ - lam yahidna" is highly appropriate. It is referring to the past and present, from the moment they did not commence menstruation when they should have, up till now - i.e. did not and still not menstruating. It does not at all indicate that they are yet to menstruate (and therefore mean young girls). It is just like if one said, "انا لم اشربه / ana lam ashrabuh - I did not drink it". The person naturally only means by that statement he did not drink it from back then up to this moment, unless someone else suggests on his behalf he will drink it in the future. Just like that, the Qur'an is saying that they did not menstruate from back then up to this moment (never menstruated). The traditionalist interpreters perform the manipulation themselves by suggesting the word "yet" which gives the meaning that they are going to menstruate in the future, something the verse does not suggest. Therefore, there is no reason to assume it is referring to children when reading وَاللائِي لَمْ يَحِضْنَ - wallaa-ee lam yahidna - "those who did not menstruate". To review these points again, the expression:
1) Is referring to the past when they did not start menstruation at their expected age to the present day.
2) Does not suggest "yet" as they claim.
3) Begins after laying the context of adult women. Therefore, "those who did not menstruate" are from the adult view point in reference to them, referring to their past. Reading the Qur'an again, this is obvious:
"And those among your women who despair of menstruation, if you have any doubt, their appointed (waiting) time is three months, and (same) for those who did not menstruate." (Qur'an 65:4)
"Amenorrhea is the name given to the condition when a woman fails to have menstrual periods. The condition is known as "primary amenorrhea" when the woman has never menstruated." 1
Therefore, there is not the slightest error in expression for the intended meaning. What is explained here is the natural meaning that comes instinctively to the minds of every sincere believer who reads the verse.
The teaching of the permissibility of men having sex with children is a desire of those men who seek such perverted pleasures and have succeeded in gaining approval of their position in religion, and not from the Creator of Mankind. The Creator, Who designed all biological systems and sent the Qur'an in harmony with nature. Paedophilia is not remotely suggested in any Quranic verse, by any stretch of the imagination. Furthermore, the verse regarding all orphans under the care of believers further demonstrates that marriage (and therefore sexual intercourse) is for a person who has gained the 'adult mindset':
وَابْتَلُوا الْيَتَامَى حَتَّى إِذَا بَلَغُوا النِّكَاحَ فَإِنْ آنَسْتُمْ مِنْهُمْ رُشْدًا
"And test the orphans (to see) that they have reached marriageable (age). If you find them of sound judgement..." (Qur'an 4:6)
This "sound judgement", or "رُشْدًا" in Arabic to be precise, depicts a state of mind of adult maturity, which refers to the "marriageable age", "النِّكَاح", mentioned prior to it. This maturity is something children do not have. Therefore, their construed understanding of the verse from Surah At-Talaq is even more baseless in the Qur'an.
The reason why so many misconceptions and ideas against the Qur'an are related to women and the female form is fundamentally due to the nature of the very society it was sent down to. Characterised by phallogocentrism and misogyny, much of the people who found themselves in a position of authority over the Qur'an found no hesitancy in manifesting their baser selves' characteristics into elaborations of Quranic verses. The Qur'an is a miraculous Book that explains itself and the explanations are there on the face of every page of the Qur'an.
"It is such that We clarify the revelations to a people who think." (Qur’an 10:24)
The true believer is the one who seeks Allah and understands the Qur'an as Allah has revealed. He or she has a close relationship with the Qur'an, and Allah increases his guidance, despite all odds.
"Should We treat the ones who have surrendered the same as those who are criminals? What is wrong with you, how do you judge? Or do you have another book which you study? In it you find whatever you wish to find?" (Qur’an 68:36-38)
It is obvious, seeking to find evidence in the Qur'an in order to justify other books, books of tales and hearsay, only leads to erroneous interpretations, and even outright interpolations of the Qur'an. The actions of such people are not so different to those who have altered the previous Books of Allah with their own hands.
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