In this video, Saudi Cleric Muhammad Al-‘Arifi answers the question of whether there is a minimum age for marriage. He concludes that there is not — noting that Muhammad married Aisha when she was seven and consummated the marriage at nine because she was “ready.” Accordingly, it is perfectly ok for some girls to be married off at an age when they could not even get on some amusement rides at Disneyland due to their age.
“There is no agreed-upon minimum age for the marriage of a boy or a girl. It depends upon their maturity. Let’s assume that someone wants to marry your 20-year-old daughter. But your daughter’s mentality and capabilities… She wouldn’t know how to handle it. You feel that her marriage is bound to fail, because she has no understanding of how she is supposed to behave. You think that this girl is not ready to get married. It would be best to wait two or three years.
We don’t want to marry her off, and then have her husband divorce her after 2-3 weeks, saying: “What is this?! This girl doesn’t know what to do, she has no appreciation of marital life. She knows nothing.” In such a case, it is better to delay marrying her off.
He then has a fun trivia game with his panel:
Al-‘Arifi: In the days of Prophet Muhammad and his companions, people would get married at a younger age. For example, how old was ‘Aisha when the Prophet Muhammad married her? I will give you a hint.
Panel member: She was seven years old. [holding up seven fingers]
Muhammad Al-‘Arifi: And how old was she when he had sex with her? [holding up nine fingers]
Panel member: Fourteen.
Muhammad Al-‘Arifi: Fourteen?! No way, she was nine. You are getting married tonight and you still can’t count…
She was nine years old. People might think it is strange that he married such a young girl. But this was the age at which they used to get married. The proof is that when the Prophet told Abu Bakr that he wanted to marry ‘Aisha – what did Abu Bakr say? He said: “You are more than welcome, oh Messenger of Allah, but my daughter is already married.” At seven years old she was already married.
If a girl’s physical and mental build allows her to get married, it is okay for her to get married. There is no minimum age for a girl’s marriage set by Islam.
Physical and mental build at seven and then sex at nine? That is like telling a jury in a pedophilia case that “the kid had the body of a nine-year-old but the mind of an adult.” Apparently, some children “know what to do.”
We have previously seen Al-‘Arifi who often explains Islamic principles on television to the Saudi people, though I hope and trust he is viewed as an extremist. For example, he previously counseled men on the proper way under Islam to beat your wife.