Getting it wrong on all accounts


The blogosphere is abuzz about the abandoned book on the Last Messenger’s love life with his younger wife Aisha and how publishers are giving in to Muslim pressure to censure things some may consider derogatory about Islam. What “Islamophobes”like to point out are cases in modern society where they think people have caved in to pressure to forget about the bad things in Islam in order to appease Muslims.  It doesn’t matter that the bad things they try to bring to light are “fallacious representation(s)”  or “anti-Islamic polemic(s) that uses sex and violence to attack the Prophet and his faith”, much like the book in question.

In some cases, however, the publisher got it right. The excuse given for not publishing because of fear of violence is unfortunate but there is a precedent for that concern.  We’ve talked about media manipulation of Muslims’ reactions before at Miscellany; how things are printed or said to get a rise out of Muslims which is then used to show the uncivilized nature of the Muslims, and that’s unfortunate. However, methinks they chose not to print a book that is factually inaccurate, and perhaps their  vetting process pointed that out to them. Perhaps the author can find an irresponsible publisher who will print ANYTHING no matter how wrong it may be, but Random House chose not to!  Here’s why:

In the time before Islam, Abu Bakr married Fatila bint Abdul Uzza,
from whom Abdullah and Asma were born.  Then he married Umm Ruman,
from whom Abdur Rahman and Aisha were born.  These four were born
before Islam.  ‘Abdullah, Asma, ‘Abdur-Rahman, and ‘A’isha were born
before the beginning of the Revelation (i.e, at least 13 years before
the Hijrah).  This is uncontested and well-known to the muslims.

‘A’isha was betrothed to Jubayr ibn Mut’im ibn Adi, before Abu
Bakr accepted Islam in the first year of the Call (12-13 years before
the Hijrah).  This is uncontested.

When Abu Bakr planned to go to Abyssinia during the fifth year of
the Call (8-9 years before the Hijrah), Mut’im broke off the
engagement because Abu Bakr had accepted Islam.  This is uncontested.

‘A’isha remembered the Revelation of a verse known to have been
revealed in the fifth year of the Call or before (i.e., 8-13 years
before the Hijrah).  This is uncontested.

‘A’isha was betrothed to the prophet two years after the death of
Khadijah, or a year before the Hijrah.  This is uncontested.

‘A’isha did not accompany her father and the prophet during the
Hijrah, but arrived in Madinah later, and became sick so that all of
her hair fell out.  This is uncontested.

‘A’isha moved in with the prophet a year or two after the Hijrah,
or two to four years after her betrothal.  This is unclear from the
various reports, which give different time periods, but all are agreed
as to the general time frame.

‘A’isha was widowed in 11h (the 11th year of the Hijrah).  This is
uncontested.

She was a widow for about forty years and died in 50h.  This is
uncontested.

Among the people who report these facts is one Hisham bin Urwa,
the grandson of Asma and ‘A’isha’s grand-nephew, who lived in Madina
for 71 years and then moved to Iraq, who reported that ‘A’isha died in
50h.  This is uncontested.

‘A’isha’s older sister Asma was ten years older than ‘A’isha.
Asma was 27 at the time of the Hijrah, making ‘A’isha 17.  This is
uncontested.  Asma died at the age of 100 in 73h.  23 years earlier,
when ‘A’isha died, Asma was 77.  This is uncontested.  Thus ‘A’isha
was 67 when she died in 50h, seventeen at the time of the Hijrah,
sixteen at the time of her betrothal to the prophet, and nineteen when
she moved in with him.

All of the reports saying that ‘A’isha was six at the time of her
betrothal to the prophet come from Iraq, as do all of the reports that
she was nine when she moved in with the prophet.  There are no reports
of this from Makkah or Madinah.  This is uncontested.  Most of these
reports from Iraq came through Hisham bin Urwa, Asma’s grandson,
mostly from his father.  This is indisputable.

Hisham bin Urwa is said to have reported (1) that ‘A’isha was nine
in the second year of the Hijrah, (2) was widowed in the eleventh year
of the Hijrah, and (3) died in the fiftieth year of the Hijrah ~ when
his grandmother, ten years older than his great aunt ‘A’isha, was 77.

The same person who said ‘A’isha was nine in 2h also said she was
67 in 50h.

So the only reports that ‘A’isha was six, or nine, come from
someone who also reports that she had to be sixteen when betrothed,
and nineteen when she moved in with the prophet.

And every other report showing her to be much older than six is
uncontested and considered reliable, while Hisham’s reports from Iraq
are considered unreliable for obvious reasons.

Of course not many people know about this and those that do choose to ignore or debate it, but what do you do with people who argue against facts?

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