King Richard’s Wife, Isabella

flowerofinnocenseRichard II, King of England, married Isabella, a princess of France who after her marriage to Richard II became the Queen consort of England from 1396 to 1399. Although the marriage was a move for peace due to the political tension between France and England, their marriage actually later developed into a mutual respectful relationship and later, when Richard II died, Isabella mourned his death and refused to yield to Henry IV’s efforts to marry his son to her, the future Henry V of England.

What is noteworthy here is that Isabella was only six years old when she was married to King Richard. Young to get married, isn’t it? But not too young to have a crush, a boyfriend or a childish fling?

Today, youngsters as young as 8 and 9 are dating in primary schools; many bump into unknown strangers through forums, facebook, twitter and MSN. Young girls are falling pregnant outside of wedlock and as a consequence of having multiple partners such women may not ever know who the real biological father of their child is. But it’s strange, isn’t it? We still continue to be proud. Are we proud of our nation’s huge increase in illegitimate offspring from unmarried couples? Are we proud of children who for life will have to live with the fact that they have dubious lineage? Let’s think about it: do unrestricted, uncurbed and untied relations outside of marriage really equate to freedom and happiness? Is it really liberty and personal freedom from servitude, confinement and oppression to make marriage so difficult for our youth, and to make dating and relations outside marriage so easy and widely accepted? It really is strange how we cry out for a ban against segregation between men and women, frown upon young marriages and yet still allow our eyes to mischievously glitter at the mention of adolescents dating…

Muhammad’s Wife, Aa’ishah

quran-illumunatedThe Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) married the daughter of his close friend Aboo Bakr, a friend who was more than happy to marry his daughter off to him. This is because the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was a man who was known for his integrity, high standing, lofty morals and upright character even by those who didn’t have the courage to accept his message, but still bore testimony to his upright lofty morals. In fact, it won’t be far-fetched to suggest that when learning about the marriage of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to Lady Aa’ishah, many women today wish that they too could enjoy such a unique companionship with their partners and husbands…even if such men are much older.

Yes, it’s true that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) consummated his marriage to Lady Aa’ishah when she was nine years of age. But this marriage was founded on a solemn contract, as prescribed by the Qur’aan: a contract to look after her, take care of her rights, and to keep her best interests in mind. And this is exactly what their marriage was - it was an accumulation of pure unselfish love, merged with respect and defined by clear roles and responsibilities. It was an accepted norm of the time, a shining transcending example for all couples in all times. For example, did you know that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would do house chores? This is just one example out of the many accounts which show that Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) was showered with great love, care and attention even though the Prophet (peace be upon him) was so actively involved in educating his nation and uplifting them towards high morals and obligations that our society is still in dire need of even in today’s world. These rights were not only for men, but more so for women, as girls were being buried alive back then just as children are being aborted today; women were being used and abused, raped and misused, just as we have ‘date rape’ and men playing women today, and proper marriage was frowned upon and made difficult, just as it is today.

It is significant to note that the Prophet Muhammad wasn’t just the love of Aa’ishah’s life. He was her teacher, her mentor, her best friend and close companion. Her biography clearly attests to the fact that Lady Aa’ishah wasn’t a poor oppressed woman who couldn’t think for herself. In fact, she didn’t feel shy to challenge and question Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in matters she was concerned or unsure of and he in turn didn’t ridicule her or put her down for being so inquisitive. In fact the questions Lady Aa’ishah posed prove that she was an extremely wise, sharp and intelligent woman, for she had knowledge of medicine, poetry (she would memorize long verses of poetry on the spot) and deep insight into the various Islamic sciences, even in such difficult sciences such as the law of inheritance. In fact, in the past, and even today, great Islamic scholars, thinkers and the Muslims at large attest to the fact that she was the greatest female scholar of Islaam this world has ever witnessed. She was eloquent in speech and could have easily spoken out if she felt that she was being wronged, abused or forced to stay with a “pedophile”. On the contrary, she wholeheartedly accepted his message and exerted all efforts to spread the final Prophet’s teachings. She voluntarily, and by her own will, with great zeal and unflinching determination, helped spread his words, his message and the knowledge that she had acquired from him even after he passed away - right until her heart ceased to beat. This is because her heart throbbed out of love for him, as her teachings and poetry clearly allude to. In truth, she loved Muhammad (peace be upon him) in a way that only few men in history were lucky enough to be loved. But even then, the honor was truly hers.

That is why it is a great injustice to falsely paint the biography of such an illustrious woman with the dark colors of oppression, abuse and torture. It is our young, half-naked girls in the cold streets during the chilly nights of winter that tell stories of pain, misuse and abuse. Sad indeed is their state as they are women who freely exhibit and allow strange men to partake of their modesty and liberty. They are women who allow all sorts of men (including pedophiles, rapists, stalkers, lesbians and psychologically disturbed people) to stare at them on billboards, adverts and movies whenever and however they like, and then still somehow they believe that they are truly free and liberated… What a loss to our society, what a shame on our society. This “freedom” is destroying the very moral fabric of the society, a “freedom” which takes away the rights of women, strips them of loyalty, true love and care, and confuses their minds away from leading a clean and respectable life.

Sadly, despite all of this, many in the West continue to view the marriage of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and Lady Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) as an old Arab custom, an issue of child abuse, pedophilia and misuse. If only such people would be sincere and come to realize that not only was this an accepted norm about 1500 years ago in Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) time, but it was also practiced in the west as recently as 1396 in England, as is the case of Isabella’s marriage to King Richard (II).

In conclusion, we need to take a hard long look at our own backyards and the days we live in before we point fingers at those who passed away before us, men who were sincere, loyal and loved their wives and were loved by their wives, and had the decency to declare their marriage to the world.