Child marriage in the Quran? 65:4 explained

You may have noticed that both critics of Islam and a handful of Muslims eager to paint themselves as the antitheses of the West have often attempted to demonstrate that child marriage is sanctioned in the Quran, directly or indirectly, by referring to verse 65:4 to support their claim.

In this post, I will present my understanding of the verse (the understanding taken by most Muslims, and those defending Islam), as well as analysing some common apologetics used against this understanding by critics of Islam.

Contents

1. 65:4 explained

1.1. Evidence – the use of nisaa

1.2. Evidence – the grammar of the Arabic verbs

1.3. Evidence – age of marriage in the Quran

2. Criticism of this understanding

2.1. Does nisaa mean “wife?

2.2. Does nisaa mean “girl”? The 4:127 argument

2.3. The account of Moses and the Pharaoh

3. A note on the views of scholars

4. Conclusion

5. Sources and further reading

1. 65:4 explained

The verse itself is as follows:

وَ الّٰٓیِٴۡ یَئِسۡنَ مِنَ الۡمَحِیۡضِ مِنۡ نِّسَآئِکُمۡ اِنِ ارۡتَبۡتُمۡ فَعِدَّتُہُنَّ ثَلٰثَۃُ اَشۡہُرٍ ۙ وَّ الّٰٓیِٴۡ لَمۡ یَحِضۡنَ ؕ وَ اُولَاتُ الۡاَحۡمَالِ اَجَلُہُنَّ اَنۡ یَّضَعۡنَ حَمۡلَہُنَّ ؕ و مَنۡ یَّتَّقِ اللّٰہَ یَجۡعَلۡ لَّہٗ مِنۡ اَمۡرِہٖ یُسۡرًا –

Wa-allāi ya-is’na mina l-maḥīḍi min nisāikum ini ir’tabtum fa’iddatuhunna thalāthatu ashhurin wa-allāī lam yaḥiḍ’na. Wa-ulātu l-aḥmāli ajaluhunna an yaḍaʿna ḥamlahunna. Waman yattaqi l-laha yajʿal lahu min amrihi yus’ran.

“And if you are in doubt as to such of your women as despair of monthly courses, then know that the prescribed period for them is three months, and the same is for such as have not had their monthly courses yet. And as for those who are with child, their period shall be until they are delivered of their burden. And whoso fears Allah, He will provide facilities for him in his affair.” (65:5)

The meaning of this verse is relatively straightforward. It is describing how to deal with divorced women – specifically, it sets out their waiting periods after divorce (a procedure with two main purposes: to give the two a chance to consider their decision and re-initiate the marriage if desired, and to ensure that if a child is born after the divorce, the parents can be identified). The verse describes three special cases:

1. Those women who “despair of monthly courses”

This part of the verse refers to those women who, for whatever reason, have ceased to menstruate after having done so normally previously. It refers to women who have reached menopause, but also refers to women who have stopped menstruating for other reasons, like secondary amenorrhea – that is, women who have ceased to menstruate but should still be doing so. This may be due to various reasons, including illness, medical/hormonal disorders, stress, irregular eating, low body weight, low body fat percentage, or heavy exercise and athletic activity (something that can happen even through recreational practice).

2. Those women who are pregnant.

No detailed exegesis required here. Pregnant women are instructed that their waiting period will be as long as they remain pregnant; it will last until they have given birth.

3. Those who “have not menstruated”.

I save this for last because this, of course, is the main area of contention.

This section of the verse refers to those females who have not menstruated yet, but are otherwise mature. The most common explanation for this is a condition called primary amenorrhea. This is when menstruation is delayed, or does not occur, despite being otherwise physically mature (but it may still occur). Primary amenorrhea can occur for similar reasons to secondary amenorrhea – it is often due to genetic conditions and medical problems, but obviously can occur as a result of disordered eating, exercise, or a low body fat percentage (physical activity and low body fat percentages are a common cause of amenorrhea) at the time when menstruation is expected to begin.

It appears to me that given the environment and lifestyle of seventh century Arabia, this “athletic amenorrhea” may well have not been unusual. It can also be pointed out that historically, menstruation used to occur later, often after a female was otherwise mature (perhaps due to this very reason), but, in any case, I will stick to the amenorrhea explanation for now. Expanding on these points is currently beyond the scope of this post.

It is also possible to make the case for this being a scientific miracle of the Quran, as it can be argued that prophet Muhammad (saw) could not have known about a condition only identified by medical practitioners centuries later – a valid argument. However, that is an entirely different discussion, and I will leave this open for the reader to ponder over. I personally think that there are better verses to use for this purpose, but those wanting to investigate further are welcome to do so.

Returning to the understanding I have presented, there are three main points to consider here which support this point of view.

1.1. Evidence – the meaning of nisaa

Marriage in Islam is fundamentally an institution to both physically and emotionally fulfill the natural desires and needs of an individual which develop as he/she matures, as well as an institution to produce children. Because of this, marriage is intended to be a contract between two mature people.

The Quran, when referring to marriage and conjugal relationships, always uses the word nisaa, meaning “women”. This can be verified in any dictionary, but you can refer here to the Quranic Arabic Corpus for now. (Note that they have translated nisaa in 4:127 as “girls”. Be sure to remember this – we will be returning to this point in section 2 to demonstrate why this understanding is erroneous).

Some verses demonstrating this use of nisaa:

“It is not allowed to thee to marry women (nisaa) after that…” (33:52)

“And marry not those women (nisaa) whom your fathers had married…” (4:22)

“And the divorced women (nisaa) shall wait concerning themselves for three courses; and it is not lawful for them that they conceal what Allah has created in their wombs, if they believe in Allah and the Last Day…” (2:228)

The word unthaa (females in general) is not used here. If the Quran sanctioned marriage with prepubescent girls, one would expect unthaa (females in general) to have been used, so as not to limit marriage to nisaa as the Quran does. This in and of itself is a very strong argument against the allegation that 65:4, or any other verse of the Noble Quran, allows child marriage.

Expanding further, nisaa means females who are physically mature – i.e, women who have developed secondary sexual characteristics – and, furthermore, females who are mentally mature, in that they are capable of managing their own affairs and the responsibilities of a marriage (see section 1.3). What is key to note, though, is that the word certainly does not refer to prepubescent girls. Interestingly, if you look at words for “girl” in Arabic, nisaa is conspicuously absent. Food for thought? Perhaps.

Some objections to this definition will be covered in my analysis of common counter-arguments in Section 2.

1.2. Evidence – the grammar of the Arabic verbs

Now we need to go back to the Arabic and take a closer look at the words of the verse. The exact words are وَّ الّٰٓیِٴۡ لَمۡ یَحِضۡنَ, or wa-allāī lam yaḥiḍ’na (“and those [women] who have not menstruated”).

The bit we are interested in is lam yaḥiḍ’na (“have not menstruated”) – this is basically the central point of this allegation, after all. There are three components to this phrase:

  1. Lam – the negative participle (“not”).
  2. Ya and na – these conjugate the verb to the feminine plural third person imperfect.
  3. Yaḥiḍ’na – the actual imperfect verb (“menstruate”).

The actual imperfect verb itself, though, does not refer to a specific tense. The tense is determined by the negative participle lam (used for the past tense). This verb is also in the jussive mood, denoting hope or expectation.

What does all this mean, though? If you don’t have experience with languages, you might be wondering what the point of all this analysis is. Some, though, will have already realised what I’m getting at.

Simply put, lam denotes negation explicitly in the past tense – something that did not happen. The jussive mood implies expectation. A more accurate translation, then, would be “those who did not menstruate as expected, but still hope to do so”. (Of course, this translation is somewhat cumbersome, but I personally think that conveying the full meaning is important enough to warrant some sacrifice of flow).

What does that sound like to you? Negation in the past tense, but still with an aspect of expectation or hope… it seems to fit quite well into point 3 of section 2, doesn’t it – primary amenorrhea and all that?

Now, if you want to edit your copy of the Quran to make this verse refer to prepubescent girls who haven’t menstruated yet – easy. Just change the lam to lan to show negation in the future tense (“those who have not yet menstruated at all and are hoping to do so”).

Note the difference. Now, there’s no aspect of past negation – it’s been replaced with a purely future-centred negation.

This particular grammatical structure is also present elsewhere in the Quran – see here for a further explanation.

1.3. Evidence – age of marriage in the Quran

To supplement the case for this understanding of the verse, we can also go elsewhere in the Quran to see if there is any reference to the age of marriage. One verse often used for this purpose is 4:6 –

“And test the orphans [in their abilities] until they reach marriageable age. Then if you perceive in them sound judgement, release their property to them…” (4:6)

Marriageable age here is associated with sound judgement, and fully developed abilities (both mental and physical). This would seem to imply at least some standard of maturity – a standard of maturity high enough to warrant entrusting property to them. Certainly, if prepubescent marriage was permissible, and there was no minimum standard of maturity required for marriage, there would be no concept of reaching “marriageable age”.

This article provides a good explanation of 4:6 and other verses referring to marriageable age in the Quran. I highly recommend you have a read and then return to this post, as I will be referring to 4:6 in the next section, where we will be analysing other pertinent verses of the Quran. It will, of course, be of benefit to you if you familiarise yourself with this particular verse beforehand.

2. Criticism of this understanding

Now we’ll take a look at the objections raised by critics of Islam attempting to defend the position that child marriage is permitted in Islam.

The most common angle taken by these critics is to argue that nisaa does not refer only to mature females. If this can be proven, they claim, the verse can be shown to support child marriage.

This is, of course, ignoring the fact that both the grammar of the verse and the rest of the Noble Quran do not allow for such an interpretation, whether nisaa refers to newborn babies, pensioners, Daleks, or anything else. For the sake of argument, I will overlook this inconvenient point for now.

The critics’ approach may yet have some merit. Words, after all, can take different meanings based on context – especially in Arabic – but if you want to translate a word in a different way to its standard meaning, you need to first provide evidence for the alternative understanding, and then show that such an understanding is viable given its context. Thus, two possible alternative translations for the word nisaa are commonly given, apparently taken from the Quran itself: “wife” and “girl”.

2.1. Does nisaa mean “wife”?

We begin with the first meaning, “wife”. Nisaa is used many times in the Quran, and in several places, is translated as “wife” – for example, we have 2:187 of the Quran, where “women” is used as a stand-in for “wife”. Thus, the critics argue, 65:4 refers to all married women, regardless of age, because it refers to “wives”. At first glance, it appears to be a valid point. A similar feature of using the word for “women” as a word for “wife” exists in other languages too (e.g. Spanish). However, that fact made me realise that the word still carries the connotations of maturity evident when it means “woman”. That is, it would be odd to call a married eight-year-old a nisaa. The specific word “wife” (azwaaj) could be used, yes, but “nisaa” would carry the wrong connotations. The obvious question would be: why not use azwaaj? Why use a word with connotations of maturity if child marriage were permitted? Of course, one could also point out that the word still means “woman” – it is just understood to mean “wife”, as that’s the easiest way to translate it into English (since it would be odd, idiomatically, for one to say “my woman” when referring to their wife.)

A second part of the critics’ argument here centres around the idea that even a prepubescent girl, when married, becomes a “woman”, as she is married and/or has lost her virginity. However, this point too is illogical.

Consider whether you would call an eight-year old girl who has had sex a “woman”. Does an eight-year old girl become a woman if she loses her virginity? If marriage/virginity is a deciding factor in this definition, would the argument hold true for a girl even younger than that? What about if a baby has a marriage arrangement signed?

Obviously not. We are not concerned here with who is married and who is a virgin. We are concerned with maturity – and so is the word nisaa.

A second, supplementary point can be raised here in light of the actual topic of the chapter – divorce. We’ve gotten so caught up in the possible meanings of nisaa that we’ve overlooked the obvious: there are no “wives” anywhere in this verse. After all, it deals with women who have actually been divorced, rather than dealing with married couples. 2:231 of the Quran supports this (And when you divorce women and they have [nearly] fulfilled their term), putting “divorce” before the completion of the waiting period, but it is obviously a rather straightforward connection to make anyway. The meaning of “wife”, then, cannot really apply. These are, in essence, “ex-wives”. Therefore, even if we accept the critics’ argument here, it is completely useless to them since it does not apply to this verse.

2.2. Does nisaa mean “girl”? The 4:127 argument

We now turn our attention to the second meaning, which is also sometimes brought up to support this allegation. Here, our critics use 4:127 to try and show that nisaa means “girl”. WikiIslam makes this point in this section. Unfortunately, this is simply incorrect. This is, in fact, a classic case of making the Arabic fit the English. Since this is a more significant point than the previous one – and it also led me down an interesting rabbit hole of translations – we will spend a little more time trying to understand why it is misleading. Here is the passage we are concerned with:

وَ یَسۡتَفۡتُوۡنَکَ فِی النِّسَآءِ ؕ قُلِ اللّٰہُ یُفۡتِیۡکُمۡ فِیۡہِنَّ ۙ وَ مَا یُتۡلٰی عَلَیۡکُمۡ فِی الۡکِتٰبِ فِیۡ یَتٰمَی النِّسَآءِ الّٰتِیۡ لَاتُؤۡ تُوۡنَہُنَّ مَا کُتِبَ لَہُنَّ وَ تَرۡغَبُوۡنَ اَنۡ تَنۡکِحُوۡہُنَّ وَ الۡمُسۡتَضۡعَفِیۡنَ مِنَ الۡوِلۡدَانِ ۙ وَ اَنۡ تَقُوۡمُوۡا لِلۡیَتٰمٰی بِالۡقِسۡطِ ؕ وَ مَا تَفۡعَلُوۡا مِنۡ خَیۡرٍ فَاِنَّ اللّٰہَ کَانَ بِہٖ عَلِیۡمًا (۴:۱۲۸)

“And they seek of thee the decision of the Law with regard to women. Say, Allah gives you His decision regarding them. And so does that which is recited to you in the Book concerning the orphan girls whom you give not what is prescribed for them and whom you desire to marry, and concerning the weak among children. And He enjoins you to observe equity towards the orphans. And whatever good you do, surely Allah knows it well.” (4:127)

This verse, interestingly enough, has been translated in quite a few different ways. I will address this point a little later, as it has a very significant implication – but first off, let’s take a look at the critics’ point as they have presented it, on their terms, using this translation only.

Right off the bat, it’s obvious that nisaa is actually used both in the start of the verse as “women”, and next to “orphans” as “girls” (see the bolded words in the Arabic, and their corresponding bolded word in the translation. Note how the first nisaa is made to correspond to “women”, and the second nisaa to “girls”.) What does this mean for us?

Well, the critics’ logic would probably work if the Arabic for “girl” was specifically used with “orphans”, because that would prove that immature girls also fall under the category of “nisaa” – but that’s not what the text says. What does the text do? It uses “women” (nisaa) twice. No girls anywhere in the verse.

In that case, why are we having this discussion in the first place? Where does this allegation come from? This is where my above comment about this verse having multiple translations comes in. I decided to cross-examine the verse’s translation using a detailed word-by-word approach, because I had noticed a small inconsistency with the declension of nisaa and the subsequent translation of “orphan girls”. Upon investigating a little further, it became apparent that the situation was rather more complicated than merely a small translation slip.

Before we go on, let’s see some of the translations for this verse:

Sahih International: And they request from you, [O Muhammad], a [legal] ruling concerning women. Say, “Allah gives you a ruling about them and [about] what has been recited to you in the Book concerning the orphan girls to whom you do not give what is decreed for them – and [yet] you desire to marry them – and concerning the oppressed among children and that you maintain for orphans [their rights] in justice.” And whatever you do of good – indeed, Allah is ever Knowing of it.

Pickthall: They consult thee concerning women. Say: Allah giveth you decree concerning them, and the Scripture which hath been recited unto you (giveth decree), concerning female orphans and those unto whom ye give not that which is ordained for them though ye desire to marry them, and (concerning) the weak among children, and that ye should deal justly with orphans. Whatever good ye do, lo! Allah is ever Aware of it.

Yusuf Ali: They ask thy instruction concerning the women. Say: Allah doth instruct you about them: And (remember) what hath been rehearsed unto you in the Book, concerning the orphans of women to whom ye give not the portions prescribed, and yet whom ye desire to marry, as also concerning the children who are weak and oppressed: that ye stand firm for justice to orphans. There is not a good deed which ye do, but Allah is well-acquainted therewith.

Shakir: And they ask you a decision about women say: Allah makes known to you His decision concerning them, and that which is recited to you in the Book concerning female orphans whom you do not give what is appointed for them while you desire to marry them, and concerning the weak among children, and that you should deal towards orphans with equity; and whatever good you do, Allah surely knows it.

Muhammad Sarwar: (Muhammad), they ask you concerning women. Tell them, “God will instruct you about them, besides that which can be read in the Book, about widows with children, whom you wanted to marry without giving them their due rights and He will instruct you about the rights of the weak and oppressed children. God commands you to maintain justice with the orphans. God knows all about whatever good you do.

Mohsin Khan: They ask your legal instruction concerning women, say: Allah instructs you about them, and about what is recited unto you in the Book concerning the orphan girls whom you give not the prescribed portions (as regards Mahr and inheritance) and yet whom you desire to marry, and (concerning) the children who are weak and oppressed, and that you stand firm for justice to orphans. And whatever good you do, Allah is Ever All­ Aware of it.

Arberry: They will ask thee for a pronouncement concerning women. Say: ‘God pronounces to you concerning them, and what is recited to you in the Book concerning the orphan women to whom you give not what is prescribed for them, and yet desire to marry them, and the oppressed children, and that you secure justice for orphans. Whatever good you do, God knows of it.’

Now let’s break down what the issues are here.

Firstly, it’s worth returning briefly to our previous discussion of the use of nisaa in this verse to mean “girls”. Only two of these seven translations have actually used this meaning, and in fact, Arberry has specifically used “women”. These other translations have actually avoided using “girls”; indeed, it would appear that “nisaa” is used here specifically in the Arabic in order to emphasise that the females being discussed are physically mature. (N.B – someone may ask why “orphan” would be needed to describe a mature female. I would reply that it is to do with the lack of a guardian.)

To top it all off, not far from this verse, we actually see an instruction regarding the age of marriage – ironically, with reference to orphans. 4:6 reads:

And test the orphans [in their abilities] until they reach marriageable age. Then if you perceive in them sound judgement, release their property to them.

(See Section 2.3, and go here for a more detailed analysis.)

In light of this, it is very difficult to argue that marriage to prepubescent girls – and orphan girls, at that – is permissible.

What’s happened here is that our critics have seen a translation that uses “girls”, ignored the other translations, and tried to fit nisaa to that particular translation rather than actually translating the Arabic word itself. As I have mentioned previously, it’s worth pointing out that if you look for Arabic words that mean “girls”, nisaa is nowhere to be seen… again, food for thought.

My main point here, though, is that the entire above discussion was a waste of time. Why?

Well, what’s more interesting is how two other translations here have dispensed with the idea of marrying orphan girls/women/females completely, and have instead used “widows with children” (Muhammad Sarwar) and “orphans of women” (Yusuf Ali). Now, I mentioned earlier that the reason I started to dig a little deeper on this verse was because of an inconsistency I spotted in the declension of nisaa, and I will now elaborate on this point.

You see, in the Arabic, nisaa is in the genitive case, as l-nisāi, and the genitive case denotes posession (e.g, “the man’s car”, or “the car of the man“). If you look at the translation most critics will present, though, no such idea is present. It has only been translated as “orphan girls”.

However, upon referring to the word-by-word translation, it becomes clear that such an idea is indeed present in the Arabic text.

Post image
The feminine plural nisaa, seen here declined to give the genitive case. Source: http://corpus.quran.com/wordbyword.jsp?chapter=4&verse=127

Nisaa, then, is not an a noun being qualified by “orphan” here. It is in the genitive case, and thus we have to translate this part of the verse as “the orphans of the nisaa [to whom you do not give their dues, and yet desire to marry]”.

However, we still need to determine who this “whom” is talking about. If it refers to the orphans, there is still room to salvage our critics’ argument. However, it cannot refer to the orphans, because the relative pronoun allātī is feminine plural, agreeing with and thus referring to the feminine plural nisaa. “Orphans” (yataama) is masculine.

Now that we know this, we can very easily determine which of the proposed meanings of nisaa is applicable here: “girls” is rather implausible, since we’re talking about females with children; “wives” is also unlikely, since we are talking about females that we can marry. “Women”, then, is the only logical translation that works here.

Why this verse is mistranslated is beyond me. It is possible that it arises because of a desire to intentionally misrepresent the verse in order to support radical interpretations of Islam, or perhaps out of a desire to reconcile the verse and references to Aisha’s young age in the Hadith (which is another topic altogether). I prefer to be optimistic and say that it is just a consequence of mild carelessness, and simply “going with the flow” after seeing other (incorrect) translations – which seems to be a more plausible explanation than the aforementioned theories.

In any case, regardless of which of these two translations you want to use, the point still stands: nisaa in 4:127 does not refer to prepubescent females.

2.3. The account of Moses and the Pharaoh

One last-ditch point brought up by critics in order to try and indirectly prove that nisaa does not just refer to mature females is the Quranic account of the Pharaoh and Moses. WikiIslam makes this point here, claiming that nisaa can refer to female infants because the event being described here in the Quran is plagiarised from Exodus 1:15-16 and 1:22 in the Bible.

This point seems to be accurate at first sight, and would certainly be enough to fool the casual reader – but a little scrutiny soon exposes the weakness of this argument.

(For argument’s sake, I will ignore the fact that nisaa by definition does not refer to prepubescent girls, and that the verse should thus be translated as it appears – i.e, according to the meanings of the words within it – rather than being twisted with what can only be termed mental gymnastics.)

What WikiIslam conveniently fail to mention is that the event being described in the Quran is actually not the same as the event being described in the Bible. In fact, you can work this out for yourself just by looking at the material WikiIslam has used.

To show why, let’s look at 7:127 – a verse which WikiIslam has referenced in their article to support their point. The verse reads:

Said the chiefs of Pharaoh’s people: “Wilt thou leave Moses and his people, to spread mischief in the land, and to abandon thee and thy gods?” He said: “Their male children will we slay; (only) their females will we save alive; and we have over them (power) irresistible.” (4:127)

This is the exact translation that they have used.

Firstly, note how their translation refers to “male children”. The actual word used is abnaahum – which means “sons”, not “children”. Interestingly, they have only used “male children” in two of the verses they quote, while the others use “sons”. What is key to note, though, is that the Arabic word does not change. The takeaway point, then, is that this word can refer to sons of any age, just as an adult man would still be described as a “son” by his father.

More importantly, though, this verse refers to the sons and women of Moses’ people (i.e, his followers). Anyone familiar with the Exodus account will know that in the Bible, the Pharaoh orders the deaths of the male children of his people, but Moses was hidden from the Pharaoh and thus escaped this fate.

The Bible, then, refers to a time when Moses was a newborn – or, rather, even before. The Quran is referring to a time when Moses and his people are being accused by the Pharaoh of “spreading mischief” and “abandon[ing] [the Pharaoh] and [his] gods”. It is thus obviously questionable whether Moses was a baby at the time.

And since the Quran is not, in fact, referring to the Exodus account, we are forced to conclude that there is no evidence for translating nisaa as “infant girls”.

Perhaps WikiIslam’s approach of being an open encyclopedia that can be edited by anyone is not the best one, as evidenced by the weak arguments and rather sloppy standard of writing on their article.

3. A note on the views of scholars

Having discussed and debated this issue numerous times, I have noticed that whenever these arguments are presented to a critic, their immediate reaction is usually one of surprise, as very few sources go into this much detail about 65:4. As a result, they avoid addressing the points head-on.

Instead, their response is almost always to quote the opinions of various scholars and exegetes supporting their interpretation, and then challenge me as to whether all the well-known names they are presenting are somehow mistaken. Invariably, they present no explanations, no reasoning, and no arguments – rather, they simply present a declaration of an opinion.

My response would be that firstly, any argument which relies on scholars rather than scripture – as the critics do here – is not nearly as strong as one that makes its points first and foremost with the Noble Quran, and then refers to the opinions of scholars as an additional support. According to Islamic theology (and common sense) the Noble Quran always takes precedence over any scholar, no matter how distinguished.

As a result, if you cannot defend the position of these scholars with the Quran itself, you have no choice but to reject their view. Attempting to use only their position and their status to try and counter genuine arguments from the Holy Quran is, by definition, an argument from authority, which is a logical fallacy.

Now, if you can prove their position with hard evidence, then we can begin to analyse their claims in more detail. Until then, it would be incorrect to accept this line of argument as valid.

This is not to say that Islamic scholarship is unimportant. On the contrary, Islamic religious literature is a great treasure trove of knowledge. However, one must always be ready to question information that they are presented with, even if it comes from a source that one would like to agree with (e.g, a renowned scholar).

(N.B – there are numerous scholars who disagree with the claim that the Quran supports child marriage. See section seven of this article.)

4. Conclusion

Now that we’ve analysed the verse in more detail, I hope that my position has become a little clearer. 65:4 does not allow marriage with prepubescent girls, because “women” – physically mature females – are the ones addressed in the verse. Attempts to prove otherwise fail because the alternative translations proposed are not suitable given the context, and/or are fundamentally incorrect. Furthermore, if we look closer at the grammar of the verse, it becomes clear that the females addressed are those who did not menstruate normally as they expected, but still may do so in the future (i.e those suffering from primary amenorrhea) – not those who have not menstruated at all and have never previously expected menstruation. Indeed, marriage in Islam is a serious contract designed to accommodate the needs of human beings that arise when they mature, and thus is a contract between two mature people; sound judgement, mental maturity, and physical maturity are required for two people to live together as husband and wife.

5. Sources and further reading

What causes amenorrhea? https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/amenorrhea/conditioninfo/causes

“Athletic amenorrhea” https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ConditionsAndTreatments/menstruation-athletic-amenorrhoea

The grammar of 65:4 http://quransmessage.com/articles/verse%2065-4%20FM3.htm

Marriageable age in the Quran http://quransmessage.com/articles/ayesha%20age%20FM3.htm

How should we translate 4:127? (scroll down to “Can One Marry Underage Orphans?”) https://www.justislam.co.uk/errors-english-translations-the-quran-p-198.html

4:127 word-by-word: http://corpus.quran.com/wordbyword.jsp?chapter=4&verse=127

WikiIslam’s argument regarding the Quranic account of the Pharaoh, and regarding 4:127 https://wikiislam.net/wiki/Pedophilia_in_the_Qur%27an#The_Arabic_word_.E2.80.9CNisa.E2.80.9D_does_not_refer_to_young_females

An analysis of various verses relating to the issue of child marriage in the Quran https://www.islamahmadiyyamovement.com/post/age-of-marriage

The 65:4 child marriage claim refuted https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/03/12/quran-654-the-child-marriage-claim/

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