Narrated ‘Ursa: The Prophet wrote the (marriage contract) with ‘Aisha while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years old and she remained with him for nine years. (Sahih Bukhari Volume 7, Book 62, Number 88)
The Tailor: The Judaic tradition sets 12 as the legal age for a marriage. Aisha was married at 6 and consummated at 9. There is an argument that the former law and the latter instance are not child abuse, because our notion of childhood is cultural and historically situated. People grew up faster and died earlier in those days. Closer to home, in medieval Europe, it was quite common for peasants at least to get hitched around 14. To survive. There was less information to aquire and more disease going around. Alhumdulilah, in the contemporary West at least, we have an extended childhood these days (in some cases, running into the 20s and 30s!). Alhumdulilah, because childhood is close to paradise. But this extended childhood is more or less the result of factors like the industrial revolution, advances in medicine, colonial oppression etc. I hope that one day an extended childhood will be the norm, globally.
Let’s assume this is the case. So these particularly young ages did not raise any eyebrows in those days. But if it is the case, what is the significance of detailing these ages in holy narratives?