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After Waseem Rizvi’s remarks against the Qur’an, now the religious sentiments of Muslim community in India are brazenly hurt once again. This time, it was Mahant of Dasna Devi temple in Ghaziabad who has outraged the entire community with his abusive and insulting remarks against Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Clearly, it was an obnoxious attempt to create religious disharmony in the country.
Narsinghanand Saraswati reportedly made insulting remarks against the Prophet (pbuh) during a press conference in Delhi regarding Prophet’s marriage to Hazrat Aisha (RA) at a very young age. He’s also reported to have endorsed the removal of Sai Baba Idol from the Purana Shiv Mandir in Delhi’s Shahpur Jat on March 25.
Saraswati also made claims that though the country’s Sadhu sants are not supporting him in his attempts. However, he is not worried because the ‘Hindu youths stand by him, which he takes as a matter of great pride. On his social media accounts, he has also made remarks such as: Hindus should have Quran in one hand, and Gita in the other, as both the disease and the cure should be there.
Several FIRs in different parts of the country have been lodged against Saraswati for his hate speech. Muslim organisations, ulema and the community leaders have been actively campaigning for his arrest. A number of gatherings in local mosques and Islamic seminaries have been organised in several states in order to raise awareness among Muslims to deal with such blasphemy-related incidents.
But on the other hand, Ulema and Muslim leaders are not willing to introspect at the distorted belief system which often misguides people and gives opportunities to Islamophobes and hate preachers like Narsinghanand.
In fact, what he has said is nothing new. He is simply repeating some distorted hadith reports which have been recorded by the medieval hadith scholars themselves. They have coined in their collections of Seerah (biographies of the holy Prophet) and Hadith collections such fabricated and irrational reports that have perpetuated the common Muslim belief in Hazrat Aisha’s age being 9 when her marriage was consummated.
Surprisingly, after all these serious blasphemy incidents which have further created controversies and doubts, the distorted reports in the established Islamic theology still go unquestioned.
Only a few sincere, sagacious and thinking Muslims who have their eyes on the far-reaching consequences of the distorted hadith reports are saying that no matter how many court cases we file against Islamophobes, the situation will not improve until we rethink our theological positions on issues like the holy Prophet’s marriage with Hazrat Aisha (r.a) at the age of 9 or 11.
Several Islamic historians and scholars have revisited the biography of the Prophet and Hazrat Aisha, and hold the view that at the time of marriage, Hazrat Aisha was 16-17 and the marriage was later solemnized when she was 19, and not 9. But there might be a mistake in recording the age of Hazrat Aisha and 16 must have been mistakenly recorded as 6 and 19 as 9. Also, most scholars agree that there was no official registration of births when Hazrat Aisha was born. Therefore, her date of birth and date of marriage cannot be narrated with full certainty. But generally, Muslims believe in the traditional hadith narrations about her marriage age at 9 or 11.
The Quran does not mention her age. It is only according to a hadith report in Sahih Bukhari that the Prophet (pbuh) married Hazrat Aisha (r.a) when she was 6 years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old”. But there are several other sources which differ on this age of marriage. More to the point, all the scholars agree on the point that the marriage was not consummated at the time of her marriage contract. In fact, the marriage took place 10 years after the declaration of Prophethood in 620 CE. Ibn Hisham, a well known biographer of the Prophet, writes that Hazrat Aisha along with Hazrat Ali (may Allah be pleased with them) were the first children to embrace Islam. This must suggest that Hazrat Aisha had been born before the declaration of Prophethood. Some historians state that she was born in 605 CE which means she was around 15-16 years at the time of Hijrah and 19 when she moved in with the Prophet (peace be upon him).
While Muslims and all right-thinking people in India must condemn the abusive language and insulting remarks made by the Mahant, it is highly important that Islamic theologians and the Ulema clarify the doubts which arise out of their belief in the illogical hadith reports. The need of the hour is to re-compile the Sirah literature in a way that doesn’t leave doubts on various issues which lead to the Islamophobes getting opportunities.