Earlier yesterday, BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma found herself at the centre of a raging storm after Islamists, egged on by the likes of AltNews co-founder Mohammed Zubair, issued multiple threats against her and her family for expressing her views on Prophet Muhammad and Islam.
Sharma was a part of a debate panel on Times Now, discussing the finding of Shivling in the Gyanvapi complex and the subsequent mockery of the Hindu Gods and Goddesses that followed in the wake of the discovery. Islamists have claimed that the Shivling discovered inside the wuzukhana of the Gyanvapi disputed structure was not a Shivling but a fountain. Across social media platforms, detractors have been repeating ad nauseam that the Shivling found inside the Gyanvapi premises is a fountain and not an idol of a Hindu God.
In response to the contempt and scorn poured over Hindu Gods and Goddesses, which was evident even during the Times Now debate where some of the fellow panellists referred to the Shivling as a fountain, BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma asked them to refrain from insulting Hindu Gods and cited Islamic scriptures and Holy Quran for substantiating her remarks on Prophet Muhammad and Islam.
“Should I start mocking claims of flying horses or the flat-earth theory as mentioned in your Quran? You are marrying a 6-year-old girl and having sex with her when she turned 9. Who did it? Prophet Muhammad. Should I start saying all these things that are mentioned in your scriptures?” said Sharma, after being heckled by Taslim Ahmed Rehmani while talking about the longstanding practice of mocking Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
However, this did sit well with the AltNews co-founder Mohammed Zubair and others, who shared the video of the debate on social media, attracting an Islamist attack against the BJP spokesperson. Right after Zubair posted the tweet, Islamists descended on her Twitter page, dishing out vile expletives and issuing dangerous death threats against her and her family. A Twitter Spaces session conducted by Islamists made unapologetic and open calls for the murder of the BJP spokesperson.
As the controversy continues to rage on, it is difficult to determine whether the Islamists are offended by Nupur Sharma’s impertinence to cite Islamic scriptures and Holy Quran to put across her argument or do they dispute the authenticity of the assertions made by her during the debate.
In her response, Sharma said Islamic scriptures talk about a celestial creature in the form of a flying horse. As it turns out, the Muslim texts do talk about something called ‘Buraq’, a heavenly equine or chimeral beast, which according to Islamic traditions, served as the mount of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad during his Isra and Mi’raj journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and up through the heavens and back by night.
According to an article published in leftist rag Scroll, Islam’s winged horse bears a mention in various Islamic records from medieval times, with most of them linking it to the enigmatic steed that carried Prophet Muhammad on his night journey to heaven.
What do Hadiths, and Islamic scriptures say about the existence of winged horses?
Hadith 22 of Book 38 talks about the existence of winged horses in paradise. Abu Ayyub, an Ansar who supported Muhammad after the hijra (migration) to Medina in 622, recounts an incident about a Bedouin asking the Islamic prophet if there indeed are winged horses in paradise.
“O Messenger of Allah, indeed, I love horses. Are there horses in Paradise?” The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) said: “If you are admitted into Paradise, you shall be brought a horse of rubies with two wings, then you shall be carried on it, then it will fly with you wherever you want,” the Hadith says.
Islamic hadiths on the marriage between Prophet Muhammad and Aisha and the latter’s age when the marriage consummated
However, Islamists appeared most offended by Sharma’s comment regarding Prophet Muhammad and Aisha. Sharma had said that Prophet married Aisha at the age of 6, and the marriage was consummated when Aisha was 9.
There are reliable Islamic hadiths that support this assertion. According to the revered Sahih al-Bukhari, 5134; Book 67, Hadith 70, ”The Prophet [ﷺ] married Aisha when she was six years old, and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old.” Bukhari mentions that Prophet Muhammad was 53 years old when he married Aisha.
Likewise, Hadith 3380 of Book 26, Vol 4, of Sunan an-Nasa’i 3378, quotes Aisha as saying: “The Messenger of Allah [ﷺ] married me when I was six years old and consummated the marriage with me when I was nine, and I used to play with dolls.”
Most Sunni clerics and scholars consider the aforementioned-hadiths reliable. According to them, Prophet Muhammad had indeed married Aisha when she was six and consummated the marriage after she turned nine. In addition, numerous other authentic Hadiths outside support these two ages. Thus, it would be fair even for one with limited knowledge of Islam and Hadiths to accept these accounts as authentic and as a part of Islamic history.
However, some contemporary Maulanas try to rationalise marriage and the sexual union by leaning on science, claiming that in those times, females could reach puberty at the age of 9, and thus consummation of marriage at nine should be viewed with this ‘context’. For instance, in the video shared below, a Muslim preacher justifies how Aisha had attained puberty at the age of nine and, therefore, there were no problems with her marriage to Prophet Muhammad.
Answer to the uneducated people who blame prophet Mohammed saw without knowing him— Ilahi baksh 95 (@ilahibaksh95) May 28, 2022
Must watch and clear your mind pic.twitter.com/zKBJ2tGkTh
“A lady came to me and told me about her doubts about Prophet’s marriage with a six-year-old girl. I told her Aisha attained puberty at the age of nine, by which she was ready to conceive. Medical science also proves that girls aged between 12-13 are sexually mature and capable of bearing children, then why is there a problem with the consummation of Aisha’s marriage with Prophet Muhammad,” the Islamic scholar said.
Some Sunni sects and Shia claim Aisha was well into her adulthood when she married Prophet Muhammad
However, there is a contrarian viewpoint among Muslims who peg Aisha’s age to be between 17-19 when she married Prophet Muhammad. Some Sunni sects and overwhelming sections of Shia claim Aisha was a teenager when she tied the knot with the Islamic prophet. They premise their argument on the age difference between Aisha and her elder sister to conclude that Aisha had married Prophet Muhammad in her adulthood.
According to them, Asma, the elder sister of Aisha, was ten years older than Aisha. In Taqreeb al-Tehzeeb, as well as in Ibn Kathir’s Al-Bidayan Wan al-Nihayah, Asma died at the age of 100 and in the 73rd year after the migration of Muhammad. The proponents of this theory claim as Asma died at the age of 100 and during the 73rd year of Muhammad’s migration, she would be 27 or 28 years old at the time of migration. Citing that Aisha was 10 years younger than Asma, they claim that Aisha would have been 17-18 years old at the time of migration and she must be 19-20 years old at the time of her marriage.
Several Shia accounts believe Aisha, along with Hafsa, poisoned Muhammad to death
However, Shias generally harbour an unfavourable view of Aisha. They believe she was contemptuous toward Ahl al-Bayt (Prophet Muhammad’s family) and her actions during the first civil war. Her participation in the Battle of Camel is widely regarded as her most significant sign of such contempt. Moreover, Shias also believe that she did not conduct herself in an appropriate manner in her role as Muhammad’s wife.
It is also worth noting that several prominent Shia accounts hold Aisha, along with Hafsa, responsible for Prophet Muhammad’s death. They believe Aisha and Hafsa poisoned Muhammad to death.