Prophet Mohammad, the Quran, and Aisha
Like. Jesus' teachings to others and the Bible, Islam has its own version of this in hadiths, or teachings of Mohammad and the Quran. Islam often can be misinterpreted because the hadiths of Mohammad may seem to conflict the Quran. In Islam, the Quran is superior to the sayings of Mohammad, who was a mere man. For political reasons, many Muslim countries use both to suppress their people or allow customs that seem barbaric to non-Muslims. The men leading these countries use hadiths and the Quran to their own devise, as do the extremists or terrorists do that support whatever agenda they have.
Mohammad, like Jesus, was man. His hadiths are followed strictly by Muslims because he is viewed as the perfect man and how all humans should behave. Unlike Jesus, the hadtihs speak not only to faith and rituals, but daily life, marriage, business to personal hygiene to the extreme. For instance, there is a ridiculous hadith telling others how to use a toothpick correctly! The impression one gets who is non-Muslim is that many hadiths seem to a single man's view of how all people should act and dress in daily life and has its own biases and prejudices because it is Mohammad's opinion. You do not find this silliness in the teachings of Jesus, which are all directed in believing in God in some way.
Mohammad appears to many in the non-Muslim nations to be a pedophile. Modern Muslims even have an issue with his marriage to a six year old girl, Aisha, and had first sex at age nine. Aisha was just one of 12 or so wives. One of his wive's was also Khadija, who was 15 years older than he. Mohammad married Aisha when he was in his 50's, probably to join tribes in Arabia. Most modern Muslims would never allow their daughter of that age to marry, yet, many countries like Saudi Arabia, allow such marriages even when it is against the law because it falls under Islam and the hadiths of Mohammad. Who dares to challenge him? Fear is criticizing him might get you killed. But as far as Aisha goes, in the 7th Century, many societies thought marriage was fine when the girl reached puberty, so Aisha had reached it by that age. There is a debate within the Muslim world about her age. History shows she was already engaged for marriage when Mohammad wanted her. This leads one to suspect she was at least 9, maybe older. Mohammad's hadiths are not all followed strictly by all Muslims, many pick and choose them in personal life to support their arguments, that is because these happened over a period of time and are fallible.
Mohammad was married to Khadija for 25 years before she died, which devastated him until he met Aisha. Most of his other wives were widows. Despite what thinks of the ages, Aisha and Mohammad was a real love story according to records. They were very close and did many things together enjoying the other's company. Aisha,as she got older, also acquired respect and power from Mohammad. Records show she would lead troops into battle at times and was assertive yet had a sense of humor. The power he gave her was that in his absence, Muslims would be ruled by her. Somehow, this fact is little known in many Muslim countries because of the male dominance in government etc. It has been suppressed to suppress women. In fact, Mohammad did not always think that he was superior to Aisha. As time went, their love deepened and she was not afraid to say what she believes. After his death, she wrote 2210 hadiths on a wide range of topics. However, the Quran mentions she had committed adultery and Mohammad confronted her. According to Mohammed, God had spoken to him stating that she was innocent of the accusation. Maybe, he simply loved her too much and forgave her.
Aisha became more powerful after Mohammed died (they were married nine years). She became stateswoman, scholar, mufti, and judge. She was an activist and acquired much knowledge becoming a role model to women under Islam. Many Muslim nations today water down this historical fact or remove it all to make a woman a second class citizen. Places like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, come to mind, while more progressive countries like Iran empower women but limiting it. Ironically, many of the hadiths for women, such as being covered and veiled originated with Aisha, not Mohammad. She was as ruthless in battle as was Mohammad. She led an army much later that would capture Basra. After its capture, she ordered the execution of 600 Muslims.
One could easily say, Aisha was a "Joan of Arc" type for Islam. She wielded much power, much like a queen because she was the favorite wife of Mohammad long after he died. Men respected and feared her. She was a female activist and equal in a time when women were secondary citizens. Perhaps this why, today's Muslim countries have a conflict with handling women's rights. Some suppress this information, while others, allow certain equality in daily life. While Mohammad's hadiths are followed, one could actually state, the hadiths are Mohammed's and Aisha's because she was influential after his death until her death on July 16, 678 AD. But, few of today's Muslims know this because Mohammad gets all the credit.