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First Crusade: Siege of Jerusalem

Originally published by Military History magazine. Published Online: June 12, 2006 
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'Jerusalem is the navel of the world, a land which is fruitful above all others, like another paradise of delights, wrote Robert the Monk in Historia Hierosolymitana. And, indeed, for centuries Jerusalem, sacred to Jew, Christian and Muslim alike, had been the center of attention for a succession of conquering armies–which made life anything but a paradise for its populace.

The summer of 1098 saw the much-fought-over fortress city in Egyptian hands. The Fatimid Emir (commander) al-Afdal Shahinshah had taken Jerusalem from the Seljuk Turks after a 40-day siege, on orders of Vizier (minister of state) al-Musta'li, ruler of Egypt. Many months of political and diplomatic maneuvering with the Franj (Franks–the Arabic term used for all Western European Crusaders) and the Rumi (Romans–actually the Greeks of the Byzantine Empire) had not gotten the vizier the concessions he wanted, so he simply had sent Emir al-Afdal to seize the city the Crusaders were coming to capture, thereby presenting the Franj invaders with a fait accompli.

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In the months ahead, the Shiite Muslim poets of the Fatimid court would work diligently to compose great eulogies to the man who had wrested Jerusalem from the Sunni Seljuk heretics. The poetry ended in January 1099, when the Franj departed Antioch to resume their southward march.

These European warriors had first set out on the road to Jerusalem after Pope Urban II made an appeal for troops at Clermont, France, on November 27, 1095. The pope was responding in part to rumors, mostly false, of Muslim atrocities committed against Christian pilgrims visiting the Holy Land, and he also sought a means of uniting Europe's contentious kings and lords in a common cause. Since then, waves of zealots had made their way toward their ultimate goal–Jerusalem–but the road had been far from easy. Indeed, many of the survivors who tramped their way along that final leg of their journey regarded the incidents that had occurred along the way as a series of trials to weed out all but the most worthy soldiers of the cross.

In 1096, German Crusaders, led by the Swabian Count Emich von Leiningen, vented their religious zeal on unarmed Jews, murdering thousands until they ran afoul of King Kolomon of Hungary, whose army killed some 10,000 of them and drove the rest from his country. Others, led by Peter the Hermit, became so unruly that they were set upon by the Byzantine soldiers who were ostensibly to have escorted them to Constantinople. Thousands of others were slaughtered in their first encounter with the Seljuk Turks, at Civitot on October 21, 1096 (see Military History, February 1998).

The Crusade of the Poor People represented something of a false start to the First Crusade. A second wave, more professionally led by such hardened campaigners as Raymond IV of Toulouse, Count of St. Gilles; Raymond of Flanders; Robert of Normandy; Godfrey of Bouillon; Bohemund of Taranto; and Adhémar of Monteil, bishop of Le Puy, fared better, marching into Syria and taking the fortress of Antioch in June 1098 (see Military History, June 1998). Hardship, disease and discord among the Crusaders' joint leadership continued to take its toll, however. On August 1, 1098, Bishop Adhémar, the pope's representative, died during an epidemic. Later that month the king of France's brother, Count Hugh of Vermandois, departed for home, taking his troops with him. Bohemund quarreled with Raymond of Toulouse over who would rule Antioch until the more zealous Crusaders threatened to raze the city's walls if the march on Jerusalem did not resume. Raymond conceded possession of Antioch to Bohemund and agreed to lead the Crusaders onward. Bohemund's Norman-born nephew, Tancred, accompanied the march, partly out of faith and partly, no doubt, to keep an eye out for further opportunities for his family.

It was a smaller army that marched on Jerusalem, but its soldiers were much tougher. The Crusaders seldom encountered resistance. Many local emirs, guided by the Arab proverb, Kiss any arm you cannot break–and pray to God to break it, aided the Christian host just to ensure that it would move on. Greater conflict continued between Robert's and Tancred's Norman followers and Raymond of Toulouse's knights of Provence. While the Crusaders laid siege to the resistant Muslim town of Arqa, Peter Bartholemew (the peasant who had gained celebrity by discovering a rusty piece of iron in a pit at Antioch and convincing everyone that it was the tip of the holy lance that had pierced Jesus Christ's side during the Crucifixion) was claiming to have discourse with saints, resulting in prophesies that, the Normans noted, invariably seemed to favor the Provençals. When the Normans denounced Peter as a fraud and questioned the authenticity of the holy lance, he offered to undergo a trial by fire, declaring that God would allow him to pass through the flames unharmed. A gantlet of flames was duly prepared and blessed by the bishops, after which Peter ran through the blaze and emerged badly burned, dying in agony 12 days later. Raymond, of course, said it was the crowd's lack of faith and not the fire that caused Peter's fatal burns.

After abandoning their siege of Arqa, the Crusaders marched easily through the more compliant cities of Tripoli, Beirut and Acre. Shortly after they left the latter city, however, a knight's hawk caught a pigeon overflying the Crusaders' camp with a note tied to its leg–an appeal from the governor of Acre to all Muslims to rise in jihad (holy war) against the Franj invaders.

Vizier al-Musta'li now regretted interposing himself between the Crusaders and the Turks. It would take months to raise a suitable army to relieve a siege of Jerusalem, and he sent an emissary to Emperor Alexius I Comnenus at Constantinople, asking him to delay the invaders. Alexius asked the Europeans to wait until he could join them. But they had come to distrust the man whose request for assistance in restoring the Holy Land to Christian rule had led to the Crusades, and their response was scathing: We will go all of us to Jerusalem, in combat formation, our lances raised!

The defense of the great honey-colored fortress was now in the hands of Fatimid governor Iftikhar al-Daula (Pride of State). The walls were in good condition, and his garrison of Arab cavalry and Sudanese archers was strong. Iftikhar was a good general who inspired heroism, and his army was intensely loyal to him. Also, an Egyptian relief column was on its way, and there were ample provisions available until it arrived. As the Crusaders drew near Jerusalem, the governor blocked or poisoned all wells that lay outside the walls, moved all animals inside and expelled all Christians, regardless of denomination. Most of the Jews also left, except for those of a sect for whom it was mandatory to reside in the Holy City. In spite of recent persecutions, Christians far outnumbered the city residents of other religions, and by early June 1099, Jerusalem's population had declined from 70,000 to less than 30,000.

The Franj force that approached Jerusalem numbered little more than 15,000 people, including women and children, and only about 1,300 of them were knights. Starvation had made them rail thin, and hardship had made them strong. An eclipse of the moon on June 5 was seen as a favorable sign from God, and their morale was high on the 7th, when they first spotted the domes and walls of Jerusalem from the Mosque of the Prophet Samuel atop the hill normally referred to by pilgrims as Montonjoie, the Joyous Mountain.

The Crusaders were too few to invest the entire city, so they concentrated their forces where they could come nearest the walls. Robert, Duke of Normandy, stationed his forces along the northern wall at the Gate of Flowers, or Herod's Gate. Robert of Flanders was to his right at the Gate of the Column, also known as St. Stephen's or the Damascus Gate. Godfrey of Lorraine took position at the northwest angle of the city as far as the Jaffa Gate, with Raymond of Toulouse to his south. Tancred later joined Godfrey, bringing with him flocks of sheep that he had taken on his march from Bethlehem. Raymond found that the valley lying between his position and the Jaffa Gate kept him too far from the walls, so after two or three days he moved his forces onto Mount Zion. The eastern and southeastern approaches to Jerusalem were not guarded at all.

The advantage was with Iftikhar. He had a steady supply of water, much more food than the invaders and better weapons. The governor strengthened his towers with sacks of cotton and hay, building them higher each night with stone, while waiting for the Egyptian relief column to appear.

The Crusaders found one untainted source of water, the pool of Siloam below the south wall, but it was so close to the city that drawing water was hazardous. This fountain gushed cool water every third day, an attribute simply ascribed by the Crusaders to the will of God. Soldiers, crazed with thirst, fought each other for access to this pool. Raymond of Aguilers described the scene: Those who were strong pushed and shoved their way in a deathly fashion through the pool, which was already choked with dead animals and men struggling for their lives, and…reached the rocky mouth of the fountain, while those who were weaker were left behind in the filthy water. These weaker ones sprawled on the ground…with gaping mouths, their parched tongues making them speechless, while they stretched out their hands to beg water from the more fortunate ones.

Additional water had to be brought in from more than six miles away, and the garrison regularly sent out raiding parties to ambush the water convoys. Many Europeans died in these surprise attacks. Water became so scarce that a denarius (the silver coin of ancient Rome that is the penny of the New Testament) would not buy enough to quench a man's thirst. Eventually, anyone who brought in a supply of even foul water could name any price he wanted.

Food was also short, and the hot desert sun was unbearable for people accustomed to a cooler climate, especially to those wearing heavy armor. Even in Europe, some half of all battle casualties among knights were from heat prostration; in the blazing desert of the Middle East this figure must have been much higher.

On June 12, the leaders of the army made a pilgrimage to the Mount of Olives, where they met an aged hermit who urged them to assault the city on the 13th. The princes protested; they lacked the proper machines to launch an attack of such magnitude. God, said the hermit, would give them the victory if they had enough faith.

The attack was launched the next day. According to European historians, the Crusaders had very few ladders. The Arabs say that there were none, but that seems unlikely, since part of the Crusaders' supplies consisted of the dismantled equipment used to assault other cities on their way through the Holy Land. The defenders were astonished at the fanaticism of the Crusaders and the way they threw themselves at the 40-to-50-foot-high walls. The outer defenses on the north were overrun, but nothing else was accomplished. After several hours, when the Christians had not achieved the victory promised by God, they retired. Everyone was disorganized and dispirited at that point, and if the city's army had counterattacked, the First Crusade almost certainly would have ended in failure then and there. Raymond of Aguilers, who never lost faith in miracles or hermits, said that the attack would have succeeded had the princes not stopped it too soon because of fear and laziness, but others now realized that further attacks would have to wait until better preparations had been made.

Morale fell to its nadir, and many wanted to end the Crusade and return home. There was much feuding over Tancred's joining his army with Godfrey of Bouillon rather than with Raymond of Toulouse, to whom he had previously sworn allegiance. There was more feuding over who would get what when Jerusalem was taken, although few still believed that the city could be taken at all.

A priest, Peter Desiderius, then came forth to describe a vision that he had seen. The spirit of the late bishop Adhémar of Le Puy had appeared and given him a blueprint for victory. Those instructions included having the Crusaders turn their backs on sin, fast and make a barefoot procession around the 2 1/2-mile-long wall.

They set out on July 8, a Friday, with close to 15,000 barefoot and bedraggled pilgrims, hungry from lack of provisions and now fasting by choice, staggering in a great line to the sounds of trumpets and the chanting of priests. Priests held aloft altars and relics, including the supposed holy lance that had saved the Crusade at Antioch and the arm bone of St. George, stolen from a Byzantine monastery. All the while, a Crusader noted that the Muslims on the walls jeered and desecrated many crosses with blows and vulgar acts. After the march, there were encouraging talks by several clerics, including Peter the Hermit, who ironically had led tens of thousands to their deaths in the Crusade of the Poor People in 1096.

More practical help had already arrived in the form of six ships that anchored at Jaffa, which had been abandoned by the Arabs. Two were Genoese galleys; the other four ships were almost certainly English. In their holds were food and armaments, including rope and hardware needed to build siege engines. At the news of their arrival, Count Geldemar Carpenel, a member of Godfrey of Bouillon's staff, set out with 50 knights and 50 infantrymen to ensure that the supplies were delivered safely. Almost immediately the wisdom of sending so small a force was questioned, and Raymond Piletus was dispatched with 50 knights to reinforce them. Still later, William of Ramleh, from the army of the Count of Toulouse, rode forth.

Iftikhar dispatched 400 of his finest Arab soldiers and 200 Turks to destroy them. They waited at Ramleh, a few miles from Jaffa on the road to Jerusalem, then attacked Geldemar on the plain of Ramleh. The Muslim force surrounded the Europeans and began firing arrows. Geldemar stationed his knights and archers in his first rank, with all others behind, and advanced. Five knights, including young Achard of Montemerle, and all the archers were killed. Some 30 Europeans were still alive when a dust cloud was seen on the horizon–the 50 additional knights led by Raymond Piletus were coming to the rescue at full charge. Broken by the shock of this onslaught by heavy cavalry, the Muslims fled. The Crusaders killed many Muslims in the chase that followed, strewing a total of 200 dead on the field of battle, and much plunder was taken.

An Egyptian fleet now appeared off Jaffa. One English ship was off on a plundering expedition and managed to escape by using oars and sail. The other ships were abandoned and their crews joined the Crusade. The men and their supplies were very welcome, but the Crusaders still needed timber, although they managed to obtain some by dismantling two of the stranded ships. Several more long-range expeditions brought back little more until Tancred, Robert of Flanders and their followers traveled as far as the forests around Samaria. According to Radulph of Caen, Tancred was suffering from dysentery, and after wandering off until he found a rocky hollow surrounded by trees where he could relieve himself in privacy, he found himself facing a cave filled with 400 pieces of prepared lumber. Sometimes the Lord does work in mysterious ways.

The expedition returned with camels and 50 or 60 Muslim laborers laden with planks and huge logs. The bishop of Albara was put in charge and made the Muslims work like slaves. The local Christians gladly acted as guides for those supply expeditions, something that they may have later regretted when the Europeans refused the Orthodox priests any rights within the city and tortured them to learn the location of the True Cross of the Crucifixion.

Using their newly acquired timber, the Franj, with the aid of Genoese engineers, began building two huge siege towers, catapults and a battering ram. Those towers, or malvoisins (bad neighbors), were huge, wheeled castles with everything needed for an attack, including catapults and bridges that could be lowered to provide access to the top of the wall. These drawbridges were hinged to the second deck of the towers and, before being lowered, shielded those inside.

The Genoese, under William Embriaco, were quite skillful, and even the old men and the women joined in the construction. Everyone except the professional craftsmen was working without pay. Count Raymond paid his craftsmen from his own purse, but those who worked on the other tower were paid from a collection taken among the people. For several days they labored in the midst of sirocco winds, something to which the Crusaders were unaccustomed. Gaston, Viscount of Béarn, was in charge of construction of Godfrey's mobile castle to the north of the city, while William Ricou supervised at Raymond's to the south. Fresh ox and camel hides soaked in vinegar were nailed onto the towers to protect them from Greek fire.

On July 10, the towers were completed and wheeled into position. For the first time Iftikhar became concerned, issuing strict orders that he be notified if either tower moved closer to the city.

The defenders were concentrating their forces in front of the towers, so Godfrey of Bouillon made a last-minute decision. During the night his tower was slowly wheeled a half mile down the line to face the north wall near Herod's Gate. The other siege machinery was dismantled, moved and reassembled–even a trebuchet, the most-used throwing machine of the period, consisting of many huge pieces of timber, hundreds of stones that were used as ammunition, and heavier stones for the counterweight that propelled the missiles. To disassemble, move and reassemble such a machine in the dark must have required a nearly superhuman effort.

The final assault was launched on the night of July 13. According to Raymond of Aguilers, a reliable source, the effective strength of the army was now 12,000 fighting men, including the workmen, the sailors and other nonprofessionals, and 1,200 to 1,300 knights. He did not try to assess the number of old men, women and children. Raymond of Toulouse, in position along the southern wall, struggled to fill in the moat and maneuver one siege tower against the wall, but the defenders kept him at bay. Heralds announced that any man who brought three large stones to hurl into the ditch would receive one denarius. Thus was the job completed.

Godfrey of Bouillon, Robert of Normandy and Tancred chose to attack the northern wall just east of Herod's Gate. Their huge battering ram pounded a hole in the outer wall, and the rubble was used to fill in the moat. In mail and helmets, with an overhead ceiling constructed of shields, the attackers stormed the walls through a hail of arrows and stones. The straw reinforcing the walls was set afire with flaming arrows.

As the huge siege tower inched ever closer to the wall, the Egyptians responded with catapult loads of Greek fire. The sulfur-and-pitch-based compound (the exact composition of which was a closely guarded secret and still a mystery today) was the napalm of the Middle Ages. Flaming pottery full of Greek fire shattered upon impact to splatter clinging flames over everything and everyone nearby. Rags soaked in the substance were wrapped around wooden bolts, imbedded with nails so they would adhere to whatever they hit, and hurled against the huge towers. Again and again the towers were set on fire, and each time the flames were extinguished with water and vinegar or by beating out the fire.

Bales of hay, soaked in oil and wax so they would burn long after they reached the ground, were hurled over the walls, especially around the two towers. Buildings were burning, there were pools of fire outside the walls and smoke permeated the air. Two Muslim women were observed casting a spell over the nearest catapult, but a stone from the hexed machine killed them and, according to the Crusaders' account, broke the spell.

The Crusaders fought all night and day of the 14th without establishing a foothold. By evening, Raymond had succeeded in wheeling his tower against the wall. The defense was fierce, with the governor in personal charge of this area. Raymond could not secure a foothold, and the tower was eventually burned to the ground on July 15. Few who were inside escaped.

Crusaders' accounts grudgingly praised the accuracy of the Muslim catapults, which destroyed many of their machines. The Crusaders' ram became stuck and blocked the path of the northern tower. But the next morning Godfrey's tower, with its three fighting levels surmounted by a large gilded figure of Christ, was against the north wall, close to Herod's Gate. Godfrey and his brother, Eustace of Boulogne, commanded from the top story. The defenders lassoed the tower and tried to topple it, but knights cut the ropes with their swords.

Later that same morning, the Crusaders began to feel exhausted from the continuous fighting, and they met to debate whether the battle should be ended. Before a decision was reached, a knight atop the Mount of Olives signaled for the Count of Toulouse to advance. Godfrey of Bouillon ordered his men to renew their fire attack against the bales of hay and cotton shielding the walls. The wind changed; huge clouds of smoke choked and blinded the defenders, causing some to flee.

Immense timbers had been attached to the walls to keep the towers from closing with them. The Crusaders seized one of these and nailed it to the tower, then swung the bridge into place. The Franj now had a way into the city. Two Flemish knights, Litold and Gilbert of Tournai, led the pick of the Lotharingian contingent across. Godfrey himself soon followed. With him were his brother, Eustace, the Count of Flanders and Robert of Normandy. It was about noon on Friday, July 15, and many were acutely aware that they were entering Jerusalem at the hour of Christ's death.

According to Professor Joshua Prawer of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, this most crucial part of the fighting took place along a portion of the wall 65 meters (71 yards) between the second tower east of Herod's Gate and the first salient square in the wall beyond it, across the road between the present-day Rockefeller Museum and the wall. Control of a section of the wall allowed the invaders to use scaling ladders to pour more and more men into the city. Godfrey remained on the wall, encouraging the newcomers and directing men to open the Gate of the Column to allow the masses of the Crusaders inside. It was said that the ghost of Adhémar of Le Puy was seen among those rushing to open the gate.

Tancred and his men, who had been close behind the Lorrainers, penetrated deep into the city. The Muslims fled toward the temple area and took refuge in the al-Aqsa Mosque, but Tancred was upon them before they could establish their defenses. They quickly surrendered, offered a large ransom, and Tancred gave them his banner to display over the mosque. Tancred's forces had already pillaged the Dome of the Rock, one of the holiest places of Islam, earning them a great fortune.

The people of the Jerusalem reeled back in confusion, trying desperately to escape the invaders. When the Crusaders overran the southern walls, Iftikhar realized that all was lost. Withdrawing into the Tower of David, he prepared to make his last stand.

The Tower of David, the strongest part of the entire defensive network, was an octagonal citadel whose foundations had been welded together with lead. Although it was obvious to them that the city was lost, Iftikhar and his soldiers continued to fight. In the words of Amin Maalouf, What else could they do?

Then the Franj stopped fighting, and a messenger brought an offer from Raymond of Toulouse. The Egyptian general and his men would be allowed to leave if they would surrender the tower to him.

Although Raymond was respected for his skill and valor in battle, the white-haired sexagenarian also had a reputation for treachery. By continuing the battle against the Egyptians, however, he and his Provençals were missing out on the looting that was then in progress. The Franks were arguing about who would get which house, and Raymond was being left out. Iftikhar finally agreed to surrender if Raymond would personally guarantee the safety of him and his men. Raymond agreed and they departed that night. They were the only Muslims to escape the fall of Jerusalem. Most of the others were killed, while a few were taken as slaves.

The Crusaders spent at least that night and the next day killing Muslims, including all of those in the al-Aqsa Mosque, where Tancred's banner should have protected them. Not even women and children were spared. The city's Jews sought refuge in their synagogue, only to be burned alive within it by the Crusaders. Raymond of Aquilers reported that he saw piles of heads, hands and feet on a walk through the holy city. Men trotted across the bodies and body fragments as if they were a carpet for their convenience. The Europeans also destroyed the monuments to Orthodox Christian saints and the tomb of Abraham.

There were no recorded instances of rape. The massacre was not insanity but policy, as stated by Fulcher of Chartres: They desired that this place, so long contaminated by the superstition of the pagan inhabitants, should be cleansed from their contagion. The Crusaders intended Jerusalem to be a Christian city–and strictly a Latin Christian city. This is a day the Lord made, wrote Raymond of Aguilers. We shall rejoice and be glad in it.

The Crusaders cut open the stomachs of the dead because someone said that the Muslims sometimes swallowed their gold to hide it. Later, when the corpses were burned, Crusaders kept watch for the melted gold that they expected to see flowing onto the ground. While the slaughter was still going on, many churchmen and princes assembled for a holy procession. Barefoot, chanting and singing, they walked to the shrine of the Holy Sepulchre through the blood flowing around their feet. Reports that the blood was waist deep are believed to have come from a later misreading of a Bible passage. However, in the official letter To Lord Paschal, Pope Of The Roman Church, to all the bishops and to the whole Christian people from the Archbishop of Pisa, Duke Godfrey, now by the grace of God Defender of the Holy Sepulchre, Raymond, Count of St. Gilles, and the whole army of God, the Crusaders recorded that in Solomon's Portico and in his Temple our men rode in the blood of the Saracens [Muslims] up to the knees of their horses.

There would still be a few battles, including one at Ascalon on August 12 in which 10,000 Crusaders led by Godfrey of Bouillon easily routed what they called the army of the Babylonians–actually, the belated Egyptian relief column under Emir al-Afdal–but the First Crusade had accomplished its ultimate purpose. The holy city of Jerusalem was in Christian hands.


This article was written by Michael D. Hull and originally published in the June 1999 issue of Military History magazine. For more great articles be sure to subscribe to Military History magazine today!


16 Responses to “First Crusade: Siege of Jerusalem”


  1. 1
    Natalie says:

    Could I know the author of this as well as when did he or she write it?

  2. 2
    Allie says:

    Could I know the author of this as well as when did he or she write it?

  3. 3
    tom343 says:

    It is odd to see a piece such as this, supposedly based on facts, reliable records, and scientific research seemingly so value-laden.

  4. 4
    Coolcat101 says:

    Could I know the author of this magnificant piece of liturature. I am very curious to see your resources and why you decided to publish such a great piece on a very troubled time in Christian history. Thanks again, Chauncy

  5. 5
    shivam-pwns says:

    I love the author he helped with my history day. Write write write!

  6. 6
    Man On The Moon says:

    THIS IS A GREAT PEICE OF LITERATURE!!

  7. 7
    man on the moon says:

    this is cool and helped me alot

  8. 8
    Greatful student says:

    Great. this really helped in my history class im doing now.
    Just would be better if i knew the author.
    Ed

    • 8.1
      Gerald Swick says:

      Glad the article helped, Ed. If you look at the end of it, you'll see this sentence: This article was written by Michael D. Hull and originally published in the June 1999 issue of Military History magazine.

  9. 9
    René De Beaumarchais says:

    Very good read!

  10. 10
    Jacque Phillips says:

    THIS IS A WELL-WRITTEN PIECE ON A FASCINATING TIME AND PLACE IN WORLD HISTORY. CONSIDERING THE EVENTS IN THE WORLD CURRENTLY, IT IS TIMELY.

  11. 11
    Louis Farrakhan says:

    ISLAM SANCTIONS SEX WITH MINORS

    Though it may be shocking to our civilized senses, according to Islamic theology, Muslim men are not only allowed to marry young children but are also allowed to have sex with them. By permitting men to have sex with minors, Islam legitimizes and sanctions an act that is regarded as pedophilia by the rest of the civilized world. And by putting this shameful act within the context of marriage, Islam tries to give this God-forbidden practice an appearance of legitimacy.

    ISLAM SANCTIONS SEX WITH MINORS
    The Qur'an has stipulated a waiting period which a divorced Muslim woman must observe before she can remarry. This waiting period must be observed by the wife after she is divorced by her husband. In the Qur’an, this is called “Iddah” or“Iddat.” There is, however, one exception to this requirement in the Qur'an and it is found in

    Surah 33:49:
    “O you who believe! When you marry believing women, and then divorce them before you have sexual intercourse with them, no 'Iddah (divorce prescribed period, see Surah 65:4) have you to count in respect of them. So give them a present, and set them free i.e. divorce, in a handsome manner.” (Hilali-Khan)

    This text says that if a woman is not touched sexually by her husband, then she do not have to observe the customary waiting period after her divorce.

    But iddah becomes compulsory when sexual contact has occurred within the marriage. The purpose for this waiting period is to determine if the divorced wife is pregnant or not. For women who need to observe iddah,the Qur'an states the length of time that is required to be observed. It separates the divorced women into three different categories. Here is the prescribed iddah for the three categories of women:

    Surah 65:4: “Such of your woman as passed age of monthly courses, for them the prescribed period, if you have any doubt, is three months, and for those who have no courses (it is the same): for those who carry (life within theirs wombs), their period is until they deliver their burdens: and for those who fear Allah, He will make their path easy.” (Yusuf Ali)

    Hilali-Khan’s translation makes it even clearer:
    “And those of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the 'Iddah (prescribed period), if you have doubts (about their periods), is three months, and for those who have no courses [(i.e. they are still immature) their 'Iddah (prescribed period) is three months likewise, except in case of death] . And for those who are pregnant (whether they are divorced or their husbands are dead), their 'Iddah (prescribed period) is until they deliver (their burdens), and whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make his matter easy for him.” (Hilali-Khan)

    In the first category are the women who have passed the age of menstruation. The waiting period for these women is three months. In the second category are “those who have not menstruated yet.” This group consists of pre-pubescent girls who have not yet menstruated. The iddah prescribed for them is also three months. It is the divorced wives in this category that will be the subject of our discussion. Lastly are the women who are pregnant. Their prescribed iddah is until they have given birth.

    As we have noted, the background of Surah 65:4 deals with the issue of the waiting period for the ex-wives after their divorce. This Qur'anic verse lays down rules for divorce and sets the prescribed waiting period after a divorce takes effect. It tells that the waiting period for divorced girls who has not even started their menstrual is three months. As stated earlier, the purpose for this waiting period is to determine if the divorced wife is pregnant or not. If she is found to be pregnant, her iddah lasts until the birth of the child.

    Can you comprehend the full implication of this single evil verse in the Qur'an?
    Surah 65:4 is clearly saying that Muslim men can marry (and divorce) little girls who have not yet reached the age of menstruation. This means that according to Islamic theology, Muslim men are not only allowed to marry young children but are also allowed to have sex with them. Since the purpose of the waiting period is to determine pregnancy, this means that Muslim husbands are permitted to engage in sexual intercourse with their pre-pubescent child wives. Think! If these child-brides have not even attained puberty at the time of their divorce, imagine how young they must have been at the time of their marriage. The important issue that we need to bear in mind is that not only does Islam permit Muslim men to marry pre-pubescent girls but it also allows these men to engage in sex with their child-brides and divorce them if they choose to do so. Surah 65:4 testifies to the undeniable reality that the raping of minors is permitted in Islam.

    Surah 33:49 which we cited at the beginning of this article helps us to understand that the stipulated waiting period is tied to theconsummation of the marriage. It says that if a woman is divorced by her husband before having sex with her, she does not need to observe any waiting period. Thus, when Surah 65:4states that the waiting period for those who have not menstruated is three months, it actually presupposes that sex had already taken place in the marriage. By permitting men to have sex with minors, Islam legitimizes and sanctions an act that is regarded aspedophilia by the rest of the civilized world. And by putting this shameful act within the context of marriage, Islam tries to give this God-forbidden practice an appearance of legitimacy.

    It is unthinkable, how this religion can get away with this amount of filthiness in it. How can decent Muslims not see this? We are talking about one of the most despicable acts that only the most depraved are capable of committing. Yet, it is an act that is not only sanctioned by Allah but also set as an example by his Prophet. Ignore the legitimacy that Islam tries to give to this evil practice by confining it within the framework of marriage. The only legitimacy this marriage gives a pedophile is the license to rape his young victim as often as he wishes. Whatever hint of guilt that the pedophile may have will now be eliminated by this marriage. He can now commit this despicable act with an untroubled conscience in the security of his home. Islam protects the pedophile and grants him the God-given right to carry out his depraved practice without fear of punishment. Islam is a pedophile’s paradise. Concerning this depraved act, a well-known Muslim scholar stated: “No one has the right to forbid a thing that the Qur’an has held as permissible.”
    We will now look at the Tafsirs (Commentaries) on Surah 65:4 by renowned Muslim Scholars. Only relevant parts from the Tafsirs will be quoted so as to focus on the point that is central to our discussion.

    Well known scholar, Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi states in hisCommentary on Surah 65:4 in Tafhim al Qur'an, Volume 5, p. 620, note 13, regarding sex with pre-pubescent children:

    “Here, one should bear in mind the fact that according to the explanations given in the Quran the question of the waiting period arises in respect of the women with whom marriage may have been consummated, for there is no waiting-period in case divorce is pronounced before the consummation of marriage. (Al-Ahzab: 49). Therefore, making mention of the waiting-period for girls who have not yet menstruated, clearly proves that it is not only permissible to give away the girl at this age but it is permissible for the husband to consummate marriage with her. Now, obviously no Muslim has the right to forbid a thing which the Qur’an has held as permissible.”

    Maududi affirms that it is not only permitted by the Qur’an to marry pre-pubescent girls but also to consummate the marriage with them. He also adds that no Muslims can question or forbid it.

    Tafsir Ibn Kathir on Surah 65:4:
    “The `Iddah of Those in Menopause and Those Who do not have Menses Allah the Exalted clarifies the waiting period of the woman in menopause. And that is the one whose menstruation has stopped due to her older age. Her `Iddah is three months instead of the three monthly cycles for those who menstruate, which is based upon the Ayah in (Surat) Al-Baqarah. [see 2:228] The same for the young, who have not reached the years of menstruation.Their `Iddah is three months like those in menopause. This is the meaning of His saying.”

    Tafsir Al-Jalalayn on Surah 65:4:
    “And as for those of your women who (read all?'? or all?'i in both instances) no longer expect to menstruate, if you have any doubts, about their waiting period, their prescribed waiting period shall be three months, and also for those who have not yet menstruated, because of their young age, their period shall also be three months – both cases apply to other than those whose spouses have died; for these latter their period is prescribed in the verse: they shall wait by themselves for four months and ten days (Q. 2:23)]. And those who are pregnant, their term, the conclusion of their prescribed waiting period if divorced or if their spouses be dead, shall be when they deliver. And whoever fears God, He will make matters ease for him, in this world and in the Hereafter.”

    Tafsir Ibn Abbas on Surah 65:4:
    “(And for such of your women as despair of menstruation) because of old age, (if ye doubt) about their waiting period, (their period (of waiting) shall be three months) upon which another man asked: “O Messenger of Allah! “What about the waiting period of those who do not have menstruation because they are too young?” (along with those who have it not) because of young age,their waiting period is three months.” Another man asked: “what is the waiting period for those women who are pregnant?” (And for those with child) i.e. those who are pregnant, (their period) their waiting period (shall be till they bring forth their burden) their child. (And whosoever keepeth his duty to Allah) and whoever fears Allah regarding what he commands him, (He maketh his course easy for him) He makes his matter easy; and it is also said this means: He will help him to worship Him well.” (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs – Qur'an 65:4)

    Tafsir Al-Tabari XIV:142:
    The interpretation of the verse “And those of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the ‘Iddah (prescribed period), if you have doubt (about their periods), is three months; and for those who have no courses (i.e. they are still immature) their ‘Iddah (prescribed period) is three months likewise.” He said: The same applies to the ‘idaah for girls who do not menstruate because they are too young, if their husbands divorce them after consummating the marriage with them.

    The above commentaries by prominent Muslim scholars clearly prove that Muslim men are permitted to engage in sexual intercourse with their pre-pubescent child wives, otherwise the requirement to observe the waiting period by the pre-pubescent wives will not be necessary as the Qur'an itself testifies. Muslims, who deny that such practices and teachings are rooted in Islam, are either lying hypocrites or complete fools. To claim ignorance is not an excuse.
    The following Hadith also collaborates with the above commentaries by Muslim scholars:

    Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 63:
    Narrated Sahl bin Sad: “The Prophet said, “Go, I have agreed to marry her to you with what you know of the Qur'an (as her Mahr).” “And for those who have no courses (i.e. they are still immature). (65.4) And the 'Iddat for the girl before puberty is three months (in the above Verse).”
    Giving away children who are far too young for marriage became permissible in Islam by reason of the law of Allah in Surah 65:4.Pedophilia is defined as a “sexual deviation of being sexually attracted primarily or exclusively to pre-pubescent children.” A person with this kind of attraction towards children is called a Pedophile. Pedophilia is considered illegal in most societies, cultures and religions – the exception being Islam where it is accepted in its theology.
    Not only are marriages with minors taught in the Qur'an but Muhammad himself also set the example when he married Aisha. Muhammad married Aisha when she was only six-years-old and he consummated his marriage with her at the age of nine, while she was still a pre-pubescent. He was fifty-four at that time.

    Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 64:
    Narrated By 'Aisha : That the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e., till his death).

    Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3309:
    'Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) reported: Allah's Messenger (pbuh) married me when I was six years old, and I was admitted to his house at the age of nine.

    Hadith Sunan Abu Dawud, Volume 2, Number 2116:
    “Aisha said, ‘The Apostle of Allah married me when I was seven years old.’ (The narrator Sulaiman said: “Or six years.”). “He had intercourse with me when I was 9 years old.”

    We have seen that the Islamic laws of Allah allow husbands to engage in intercourse with their pre-pubescent wives. We have also discovered from the Hadiths that Aisha was nine-years-old when Muhammad had sexual intercourse with her. Now we will look at the evidences that prove that Aisha was pre-pubescent when Muhammad first had sexual intercourse with her.

    Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 151:
    Narrated 'Aisha: I used to play with the dolls in the presence of the Prophet, and my girl friends also used to play with me. When Allah's Apostle used to enter (my dwelling place) they used to hide themselves, but the Prophet would call them to join and play with me. (The playing with the dolls and similar images is forbidden, but it was allowed for 'Aisha at that time, as she was a little girl, not yet reached the age of puberty.) (Fateh-al-Bari page 143, Vol.13)

    Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3311:
    'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that Allah's Apostle (peace be upon him) married her when she was seven years old, and she was taken to his house as a bride when she was nine, and her dolls were with her; and when he (the Holy Prophet) died she was eighteen years old.

    Sunan Nas’ai (830-915 C.E.), Book of Marriage, Number 3256:
    “A’ishah said: The Apostle of Allah peace be upon him married me when I was six and had intercourse with me when I was nine and I was playing with dolls.”

    Sahih Muslim, Book 031, Number 5981:
    Aisha reported that she used to play with dolls in the presence of Allah's Messenger and when her playmates came to her they left (the house) because they felt shy of Allah's Messenger whereas Allah's Messenger sent them to her.

    Muhammad married Aisha when she was six-years-old and she was taken to his house as a bride when she was nine, along with her dolls. Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 151states that playing with the dolls and similar images is forbidden, but it was allowed for Aisha at that time because she has not yet reached the age of puberty. Sahih Muslim clearly states that Aisha still had her dolls with her when she was taken to Muhammad’s house as a bride. Thus, it becomes clear that Aisha was pre-pubescent when she was taken to his house as a bride. The Hadiths prove that when Muhammad consummated the marriage with Aisha, she was still playing with her dolls at the tender age of nine. And Sahih Muslim, Book 031, Number 5981 confirms that Aisha was still playing with her dolls evenafter the consummation of her marriage. All these Hadiths prove that Aisha was pre-pubescent when Muhammad first had sex with her. Another famous Islamic scholar, Al-Khattaabeeconfirmed this when he clearly stated:

    “The only reason why permission in this (playing with dolls) was given to 'Aa'isha is because she had not, at that time, reached the age of puberty.”

    Muslims wrongly believe that Muhammad had sexual intercourse with Aisha only after her first menstruation. They also mistakenly believe that Islam permits Muslim husbands to sexually engage with their child-brides only after their first menstruation. But as verified by the Qur’an, the Hadith and Muslim scholars themselves, Muslim men are permitted to engage in sexual intercourse with their child-brides before their first menses. The records prove that Muhammad actually had sex with Aisha prior to her first menses. The undeniable fact is that Muhammad was having sex with Aisha while she was still a child. The Qur’an allows this, Muhammad did this, Aisha stated this, and the scholars affirm this. Now, Islam’s children have to deal with this.

    This fact places Muhammad and Islam in a far darker and contemptible position than most people believe it to be. Many Muslims do not know this. When children are allowed to be used for sex, then it becomes sexual abuse and any support for Muhammad means the same as supporting the sexual exploitation of children. Muhammad’s action and teachings on the laws of marriage established an Islamic precedent that allows female children to be married off as adults. The damaging example of Allah’s Prophet has caused millions of Muslim girls to come under subjection to this harmful practice. This practice is grossly wicked and should not be condoned. Muhammad established an appalling standard for Islam.
    In line with Allah’s commandment to imitate the example of their Prophet, Muslims maintain this harmful practice until today. Following are excerpts from an interview with Dr. Ahmad Al-Mu’bi, a Saudi marriage officiant:

    “It is allowed to marry a girl at the age of one, if sex is postponed. The Prophet Muhammad, whose model we follow, married ‘Aisha when she was six and had sex with her when she was nine.’” (Source: Aired on LBC TV (Lebanon) – June 19, 2008)

    Because Muhammad asserted that he should be emulated, he bears the full responsibility for this form of child abuse in the Islamic world. By stipulating iddah for pre-pubescent girls in the Qur’an, Islam shamelessly supports the sexual abuse of young children. While no iddah is prescribed for a woman who had no intimate contact with her husband, iddah was prescribed for pre-pubescent girls in Surah 65:4. This stands as a definitive proofthat Allah, Muhammad, Islam and the Qur'an endorsespedophilia – the most abominable of all sexual crimes.

    One of the most disturbing things about Islam is that it does not condemn the crime of pedophilia as committed within the boundaries of marriage. It cannot, for to do so would draw attention to the pedophilia of the founder of Islam. Sex with minors – with or without their consent – is considered asstatutory rape in the laws of civilized nations. As a direct result of the endorsement of pedophilia in the Qur'an, the sexual exploitation of children in the guise of marriage are permitted in many Islamic countries.

    Sheikh Hamoud Hashim, general secretary of the Vice and Virtue Committee in Yemen stated:

    “Because this happened to the Prophet, we cannot tell people that it is prohibited to marry at an early age.” (Source: BBC NEWS: Published on 6 November 2008)

    Muslim apologists try to defend Muhammad’s action by saying that it was customary for the people of his time to give away young children in marriage. They excuse his behavior by saying that he only reflected the practices of the pre-Islamic cultures of his time. If true, it only serves to prove that Muhammad was a false prophet. Prophets of the true God are required to raise the moral standard of the people they are sent to. If Muhammad were sent by God, he would have acted differently. He would not have followed the customs of the pre-Islamic pagan society but would have set a new standard. A true prophet would have been inspired by God to denounce the evil of pedophilia, rather than submit to it. Lacking God’s spirit, he behaved the same as pagans of his time. Muhammad actually endorsed pedophilia by his very participation in it. His participation only serves to confirm, promote and perpetuate this evil. How can Muslims then claim that his aim is to gradually discourage this evil pagan practice? This is definitely not the way to eradicate something evil. By Muhammad’s involvement in pedophilic marriage, this evil practice continues on till today because all acts of Muhammad are considered“Sunnah,” meaning that it is an approved conduct that should be emulated by all Muslims for all times. Thus, Muhammad is directly responsible for sustaining this age-old pagan practice.
    In addition, this also means that by following Muhammad, Muslims are now perpetuating the outdated and evil customs of those pagan Arabs of 1400 years ago. If Muhammad followed the example of the pagan society, why are Muslims following him? Why should Muslims accept Muhammad as their prophet when he was incapable of breaking away from the wickedness, primitiveness, barbarity and savagery of the pagan Arabs? Thus, when Muslim apologists justify the practice of child-marriages by stating that it is a norm in pre-Islamic culture, they are in fact admitting that their Prophet is a victim of the primitive society he came from. This means Muhammad is nothing but a product of paganism. And Islam is nothing but a continuance of paganism.

    In truth, the pagans had a higher moral standard than Muhammad did. For example, they were deeply troubled when Muhammad married the wife of his adopted son. These Arab pagans had the love and decency to view their adopted children as their own. Hence, in their eyes, Muhammad committed incest by marrying his own daughter-in-law. Who do you think had a much higher and noble standard of morality?

    Muslims today cannot condemn pedophilia even if they would like to. Doing so would mean that they will have to abandon the teachings of Islam. Muslims tacitly approve of pedophilia, even if they are embarrassed to say so openly. So taken-up are Muslims by the conduct of Muhammad that they are unable to denounce pedophilia as a result of his association with this practice. If Muslims consider Muhammad as a perfect example than they must also consider him as the perfect pedophile.

    Pedophilia is prevalent in many Muslim countries disguised as child marriage. Muhammad should be judged as a man who established child abuse as a norm in Islam. What he did was wrong, and worse still, established it as an acceptable conduct for Muslims to imitate. By our Christian heritage and legal standards, Muhammad committed a crime. Our standards are better then that of Islam’s when it comes to protecting children. While Jesus loved children and spoke highly of their innocence, Muhammad made love to children and robbed their innocence.
    Sincere Muslims need to honestly evaluate their religion. Did the teachings of Islam shape Muhammad’s behavior or did Muhammad mold Islam into his image? In other words, is the Qur'an a reflection of Muhammad’s personality? As defined earlier, a pedophile is one who feels sexually attracted towards children. Did Muhammad have this weakness, which is then projected into the teachings of the Qur'an? Is this the reason why the Qur'an permits sex with pre-pubescent children? Is this the reason why the Qur’an sanctions pedophilia? For this to be true, it must be proven beyond any doubt that Muhammad truly had pedophilia tendencies. To begin with, Aisha was not the only child Muhammad had his eyes on. He had his eyes on two other infants.

    [1] Ibn Ishaq: Suhayli, ii. 79:
    “In the riwaya of Yunus Ibn Ishaq (it is) recorded that the apostle saw her (Ummu'lFadl) when she was a baby crawling before him and said, 'If she grows up and I am still alive I will marry her.' But he died before she grew up and Sufyan b. al-Aswad b. 'Abdu'l-Asad al-Makhzumi married her and she bore him Rizq and Lubab…” (A Translation of Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah by A. Guillaume)

    [2] Musnad Ahmad, Hadith Number 25636:
    Muhammad saw Um Habiba the daughter of Abbaswhile she was fatim (age of nursing) and he said, “If she grows up while I am still alive, I will marry her.”(Source: Hadith.Al-Islam.com)

    Muslims should step out of the shoes of Islam and look at their Prophet objectively. What kind of man will look at crawling babies or at infants and express his desire to marry them? What was on his mind when he spoke those words? Is this not an indication that he was attracted to them at that very moment he set his eyes on them? Otherwise, why did he express his desire to marry them? His affair with young Aisha serves as a window into the mentality of this man. He married her when she was six and sexually assaulted her when she was nine-years-old. Could the fact that even when Aisha was a baby, he twice dreamed of her show the pedophilia fantasy of this man? And Islamic records shows that he wanted to claim other young victims as well. Fortunately, forUmmu'lFadl, Muhammad died. In the case of Um Habiba, Muhammad actually proposed to marry her but she escaped being victimized as it was discovered that she was his foster niece.

    The History of Al-Tabari, Volume IX: 140:
    “He proposed to Umm Habib bt. al-‘Abbas b. ‘Abd al-Muttalib, but discovered that al-‘Abbas was his foster-brother; Thuwaybah had nursed them both.”

    Here we have two instances (besides Aisha) where a man well over fifty had his eyes on two infants. Now, don’t you think that is a problem? Can this man truly be a prophet of God? These are the only records of potential infant victims that are available to us. How many other children he lusted after, only God knows! Or as Muslim scholars like to say, “Allah knows best.”

    Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 15:
    Narrated By ‘Aisha: Allah's Apostle said (to me), “You have been shown to me twice in my dreams. A man was carrying you in a silken cloth and said to me, ‘This is your wife.’ I uncovered it; and behold, it was you. I said to myself, ‘If this dream is from Allah, He will cause it to come true.’”

    Is this not a sexual fantasy of a pedophile? Aisha was only a baby when Muhammad had this dream. Notice the craving in his words, “If this dream is from Allah, He will cause it to come true.” To even think of a baby in terms of a wife is both outrageous and shocking.

    Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 173:
    Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah: The Prophet said, “If you enter (your town) at night (after coming from a journey), do not enter upon your family till the woman whose husband was absent (from the house) shaves her pubic hair and the woman with unkempt hair, combs her hair.”

    Now, why would a prophet of God give this instruction to a husband to wait until his wife shaves her pubic hair? Is it so that her vagina will resemble that of a young child? If this is not a craving of a pedophile, what else could it be? Pedophilia is one of the gifts of Islam to perverts.

    Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 17:
    Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah: When I got married, Allah's Apostle said to me, “What type of lady have you married?” I replied, “I have married a matron.” He said, “Why, don't you have a liking for the virgins and for fondling them?” Jabir also said: Allah's Apostle said, “Why didn't you marry a young girl so that you might play with her and she with you?”

    The Qur'an sustains the pedophilic nature of Muhammad in its theology. It supports the shameful crime of pedophilia by legitimizing it as marriage. Pedophiles can now justify the shameful act of raping children by first marrying their victims. Once he is through satisfying himself with his young victim, the Muslim pedophile can always divorce his child-wife and move on to target another young victim – as endorsed by the Qur'an inSurah 65:4. To assist our readers to recap the evil nature of this Qur'anic verse, we will cite this verse once again:

    And those of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the Iddah (prescribed period), if you have doubts (about their periods), is three months, and for those who have no courses ((i.e. they are still immature) their Iddah (prescribed period) is three months likewise, except in case of death) . (Hilali-Khan)

    Child marriages are outlawed in western nations. And sex with minors are called Criminal pedophilia. Muslims shamefully keep the venom of this evil practice alive by following the example of a pedophile. In consequence, children are sexually abused by Muslim men who are old enough to be their fathers or even grandfathers. Pedophilia is evil, cruel and barbaric and it destroys the life of a child. Children are not mature enough, either physically, emotionally or mentally to enter into a marriage relationship with adults.

    In Islam, there is no place for ethics, morality or conscience. Islamic morality is quite different and stands on two notions:Halal (permitted) and Haram (not permitted). To every civilized human being, the marrying of a six-year-old girl by a man well over fifty will be an act that is highly immoral, unethical and vulgar. However, to a Muslim, such an act is Halal, for the sole reason that the Prophet of Islam himself had done it. Therefore, an application of the personal sense of morality and ethics does not play any role in the life of a Muslim. Whatever Muhammad did is Halal and Muslims are commanded to emulate their Pedophile Prophet.

    All decent humans feel repulsed at the utter evil nature of this shameful immoral act. To molest a child sexually is evil.To molest a child while proclaiming to be a prophet of God is shockingly evil and blasphemous. Muhammad may have his weaknesses but Muslims still have to answer why Allah sanctioned pedophilia in Surah 65:4.

    What Muhammad said and did during the specific situations he encountered is considered a model for the conduct of Muslims in every age, and for that reason alone the meaning of the Qur'an's verses cannot be restricted to the times and places in which they were received. The Qur'an is understood to be the timeless word of God, given at one time for every time and for every place.

  12. 12
    Ziad says:

    Surah 65:4: “Such of your woman as passed age of monthly courses\ means the age of menopause , and \and for those who have no courses\ means who have no periods due to some illness (like polycystic ovary disease or other reason) – so this clearly does not indicate young girls before puberty – all have to wait three months in case they became pregnant by any probability.
    So Muslims (in that ear in the past) could marry girls who reach puberty and get their periods. Today, it's different culture and circumstance.

  13. 13
    Ed S says:

    What does this have to do anything with the article? What are you some sort of an Internet Scholar!

    • 13.1
      Lynn Ertell says:

      John Keegan in his "A History of Warfare" delves deeply into the cultural and ideological elements of Islam that were decisive in its military successes; and failures as well. In his chapter titled "Flesh", he notes the advances in highly mobile light cavalry armed with composite bows, so effectively deployed against the heavy armored cavalry and infantry of the Europeans by the Arabs, Moors, Turks and Mamelukes. But he also credits their fervent religious zeal and the promise of honorable reward in both the tribal community (ummah) and the hereafter. Very interesting.



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