Today the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Michael Smith, 2UE Radio Host, is being investigated by the Australian Media and Communications authority "over his assertion that the prophet Muhammad 'married a nine-year-old and consummated it when she was 11'".
It would be excellent if Australian authorities did look into Muhammad's marital arrangements with his young wife Aisha, because it is a significant human rights issue which will not go away.
Accuracy in reporting is always important, and all the more so because Muhammad's example is regarded as perfect by pious Muslims, and a model for all humanity to follow. The circumstances of Muhammad's marriages provide a fundamental point of reference for sharia law. They determine, for example, the marriage age for girls in societies which seek to comply with the Islamic sharia.
The fact of the matter is that Michael Smith got his facts wrong. The matter is worse than he said. According to the most authoritative Islamic sources, Muhammad married Aisha when she was 6, and he consummated the union when she was 9. He was 53 at the time.
The following accounts are from the most highly regarded sources on Muhammad's life, the Sahih al-Bukhari and the Sahih Muslim. These are considered to be reliable and authoritative by pious Muslims. Several other highly-regarded sources confirm these reports.