I'm currently interested in becoming a Muslim but I have some questions which no one at my local Mosque are able to answer sufficiently. First I have to setup the context.
First I will define child marriage as marriage as marriage of a person under the age of 18. Some Muslim's like to argue that the age of maturity is subjective and that many people are mature before 18 or after. Perhaps they don't realize that 18 is a catch-all. We live in the real world and there exists something called statistics. The choice of 18 is not arbitrary.
Now assume that a modern society will exist for all time. Take Sweden as an example. It is unanimously agreed that child marriage is harmful to modern societies. It is dishonest to argue that child marriage could be embraced at some point in the future.
Furthermore, it seems to be universally accepted that Muhammad married Aisha at age 6.
Here is my question:
It seems the prophets actions are permitting and arguably promoting child marriage. The ramifications are seen in many Islamic nations that use the literature to justify or normalize child marriage. Since the prophet is a role model for all time, it appears his actions are in contradiction with the existence of a modern society. Notice, I am not saying what the prophet did was wrong or that Aisha suffered in any way. I am also not concerned about the age of consent for sex, although it is also problematic. What I am concerned with is how the prophet's actions negatively affect countries today and modern societies that will likely exist indefinitely.
There are many difficulties in pinning down maturity. However it seems the prophet could have improved the lives of many had he said:
I think you shouldn't marry until 18
removed some potentially (irrelevant) incendiary remarks.