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  • What Was Age Of Ayesha (RA) At The Time Of Marriage?

    Sameer Bhagwat updated 3 years, 7 months ago 7 Members · 39 Replies
  • Umer

    Moderator June 24, 2020 at 2:45 pm
  • Umer

    Moderator June 24, 2020 at 3:26 pm

    Age of ‘Ā’ishah (rta) at her Marriage

    It is generally believed that ‘Ā’ishah (rta), mother of the faithful, was six years old when she got married to the Prophet Muhammad (sws). The nikah took place in Makkah after the death of Khadijah (rta). The marriage was consummated three years later in Madinah. This is what books of Hadith and sirah report about her. The narratives which describe these details are found in Bukhari and Muslim and some other books of Hadith as well. There is no doubt that such marriages have taken place in the past keeping in view certain needs of tribal and rural societies. Examples can even be presented from our society. It is also true that the social attitudes that spring from basic morality can be different in different societies keeping in view their circumstances and experiences, and the moral status of one society cannot be determined by using another society as a standard. All these things can be accepted; however, the matter of ‘Ā’ishah’s (rta) marriage is different. The question which arises in every discerning mind relates to the need of this marriage: why did it take place when the need which was present at that time could not have been fulfilled even after many subsequent years? Such marriages do take place and one can accept them taking place without any hesitation; however, it is not easy to accept marriages which take place without any reason and to fulfil a current need many years later.

    Had the suggestion to marry her come from the Prophet (sws), we could have said that this was done on divine bidding. The role she would play in the Prophet’s life and the treasure of wisdom which would be transmitted to the ummah through her noble person was in the foreknowledge of God; thus it was decided that she be singled out for the Prophet (sws) since this early age. We can also say that the Prophet (sws) undertook this marriage for the betterment of his preaching mission. ‘Ā’ishah’s (rta) father was a very close companion of the Prophet (sws). In tribal life, relationships play a great role in cementing close ties. The Prophet (sws) deemed it appropriate that he engage in this association with his special companion so that ties of friendship and love were strengthened.

    Had this suggestion to marry her come from Abu Bakr (rta), it could have been said that he was desirous of respect and honour for his daughter, for his own self and for his own family. He wanted to establish familial ties with the person whom he regarded to be a messenger of God; perhaps he did not get this idea at the time of the marriage of his other daughter Asma’ (rta). After her, it was only through ‘Ā’ishah (rta) that he could attain this honour. Thus he suggested for this marriage to take place. The Prophet (sws) accepted this suggestion to honour the wish of his dear friend.

    However, we know that none of these suppositions are true. If because of a divinely inspired vision such a thought for ‘Ā’ishah’s (rta) existed in the heart of the Prophet (sws), he never expressed it. The whole corpus of Hadith and sirah literature is totally devoid of a mention of any such suggestion, indication or insinuation from him. The same is the case of Abu Bakr (rta). If he wanted the marriage of his daughter to take place with the Prophet (sws), why did he resolve to solemnize her marriage with the son of Mut‘im ibn ‘Adi? Narratives mention that he had already done this before this suggestion came to him. Not only this, it is also reported that when he heard this suggestion, he expressed his wonder since he thought that the Prophet (sws) was like a paternal uncle for his children; so how could the suggestion of such a marriage be presented. His words reported are: هل تصلح له انما هي ابنة اخيه (Is she allowed to him? She is the daughter of his brother!)[1]

    The narratives clearly state that it was Khawlah bint Hakim who suggested that the name of ‘Ā’ishah (rta) for this marriage. It was she who directed the attention of the Prophet (sws) to the fact that after the death of Khadijah (rta), it was his need to marry again. She is reported to have said: يا رسول الله كأني أراك قد دخلتك خلة لفقد خديجة أفلا أخطبعليك (I see that you have secluded yourself after the loss of Khadijah; shall I find a match for you?).[2]On inquiry by the Prophet (sws), she told him that both an unmarried and a divorced lady were available. When the Prophet (sws) asked who the unmarried lady she had in mind was, her reply was ‘Ā’ishah bint Abi Bakr (rta).[3]

    A wife can be needed to satisfy one’s sexual needs, for companionship and friendship and for looking after children and household affairs. If this suggestion was given with sanity prevailing, the question which arises is: which of these needs can be fulfilled by a six year old girl? Could sexual relations be established with her? Could the companionship of a wife be available through her? Could she have been able to look after kids? Could she have looked after household affairs? The issue just raised that a marriage is taking place to fulfil needs which cannot even be fulfilled after many years of marriage is not merely a possible option that should be considered in interpreting these narratives. It is the most fundamental question in this regard. Can it be logically accepted that to fulfil a need of today a suggestion be given as a result of which it is not even fulfilled after several years? Ibn Khaldun has rightly pointed out that in the matter of historical incidents, the real thing is their possibility of taking place. They cannot merely be accepted on the basis that their chain of narration contains such and such a person and that it has been narrated through several chains.[4]

    In current times, men of learning who are presenting their researches on this issue should first of all answer this question. They should explain how this internal contradiction of the narrative can be resolved. If this contradiction cannot be resolved, then why don’t the requisites of knowledge and intellect entail that the narrative which depicts ‘Ā’shah’s age to be six years at the time of marriage should be reconsidered and the opinion of those scholars[5]should also be reflected upon who say that the words to the effect بعد العشر (after ten) were understood to be present after the words بنت ستسنين (a girl of six) uttered by ‘Ā’ishah (rta) and the narrators never made an effort to understand them? Whatever research is presented without answering this question will never be worthy of any attention for any person of learning.

    (Translated by Dr Shehzad Saleem)

    ______________

    [1]. Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad, vol, 6, 210, (no. 25810).

    [2]. See: Ibn Sa‘d, Al-Ṭabaqat al-kubra, vol. 8, 57.

    [3]. Ibid.

    [4]. ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Muhammad ibnKhaldun, Muqaddimah, 5ed. (Beirut: Dar al-qalam, 1984), 37.

    [5]. See, for example: Shabbir Ahmad Azhar Mayrathi, Ṣahih Bukhari ka mutala‘ah, 1ed. (Lahore: Dar al-tazkir, 2005), 252-255.

  • Ali Shaikh

    Member July 11, 2020 at 11:51 pm

    Assalamualaikum,

    There is ahadith which says that Ayesha r.a. used to play with dolls and ride swing this indicates that her age was 9

    • Umer

      Moderator July 12, 2020 at 12:54 am

      Walikumsalam!

      It would be really kind of you if you could share that complete narration along with its reference so that we can analyze it further.

  • Ali Shaikh

    Member July 12, 2020 at 1:48 am

    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 Messenger (ﷺ) 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 forAisha at that time, as she was a little girl, not yet reached the age of puberty.) (Fath-ul-Bari page 143, Vol.13)

    Sahih Bukhari 6130

    https://sunnah.com/bukhari/78/157

    Narrated Aisha:

    The Prophet (ﷺ) engaged me when I was a girl of six (years). We went to Medina and stayed at the home of Bani-al-Harith bin Khazraj. Then I got ill and my hair fell down. Later on my hair grew (again) and my mother, Um Ruman, came to me while I was playing in a swing with some of my girl friends. She called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted to do to me. She caught me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house. I was breathless then, and when my breathing became Allright, she took some water and rubbed my face and head with it. Then she took me into the house. There in the house I saw some Ansari women who said, “Best wishes and Allah’s Blessing and a good luck.” Then she entrusted me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage). Unexpectedly Allah’s Apostle came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age.

    Sahih Bukhari 3894

    https://sunnah.com/bukhari/63/120

    • Umer

      Moderator July 12, 2020 at 4:02 am

      Thank you for taking time to post these narrations:

      As far as the first narration is concerned, there is nothing mentioned of the age, the inference drawn out of it is personal opinion of Ibn-e-Hajr Asqalani. In the light of Quran and Sunnah, I don’t find any absolute prohibition of Dolls and pictures for any age. All the narrations which apparently prohibit pictures are to be interpreted in the light of following verses of Quran:

      Discussion 1749

      It is also an absurd statement that only girls of younger age, especially the ones who haven’t reached puberty play with dolls. Please enlighten me on the basis on which such a sweeping statement has been made? I think it has more to do with predetermined state of mind of putting Aisha (rta) within 6-9 years of age bracket. When nothing of such sort is explicitly mentioned in original words of the narration.

      As for the second narration, no one is denying presence of such narrations where age of Aisha (rta) has been explicitly mentioned, which also gives an impression as if she hadn’t reached puberty at that time. The article written above and the video attached, are a critique to these narration. There are some logical questions that arise which need to be answered first in order to validate the age mentioned in such narrations. Please read and listen to this critique by Ghamidi sb. in this thread, and after that, if you are still inclined to believe the age mentioned in these narrations then you’re free to. For me, the points raised by Ghamidi sb. are pretty valid and logical, and need to be answered first.

    • Ali Shaikh

      Member July 21, 2020 at 10:43 pm

      Agreed, but there’s hadith in trimidhi where Ayesha r.a. himself said that girl at the age of 9 is woman, this indicates that either it was very comman or people become mature at early ages

    • Sameer Bhagwat

      Contributor July 21, 2020 at 10:52 pm

      Can you please post that hadith and narration here ? Please provide the full hadith and its reference where she said that any girl at the age 9 is a woman.

      If she said it, she is completely wrong. If we take that criterion, the minimum age of marriage/voting and other maturity decisions a woman is supposed to take, should be lowered to 9 , and girls would start to be married off at the age of 9..

    • Ali Shaikh

      Member July 22, 2020 at 6:38 am

      Sameer don’t act like that you have never heard about this hadith, remember once you’ve have sent that narration to me on twitter.

      Maturity changes according to time, she was engaged before to mutim bin adiy, it clearly proves that she was mature enough

    • Sameer Bhagwat

      Contributor July 22, 2020 at 7:01 am

      I don’t think I claimed that there was an authentic narration of this sort. If you have it, please show it.

    • Ali Shaikh

      Member July 26, 2020 at 1:45 pm

      Sayyidah Aisha said: ‘When a girl is nine years old, she is a woman (meaning, she has attained puberty).’ (Tirmidhi, Hadith 1109)

    • Sameer Bhagwat

      Contributor July 26, 2020 at 2:00 pm

      Can you please show the link of this hadith from Sunnah.com ? I couldn’t find it there.

    • Ali Shaikh

      Member July 26, 2020 at 2:07 pm

      Sure, hope you might know arabic

      https://sunnah.com/tirmidhi/11/30

      In case you don’t know then open page no. 479 at

      https://fliphtml5.com/qzpe/sovr/basic/451-500

    • Sameer Bhagwat

      Contributor July 27, 2020 at 12:15 am

      Sorry, I couldn’t find it.. I can’t read Arabic . The English hadith in https://sunnah.com/tirmidhi/11/30 is different.

      On the other link, on page 479, I don’t see this hadith either. Am I missing something ?

    • Ali Shaikh

      Member July 27, 2020 at 1:22 am

      Translation isn’t different whole hadith had not been translated u can use Google translate

      As for 2nd link why didn’t you turned that page i.e. 480

    • Sameer Bhagwat

      Contributor July 27, 2020 at 1:27 am

      Yes, now I can see it, thanks .. on page 480. Earlier I looked only for page 479.

      So, if Aisha said it, I think it is wrong, if she meant it for general . A girl reaching 9 years of age does NOT necessarily become a woman.

    • Ali Shaikh

      Member July 27, 2020 at 2:05 am
    • Sameer Bhagwat

      Contributor July 27, 2020 at 2:18 am

      If she had said that about girls of Arabia in 7th century, we could consider it differently. But she said it in general for all girls and women. Clearly false.

      Even for 7th century Arabia, if girls at 9 years of age became woman, I am not sure it is true.

    • Ali Shaikh

      Member July 27, 2020 at 4:47 am

      It was abot girls of that time, you can’t apply it for all.

      And I’ve shared that scientific chart on this whether they were woman or not, but it seems that you are in denial mode

    • Sameer Bhagwat

      Contributor July 27, 2020 at 4:56 am

      Where did she say that it was ONLY for girls of that time ?

    • Ali Shaikh

      Member July 27, 2020 at 5:12 am

      Sam just imagine you are present infront of ayesha r.a. where all these things are common. And then she made this statement what will say now??

    • Sameer Bhagwat

      Contributor July 27, 2020 at 5:27 am

      It seems all the Muslim revered personalities were giving half baked general statements which are ONLY applicable to 7th century Arabia. Anyway, since Aisha wasn’t divinely inspired it is ok to excuse her comment as it was not correct.

    • Ali Shaikh

      Member July 27, 2020 at 5:37 am

      You ain’t answering my question. Btw I’ve provided you scientific chart regarding this whether they were woman or not but you are clearly rejecting them

    • Sameer Bhagwat

      Contributor July 27, 2020 at 5:49 am

      I have no objection to whether Aisha was 9 at the time of marriage. You can take your objection to Ghamidi saab and prove to him. Earlier you were of the opinion that Aisha was 19 because that hadith is to be added 10 automatically . It seems recently you have changed your opinion and now you claim with full conviction that she was indeed 9 .

      It is fine.. you can take your question to Ghamidi saab and prove him wrong.

      As far as Aisha’s comment is concerned : It is clearly wrong. She didn’t classify her comment as some specific women, but in general. If she did it, then show me that.

    • Ali Shaikh

      Member July 27, 2020 at 9:09 am

      I don’t need to prove someone wrong I didn’t asked you anything you were the one who asked about this narration, so I provided that.

      With regard to my question I’ll ask again forget about this present time let’s go to time of ayesha r.a. and think you are infront of him and you dont know that in future maturaity and puberty will change just think she said this statement [read the full narration of that hadith] what will you say ??

    • Sameer Bhagwat

      Contributor July 27, 2020 at 9:13 am

      Here we all are trying to learn the truth only, and proving other people’s opinion wrong is one way we can explore truth. If that is not your objective, then why participate in the discussion ?

      I asked you for narration because I couldn’t find it myself. Not because I doubt it.

      On Aisha’s comment : If she didn’t know, then yes, she was ignorant.. didn’t Prophet tell her the truth, since he was divinely inspired ?

      Anyway, if this narration is true, then it is clear Aisha was 9 at the time of marriage and Ghamidi saab is wrong. .. may be Umer bhai or Bushra ji can clarify this. Please discuss with them.

  • Sameer Bhagwat

    Contributor July 20, 2020 at 7:48 am

    Yes, I agree the questions raised by Ghamidi saab are valid, but then what do you suppose to answer about the validity of the Sahih Hadiths and their authentication procedure ? Are you saying that the hadith where Aisha says she was 6 years old at the time of her marriage, is not exactly correct ? Are the numbers 6 and 9 supposed to mean 16 and 19 in these hadiths due to the way Arabic style mention of numbers ? Why don’t the English translations correct it then ? How do the scholars of hadith read these ?

  • Najm Us Saqib Bhat

    Member July 20, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    ..

    • Faisal Haroon

      Moderator July 20, 2020 at 1:45 pm

      Najm Us Saqib sahab you can simply subscribe to the topic.

  • Bushra Aziz

    Member July 20, 2020 at 2:25 pm

    To begin with[1], I think it is the responsibility of all those who believe that marrying a girl as young as nine years old was an accepted norm of the Arab culture, to provide at least a few examples to substantiate their point of view. I have not yet been able to find a single reliable instance in the books of Arab history where a girl as young as nine years old was given away in marriage. Unless such examples are given, we do not have any reasonable grounds to believe that it really was an accepted norm.

    In my opinion, the age of Ayesha (ra) has been grossly misreported in the narratives of the incident. Not only that, I think that the narratives reporting this event are not only highly unreliable but also that on the basis of other historical data, the event reported, is quite an unlikely happening. Let us look at the issue from an objective stand point. My reservations in accepting the narratives, on the basis of which, Ayesha’s (ra) age at the time of her marriage with the Prophet (pbuh) is held to be nine years are:

    Most of these narratives are reported only by Hisham ibn urwah reporting on the authority of his father. An event as well known as the one being reported, should logically have been reported by more people than just one, two or three. It is quite strange that no one from Medinah, where Hisham ibnurwah lived the first seventy-one years of his life has narrated the event, even though in Medinah his pupils included people as well known as Malik ibn Anas. All the narratives of this event have been reported by narrators from Iraq, where Hisham is reported to have shifted after living in Medinah for seventy-one years.

    Tehzeeb al-Tehzeeb, one of the most well known books on the life and reliability of the narrators of the traditions ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh) reports that according to Yaqub ibn Shaibah: “narratives reported by Hisham are reliable except those that are reported through the people of Iraq”. It further states that Malik ibn Anas objected on those narratives of Hisham, which were reported through people of Iraq (Vol. 11, pg. 48 – 51).

    Meezaan al-Aitidaal, another book on the narrators of the traditions of the Prophet (pbuh) reports that when he was old, Hisham's memory suffered quite badly (Vol. 4, pg. 301 - 302).According to the generally accepted tradition, Ayesha (ra) was born about eight years before Hijrah. However, according to another narrative in Bukhari (Kitaab al-Tafseer) Ayesha (ra) is reported to have said that at the time Surah Al-Qamar, the 54th chapter of the Qur'an , was revealed, "I was a young girl". The 54th Surah of the Qur'an was revealed nine years before Hijrah. According to this tradition, Ayesha (ra) had not only been born before the revelation of the referred Surah, but was actually a young girl (jariyah), not even only an infant (sibyah) at that time. Obviously, if this narrative is held to be true, it is in clear contradiction with the narratives reported by Hisham ibnurwah. I see absolutely no reason that after the comments of the experts on the narratives of Hisham ibn urwah, why should we not accept this narrative to be more accurate. According to a number of narratives, Ayesha (ra) accompanied the Muslims in the battle of Badr and Uhud. Furthermore, it is also reported in books of hadith and history that no one under the age of 15 years was allowed to take part in the battle of Uhud. All the boys below 15 years of age were sent back. Ayesha's (ra) participation in the battle of Badr and Uhud clearly indicates that she was not nine or ten years old at that time. After all, women used to accompany men to the battlefields to help them, not to be a burden upon them. According to almost all the historians Asma (ra), the elder sister of Ayesha (ra) was ten years older than Ayesha (ra). It is reported in Taqreeb al-Tehzeeb as well as Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah that Asma (ra) died in the 73rd year after hijrah[2] when she was 100 years old. Now, obviously if Asma (ra) was 100 years old in the 73rd year after hijrah, she should have been 27 or 28 years old at the time of hijrah. If Asma (ra) was 27 or 28 years old at the time of hijrah, Ayesha (ra) should have been 17 or 18 years old at that time. Thus, Ayesha (ra) - if she got married in 1 AH (after hijrah) or 2 AH - was between 18 to 20 years old at the time of her marriage. Tabari in his treatise on Islamic history, while mentioning Abu Bakr (ra) reports that Abu Bakr had four children and all four were born during the Jahiliyyah - the pre Islamic period. Obviously, if Ayesha (ra) was born in the period of jahiliyyah, she could not have been less than 14 years in 1 AH - the time she most likely got married. According to Ibn Hisham, the historian, Ayesha (ra) accepted Islam quite some time before Umar ibn Khattab (ra). This shows that Ayesha (ra) accepted Islam during the first year of Islam. While, if the narrative of Ayesha's (ra) marriage at seven years of age is held to be true, Ayesha (ra) should not even have been born during the first year of Islam. Tabari has also reported that at the time Abu Bakr (ra) planned on migrating to Habshah (8 years before Hijrah), he went to Mutam – with whose son Ayesha (ra) was engaged at that time – and asked him to take Ayesha (ra) in his house as his son’s wife. Mut`am refused, because Abu Bakr had embraced Islam. Subsequently, his son divorced Ayesha (ra). Now, if Ayesha (ra) was only seven years old at the time of her marriage, she could not have been born at the time Abu Bakr decided on migrating to Habshah. On the basis of this report it seems only reasonable to assume that Ayesha (ra) had not only been born 8 years before hijrah, but was also a young lady, quite prepared for marriage.

    According to a narrative reported by Ahmad ibn Hanbal, after the death of Khadijah (ra), when Khaulah (ra) came to the Prophet (pbuh) advising him to marry again, the Prophet (pbuh) asked her regarding the choices she had in her mind. Khaulah said: “You can marry a virgin (bikr) or a woman who has already been married (thayyib)”. When the Prophet (pbuh) asked about who the virgin was, Khaulah proposed Ayesha’s (ra) name. All those who know the Arabic language, are aware that the word “bikr” in the Arabic language is not used for an immature nine-year old girl. The correct word for a young playful girl, as stated earlier is “Jariyah”. “Bikr” on the other hand, is used for an unmarried lady, and obviously a nine year old is not a “lady”.

    According to Ibn Hajar, Fatimah (ra) was five years older than Ayesha (ra). Fatimah (ra) is reported to have been born when the Prophet (pbuh) was 35 years old. Thus, even if this information is taken to be correct, Ayesha (ra) could by no means be less than 14 years old at the time of hijrah, and 15 or 16 years old at the time of her marriage.

    These are some of the major points that go against accepting the commonly known narrative regarding Ayesha’s (ra) age at the time of her marriage.

    In my opinion, neither was it an Arab tradition to give away girls in marriage at an age as young as nine or ten years, nor did the Prophet (pbuh) marry Ayesha (ra) at such a young age. The people of Arabia did not object to this marriage, because it never happened in the manner it has been narrated.

  • Sameer Bhagwat

    Contributor July 20, 2020 at 10:59 pm

    So, once we start rejecting the Sahih hadiths in Bukhari, we are doubting the basic authenticity of Sahih Bukhari/Muslim. My another related question is: Does Allah protect and preserve the narrations’ authenticity which describe the character/sayings of the Prophet ? Islam is based on Qur’an and sayings of the Prophet (also his actions attributed to him by people close to him). Does Allah not make sure that authenticity about those narrations is maintained ? Does Allah only protect Qur’an ?

  • Sameer Bhagwat

    Contributor July 20, 2020 at 11:17 pm

    Can you please explain where can we find Sunnah of the Prophet ? What is the process of authentication used for Sunnah and how is it different from authentication process of usual Hadith ?

    • Umer

      Moderator July 20, 2020 at 11:19 pm

      Sunnah is found in the same sources where Quran is found, which are Ijma (consensus) of masses (Muslims) and their perpetual recitation / adherence.

    • Sameer Bhagwat

      Contributor July 20, 2020 at 11:23 pm

      I meant : Which book contains Sunnah of the Prophet ? Is the difference only in mass consensus vs some chain of narrations ? In other words, do we not rely on simple narrations in Bukhari/Muslim which are not supported by mass adherence ?

    • Faisal Haroon

      Moderator July 20, 2020 at 11:26 pm

      Sameer sahab if you have a question regarding sunnah, kindly ask it in the sunnah discussion. We are trying really hard not to intermix topics. Thank you for your understanding!

    • Sameer Bhagwat

      Contributor July 20, 2020 at 11:40 pm

      Sure.

    • Faisal Haroon

      Moderator July 20, 2020 at 11:22 pm

      You can find those details in the sunnah discussion here:

      Discussion 880

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