Age of Hazrat Aisha at the time of marriage.
Translated by: Asad Iqbal Qasmi
Written by: Asjad Uqaabi
The fact is that, it is not a controversial issue at all, but the way the opponents of Islam have raised this issue, is not only insulting the Islam but it also targets the personality of Prophet Muhammad (saws). The majority of people who have raised the issue are those who use their propaganda and horrendous allegations to pollute the minds of gullible people having the fact behind. The purpose of ill-minded people is not to scrutinize the real issue and access the truth but to create anxiety, enmity and chaos amongst the people and to mislead them. Age of Hazrat Aisha has never been a matter of discussion for educated people. Those who know the history and culture of Arabs they can easily understand it and make it clear that nothing was objectionable in that marriage.
Age of Hazrat Aisha and Hadith
What was the age of Hazrat Aisha at the time of marriage? The best answer was given by Hazrat Aisha herself in details. And the narrator of this Hadith is her disciple and nephew Hazrat Urwah ibn Zubair; who was the son of her elder sister Hazrat Asma (ra). And he narrated not only one or two Ahadith from Hazrat Aisha (ra), but many such Ahadith have been reported by him. It is narrated in Bukhari Sharif from Aisha (ra), “The messenger of Allah married her when she was six years old and consummated the marriage with her when she was nine years old and spend nine years”. Bukhari Sharif is the most reliable and trusted book in Islam after the Holy Qur’an. Since it is compiled, not a single theologian or expert of hadith objected on this particular hadith and it has unanimously been accepted by all. This hadith clearly shows that Hazarat Aisha was married to the Prophet when she was six years old and consummated at the age of nine. Now there is no place for any debate on this subject because Hazrat Aisha herself described in detail.
The biographers and the traditional scholars of Islam gave the answers to all accusations raised by the people and the reasons have been argued by them regarding the age of Hazrat Aisha (ra) with great deal. The apparent contradiction in some of the narrations are only because of misunderstanding. Some of them are, who refused to accept the narration of Hazrat Aisha (ra), arguing that this age is not appropriate for marriage and consummated the marriage, and they made a false claim that she was mistaken and got confused while narrating her age. Some people said insisting on their viewpoints that Hazrat Aisha (ra) omitted ‘decade’ and mentioned only ‘unit’ while telling her age. They are going against the narration of Hazrat Aisha only to prove their false accusation and claim.
It is clear that scholars and the experts of Hadith made the rules and regulations for accepting hadith of narrators, if they find any kind of doubt they don’t accept it, and according to this; it can be easily understood that the majority of scholars of hadith can’t commit mistake in such an important and sensitive matter. Secondly, if the hadith of Hazrat Aisha (ra) is considered to be based on confusion, then a door of objection will open for those who object on the other narrations of Hazrat Aisha (ra). The distinguished feature of scholars of hadith and Islam is that they have never been negligent in telling the truth and spreading it. Islam is the only religion on the earth whose teachings and biography of the Prophet (peace be upon him) along with his wives and other companions have been preserved so perfectly that according to history no one can challenge it. Moreover, followers of Islam and scholars never felt ashamed to narrate or ask about teachings of Islam.That’s why a common man dares to question the 2nd Caliph Hazrat Umar (ra) during his speech and Hazrat Umar (ra) gives him a satisfied answer. Apart from it, when Hazrat Umar (ra) sought an advice of setting a dowry (mehr) for women during his Caliphate, he was opposed despite being the Caliph, and he had to take back his decision. How it can be possible that Hazrat Aisha narrated a hadith where she committed mistake and not a single person opposed it even her family members like Hazrat Asma (elder sister of Hazrat Aisha) and Urwah bin Zubair remained silent on this subject.
The Year of Sorrow
The 10th Nabvi is known as the year of Sorrow, because this year, the prophet Muhammad (saws) respectively had to immerse in two deep grief, first one was the demise of his beloved and affectionate uncle Abu Talib and the 2nd one was the demise of his righteous, compassionate and dearest wife Hazrat Khadija (r.a). These two sorrowful incidents left him in deep grief, one the one hand he had a responsibility of propagating Islam and on the other hand, he had to take care of his children. In this situation, Hazrat Khawla bint Hakim came over to him and suggested him to marry Sawdah bint Zam’ah and Hazrat Aisha. Hazrat Sawdah and her husband both were Muslims but her husband had passed away. Thus, the prophet Muhammad (saws) got married Hazrat Sawdah. Since, she had an experience of taking care of house and she was an aged lady, so she took care of the children after marriage.
Marriage of Aisha to the Prophet
The prophet Muhammad (saws) got his 3rd marriage to Hazrat Aisha (ra), and this one also suggested by Hazrat Khawla bint Hakim, as mentioned above. Though, Hazrat Aisha (ra) was betrothed to Mut’im ibn Addey, but Hazrat Abu Bakar (ra) preferred to marry Hazrat Aisha to prophet Muhammad (saws). As for the words of Hazrat Abu Bakar (ra) هل تصلح له، إنما هي إبنة أخيه would she be lawful to him, she is a daughter of his brother. Hazrat Abu Bakar said it due to friendly relationship with the Prophet (saws), otherwise there was no such kind of relationship which was obstructive for marriage. Hazrat Abu Bakar (ra) didn’t say anything about the age of Hazrat Aisha. Some ill-minded people think that if Hazrat Aisha was only 6 or 7 years old then how could be she betrothed, because it is not an age that parents should concern about their children’s marriage. In this regard, if we look at the customs of the Arab by historical viewpoint, this was a common practice among them. And there are many examples which tell about the marriage of girls in the early age. In many parts of our country, India, girls are betrothed in early age, in some cases; marriages take place as per the religious traditions. Therefore, it is ridiculous and absurd to say that Hazrat Aisha’s marriage to the prophet Muhammad (saws) at the age of 6 is incomprehensible. If this marriage had been wrong and unusual then people of Makkah would not have been silent on this critical issue and they would have tried their level best to discredit the Prophet (saws) as they were doing so. The outsiders were instigated against him. So how it could be possible that they remained silent on such action that was against their custom and tradition! They never left stone unturned to defame the Prophet (saws) but we see that there is nothing and not a single person from Makkah has spoken about it. When the Prophet (saws) got married to Hazrat Zainab bint-e-Jahash who was the wife of his adopted son Hazrat Zaid bin Haritha, he was objected and criticized to this marriage. In responding to them, Allah mentioned complete rights of adopted child in Surah Al Ahzab.
Age of Aisha was 9 not 19
There is a question, asked generally that why did prophet Muhammad (saws) get married Aisha (ra) in her young age. For which purpose this marriage was held. In this regard the view which is frequently and forcefully tried to be presented is that the prophet Muhammad (saws) after the demise of Hazrat Khadija was in need for a partner and religious woman who could bring up the children and take care of them. While the age in which Aisha (ra) was married was not appropriate to carry out such responsibilities. They insist that how a six years old girl could look after children and take care of them, that is why we have to make it clear that when Hazrat Aisha was married, she was sixteen and she was nineteen at the time of consummated, and the hadith where she has described her age six and nine should be left out or it could be considered sixteen and nineteen with the deletion of decade from her hadith.
A well known activist A Faizur Rahman writes in his article “age of Hazrat Aisha was 19 not 9” published in Hindustan Times dated 9/5/2009, “This hadith (Hadith of Hazrat Aisha narrated by her nephew in Bukhari Sharif) cannot be true for several reasons. First, the Prophet could not have gone against the Quran to marry a physically and intellectually immature child. Secondly, the age of Hazrat Aisha can be easily calculated from the age of her elder sister Hazrat Asma who was 10 years older than Hazrat Aisha”. I do not why people become so much apologetic while writing or speaking about Islam.
Now let’s have a cursory glance why this marriage took place at this early age. As a matter of fact, it was not a purpose of this marriage, because Hazrat Sauda (second wife of the Prophet (saws)) was in his house to take care of his children and other household works. Those who insist that Hazrat Aisha was 9 at the time of marriage not 9 they are going against the whole Ulama community of Islam. In this regard, two points should be noted, why her consummated was postponed till three years when she was 16 at the time of marriage (Nikah). It is totally illogical even in this modern era to think that 16 years old girl cannot be consummated. The consummated was delayed for three years so that she could gain physical strength. She has narrated that after my marriage (Nikah) my mother used to feed me food that could be useful in my strength and body and I had seen unimaginable growth in my strength and body. So it cannot be said that she was physically and intellectually immature at the age of 9. As far as Waliuddin Khateeb Tabrezi statement is concerned in his booklet, he is the first person who claimed it, ant the most shocking is that where he mentioned about Hazrat Aisha he clearly writes: “and the Prophet (saws) consummated her after 18 month of Hijra in Madina when she was 9 years old”. Now, one can understand how effective his statement is!
Second point is that why the Prophet (saws) got married to her at early age. It has unanimously accepted by Islamic scholars of all ages that Hazrat Aisha was genius, brilliant, intelligent, God-gifted and sharp mind. She was from the noble family of Quraish and her father Abu Bakr was one the most respected personalities of Makkah city before Islam and after Islam. She was born at a time when her parents had accepted Islam and the Prophet (saws) frequently visited her house. She had seen from her early age the sacrifice of her parents for the religion of Islam. This marriage took place so that it could be useful for the propagation of Islam. The Prophet of Islam took care of her and imparted her knowledge in all fields of religious teachings. Hazrat Aisha is one of the most authentic personalities of Islam in the field of Islamic teachings. Islamic jurisprudence, knowledge of hadith, exegesis (interpretation of the Holy Qur’an) and other Islamic knowledge was in her command.
Favours of Hazrat Aisha on Muslim women
What Islam has given to women, Hazrat Aisha is the living example of it. She did not only impart education but she became the medium of knowledge for other Muslim women, and most of issues related to women were solved through Hazrat Aisha. She requested the Prophet (saws) to fix a day for women education and it was done. Women from Muslim community came to her with their issues to make her medium for their questions and after solving these questions from the Prophet (saws) she informed them. After departure of the Prophet (saws) she was the main source in terms of women issues. Even Caliphs consulted her especially in the matter of women because she knew better than them. She was a woman and she could understand the problems of women better than man, that is why her suggestions were always preferred and still Ulama from different school of thoughts issued their verdicts according to her hadith and fatwa.
Students of Hazrat Aisha
As it has been crystal clear that at the age of 9 she came to the house of the Prophet (saws) and the Prophet (saws) focused immensely on her education, she was too enthusiastic for learning. Consequently, she got what others could not get in the field of education and she became one of those who issued Fatwa after the demise of the Prophet (saws), and she started teaching to education aspirants in the city of Madinah. Many renowned and profound knowledge holders visited her to acquire education and many of them remained in her class for decades. Hazrat Abu Musa Ash’ari, Hazrat Abu Hurairah, Abdullah bin Umar, Abdullah bin Abbas are among those who imparted knowledge from her, apart from them, Urwah bin Zubair, Muhammad bin Qasim, Abu Salma and Masrooq.
Hazrat Aisha used to perform Hajj every year, in Makkah, in the season of Hajj, Muslims across the Islamic world gathered and they went to attend the class of Hazrat Aisha, she used to teach and solve the matters of people. Once Hazrat Abu Musa Ash’ari came to her and asked about something which has been controversial among the companions of the Prophet (saws). She replied to him, on that he said: “I will never ask about it from anyone from now on”. Most of the time when there would be different of opinions in any Islamic rulings then companions of the Prophet used to consult her to make the issue clear.
What should Muslims do?
Those who have differed on the age of Hazrat Aisha, or who have any doubt about six or seven in this regard, they are on the wrong way and they are going against the whole Muslim community. It is not only against the expediency but also against the truth to adopt an apologetic attitude and to take a defensive stance for each and every issue of the religion of Islam rationally.
The religion of Islam is a pure religion, and the Prophet of Islam is the first human being in human history to be recorded day and night by his followers. In his life, when the whole Makkah was against him, none of his enemies ever blamed him for lying or mischievous action, despite so much conflict the Prophet (saws) was the most trusted person in their eyes. So we should feel proud that our Prophet (saws) is the most respected personality on this earth since the beginning and will remain till the Last Day. And the religion which was revealed upon him through Hazrat Jibril is the only religion in the sight of Allah. Islam is a living religion and its teachings are equally useful for all human beings until the Day of Resurrection.