Of Aisha’s age at marriage

Source: Dawn.com

Written by Nilofar Ahmed

It is said that Hazrat Aisha was six years old when her nikah was performed with Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in Makkah, and nine years old when she moved in to live with her husband in Madina after Hijra.

This piece of misinformation has led to the wrong view that child marriage has the sanction of Islam. It must be noted that establishing the authenticity of hadiths, the narrators’ circumstances and the conditions at that time have to be correlated with historical facts. There is only one hadith by Hisham which suggests the age of Hazrat Aisha as being nine when she came to live with her husband.

Many authentic hadiths also show that Hisham’s narration is incongruous with several historical facts about the Prophet’s life, on which there is consensus. With reference to scholars such as Umar Ahmed Usmani, Hakim Niaz Ahmed and Habibur Rehman Kandhulvi, I would like to present some arguments in favour of the fact that Hazrat Aisha was at least 18 years old when her nikah was performed and at least 21 when she moved into the Prophet’s house to live with him.

According to Umar Ahmed Usmani, in Surah Al-Nisa, it is said that the guardian of the orphans should keep testing them, until they reach the age of marriage, before returning their property (4:6). From this scholars have concluded that the Quran sets a minimum age of marriage which is at least puberty. Since the approval of the girl has a legal standing, she cannot be a minor.


Additional Reading

Ayesha’s Age at the Time of Her Marriage – A Response to Innocence of Muslims

19 replies

  1. Hadhrat Ayesha: A loving wife of the Holy Prophet of Islam

    This is an article by Dr. Khaula Rehman, published in spring 2010 volume of Muslim Sunrise.

    Different cultures in the past had different norms about marriage, for example, we know about the great Chinese sage, possibly a prophet of God, Confucius that his father Shu-liang, was a very old man and his mother a mere girl in her teens when Confucius was conceived. I have never known any Westerner raise hue and cry about this age disparity.

    Ayesha’s marriage at a young and impressionable age and the mutual love and harmony of her marriage helped her idealize her husband and his teachings to such a degree that she became a perfect student and an ideal teacher for generations to come. To read the whole article go to:


  2. It is known that all children of Hazrat Abu Bakr were born before revelation (Wahi) started for the prophet Muhammad s.a.w.s. Aisha rz.a. was also born before that. The prophet s.a.w.s. was 40 years of age at that time when revelation started in 610 A.D.

    Now calculate the age of Aisha rz.a. at the time of her marriage. That is more than 13 years till Hijrah in 0622 A.D. If she was married and joined her husband Two years after Hijrah, then her age at marriage is more than 16 years.

    And note that hazrat Aisha rz.a. was the only virgin wife of the prophet Muhammad s.a.w.s. All other wives were either divorced or widows.

  3. Often the simplest explanations are the most accurate. That Hisham may have mistakenly forgotten the “ashara” (10) of “tis’a ashara” (19) seems extremely plausible, and the rest of the historical chronology makes sense that she was likely 18 and 21 and time of marriage. A malicious attempt to solidify this in history is not a stretch, especially when Muslims have been fooled into incorporating the mythical idea of the bodily ascent of Jesus (as) to heaven, which was likely supported by Christians of the early Church. Instead of being apologists, we should push that true history is promoted to counter inaccuracies. Those who push lies seem to often just keep stating their lies until it subconsciously enters the minds of people that “this must be true then”, like how Fox News does things. The counter with true facts should be done with the same or more steadfast determination so people are guided from falsehood into truth…

  4. We should strive for historical accuracy but there is no reason to be defensive. Marriage of girls at age eight or nine happen even today. See the following news item for example, there are others.

    Sep 10, 2013 – SANAA (Reuters) – An eight-year-old Yemeni girl died of internal bleeding on … The group said many Yemeni child brides-to-be are kept from school when they reach puberty. … Sep 10, 2013 9:57pm EDT

  5. Funny defense of a very contemptible act. Aisha herself said that she was six years old when married and had the marriage consummated when she was a mere nine year old. She was still playing with her dolls which was allowed her because of her young age. She was also playing in the swing.
    Who would better know her age? Aisha herself or someone who lived hundreds of years after her? Nobody but a child or an imbecile, after maturity, plays with dolls. There is no record that Aisha was an imbecile.
    Her father, Abu Bakr, was an elite in his time. It is inconceivable that he would have mistaken the age of his child.

  6. Aisha (Rz.a.) was about 16 years old when she was married. I have proved it in my previous post.
    If some one has mistakenly written something wrong in books of history then that has no value. She (Aisha Rz.a.) sure was young and innocent.

    It is silly to depend on single reports which are not independently supported by other reporters. We Muslims even do not give much importance to those Hadith which are reported by just one man. Such Hadith are called “Ahaad” i.e singular, or the only one of its type.

    There is no harm for Aisha (rz.a.) to play with dolls even at the age of 16~18. It is harmless. Being alone in the house, it is a good way to pass time. And the love of dolls, i.e. the toys of her young age, have some lovely memories.
    namelee is doing un-necessary exercise on this subject. I ask namelee about the age of Mary (mother of Jesus a.s.) when she was married. She was handed over to Joseph the carpenter (the father of Jesus) as soon as she was unfit to remain in the synagogue, that was when her first menses started, she could not be kept in the temple and she was handed over to Joseph sahib. Will namelee throw some light on that subject of the age of Mary and let us know when the menses started or could have started (at what age?)??
    Let us make a parallel investigation please. The climate was nearly the same for both the ladies (one in Palestine and the other in Arabia). May Allah bless their souls with high level comfort in Paradise. Ameen.

  7. Ghulam Sarwar,
    It is unimaginable that Aisha or any 16-18 year old young woman for that matter would be allowed or choose to play with dolls. In that segment of my earlier post, which you administrators “moderated”,I argued that Safiyya was 18 years old when taken by Muhammad. Her age was not what has drawn the err of decent people. If Aisha had been even 14, nobody would have found that objectionable.
    Aisha could not have been ‘lonely’ when she had slaves to do her bidding. On the very first day she went into Muhammad’s bedchamber, the Ansari women were there to prepare her and as she left, they wished her the best of luck. Besides, her mother was not far away and she was the one who handed her over to the Ansari women. That argument really begs the issue.
    What did anybody stand to gain forging her age? Why is it that only Aisha’s age has attracted attention?
    Apart from playing with dolls and in the swing, she exhibited such childish tendencies as no 16 year old would have done.
    After the suspicion of her infidelity, Muhammad asked one of her maids,Buraira, what she thought of Aisha concerning the gravity of the accusation.
    She replied, “EXCEPT THAT SHE IS A GIRL OF IMMATURE AGE, WHO SOMETIMES SLEEPS AND LEAVES THE DOUGH FOR THE GOATS TO EAT–“. Satisfied that his favorite wife was innocent of the charge, Muhammad had a ‘revelation’ exculpating her.

  8. Namely,
    Dr. David Liepert has an apt rejoinder for you here:

    Apparently a couple of paragraphs are just aimed at you and I copy them here.
    “There are really only three reasons to insist — as so many do — that Aisha was only 9 years old when Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) married her: Either you are such a crazy Islamophile that you are willing to go to your grave insisting Muhammad could do whatever he wanted, or you are such a crazy Islamophobe that you want to insist he did, or you are such a weirdly religious sex-crazed pervert that you hope accusing him makes it OK for you to do it too.
    There is absolutely no other reason to either make or repeat that disgusting claim. Aisha was married in 622 C.E., and although her exact birthday is unknown, Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari recorded that it happened before Islam was revealed in 610. The earliest surviving biography of Muhammad, Abu Muhammad ‘Abd al-Malik bin Hisham’s recension of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah — The Life of the Messenger of Godrecords that Aisha accepted Islam shortly after it was revealed — 12 years before her marriage — and there is no way she could have done so as an infant or toddler.”
    Dr. Liepert has proved in the above cited article that Aisha (RA) was at least 14 when she got married and that she was almost 20 when the marriage was consummated.
    Now women who are married away as young, as you and some try to insinuate, they don’t forget the hurt and don’t forgive their parents nor their husbands. Now history has it that Aisha (RA) was a loving daughter and that she lived after the Prophet (pbuh) for a long time acting as a teacher and a guide to the Muslims and never showed any bitterness in her memories of the Prophet (pbuh).
    Now you have demonstrated at another occasion that you are willing to bend the truth to achieve your end of causing confusion. In a similar way there are some Muslims who would bend the truth to permit themselves marrying younger girls. That could have caused the mess that the likes of you are playing upon.
    Finally, here’s a thought. The Christian world has a growing problem of sexual assaults on minors ranging from incest to sex-slave trade of minors, could it be a curse resulting from the insolent tongue wagging of the likes of you about the Prophet’s conduct?

  9. Namelee,
    I apologize for having misspelled your name/handle. I am somewhat bad with the keyboard due to bad eyesight.

  10. Namlee: You do not only have bad eyesight but bad taste and quite an accomplished Islamophobe. Your heart stinks with that hatred of Islam and Muslims and you do not deserve a single word on this blog save for the respect we have for freedom of expression in the tradition of our Noble Prophet May the blessings of Allah be upon him. I pity your pathetic arguments and blind dogmatic approach to argumentation. It is precisely this kind of blind hatred that the world does not need today. Let this be a warning to you. If you do not desist from being disrespectful in your ugly arguments you will not see another comment published on this post again.

  11. Abdul Alim
    O! The lord high executioner, I come on my knees licking the soles of your feet asking for mercy. Please do not stop to publish my posts so that I will not die and if I should die, will ensure a place in ‘paradise’ with a share of those black eyed houris.Be compassionate, in the name of allah.

    Do you think I flinch in the face of such threats? I loose nothing not having my comments posted on The Muslim Times. Your threatened action will only confirm the intolerant nature of your muhammadanism in spite of your claimed respect for the freedom of speech. It will be following a tradition that was set up from the beginning.
    I do not have the same impression about your ‘prophet’ as you do and I am entitled to it.
    If you think that anybody has been maligned, common sense should dictate that shutting the perceived offender out is not the best solution. Dialoguing with him is better. Who knows, he might see things from your perspective someday. I am, however, not guaranteeing you that in my situation.

  12. Namelee, stop playing petty games and rise to the level of your knowledge.

    Consider writing a scholarly review of the following book, which is coming out tomorrow and may become a best seller. If you do a good job, we will publish your critical review in the Muslim Times:

    How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee

    And remember, when I see a bird that quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, has feathers and webbed feet and associates with ducks — I’m certainly going to assume that he is an elephant!

    So, in your review bring forth your powerful proofs that Jesus, may peace be on him, who looked, talked and ate like a man, was not only divine, but was a man-god or god-man hybrid, as the official Christian view is that he was perfect man and fully divine.

  13. Zia,
    You were pretty elated with Muhammad’s reference to David Liepert who claimed Aisha was 12 years old at the time of marriage. But before you add that ‘fact’ to the others, endeavor to reconcile Muhammad’s 12 years with Ghulam’s 16-18 years for the same Aisha’s age at marriage. If that is not done, you will end up opening more cans of worms and will then appreciate that established facts are hard to dislodge.
    Let your anticipated ‘bestseller’ come out first. But one thing that I am sure of, from my experiences on this site, is that where the evidence is stacked against you, the comment will not be published and if posted it would have gone through tremendous “moderation”.

  14. Namelee you do not have to wait for the book, you could have pre-ordered it.

    I am getting the book today in mail, god willing.

    Why cannot you think straight on simplest of issues?

    Get the book from Amazon or have your higher ups, buy it for you.

  15. Namelee says: “to reconcile Muhammad’s 12 years with Ghulam’s 16-18 years for the same Aisha’s age at marriage. If that is not done, you will end up opening more cans of worms and will then appreciate that established facts are hard to dislodge.”
    Let this person show where I said something about 12 years of age. It is hard to “convince” a nameless and shameless liar who is so ready to misquote.
    The fact is, as pointed out with references by Dr. Liepert, Aisha (RA) was born before Muhammad (pbuh)laid claim to prophet hood and the marriage took place in Medina and that makes Aisha’s age at marriage at least fourteen.

  16. I got the book by Prof. Bart Ehrman last night and went through most of the first chapter. Very interesting book:

    How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee

    I would invite discussion to move to more important subjects, like this book. As, whatever the age was of Mother Ayesha, is not going to decide the truth or otherwise of Islam or Christianity.

    But, if Jesus was not divine as all evidence suggests, then …

    People like Namelee passionately believe in every thing that can put negative light on Islam. They will be open to rationality and reasonability only once they realize in their heart that Jesus is not divine and Trinity has no legs to stand on.

    So, let us talk about Prof. Bart Ehrman’s new book.

  17. Zia,
    Jesus is truly divine. I don’t need to go beyond your quran to prove that. Whenever you are ready, you will find me waiting.
    What is not divine is allah which was one of the 360 idols in the kaaba. Always nostalgic about its fellow idols, allah could not help using the plural pronouns to describe it/themselves. There are far more of such references than there are of singular descriptions of the pagan moon-god.

  18. Allah is God the Father of Jewish and Christian tradition.

    I am closing discussion in this post and as a parting gift to all my fellow Monotheists, I will link a few posts here and discuss issues further in the post pertaining to Prof. Bart Ehrman’s book:

    How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee

    Suggested reading:

    The Christian Theology and Nature of Jesus

    Two natures of Jesus: another Christian mystery!

    Apollonius of Tyana: Another man-god from the time of Jesus

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