For insight on the go, download the PDF version > Issue 7B – Age of Ayesha
Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem
Allahumma salli alaa sayyidinaa Muhammadin wa baarik wa sallim
HAZRAT AYESHA (R.A.)
The Majlis ul Ulaama of Trinidad and Tobago takes this opportunity to place on record its support of the fact that the marriage to Hazrat Ayesha (R.A.) by Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him), was not, in any way, something against the law of nature or against the law of Islam.
While it is true that Hazrat Ayesha (R.A.) was a very young woman at the time of her marriage to the Prophet (peace be on him), it is not correct to accuse him of being a pedophile.
Some of the critics of Islam and the Prophet (peace be on him) use a Tradition recorded in one of the authentic books of Traditions, i.e. Sahih Bukhari, to make people believe that the Prophet (peace be on him) committed an act of pedophile, when he married Hazrat Ayesha (R.A.). The Tradition reads as follows:
Ayesha is reported to have said: The Prophet entered into marriage with me when I was a girl of six; and at the time of joining his household I was a girl of nine years of age. (Bukhari Vol.5; No. 234)
The Prophet’s (peace be on him) marriage to Hazrat Ayesha (R.A.) was not based on lust, or any other material consideration. The Qur’an tells us that the Prophet (peace be on him) never said or did anything on the basis of his or personal desire. Allah says:
Your comrade (i.e. Prophet Muhammad) does not err; nor is deceived. Nor does he speak of his own desire. (53:2-3)
The Prophet (peace be on him) used to wait on Divine Inspiration even when he was asked questions; so that for him to take such an important decision he had to be inspired in order to do so.
He confirms this by narrating the following:
Ayesha narrates that the Prophet (peace be on him) said to her: You have been shown to me twice in my dream, I saw you pictured on a piece of silk and someone said to me, this is your wife. When I uncovered the picture I saw it was yours. I said; if this is from Allah it will be done. (Bukhari).
At the time of marriage to Hazrat Ayesha (R.A.) she had already attained the age of puberty. This can be concluded on the basis of the fact that it was the custom in Arabia to marry girls upon the attainment of puberty; and as Ayesha was already engaged to Jubair, one can conclude that she was a mature person. This engagement to Jubair was later dissolved. Then she was married to the Prophet (peace be on him). This marriage was consummated three years later.
Historians are of the view that although Hazrat Ayesha says that she got married at the age of six, she could have been much older at that time. They base their conclusions on evidence deduced from events that occurred from the beginning of Islam until the time she got married to the Prophet (peace be on him).
Because what the historians say is based on their deductions there are differences among them regarding the exact age of Hazrat Ayesha (R.A.) at the time of her marriage to the Prophet (peace be on him).
According to the Traditions recorded in Tabari, the children of Hazrat Abu Bakr, i.e. Asma and Hazrat Ayesha, (R.A.) were born in pre-Islamic era.
The reason for coming to this conclusion is that within the first year of the receipt of the first revelation of the Holy Qur’an, Hazrat Abu Bakr and his two daughters Asma and Hazrat Ayesha (R.A.) accepted Islam.
This fact is also supported by Ibn Ishaq. He says that in the first year of Islam, Hazrat Abu Bakr and his family including little Ayesha accepted Islam and became Muslims, after the first Revelation came to the Prophet (peace be on him). (Ahmad).
If she (Ayesha) was old enough to recite the Shahadah, then she would have been born at least two or three years before the first revelation. She seems to support this by saying: Ever since I can remember (or understand things) my parents were following the religion of Islam. (Bukhari)
If Hazrat Ayesha (R.A.) was born two or three years before the first revelation came, it means that at the time of her marriage to the Prophet (pboh) she could have been at least thirteen years of age. This is because Hazrat Khatija died ten years after the first revelation came; and the Prophet (peace be on him) married Hazrat Ayesha (R.A,) three years later. This means that she would have been sixteen years when the marriage was consummated.
Other scholars have given other reasons to support their belief that Hazrat Ayesha (R.A.) could have been more than sixteen years old when the marriage was consummated.
In the Majlistt there are scholars who accept Hazrat Aysha’s (R.A.) narration that she was six years old when she was married and nine years old when the marriage was consummated. Some scholars are also of the view that the historians are correct, and it could have been some error in reporting.
Whatever would have been the exact age of Hazrat Ayesha (R.A.) at the time of her marriage to the Prophet (peace be on him), the following makes it clear that the marriage was valid and done in accordance with the laws of Islam.
Hazrat Ayesha (R.A.) is reported to have said:
The Messenger of Allah said to me. Get me the mat from the Masjid. I said: I am menstruating. Upon this he said: Your menstruation is not in your hands. (Muslim, Hadith No. 15973)
It is necessary to know that:
- The Holy Prophet’s marriage to Hazrat Ayesha (R.A.) was not for personal reasons, or lust.
- Hazrat Ayesha (R.A.) was a mature person at the time, and was capable of contracting marriage in accordance with Islamic Shariah.
- There was wisdom in his marriage to Hazrat Ayesha (R.A.); as, she was able to remember, comprehend and transmit a lot of the Traditions.
The Majlistt is of the view that there is wisdom in everything that the Prophet (peace be on him) did, whether a person can understand the reasons or not. As a result the Majlistt wishes to advise, that no one should try to defame the noble Messenger (peace be on him); based on information that may not necessarily be accurate.
Allah knows best.
Insight on the go, download the PDF, Issue 7B – Age of Ayesha