The Real Age of Aisha (R.A) At Time Of Her MarriageBismillah Hir Rehman Ir Raheem
Start In the Name Of Allah The Most Beneficent The Most Merciful
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Some people claim the Bukari and Muslim hadith reporting Hazrat Aisha’s age are “weak” (I won’t call them weak hadits, in reality they are attack on our Prophet.
1- Mostly the hadith are reported on the authority of Hisham ibn urwah (Sahih Bukhari 7.18, Sahih Bukhari Volume 7, Book 62, Number 88, Sahih Bukhari 5.236) 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.
2- It is quite strange that no one from Medinah, where Hisham ibn `urwah 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 had shifted after living inMedinah for seventy one years. (According to some sources Hisham reported these hadith in Iraq not in Medina)
3- Tehzibu'l-tehzib, one of the most well known books on the life and reliability of the narrators of the traditions of 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 Hishamwhich were reported through people of Iraq. (vol 11, pg 48 - 51)
"I ( Yaqub ibn Shaibah) have been told that Malik [ibn Anas] objected on those narratives of Hisham which were reported through people of Iraq."(Tehzi'bu'l-tehzi'b, Ibn Hajar Al-`asqala'ni, Arabic, Dar Ihya al-turath al-Islami, Vol 11, pg 50) "
4- Mizanu'l-ai`tidal, 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). Particularly science also confirms that as the person becomes old his memory. The narrations from Hisham also contradicts with the history. weakens.
5- According to hadith in Bukhari and Muslim, Aisha is said to have joined Muhammad on the raid that culminated in the Battle of Badr, in 624 CE. However, because no one below the age of fifteen was allowed to accompany raiding parties, Aisha should have been at least fifteen in 624 CE and thus at least thirteen when she was married following the Hijra in 622 CE.
" Ibn `Umar said, "I was presented in front of the Prophet on the eve of the battle of Uhud, while I was fourteen years of age, and he did not allow me to take part in that battle. But I was presented in front of him on the eve of the battle of Al-Khandaq (The Trench) when I was fifteen years old, and he allowed me (to join that battle)."
6- 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.
7- According to a narrative reported by Ahmad ibn Hanbal, after the death of Khadijah (ra), whenKhaulah (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"
8- Tabari has also reported that at the time Abu Bakr (ra) planned on migrating to Habshah (8 years before Hijrah), he went to Mut`am - 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 Bakrhad 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 Bakrdecided 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
9- According to the generally accepted tradition, Ayesha (ra) was born about eight years beforeHijrah. 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 beforeHijrah. 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 ibn `urwah. 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.
10 - 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-Nihayahthat Asma (ra) died in the 73rd year after hijrah 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.
"She [Asma] was elder to her sister [Ayesha] by ten years". (Al-Bidayah wa'l-nihayah, Ibn Kathir, Vol 8, Pg 371, Arabic, Dar al-fikr al-`arabi, Al-jizah, 1933)"
11- Tabari also reports that Abu Bakr’s four children were all born during the Jahiliyyah (Pre-Islam Period), which has ended in 610 CE, making Aisha at least twelve in 622 CE.
The famous classical historian of Islam, Ibn Jarir Tabari, wrote in his ‘History’:
“In the time before Islam, Abu Bakr married two women. The first was Fatila daughter of Abdul Uzza, from whom Abdullah and Asma were born. Then he married Umm Ruman, from whom Abdur Rahman and Aisha were born. These four were born before Islam.” ( Tarikh Tabari, vol. 4, p. 50).
Being born before Islam means being born before the Call.
12- Tabari reports that Abu Bakr wished to spare Aisha the discomforts of a journey to Ethiopia soon after 615 CE, and tried to bring forward her marriage to Mut`am’s son. Mut`am refused because Abu Bakr had converted to Islam, but if Aisha was already of marriageable age in 615 CE, she must have been older than nine in 622 CE
Obviously, the narrative of the marriage of nine-year-old Ayesha by Hisham ibn `Urwah cannot be held true when it is contradicted by many other reported narratives. Moreover, there is absolutely no reason to accept the narrative of Hisham ibn `Urwah as true when other scholars, including Malik ibn Anas, view his narrative while in Iraq, as unreliable. Moreover, Aisha States
Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 1, Book 6, Number 299:
Narrated 'Abdur-Rahman bin Al-Aswad:
(on the authority of his father) 'Aisha said: "Whenever Allah's Apostle wanted to fondle anyone of us during her periods (menses), he used to order her to put on an Izar and start fondling her." 'Aisha added, "None of you could control his sexual desires as the Prophet could."
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