in category Seerah

What are your views on Aisha's marriage to the prophet?

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Masters in Education from Nottingham University in the UK. Also studied Masters in Islamic Studies and Islamic Banking & Finance. Political activist with interests in Geopolitics, History and Phil ...
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The problem with a number of historical narrations on this topic is most are not authentic and conflict with one another. The only ones that are authentic clearly state A'isha was 6 when she married the prophet and 9 when the marriage was consummated - with A'isha narrating this in her own testimony. It is difficult to get a more clearer statement of fact.

The UK based Egyptian scholar Shaykh Haddad also challenges the accuracy of information to the contrary:

"Well, Ibn Kathir based himself on Ibn Abi al-Zinad's assertion that she was ten years older than A'isha, however, al-Dhahabi in Siyar A'lam al-Nubala said there was a greater difference than 10 years between the two, up to 19 and he is more reliable here. Ibn Hajar reports in al-Isaba from Hisham ibn 'Urwa, from his father, that Asma' did live 100 years and from Abu Nu'aym al-Asbahani that "Asma' bint Abi Bakr was born 27 years before the Hijra and she lived until the beginning of the year 74." None of this amounts to any proof for A'isha's age whatsoever."

The famous historian Tabari explicitly states A'isha's age several times all of which indicate she was around 6 or 7. These are Tabari's direct accounts. He made it clear this was what he deemed authoritative:

"The angel brought down my likeness; the Messenger of God married me when I was seven; my marriage was consummated when I was nine; he married me when I was a virgin, no other man having shared me with him" Al-Tabari, Vol. 7, p. 7

"I was then brought [in] while the Messenger of God was sitting on a bed in our house. [My mother] made me sit on his lap... Then the men and women got up and left. The Messenger of God consummated his marriage with me in my house when I was nine years old. Neither a camel nor a sheep was slaughtered on behalf of me." Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 131

"The Messenger of God saw A'isha twice - first when it was said to him that she was his wife (she was six years old at the time) and later when he consummated his marriage with her after coming to Medina when she was nine years old." Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 131

"The Prophet married her three years before the emigration, when she was seven years old and consummated the marriage when she was nine years old, after he had emigrated to Medina in Shawwil. She was eighteen years old when he died." Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 131

"The Prophet married A'isha in Shawwal in the tenth year after the [beginning of his] prophethood, three years before Emigration. He consummated the marriage in Shawwal, eight months after Emigration. On the day he consummated the marriage with her she was nine years old." Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, pp. 171-173

Dr Jonathan Brown questions the real issue on this subject. He argues there is nothing wrong with A'isha marrying at any given time, but the issue is the relatively recent change in attitudes to child marriage based on liberal values. This was something even the most vitriolic enemies of Islam had never raised as an issue in over a millennium of interactions, often extremely hostile, with the first such critique commencing in the early 20th century. The reason was such marriages were not uncommon in the West - Isabelle of France (1389-1409), oldest daughter of King Charles VI, was not quite seven years old when she married Richard II as his second wife in 1396.

Adnan Rashid delivers an excellent lecture refuting the objections to the marriage of A'isha at the age of 6 years:

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