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    Prophet's marriage to Aisha Ayesha Aaisha

    taken from:
    http://www.geocities.com/WestHollywo...was_ayesha.htm


    What was Ayesha's (ra) age at the time of her marriage?

    It is normally believed that she was nine years old at the time of her marriage with Mohammad (sws) was consummated. I do think it was according to the traditions of the Arab culture, as otherwise people would have objected to this marriage. But unfortunately, the modern day man is not satisfied with an answer as simple as that.

    Reply*

    To begin with, I think it is the responsibility of all those who believe that marrying a girl as young as nine years old was an accepted norm of the Arab culture, to provide at least a few examples to substantiate their point of view. I have not yet been able to find a single dependable instance in the books of Arab history where a girl as young as nine years old was given away in marriage. Unless such examples are given, we do not have any reasonable grounds to believe that it really was an accepted norm.

    In my opinion, the age of Ayesha (ra) has been grossly mis-reported in the ahadith. Not only that, I think that the narratives reporting this event are not only highly unreliable but also that on the basis of other historical data, the event reported, is quite an unlikely happening. Let us look at the issue from an objective stand point. My reservations in accepting the narratives, on the basis of which, Ayeshas (ra) age at the time of her marriage with the Prophet (pbuh) is held to be nine years are:

    Most of these narratives are reported only by Hisham ibn `urwah 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.
    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 in Medinah for seventy one years.
    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 Hisham which were reported through people of Iraq. (vol 11, pg 48 - 51)
    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)
    According to the generally accepted tradition, Ayesha (ra) was born about eight years before Hijrah. But according to another narrative in Bukhari (kitabu'l-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 before Hijrah. 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 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 we should not accept this narrative to be more accurate.
    According to a number of narratives, Ayesha (ra) accompanied the Muslims in the battle of Badr and Uhud. Furthermore, it is also reported in books of hadith and history that no one under the age of 15 years was allowed to take part in the battle of Uhud. All the boys below 15 years of age were sent back. Ayesha's (ra) participation in the battle of Badr and Uhud clearly indicate that she was not nine or ten years old at that time. After all, women used to accompany men to the battle fields to help them, not to be a burden on them.
    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 Taqri'bu'l-tehzi'b as well as Al-bidayah wa'l-nihayah that Asma (ra) died in 73 hijrah when she was 100 years old. Now, obviously if Asma (ra) was 100 years old in 73 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.
    Tabari in his treatise on Islamic history, while mentioning Abu Bakr (ra) reports that Abu Bakr had four children and all four were born during the Jahiliyyah -- the pre Islamic period. Obviously, if Ayesha (ra) was born in the period of jahiliyyah, she could not have been less than 14 years in 1 AH -- the time she most likely got married.
    According to Ibn Hisham, the historian, Ayesha (ra) accepted Islam quite some time before Umar ibn Khattab (ra). This shows that Ayesha (ra) accepted Islam during the first year of Islam. While, if the narrative of Ayesha's (ra) marriage at seven years of age is held to be true, Ayesha (ra) should not have been born during the first year of Islam.
    Tabari has also reported that at the time Abu Bakr planned on migrating to Habshah (8 years before Hijrah), he went to Mut`am -- with whose son Ayesha (ra) was engaged -- and asked him to take Ayesha (ra) in his house as his son's wife. Mut`am refused, because Abu Bakr had embraced Islam, and 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 Bakr decided 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.
    According to a narrative reported by Ahmad ibn Hanbal, after the death of Khadijah (ra), when Khaulah (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".
    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.


    These are some of the major points that go against accepting the commonly known narrative regarding Ayesha's (ra) age at the time of her marriage.

    In my opinion, neither was it an Arab tradition to give away girls in marriage at an age as young as nine or ten years, nor did the Prophet (pbuh) marry Ayesha (ra) at such a young age. The people of Arabia did not object to this marriage, because it never happened in the manner it has been narrated.

    I hope I have been of some help.

    Best Regards

    The Learner


    A Response to "What was Ayesha's Age..."

    Thanks for the email. But I find it woefully lacking in actual quotes. The response is filled with "so and so said such and such". That doesn't cut it. In my paper, that deals with Aisha and her age, I not only say who says what, but I provide the entire quote. You need to do the same. And, the man which the paper was quoting from refers to Tabari. Well, Tabari also says Aisha was 9... did your "learned" one miss that? If you need the reference, check my paper. Further, I also quote from Bukhari, and there are many quotes concerning Aisha's age in that. Bukhari is the most highly respected hadith, so, you're going to have to do better then conjecture and assumptions. Finally, there is Abu Dawud's quote as well.... all exclusively saying Aisha was 9. Don't forget, Islamic custom says men can marry girls after their first menstruation. Girls today have them as young as age 9. If you could find that actual quotes from the author's your scholar is quoting from, that would be beneficial. Otherwise, his arugement is only hot air; it lacks real substance.


    Reply

    My answer was for your satisfaction, not for a debate, and I therefore avoided all the actual quotes. I am extremely sorry for that.

    In any case, I provide below my references as well as my answers to the "comments" of your Christian friend:

    The First Argument

    My first argument was:

    Most of these narratives are reported only by Hisham ibn `urwah 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.

    I am sure your Christian friend can see that this argument does not need any reference. It is a simple fact.

    The Second Argument

    My second argument was:

    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 [from him], 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 in Medinah for seventy one years.

    Again, the argument that all those who heard this narrative from Hisham ibn `urwah were Iraqis, is a simple statement of fact. This can be checked in the biographical sketches of these narrators in any of the books written on the narrators.

    The Third Argument

    My third argument was:

    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 Hisham which were reported through people of Iraq. (vol 11, pg 48 - 51)



    The actual statements, their translations and their complete references are given below:

    i.e. "Yaqub ibn Shaibah says: He [Hisham] is highly reliable, his narratives are acceptable, except what he narrated after moving over to Iraq." (Tehzi'bu'l-tehzi'b, Ibn Hajar Al-`asqala'ni, Arabic, Dar Ihya al-turath al-Islami, Vol 11, pg 50)

    i.e. "I 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)

    The Fourth Argument

    My fourth argument was:

    Mizanu'l-ai`tidal, another book on the [life sketches of 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)

    The actual statement, its translation and its complete references is given below:

    i.e. "when he was old, Hisham's memory suffered quite badly" (Mizanu'l-ai`tidal, Al-Zahbi, Arabic, Al-Maktabatu'l-athriyyah, Sheikhupura, Pakistan, Vol 4, pg 301)

    The Fifth Argument

    My fifth argument was:

    According to the generally accepted tradition, Ayesha (ra) was born about eight years before Hijrah. But according to another narrative in Bukhari (kitabu'l-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 before Hijrah. 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 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 we should not accept this narrative to be more accurate.

    The actual statements referred to in the above paragraph, their translations and their complete references are given below:

    i.e. "Ayesha (ra) said: I was a young girl, when verse 46 of Surah Al-Qamar, [the 54th chapter of the Qur'an], was revealed. (Sahih Bukhari, kitabu'l-tafsir, Arabic, Bab Qaulihi Bal al-sa`atu Maw`iduhum wa'l-sa`atu adha' wa amarr)

    The Sixth Argument

    My sixth argument was:

    According to a number of narratives, Ayesha (ra) accompanied the Muslims in the battle of Badr and Uhud. Furthermore, it is also reported in books of hadith and history that no one under the age of 15 years was allowed to take part in the battle of Uhud. All the boys below 15 years of age were sent back. Ayesha's (ra) participation in the battle of Badr and Uhud clearly indicate that she was not nine or ten years old at that time. After all, women used to accompany men to the battle fields to help them, not to be a burden on them.

    A narrative regarding Ayesha's (ra) participation in Badr is given in Muslim, Kitabu'l-jihad wa'l-siyar, Arabic, Bab karahiyati'l-isti`anah fi'l-ghazwi bikafir. Ayesha (ra) while narrating the journey to Badr and one of the important events that took place in that journey, says:


    i.e. "when we reached Shajarah". It is quite obvious from these words that Ayesha (ra) was with the group travelling towards Badr.

    A narrative regarding Ayesha's (ra) participation in the battle of `uhud is given in Bukhari, Kitabu'l-jihad wa'l-siyar, Arabic, Bab Ghazwi'l-nisa' wa qitalihinna ma`a'lrijal.

    i.e. "Anas reports that On the day of Uhud, people could not stand their ground around the Prophet (pbuh). [On that day,] I saw Ayesha (ra) and Umm-i-Sulaim (ra), they had pulled their dress up from their feet [to avoid any hinderance in their movement]."

    As far as the fact that children below 15 years were sent back and were not allowed to particpate in the battle of `uhud, it is narrated in Bukhari, Kitabu'l-maghazi, Bab ghazwati'l-khandaq wa hiya'l-ahza'b, Arabic. i.e. "Ibn `umar (ra) states that the Prophet (pbuh) did not permit me to participate in Uhud, as at that time, I was fourteen years old. But on the day of Khandaq, when I was fifteen years old, the Prophet (pbuh) permitted my participation."


    The Seventh Argument

    My seventh argument was:

    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 Taqri'bu'l-tehzi'b as well as Al-bidayah wa'l-nihayah that Asma (ra) died in 73 hijrah when she was 100 years old. Now, obviously if Asma (ra) was 100 years old in 73 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.

    The relevant references required in this argument are provided below:

    For the Difference of Ayesha's (ra) and Asma's (ra) Age
    According to Abda'l-Rahman ibn abi zanna'd:

    i.e. Asma (ra) was ten years older than Ayesha. (Siyar A`la'ma'l-nubala', Al-Zahabi, Vol 2, Pg 289, Arabic, Mu'assasatu'l-risalah, Beirut, 1992)

    According to Ibn Kathir:
    i.e. "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)


    For Asma's (ra) Age at Her Death in 73 AH
    According to Ibn Kathir:

    i.e. "She [Asma] saw the killing of her son during that year [i.e. 73 AH], as we have already mentioned, five days later she herself died, according to other narratives her death was not five but ten or twenty or a few days over twenty or a hundred days later. The most well known narrative is that of hundred days later. At the time of her death, she was 100 years old." (Al-Bidayah wa'l-nihayah, Ibn Kathir, Vol 8, Pg 372, Arabic, Dar al-fikr al-`arabi, Al-jizah, 1933)

    According to Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani:

    i.e. "She [Asma (ra)] lived a hundred years and died in 73 or 74 AH." (Taqribu'l-tehzib, Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani, Pg 654, Arabic, Bab fi'l-nisa', al-harfu'l-alif, Lucknow)

    The Eighth Argument

    My eighth argument was:

    Tabari in his treatise on Islamic history, while mentioning Abu Bakr (ra) reports that Abu Bakr had four children and all four were born during the Jahiliyyah -- the pre Islamic period. Obviously, if Ayesha (ra) was born in the period of jahiliyyah, she could not have been less than 14 years in 1 AH -- the time she most likely got married.

    The original statement in Tabari, its translation and reference follows:
    i.e. "All four of his [Abu Bakr's] children were born of his two wives -- the names of whom we have already mentioned -- during the pre-Islamic period."(Tarikhu'l-umam wa'l-mamlu'k, Al-Tabari, Vol 4, Pg 50, Arabic, Dara'l-fikr, Beirut, 1979)

    The Ninth Argument

    My ninth argument was:

    According to Ibn Hisham, the historian, Ayesha (ra) accepted Islam quite some time before `umar ibn al-Khattab (ra). This shows that Ayesha (ra) accepted Islam during the first year of Islam. While, if the narrative of Ayesha's (ra) marriage at seven years of age is held to be true, Ayesha (ra) should not have been born during the first year of Islam.

    According to Ibn Hisham, Ayesha (ra) was the 20th or the 21st person to enter into the folds of Islam (Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, Ibn Hisham, Vol 1, Pg 227 - 234, Arabic, Maktabah al-Riyadh al-hadithah, Al-Riyadh) While `umar ibn al-khattab was preceded by forty individuals (Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, Ibn Hisham, Vol 1, Pg 295, Arabic, Maktabah al-Riyadh al-hadithah, Al-Riyadh).

    The Tenth Argument

    My tenth argument was:

    Tabari has also reported that at the time Abu Bakr planned on migrating to Habshah (8 years before Hijrah), he went to Mut`am -- with whose son Ayesha (ra) was engaged -- and asked him to take Ayesha (ra) in his house as his son's wife. Mut`am refused, because Abu Bakr had embraced Islam, and 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 Bakr decided 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.

    Unfortunately, I do not have the primary reference to this argument at the moment. The secondary reference for this argument is: Tehqiq e umar e Siddiqah e Ka'inat, Habib ur Rahman Kandhalwi, Urdu, Pg 38, Anjuman Uswa e hasanah, Karachi, Pakistan

    The Eleventh Argument

    My eleventh argument was:

    According to a narrative reported by Ahmad ibn Hanbal, after the death of Khadijah (ra), when Khaulah (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".

    The complete reference for this reporting of Ahmad ibn Hanbal is: Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol 6, Pg 210, Arabic, Dar Ihya al-turath al-`arabi, Beirut.

    The Twelfth Argument

    My twelfth argument was:

    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.

    Ibn Hajar's original statement, its translation and reference follows:
    i.e. Fatimah (ra) was born at the time the Ka`bah was rebuilt, when the Prophet (pbuh) was 35 years old... she (Fatimah) was five years older that Ayesha (ra). (Al-isabah fi tamyizi'l-sahabah, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Vol 4, Pg 377, Arabic, Maktabatu'l-Riyadh al-haditha, al-Riyadh, 1978)

    These are all the references for the material I provided in my initial response.

    Your Christian friend, besides asking for these references has also briefly commented on my reply, he writes:

    And, the man which the paper was quoting from refers to Tabari. Well, Tabari also says Aisha was 9... did your "learned" one miss that? If you need the reference, check my paper.

    Further, I also quote from Bukhari, and there are many quotes concerning Aisha's age in that. Bukhari is the most highly respected hadith, so, you're going to have to do better then conjecture and assumptions.

    Finally, there is Abu Dawud's quote as well.... all exclusively saying Aisha was 9.

    It seems that your friend has missed out on my point on Hisham ibn `urwah. He seems to be unaware of the fact that each one of his quoted statement, whether it is from Tabari, Bukhari, Muslim or Abu Dawud, is either narrated by Hisham ibn `urwah or is reported to the respective author by or through an Iraqi. Not even a single narrative is free from either of the two problems.

    I have quoted Tabari, Bukhari and Muslim to show that even their own information contradicts with the narrative regarding Ayesha's (ra) age. Thus, when the narrative of Ayesha's (ra) age is not reliable and when there is information in the same books that contradicts the narrative of Ayesha's age, I see absolutely no reason to believe that the information on Ayesha's (ra) age is accepted (when there are adequate grounds to reject it) and other (contradictory) information is rejected (when there is no ground to reject it).

    Regards,

    The Learner

    *The answer to this question is primarily based on the research by Habib ur Rahman Kandhalwi (urdu) as presented in his booklet, "Tehqiq e umar e Siddiqah e Ka'inat", Anjuman Uswa e hasanah, Karachi, Pakistan

    More on Ayesha's Age

    I would like to see your response to the following which is relevant to Aisha's age question of your site.

    http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olym...03/aishah.html

    An Intermediate Response...

    I have read the referred article. I really do not think that it needs any reply from my side, as it relies on the very sources that I have presented my reservations upon. In case it has raised any questions in your mind, I shall be glad to answer them. But without any specific questions I really don't see any reason why I should write any thing else on the issue.

    regards

    The Learner


    Clarification

    You state in your article that the hadith of Aisha's age is narrated by only one narrator, Hisham ibn `urwah, after he moved to Iraq at the age of 71.

    But according to Robert Squires:

    "... two were narrated from 'Aishah (7:64 and 7:65), one from Abu Hishaam (5:236) and one via 'Urwa (7:88). All three of the ahadith in Saheeh Muslim have 'Aishah as a narrator. Additionally, all of the ahadith in both books agree that the marriage betrothal contract took place when 'Aishah was "six years old", but was not consummated until she was "nine years old".

    I would like to see some clarification on this point.

    Thanks.

    Reply

    I would first of all like to make a small (part) correction to the the first point in my article. I had written:

    Most of these narratives are reported only by Hisham ibn `urwah 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.

    In fact, although it is Hisham ibn `Urwah who is reporting most of these narratives, but it is not him, but his father `Urwah who is common in all these narratives. It must be remembered that when I say that all these narratives have been reported through `Urwah, it means that it is only the narratives of `Urwah in which the chain of narrators are acceptably strong. Besides the narratives of `Urwah, there do exist five other chains of narrators reporting the same thing, but those chains include people who have either been strongly or lightly criticised by the some of the scholars and compilers of the lives of the reporters of Hadith.

    Even though this correction of names from Hisham ibn `Urwah to his father, `Urwah does not have much of an effect on my arguments, as my statement: "...An event as well known as the one being reported, should logically have been reported by more people than just one, two or three" holds good in both the cases. Other facts that do not change include that there is not a single tradition that comes with an all-Medinan chain of narrators, where Ayesha spent most of her life. There is hardly (if at all) any exception to the fact that all the chains of this report include one or more Iraqi or one or more Basri in them. This makes the credibility of the reports ascribed to `Urwah's somewhat questionable too.

    Now, let us take a look at the article you have referred to. Besides the point that you have raised, I wish to present my reservations on one more point of this article, that is giving the narratives describing Ayesha's age the status of Sunnah. Let us first take up the point you have raised.

    I had stated previously and have reiterated here that all the dependable narratives of this report come through one person - `urwah. Mr. Robert Squires, on the other hand states:

    Of the four ahadith in Saheeh al-Bukhari, two were narrated from 'Aishah (7:64 and 7:65), one from Abu Hishaam (5:236) and one via 'Ursa (7:88). All three of the ahadith in Saheeh Muslim have 'Aishah as a narrator.

    I think there is a spelling error in this statement of Mr. Squires. It seems that the name of the third narrator should be `Urwah or `Urwa rather than `Ursa. I request Mr. Squires to correct me if I am wrong. Another thing that needs to be clarified is that Abu Hishaam and `Urwah are the same person. `Urwah, because of his son Hishaam, was also called Abu Hishaam, according to the Arab tradition.

    In response to your question on the apparent contradiction in my statement when compared with that of Mr. Squires', I would only like to say that it is just a case of a simple misunderstanding. This misunderstanding can easily be removed by a little more understanding of the two statements.

    When Mr. Squires states that these reports come to us from different sources, he is really considering only the first person (sahabi or ta'bi`y) in the chain of narrators of these reports. On the other hand, when I say that these reports are only (or mostly) reported by one narrator only, it means that even though the first person in the chain of these reports changes there is common narrator in all these reports. Just to clarify, take the example of the four reportings of Sahih Bukhari. According to Mr Squires: "Of the four ahadith in Saheeh al-Bukhari, two were narrated from 'Aishah (7:64 and 7:65), one from Abu Hishaam (5:236) and one via 'Ursa [`Urwa or `Urwah??] (7:88)." Now if you consider Mr. Squires' statement, he is only referring to the first person in the chain of narrators in his statement. The statement is not wrong or misquoted. But on the other hand, if you take a look at the chain of narrators of the four reportings of Sahih Bukhari, you shall see that in the first two cases, Ayesha's (ra) statement has been quoted by none other than `Urwah - Abu Hishaam (the father of Hishaam). In the later two cases, it is (Mr. Squires is requested to correct me if I am mistaken) `Urwah - Abu Hishaam - who is being referred to by Mr. Squires.

    I think the above explanation should suffice as clarification that you desired.

    Mr. Squires has also implied in his referred article that these narratives describing Ayesha's (ra) age are a part of the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). He states:

    At this point, it should be mentioned that it is absolutely pointless from an Islamic standpoint to say that the age of 'Aishah is "not found in the Qur'an", since the textual sources of Islam are made up of both the Qur'an and the Sunnah - and the Qur'an tells us that.

    Mr. Squires has also referred to an article by Mr. Suhaib Hasan (http://home.att.net/~r-squires/sunnah.htm) in which Mr. Hasan has defined Sunnah as:

    ... the Sunnah includes the sayings of the Prophet, peace be upon him, known commonly as hadiths (i.e. sayings), his practices, and actions which gained his approval.

    In my view, the above statement, though commonly accepted by Muslims, does not accurately describe Sunnah. But for the purpose of this discussion, let us take this to be an accurate explanation of Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). But even then, the narratives describing Ayesha's (ra) age at the time of her marriage do not fall under the scope of Sunnah. Obviously, the narrative of Ayesha's (ra) age at the time of her marriage is not a part of "the sayings of the Prophet, (peace be upon him)", it cannot be termed as the Prophet's "practices" and neither can it be included in the "actions which gained his approval". The narrative of Ayesha's age is just a narrative of a historical event. Just because it has been reported by Bukhari and Muslim, does not change its status from being a narrative of a historical event to a Sunnah. Because of this fact, this narrative should be seen in the light of all other narratives of historical events which have been reported by Bukhari, Muslim and other historians of Islam. This is exactly what I have tried to do in my article from point number 5 to 12.

    In the presence of all these historical narratives that contradict the narrative of Ayesha's age at the time of her marriage, any one who wants to prove that Ayesha (ra) was nine years at the time of consummation of her marriage has the responsibility of telling others why is he rejecting all the other historical narratives and accepting only the one that states Ayesha's age to be nine at the time of her marriage
    Please Re-update your Signature

    #2
    Ayesha was 19 and not 9 years of Age when she got married to the Prophet Muhammad(saw

    What was Ayesha’s (ra) Age at the Time of Her Marriage? Posted 8-14-2002 10:48

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    http://www.geocities.com/WestHollywo...was_ayesha.htm

    What was Ayesha's (ra) Age at the Time of Her Marriage?

    What was Ayesha's (ra) age at the time of her marriage?

    It is normally believed that she was nine years old at the time of her marriage with Mohammad (sws) was consummated. I do think it was according to the traditions of the Arab culture, as otherwise people would have objected to this marriage. But unfortunately, the modern day man is not satisfied with an answer as simple as that.

    Reply*

    To begin with, I think it is the responsibility of all those who believe that marrying a girl as young as nine years old was an accepted norm of the Arab culture, to provide at least a few examples to substantiate their point of view. I have not yet been able to find a single dependable instance in the books of Arab history where a girl as young as nine years old was given away in marriage. Unless such examples are given, we do not have any reasonable grounds to believe that it really was an accepted norm.

    In my opinion, the age of Ayesha (ra) has been grossly mis-reported in the ahadith. Not only that, I think that the narratives reporting this event are not only highly unreliable but also that on the basis of other historical data, the event reported, is quite an unlikely happening. Let us look at the issue from an objective stand point. My reservations in accepting the narratives, on the basis of which, Ayeshas (ra) age at the time of her marriage with the Prophet (pbuh) is held to be nine years are:

    Most of these narratives are reported only by Hisham ibn `urwah 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.
    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 in Medinah for seventy one years.
    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 Hisham which were reported through people of Iraq. (vol 11, pg 48 - 51)
    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)
    According to the generally accepted tradition, Ayesha (ra) was born about eight years before Hijrah. But according to another narrative in Bukhari (kitabu'l-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 before Hijrah. 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 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 we should not accept this narrative to be more accurate.
    According to a number of narratives, Ayesha (ra) accompanied the Muslims in the battle of Badr and Uhud. Furthermore, it is also reported in books of hadith and history that no one under the age of 15 years was allowed to take part in the battle of Uhud. All the boys below 15 years of age were sent back. Ayesha's (ra) participation in the battle of Badr and Uhud clearly indicate that she was not nine or ten years old at that time. After all, women used to accompany men to the battle fields to help them, not to be a burden on them.
    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 Taqri'bu'l-tehzi'b as well as Al-bidayah wa'l-nihayah that Asma (ra) died in 73 hijrah when she was 100 years old. Now, obviously if Asma (ra) was 100 years old in 73 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.
    Tabari in his treatise on Islamic history, while mentioning Abu Bakr (ra) reports that Abu Bakr had four children and all four were born during the Jahiliyyah -- the pre Islamic period. Obviously, if Ayesha (ra) was born in the period of jahiliyyah, she could not have been less than 14 years in 1 AH -- the time she most likely got married.
    According to Ibn Hisham, the historian, Ayesha (ra) accepted Islam quite some time before Umar ibn Khattab (ra). This shows that Ayesha (ra) accepted Islam during the first year of Islam. While, if the narrative of Ayesha's (ra) marriage at seven years of age is held to be true, Ayesha (ra) should not have been born during the first year of Islam.
    Tabari has also reported that at the time Abu Bakr planned on migrating to Habshah (8 years before Hijrah), he went to Mut`am -- with whose son Ayesha (ra) was engaged -- and asked him to take Ayesha (ra) in his house as his son's wife. Mut`am refused, because Abu Bakr had embraced Islam, and 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 Bakr decided 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.
    According to a narrative reported by Ahmad ibn Hanbal, after the death of Khadijah (ra), when Khaulah (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".
    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.


    These are some of the major points that go against accepting the commonly known narrative regarding Ayesha's (ra) age at the time of her marriage.

    In my opinion, neither was it an Arab tradition to give away girls in marriage at an age as young as nine or ten years, nor did the Prophet (pbuh) marry Ayesha (ra) at such a young age. The people of Arabia did not object to this marriage, because it never happened in the manner it has been narrated.

    I hope I have been of some help.

    Best Regards

    The Learner


    A Response to "What was Ayesha's Age..."

    Thanks for the email. But I find it woefully lacking in actual quotes. The response is filled with "so and so said such and such". That doesn't cut it. In my paper, that deals with Aisha and her age, I not only say who says what, but I provide the entire quote. You need to do the same. And, the man which the paper was quoting from refers to Tabari. Well, Tabari also says Aisha was 9... did your "learned" one miss that? If you need the reference, check my paper. Further, I also quote from Bukhari, and there are many quotes concerning Aisha's age in that. Bukhari is the most highly respected hadith, so, you're going to have to do better then conjecture and assumptions. Finally, there is Abu Dawud's quote as well.... all exclusively saying Aisha was 9. Don't forget, Islamic custom says men can marry girls after their first menstruation. Girls today have them as young as age 9. If you could find that actual quotes from the author's your scholar is quoting from, that would be beneficial. Otherwise, his arugement is only hot air; it lacks real substance.


    Reply

    My answer was for your satisfaction, not for a debate, and I therefore avoided all the actual quotes. I am extremely sorry for that.

    In any case, I provide below my references as well as my answers to the "comments" of your Christian friend:

    The First Argument

    My first argument was:

    Most of these narratives are reported only by Hisham ibn `urwah 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.

    I am sure your Christian friend can see that this argument does not need any reference. It is a simple fact.

    The Second Argument

    My second argument was:

    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 [from him], 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 in Medinah for seventy one years.

    Again, the argument that all those who heard this narrative from Hisham ibn `urwah were Iraqis, is a simple statement of fact. This can be checked in the biographical sketches of these narrators in any of the books written on the narrators.

    The Third Argument

    My third argument was:

    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 Hisham which were reported through people of Iraq. (vol 11, pg 48 - 51)



    The actual statements, their translations and their complete references are given below:

    i.e. "Yaqub ibn Shaibah says: He [Hisham] is highly reliable, his narratives are acceptable, except what he narrated after moving over to Iraq." (Tehzi'bu'l-tehzi'b, Ibn Hajar Al-`asqala'ni, Arabic, Dar Ihya al-turath al-Islami, Vol 11, pg 50)

    i.e. "I 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)

    The Fourth Argument

    My fourth argument was:

    Mizanu'l-ai`tidal, another book on the [life sketches of 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)

    The actual statement, its translation and its complete references is given below:

    i.e. "when he was old, Hisham's memory suffered quite badly" (Mizanu'l-ai`tidal, Al-Zahbi, Arabic, Al-Maktabatu'l-athriyyah, Sheikhupura, Pakistan, Vol 4, pg 301)

    The Fifth Argument

    My fifth argument was:

    According to the generally accepted tradition, Ayesha (ra) was born about eight years before Hijrah. But according to another narrative in Bukhari (kitabu'l-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 before Hijrah. 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 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 we should not accept this narrative to be more accurate.

    The actual statements referred to in the above paragraph, their translations and their complete references are given below:

    i.e. "Ayesha (ra) said: I was a young girl, when verse 46 of Surah Al-Qamar, [the 54th chapter of the Qur'an], was revealed. (Sahih Bukhari, kitabu'l-tafsir, Arabic, Bab Qaulihi Bal al-sa`atu Maw`iduhum wa'l-sa`atu adha' wa amarr)

    The Sixth Argument

    My sixth argument was:

    According to a number of narratives, Ayesha (ra) accompanied the Muslims in the battle of Badr and Uhud. Furthermore, it is also reported in books of hadith and history that no one under the age of 15 years was allowed to take part in the battle of Uhud. All the boys below 15 years of age were sent back. Ayesha's (ra) participation in the battle of Badr and Uhud clearly indicate that she was not nine or ten years old at that time. After all, women used to accompany men to the battle fields to help them, not to be a burden on them.

    A narrative regarding Ayesha's (ra) participation in Badr is given in Muslim, Kitabu'l-jihad wa'l-siyar, Arabic, Bab karahiyati'l-isti`anah fi'l-ghazwi bikafir. Ayesha (ra) while narrating the journey to Badr and one of the important events that took place in that journey, says:


    i.e. "when we reached Shajarah". It is quite obvious from these words that Ayesha (ra) was with the group travelling towards Badr.

    A narrative regarding Ayesha's (ra) participation in the battle of `uhud is given in Bukhari, Kitabu'l-jihad wa'l-siyar, Arabic, Bab Ghazwi'l-nisa' wa qitalihinna ma`a'lrijal.

    i.e. "Anas reports that On the day of Uhud, people could not stand their ground around the Prophet (pbuh). [On that day,] I saw Ayesha (ra) and Umm-i-Sulaim (ra), they had pulled their dress up from their feet [to avoid any hinderance in their movement]."

    As far as the fact that children below 15 years were sent back and were not allowed to particpate in the battle of `uhud, it is narrated in Bukhari, Kitabu'l-maghazi, Bab ghazwati'l-khandaq wa hiya'l-ahza'b, Arabic. i.e. "Ibn `umar (ra) states that the Prophet (pbuh) did not permit me to participate in Uhud, as at that time, I was fourteen years old. But on the day of Khandaq, when I was fifteen years old, the Prophet (pbuh) permitted my participation."


    The Seventh Argument

    My seventh argument was:

    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 Taqri'bu'l-tehzi'b as well as Al-bidayah wa'l-nihayah that Asma (ra) died in 73 hijrah when she was 100 years old. Now, obviously if Asma (ra) was 100 years old in 73 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.

    The relevant references required in this argument are provided below:

    For the Difference of Ayesha's (ra) and Asma's (ra) Age
    According to Abda'l-Rahman ibn abi zanna'd:

    i.e. Asma (ra) was ten years older than Ayesha. (Siyar A`la'ma'l-nubala', Al-Zahabi, Vol 2, Pg 289, Arabic, Mu'assasatu'l-risalah, Beirut, 1992)

    According to Ibn Kathir:
    i.e. "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)


    For Asma's (ra) Age at Her Death in 73 AH
    According to Ibn Kathir:

    i.e. "She [Asma] saw the killing of her son during that year [i.e. 73 AH], as we have already mentioned, five days later she herself died, according to other narratives her death was not five but ten or twenty or a few days over twenty or a hundred days later. The most well known narrative is that of hundred days later. At the time of her death, she was 100 years old." (Al-Bidayah wa'l-nihayah, Ibn Kathir, Vol 8, Pg 372, Arabic, Dar al-fikr al-`arabi, Al-jizah, 1933)

    According to Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani:

    i.e. "She [Asma (ra)] lived a hundred years and died in 73 or 74 AH." (Taqribu'l-tehzib, Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani, Pg 654, Arabic, Bab fi'l-nisa', al-harfu'l-alif, Lucknow)

    The Eighth Argument

    My eighth argument was:

    Tabari in his treatise on Islamic history, while mentioning Abu Bakr (ra) reports that Abu Bakr had four children and all four were born during the Jahiliyyah -- the pre Islamic period. Obviously, if Ayesha (ra) was born in the period of jahiliyyah, she could not have been less than 14 years in 1 AH -- the time she most likely got married.

    The original statement in Tabari, its translation and reference follows:
    i.e. "All four of his [Abu Bakr's] children were born of his two wives -- the names of whom we have already mentioned -- during the pre-Islamic period."(Tarikhu'l-umam wa'l-mamlu'k, Al-Tabari, Vol 4, Pg 50, Arabic, Dara'l-fikr, Beirut, 1979)

    The Ninth Argument

    My ninth argument was:

    According to Ibn Hisham, the historian, Ayesha (ra) accepted Islam quite some time before `umar ibn al-Khattab (ra). This shows that Ayesha (ra) accepted Islam during the first year of Islam. While, if the narrative of Ayesha's (ra) marriage at seven years of age is held to be true, Ayesha (ra) should not have been born during the first year of Islam.

    According to Ibn Hisham, Ayesha (ra) was the 20th or the 21st person to enter into the folds of Islam (Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, Ibn Hisham, Vol 1, Pg 227 - 234, Arabic, Maktabah al-Riyadh al-hadithah, Al-Riyadh) While `umar ibn al-khattab was preceded by forty individuals (Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, Ibn Hisham, Vol 1, Pg 295, Arabic, Maktabah al-Riyadh al-hadithah, Al-Riyadh).

    The Tenth Argument

    My tenth argument was:

    Tabari has also reported that at the time Abu Bakr planned on migrating to Habshah (8 years before Hijrah), he went to Mut`am -- with whose son Ayesha (ra) was engaged -- and asked him to take Ayesha (ra) in his house as his son's wife. Mut`am refused, because Abu Bakr had embraced Islam, and 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 Bakr decided 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.

    Unfortunately, I do not have the primary reference to this argument at the moment. The secondary reference for this argument is: Tehqiq e umar e Siddiqah e Ka'inat, Habib ur Rahman Kandhalwi, Urdu, Pg 38, Anjuman Uswa e hasanah, Karachi, Pakistan

    The Eleventh Argument

    My eleventh argument was:

    According to a narrative reported by Ahmad ibn Hanbal, after the death of Khadijah (ra), when Khaulah (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".

    The complete reference for this reporting of Ahmad ibn Hanbal is: Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol 6, Pg 210, Arabic, Dar Ihya al-turath al-`arabi, Beirut.

    The Twelfth Argument

    My twelfth argument was:

    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.

    Ibn Hajar's original statement, its translation and reference follows:
    i.e. Fatimah (ra) was born at the time the Ka`bah was rebuilt, when the Prophet (pbuh) was 35 years old... she (Fatimah) was five years older that Ayesha (ra). (Al-isabah fi tamyizi'l-sahabah, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Vol 4, Pg 377, Arabic, Maktabatu'l-Riyadh al-haditha, al-Riyadh, 1978)

    These are all the references for the material I provided in my initial response.

    Your Christian friend, besides asking for these references has also briefly commented on my reply, he writes:

    And, the man which the paper was quoting from refers to Tabari. Well, Tabari also says Aisha was 9... did your "learned" one miss that? If you need the reference, check my paper.

    Further, I also quote from Bukhari, and there are many quotes concerning Aisha's age in that. Bukhari is the most highly respected hadith, so, you're going to have to do better then conjecture and assumptions.

    Finally, there is Abu Dawud's quote as well.... all exclusively saying Aisha was 9.

    It seems that your friend has missed out on my point on Hisham ibn `urwah. He seems to be unaware of the fact that each one of his quoted statement, whether it is from Tabari, Bukhari, Muslim or Abu Dawud, is either narrated by Hisham ibn `urwah or is reported to the respective author by or through an Iraqi. Not even a single narrative is free from either of the two problems.

    I have quoted Tabari, Bukhari and Muslim to show that even their own information contradicts with the narrative regarding Ayesha's (ra) age. Thus, when the narrative of Ayesha's (ra) age is not reliable and when there is information in the same books that contradicts the narrative of Ayesha's age, I see absolutely no reason to believe that the information on Ayesha's (ra) age is accepted (when there are adequate grounds to reject it) and other (contradictory) information is rejected (when there is no ground to reject it).

    Regards,

    The Learner

    *The answer to this question is primarily based on the research by Habib ur Rahman Kandhalwi (urdu) as presented in his booklet, "Tehqiq e umar e Siddiqah e Ka'inat", Anjuman Uswa e hasanah, Karachi, Pakistan

    More on Ayesha's Age

    I would like to see your response to the following which is relevant to Aisha's age question of your site.

    http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olym...03/aishah.html

    An Intermediate Response...

    I have read the referred article. I really do not think that it needs any reply from my side, as it relies on the very sources that I have presented my reservations upon. In case it has raised any questions in your mind, I shall be glad to answer them. But without any specific questions I really don't see any reason why I should write any thing else on the issue.

    regards

    The Learner


    Clarification

    You state in your article that the hadith of Aisha's age is narrated by only one narrator, Hisham ibn `urwah, after he moved to Iraq at the age of 71.

    But according to Robert Squires:

    "... two were narrated from 'Aishah (7:64 and 7:65), one from Abu Hishaam (5:236) and one via 'Urwa (7:88). All three of the ahadith in Saheeh Muslim have 'Aishah as a narrator. Additionally, all of the ahadith in both books agree that the marriage betrothal contract took place when 'Aishah was "six years old", but was not consummated until she was "nine years old".

    I would like to see some clarification on this point.

    Thanks.

    Reply

    I would first of all like to make a small (part) correction to the the first point in my article. I had written:

    Most of these narratives are reported only by Hisham ibn `urwah 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.

    In fact, although it is Hisham ibn `Urwah who is reporting most of these narratives, but it is not him, but his father `Urwah who is common in all these narratives. It must be remembered that when I say that all these narratives have been reported through `Urwah, it means that it is only the narratives of `Urwah in which the chain of narrators are acceptably strong. Besides the narratives of `Urwah, there do exist five other chains of narrators reporting the same thing, but those chains include people who have either been strongly or lightly criticised by the some of the scholars and compilers of the lives of the reporters of Hadith.

    Even though this correction of names from Hisham ibn `Urwah to his father, `Urwah does not have much of an effect on my arguments, as my statement: "...An event as well known as the one being reported, should logically have been reported by more people than just one, two or three" holds good in both the cases. Other facts that do not change include that there is not a single tradition that comes with an all-Medinan chain of narrators, where Ayesha spent most of her life. There is hardly (if at all) any exception to the fact that all the chains of this report include one or more Iraqi or one or more Basri in them. This makes the credibility of the reports ascribed to `Urwah's somewhat questionable too.

    Now, let us take a look at the article you have referred to. Besides the point that you have raised, I wish to present my reservations on one more point of this article, that is giving the narratives describing Ayesha's age the status of Sunnah. Let us first take up the point you have raised.

    I had stated previously and have reiterated here that all the dependable narratives of this report come through one person - `urwah. Mr. Robert Squires, on the other hand states:

    Of the four ahadith in Saheeh al-Bukhari, two were narrated from 'Aishah (7:64 and 7:65), one from Abu Hishaam (5:236) and one via 'Ursa (7:88). All three of the ahadith in Saheeh Muslim have 'Aishah as a narrator.

    I think there is a spelling error in this statement of Mr. Squires. It seems that the name of the third narrator should be `Urwah or `Urwa rather than `Ursa. I request Mr. Squires to correct me if I am wrong. Another thing that needs to be clarified is that Abu Hishaam and `Urwah are the same person. `Urwah, because of his son Hishaam, was also called Abu Hishaam, according to the Arab tradition.

    In response to your question on the apparent contradiction in my statement when compared with that of Mr. Squires', I would only like to say that it is just a case of a simple misunderstanding. This misunderstanding can easily be removed by a little more understanding of the two statements.

    When Mr. Squires states that these reports come to us from different sources, he is really considering only the first person (sahabi or ta'bi`y) in the chain of narrators of these reports. On the other hand, when I say that these reports are only (or mostly) reported by one narrator only, it means that even though the first person in the chain of these reports changes there is common narrator in all these reports. Just to clarify, take the example of the four reportings of Sahih Bukhari. According to Mr Squires: "Of the four ahadith in Saheeh al-Bukhari, two were narrated from 'Aishah (7:64 and 7:65), one from Abu Hishaam (5:236) and one via 'Ursa [`Urwa or `Urwah??] (7:88)." Now if you consider Mr. Squires' statement, he is only referring to the first person in the chain of narrators in his statement. The statement is not wrong or misquoted. But on the other hand, if you take a look at the chain of narrators of the four reportings of Sahih Bukhari, you shall see that in the first two cases, Ayesha's (ra) statement has been quoted by none other than `Urwah - Abu Hishaam (the father of Hishaam). In the later two cases, it is (Mr. Squires is requested to correct me if I am mistaken) `Urwah - Abu Hishaam - who is being referred to by Mr. Squires.

    I think the above explanation should suffice as clarification that you desired.

    Mr. Squires has also implied in his referred article that these narratives describing Ayesha's (ra) age are a part of the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). He states:

    At this point, it should be mentioned that it is absolutely pointless from an Islamic standpoint to say that the age of 'Aishah is "not found in the Qur'an", since the textual sources of Islam are made up of both the Qur'an and the Sunnah - and the Qur'an tells us that.

    Mr. Squires has also referred to an article by Mr. Suhaib Hasan (http://home.att.net/~r-squires/sunnah.htm) in which Mr. Hasan has defined Sunnah as:

    ... the Sunnah includes the sayings of the Prophet, peace be upon him, known commonly as hadiths (i.e. sayings), his practices, and actions which gained his approval.

    In my view, the above statement, though commonly accepted by Muslims, does not accurately describe Sunnah. But for the purpose of this discussion, let us take this to be an accurate explanation of Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). But even then, the narratives describing Ayesha's (ra) age at the time of her marriage do not fall under the scope of Sunnah. Obviously, the narrative of Ayesha's (ra) age at the time of her marriage is not a part of "the sayings of the Prophet, (peace be upon him)", it cannot be termed as the Prophet's "practices" and neither can it be included in the "actions which gained his approval". The narrative of Ayesha's age is just a narrative of a historical event. Just because it has been reported by Bukhari and Muslim, does not change its status from being a narrative of a historical event to a Sunnah. Because of this fact, this narrative should be seen in the light of all other narratives of historical events which have been reported by Bukhari, Muslim and other historians of Islam. This is exactly what I have tried to do in my article from point number 5 to 12.

    In the presence of all these historical narratives that contradict the narrative of Ayesha's age at the time of her marriage, any one who wants to prove that Ayesha (ra) was nine years at the time of consummation of her marriage has the responsibility of telling others why is he rejecting all the other historical narratives and accepting only the one that states Ayesha's age to be nine at the time of her marriage
    Please Re-update your Signature

    Comment


      #3
      Ayesha was 19 and not 9 years of Age when she got married to the Prophet Muhammad(saw

      http://www.geocities.com/WestHollywo...was_ayesha.htm


      What was Ayesha's (ra) age at the time of her marriage?

      It is normally believed that she was nine years old at the time of her marriage with Mohammad (sws) was consummated. I do think it was according to the traditions of the Arab culture, as otherwise people would have objected to this marriage. But unfortunately, the modern day man is not satisfied with an answer as simple as that.

      Reply*

      To begin with, I think it is the responsibility of all those who believe that marrying a girl as young as nine years old was an accepted norm of the Arab culture, to provide at least a few examples to substantiate their point of view. I have not yet been able to find a single dependable instance in the books of Arab history where a girl as young as nine years old was given away in marriage. Unless such examples are given, we do not have any reasonable grounds to believe that it really was an accepted norm.

      In my opinion, the age of Ayesha (ra) has been grossly mis-reported in the ahadith. Not only that, I think that the narratives reporting this event are not only highly unreliable but also that on the basis of other historical data, the event reported, is quite an unlikely happening. Let us look at the issue from an objective stand point. My reservations in accepting the narratives, on the basis of which, Ayeshas (ra) age at the time of her marriage with the Prophet (pbuh) is held to be nine years are:

      Most of these narratives are reported only by Hisham ibn `urwah 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.
      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 in Medinah for seventy one years.
      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 Hisham which were reported through people of Iraq. (vol 11, pg 48 - 51)
      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)
      According to the generally accepted tradition, Ayesha (ra) was born about eight years before Hijrah. But according to another narrative in Bukhari (kitabu'l-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 before Hijrah. 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 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 we should not accept this narrative to be more accurate.
      According to a number of narratives, Ayesha (ra) accompanied the Muslims in the battle of Badr and Uhud. Furthermore, it is also reported in books of hadith and history that no one under the age of 15 years was allowed to take part in the battle of Uhud. All the boys below 15 years of age were sent back. Ayesha's (ra) participation in the battle of Badr and Uhud clearly indicate that she was not nine or ten years old at that time. After all, women used to accompany men to the battle fields to help them, not to be a burden on them.
      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 Taqri'bu'l-tehzi'b as well as Al-bidayah wa'l-nihayah that Asma (ra) died in 73 hijrah when she was 100 years old. Now, obviously if Asma (ra) was 100 years old in 73 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.
      Tabari in his treatise on Islamic history, while mentioning Abu Bakr (ra) reports that Abu Bakr had four children and all four were born during the Jahiliyyah -- the pre Islamic period. Obviously, if Ayesha (ra) was born in the period of jahiliyyah, she could not have been less than 14 years in 1 AH -- the time she most likely got married.
      According to Ibn Hisham, the historian, Ayesha (ra) accepted Islam quite some time before Umar ibn Khattab (ra). This shows that Ayesha (ra) accepted Islam during the first year of Islam. While, if the narrative of Ayesha's (ra) marriage at seven years of age is held to be true, Ayesha (ra) should not have been born during the first year of Islam.
      Tabari has also reported that at the time Abu Bakr planned on migrating to Habshah (8 years before Hijrah), he went to Mut`am -- with whose son Ayesha (ra) was engaged -- and asked him to take Ayesha (ra) in his house as his son's wife. Mut`am refused, because Abu Bakr had embraced Islam, and 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 Bakr decided 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.
      According to a narrative reported by Ahmad ibn Hanbal, after the death of Khadijah (ra), when Khaulah (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".
      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.


      These are some of the major points that go against accepting the commonly known narrative regarding Ayesha's (ra) age at the time of her marriage.

      In my opinion, neither was it an Arab tradition to give away girls in marriage at an age as young as nine or ten years, nor did the Prophet (pbuh) marry Ayesha (ra) at such a young age. The people of Arabia did not object to this marriage, because it never happened in the manner it has been narrated.

      I hope I have been of some help.

      Best Regards

      The Learner


      A Response to "What was Ayesha's Age..."

      Thanks for the email. But I find it woefully lacking in actual quotes. The response is filled with "so and so said such and such". That doesn't cut it. In my paper, that deals with Aisha and her age, I not only say who says what, but I provide the entire quote. You need to do the same. And, the man which the paper was quoting from refers to Tabari. Well, Tabari also says Aisha was 9... did your "learned" one miss that? If you need the reference, check my paper. Further, I also quote from Bukhari, and there are many quotes concerning Aisha's age in that. Bukhari is the most highly respected hadith, so, you're going to have to do better then conjecture and assumptions. Finally, there is Abu Dawud's quote as well.... all exclusively saying Aisha was 9. Don't forget, Islamic custom says men can marry girls after their first menstruation. Girls today have them as young as age 9. If you could find that actual quotes from the author's your scholar is quoting from, that would be beneficial. Otherwise, his arugement is only hot air; it lacks real substance.


      Reply

      My answer was for your satisfaction, not for a debate, and I therefore avoided all the actual quotes. I am extremely sorry for that.

      In any case, I provide below my references as well as my answers to the "comments" of your Christian friend:

      The First Argument

      My first argument was:

      Most of these narratives are reported only by Hisham ibn `urwah 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.

      I am sure your Christian friend can see that this argument does not need any reference. It is a simple fact.

      The Second Argument

      My second argument was:

      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 [from him], 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 in Medinah for seventy one years.

      Again, the argument that all those who heard this narrative from Hisham ibn `urwah were Iraqis, is a simple statement of fact. This can be checked in the biographical sketches of these narrators in any of the books written on the narrators.

      The Third Argument

      My third argument was:

      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 Hisham which were reported through people of Iraq. (vol 11, pg 48 - 51)



      The actual statements, their translations and their complete references are given below:

      i.e. "Yaqub ibn Shaibah says: He [Hisham] is highly reliable, his narratives are acceptable, except what he narrated after moving over to Iraq." (Tehzi'bu'l-tehzi'b, Ibn Hajar Al-`asqala'ni, Arabic, Dar Ihya al-turath al-Islami, Vol 11, pg 50)

      i.e. "I 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)

      The Fourth Argument

      My fourth argument was:

      Mizanu'l-ai`tidal, another book on the [life sketches of 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)

      The actual statement, its translation and its complete references is given below:

      i.e. "when he was old, Hisham's memory suffered quite badly" (Mizanu'l-ai`tidal, Al-Zahbi, Arabic, Al-Maktabatu'l-athriyyah, Sheikhupura, Pakistan, Vol 4, pg 301)

      The Fifth Argument

      My fifth argument was:

      According to the generally accepted tradition, Ayesha (ra) was born about eight years before Hijrah. But according to another narrative in Bukhari (kitabu'l-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 before Hijrah. 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 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 we should not accept this narrative to be more accurate.

      The actual statements referred to in the above paragraph, their translations and their complete references are given below:

      i.e. "Ayesha (ra) said: I was a young girl, when verse 46 of Surah Al-Qamar, [the 54th chapter of the Qur'an], was revealed. (Sahih Bukhari, kitabu'l-tafsir, Arabic, Bab Qaulihi Bal al-sa`atu Maw`iduhum wa'l-sa`atu adha' wa amarr)

      The Sixth Argument

      My sixth argument was:

      According to a number of narratives, Ayesha (ra) accompanied the Muslims in the battle of Badr and Uhud. Furthermore, it is also reported in books of hadith and history that no one under the age of 15 years was allowed to take part in the battle of Uhud. All the boys below 15 years of age were sent back. Ayesha's (ra) participation in the battle of Badr and Uhud clearly indicate that she was not nine or ten years old at that time. After all, women used to accompany men to the battle fields to help them, not to be a burden on them.

      A narrative regarding Ayesha's (ra) participation in Badr is given in Muslim, Kitabu'l-jihad wa'l-siyar, Arabic, Bab karahiyati'l-isti`anah fi'l-ghazwi bikafir. Ayesha (ra) while narrating the journey to Badr and one of the important events that took place in that journey, says:


      i.e. "when we reached Shajarah". It is quite obvious from these words that Ayesha (ra) was with the group travelling towards Badr.

      A narrative regarding Ayesha's (ra) participation in the battle of `uhud is given in Bukhari, Kitabu'l-jihad wa'l-siyar, Arabic, Bab Ghazwi'l-nisa' wa qitalihinna ma`a'lrijal.

      i.e. "Anas reports that On the day of Uhud, people could not stand their ground around the Prophet (pbuh). [On that day,] I saw Ayesha (ra) and Umm-i-Sulaim (ra), they had pulled their dress up from their feet [to avoid any hinderance in their movement]."

      As far as the fact that children below 15 years were sent back and were not allowed to particpate in the battle of `uhud, it is narrated in Bukhari, Kitabu'l-maghazi, Bab ghazwati'l-khandaq wa hiya'l-ahza'b, Arabic. i.e. "Ibn `umar (ra) states that the Prophet (pbuh) did not permit me to participate in Uhud, as at that time, I was fourteen years old. But on the day of Khandaq, when I was fifteen years old, the Prophet (pbuh) permitted my participation."


      The Seventh Argument

      My seventh argument was:

      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 Taqri'bu'l-tehzi'b as well as Al-bidayah wa'l-nihayah that Asma (ra) died in 73 hijrah when she was 100 years old. Now, obviously if Asma (ra) was 100 years old in 73 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.

      The relevant references required in this argument are provided below:

      For the Difference of Ayesha's (ra) and Asma's (ra) Age
      According to Abda'l-Rahman ibn abi zanna'd:

      i.e. Asma (ra) was ten years older than Ayesha. (Siyar A`la'ma'l-nubala', Al-Zahabi, Vol 2, Pg 289, Arabic, Mu'assasatu'l-risalah, Beirut, 1992)

      According to Ibn Kathir:
      i.e. "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)


      For Asma's (ra) Age at Her Death in 73 AH
      According to Ibn Kathir:

      i.e. "She [Asma] saw the killing of her son during that year [i.e. 73 AH], as we have already mentioned, five days later she herself died, according to other narratives her death was not five but ten or twenty or a few days over twenty or a hundred days later. The most well known narrative is that of hundred days later. At the time of her death, she was 100 years old." (Al-Bidayah wa'l-nihayah, Ibn Kathir, Vol 8, Pg 372, Arabic, Dar al-fikr al-`arabi, Al-jizah, 1933)

      According to Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani:

      i.e. "She [Asma (ra)] lived a hundred years and died in 73 or 74 AH." (Taqribu'l-tehzib, Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani, Pg 654, Arabic, Bab fi'l-nisa', al-harfu'l-alif, Lucknow)

      The Eighth Argument

      My eighth argument was:

      Tabari in his treatise on Islamic history, while mentioning Abu Bakr (ra) reports that Abu Bakr had four children and all four were born during the Jahiliyyah -- the pre Islamic period. Obviously, if Ayesha (ra) was born in the period of jahiliyyah, she could not have been less than 14 years in 1 AH -- the time she most likely got married.

      The original statement in Tabari, its translation and reference follows:
      i.e. "All four of his [Abu Bakr's] children were born of his two wives -- the names of whom we have already mentioned -- during the pre-Islamic period."(Tarikhu'l-umam wa'l-mamlu'k, Al-Tabari, Vol 4, Pg 50, Arabic, Dara'l-fikr, Beirut, 1979)

      The Ninth Argument

      My ninth argument was:

      According to Ibn Hisham, the historian, Ayesha (ra) accepted Islam quite some time before `umar ibn al-Khattab (ra). This shows that Ayesha (ra) accepted Islam during the first year of Islam. While, if the narrative of Ayesha's (ra) marriage at seven years of age is held to be true, Ayesha (ra) should not have been born during the first year of Islam.

      According to Ibn Hisham, Ayesha (ra) was the 20th or the 21st person to enter into the folds of Islam (Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, Ibn Hisham, Vol 1, Pg 227 - 234, Arabic, Maktabah al-Riyadh al-hadithah, Al-Riyadh) While `umar ibn al-khattab was preceded by forty individuals (Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, Ibn Hisham, Vol 1, Pg 295, Arabic, Maktabah al-Riyadh al-hadithah, Al-Riyadh).

      The Tenth Argument

      My tenth argument was:

      Tabari has also reported that at the time Abu Bakr planned on migrating to Habshah (8 years before Hijrah), he went to Mut`am -- with whose son Ayesha (ra) was engaged -- and asked him to take Ayesha (ra) in his house as his son's wife. Mut`am refused, because Abu Bakr had embraced Islam, and 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 Bakr decided 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.

      Unfortunately, I do not have the primary reference to this argument at the moment. The secondary reference for this argument is: Tehqiq e umar e Siddiqah e Ka'inat, Habib ur Rahman Kandhalwi, Urdu, Pg 38, Anjuman Uswa e hasanah, Karachi, Pakistan

      The Eleventh Argument

      My eleventh argument was:

      According to a narrative reported by Ahmad ibn Hanbal, after the death of Khadijah (ra), when Khaulah (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".

      The complete reference for this reporting of Ahmad ibn Hanbal is: Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol 6, Pg 210, Arabic, Dar Ihya al-turath al-`arabi, Beirut.

      The Twelfth Argument

      My twelfth argument was:

      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.

      Ibn Hajar's original statement, its translation and reference follows:
      i.e. Fatimah (ra) was born at the time the Ka`bah was rebuilt, when the Prophet (pbuh) was 35 years old... she (Fatimah) was five years older that Ayesha (ra). (Al-isabah fi tamyizi'l-sahabah, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Vol 4, Pg 377, Arabic, Maktabatu'l-Riyadh al-haditha, al-Riyadh, 1978)

      These are all the references for the material I provided in my initial response.

      Your Christian friend, besides asking for these references has also briefly commented on my reply, he writes:

      And, the man which the paper was quoting from refers to Tabari. Well, Tabari also says Aisha was 9... did your "learned" one miss that? If you need the reference, check my paper.

      Further, I also quote from Bukhari, and there are many quotes concerning Aisha's age in that. Bukhari is the most highly respected hadith, so, you're going to have to do better then conjecture and assumptions.

      Finally, there is Abu Dawud's quote as well.... all exclusively saying Aisha was 9.

      It seems that your friend has missed out on my point on Hisham ibn `urwah. He seems to be unaware of the fact that each one of his quoted statement, whether it is from Tabari, Bukhari, Muslim or Abu Dawud, is either narrated by Hisham ibn `urwah or is reported to the respective author by or through an Iraqi. Not even a single narrative is free from either of the two problems.

      I have quoted Tabari, Bukhari and Muslim to show that even their own information contradicts with the narrative regarding Ayesha's (ra) age. Thus, when the narrative of Ayesha's (ra) age is not reliable and when there is information in the same books that contradicts the narrative of Ayesha's age, I see absolutely no reason to believe that the information on Ayesha's (ra) age is accepted (when there are adequate grounds to reject it) and other (contradictory) information is rejected (when there is no ground to reject it).

      Regards,

      The Learner

      *The answer to this question is primarily based on the research by Habib ur Rahman Kandhalwi (urdu) as presented in his booklet, "Tehqiq e umar e Siddiqah e Ka'inat", Anjuman Uswa e hasanah, Karachi, Pakistan

      More on Ayesha's Age

      I would like to see your response to the following which is relevant to Aisha's age question of your site.

      http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olym...03/aishah.html

      An Intermediate Response...

      I have read the referred article. I really do not think that it needs any reply from my side, as it relies on the very sources that I have presented my reservations upon. In case it has raised any questions in your mind, I shall be glad to answer them. But without any specific questions I really don't see any reason why I should write any thing else on the issue.

      regards

      The Learner


      Clarification

      You state in your article that the hadith of Aisha's age is narrated by only one narrator, Hisham ibn `urwah, after he moved to Iraq at the age of 71.

      But according to Robert Squires:

      "... two were narrated from 'Aishah (7:64 and 7:65), one from Abu Hishaam (5:236) and one via 'Urwa (7:88). All three of the ahadith in Saheeh Muslim have 'Aishah as a narrator. Additionally, all of the ahadith in both books agree that the marriage betrothal contract took place when 'Aishah was "six years old", but was not consummated until she was "nine years old".

      I would like to see some clarification on this point.

      Thanks.

      Reply

      I would first of all like to make a small (part) correction to the the first point in my article. I had written:

      Most of these narratives are reported only by Hisham ibn `urwah 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.

      In fact, although it is Hisham ibn `Urwah who is reporting most of these narratives, but it is not him, but his father `Urwah who is common in all these narratives. It must be remembered that when I say that all these narratives have been reported through `Urwah, it means that it is only the narratives of `Urwah in which the chain of narrators are acceptably strong. Besides the narratives of `Urwah, there do exist five other chains of narrators reporting the same thing, but those chains include people who have either been strongly or lightly criticised by the some of the scholars and compilers of the lives of the reporters of Hadith.

      Even though this correction of names from Hisham ibn `Urwah to his father, `Urwah does not have much of an effect on my arguments, as my statement: "...An event as well known as the one being reported, should logically have been reported by more people than just one, two or three" holds good in both the cases. Other facts that do not change include that there is not a single tradition that comes with an all-Medinan chain of narrators, where Ayesha spent most of her life. There is hardly (if at all) any exception to the fact that all the chains of this report include one or more Iraqi or one or more Basri in them. This makes the credibility of the reports ascribed to `Urwah's somewhat questionable too.

      Now, let us take a look at the article you have referred to. Besides the point that you have raised, I wish to present my reservations on one more point of this article, that is giving the narratives describing Ayesha's age the status of Sunnah. Let us first take up the point you have raised.

      I had stated previously and have reiterated here that all the dependable narratives of this report come through one person - `urwah. Mr. Robert Squires, on the other hand states:

      Of the four ahadith in Saheeh al-Bukhari, two were narrated from 'Aishah (7:64 and 7:65), one from Abu Hishaam (5:236) and one via 'Ursa (7:88). All three of the ahadith in Saheeh Muslim have 'Aishah as a narrator.

      I think there is a spelling error in this statement of Mr. Squires. It seems that the name of the third narrator should be `Urwah or `Urwa rather than `Ursa. I request Mr. Squires to correct me if I am wrong. Another thing that needs to be clarified is that Abu Hishaam and `Urwah are the same person. `Urwah, because of his son Hishaam, was also called Abu Hishaam, according to the Arab tradition.

      In response to your question on the apparent contradiction in my statement when compared with that of Mr. Squires', I would only like to say that it is just a case of a simple misunderstanding. This misunderstanding can easily be removed by a little more understanding of the two statements.

      When Mr. Squires states that these reports come to us from different sources, he is really considering only the first person (sahabi or ta'bi`y) in the chain of narrators of these reports. On the other hand, when I say that these reports are only (or mostly) reported by one narrator only, it means that even though the first person in the chain of these reports changes there is common narrator in all these reports. Just to clarify, take the example of the four reportings of Sahih Bukhari. According to Mr Squires: "Of the four ahadith in Saheeh al-Bukhari, two were narrated from 'Aishah (7:64 and 7:65), one from Abu Hishaam (5:236) and one via 'Ursa [`Urwa or `Urwah??] (7:88)." Now if you consider Mr. Squires' statement, he is only referring to the first person in the chain of narrators in his statement. The statement is not wrong or misquoted. But on the other hand, if you take a look at the chain of narrators of the four reportings of Sahih Bukhari, you shall see that in the first two cases, Ayesha's (ra) statement has been quoted by none other than `Urwah - Abu Hishaam (the father of Hishaam). In the later two cases, it is (Mr. Squires is requested to correct me if I am mistaken) `Urwah - Abu Hishaam - who is being referred to by Mr. Squires.

      I think the above explanation should suffice as clarification that you desired.

      Mr. Squires has also implied in his referred article that these narratives describing Ayesha's (ra) age are a part of the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). He states:

      At this point, it should be mentioned that it is absolutely pointless from an Islamic standpoint to say that the age of 'Aishah is "not found in the Qur'an", since the textual sources of Islam are made up of both the Qur'an and the Sunnah - and the Qur'an tells us that.

      Mr. Squires has also referred to an article by Mr. Suhaib Hasan (http://home.att.net/~r-squires/sunnah.htm) in which Mr. Hasan has defined Sunnah as:

      ... the Sunnah includes the sayings of the Prophet, peace be upon him, known commonly as hadiths (i.e. sayings), his practices, and actions which gained his approval.

      In my view, the above statement, though commonly accepted by Muslims, does not accurately describe Sunnah. But for the purpose of this discussion, let us take this to be an accurate explanation of Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). But even then, the narratives describing Ayesha's (ra) age at the time of her marriage do not fall under the scope of Sunnah. Obviously, the narrative of Ayesha's (ra) age at the time of her marriage is not a part of "the sayings of the Prophet, (peace be upon him)", it cannot be termed as the Prophet's "practices" and neither can it be included in the "actions which gained his approval". The narrative of Ayesha's age is just a narrative of a historical event. Just because it has been reported by Bukhari and Muslim, does not change its status from being a narrative of a historical event to a Sunnah. Because of this fact, this narrative should be seen in the light of all other narratives of historical events which have been reported by Bukhari, Muslim and other historians of Islam. This is exactly what I have tried to do in my article from point number 5 to 12.

      In the presence of all these historical narratives that contradict the narrative of Ayesha's age at the time of her marriage, any one who wants to prove that Ayesha (ra) was nine years at the time of consummation of her marriage has the responsibility of telling others why is he rejecting all the other historical narratives and accepting only the one that states Ayesha's age to be nine at the time of her marriage
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        #4
        AoA brother Muawiyya and Muslimeen,

        Na'am I've read the same too in an article which a sister gave me. Jkk akhi.

        Wassalamu alaikum.


        Bilquis
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        Comment


          #5
          Ayesha was 19 and not 9 years of Age when she got married to the Prophet Muhammad(saw

          http://www.geocities.com/WestHollywo...was_ayesha.htm



          What was Ayesha's (ra) age at the time of her marriage?

          It is normally believed that she was nine years old at the time of her marriage with Mohammad (sws) was consummated. I do think it was according to the traditions of the Arab culture, as otherwise people would have objected to this marriage. But unfortunately, the modern day man is not satisfied with an answer as simple as that.

          Reply*

          To begin with, I think it is the responsibility of all those who believe that marrying a girl as young as nine years old was an accepted norm of the Arab culture, to provide at least a few examples to substantiate their point of view. I have not yet been able to find a single dependable instance in the books of Arab history where a girl as young as nine years old was given away in marriage. Unless such examples are given, we do not have any reasonable grounds to believe that it really was an accepted norm.

          In my opinion, the age of Ayesha (ra) has been grossly mis-reported in the ahadith. Not only that, I think that the narratives reporting this event are not only highly unreliable but also that on the basis of other historical data, the event reported, is quite an unlikely happening. Let us look at the issue from an objective stand point. My reservations in accepting the narratives, on the basis of which, Ayeshas (ra) age at the time of her marriage with the Prophet (pbuh) is held to be nine years are:

          Most of these narratives are reported only by Hisham ibn `urwah 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.
          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 in Medinah for seventy one years.
          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 Hisham which were reported through people of Iraq. (vol 11, pg 48 - 51)
          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)
          According to the generally accepted tradition, Ayesha (ra) was born about eight years before Hijrah. But according to another narrative in Bukhari (kitabu'l-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 before Hijrah. 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 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 we should not accept this narrative to be more accurate.
          According to a number of narratives, Ayesha (ra) accompanied the Muslims in the battle of Badr and Uhud. Furthermore, it is also reported in books of hadith and history that no one under the age of 15 years was allowed to take part in the battle of Uhud. All the boys below 15 years of age were sent back. Ayesha's (ra) participation in the battle of Badr and Uhud clearly indicate that she was not nine or ten years old at that time. After all, women used to accompany men to the battle fields to help them, not to be a burden on them.
          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 Taqri'bu'l-tehzi'b as well as Al-bidayah wa'l-nihayah that Asma (ra) died in 73 hijrah when she was 100 years old. Now, obviously if Asma (ra) was 100 years old in 73 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.
          Tabari in his treatise on Islamic history, while mentioning Abu Bakr (ra) reports that Abu Bakr had four children and all four were born during the Jahiliyyah -- the pre Islamic period. Obviously, if Ayesha (ra) was born in the period of jahiliyyah, she could not have been less than 14 years in 1 AH -- the time she most likely got married.
          According to Ibn Hisham, the historian, Ayesha (ra) accepted Islam quite some time before Umar ibn Khattab (ra). This shows that Ayesha (ra) accepted Islam during the first year of Islam. While, if the narrative of Ayesha's (ra) marriage at seven years of age is held to be true, Ayesha (ra) should not have been born during the first year of Islam.
          Tabari has also reported that at the time Abu Bakr planned on migrating to Habshah (8 years before Hijrah), he went to Mut`am -- with whose son Ayesha (ra) was engaged -- and asked him to take Ayesha (ra) in his house as his son's wife. Mut`am refused, because Abu Bakr had embraced Islam, and 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 Bakr decided 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.
          According to a narrative reported by Ahmad ibn Hanbal, after the death of Khadijah (ra), when Khaulah (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".
          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.


          These are some of the major points that go against accepting the commonly known narrative regarding Ayesha's (ra) age at the time of her marriage.

          In my opinion, neither was it an Arab tradition to give away girls in marriage at an age as young as nine or ten years, nor did the Prophet (pbuh) marry Ayesha (ra) at such a young age. The people of Arabia did not object to this marriage, because it never happened in the manner it has been narrated.

          I hope I have been of some help.

          Best Regards

          The Learner


          A Response to "What was Ayesha's Age..."

          Thanks for the email. But I find it woefully lacking in actual quotes. The response is filled with "so and so said such and such". That doesn't cut it. In my paper, that deals with Aisha and her age, I not only say who says what, but I provide the entire quote. You need to do the same. And, the man which the paper was quoting from refers to Tabari. Well, Tabari also says Aisha was 9... did your "learned" one miss that? If you need the reference, check my paper. Further, I also quote from Bukhari, and there are many quotes concerning Aisha's age in that. Bukhari is the most highly respected hadith, so, you're going to have to do better then conjecture and assumptions. Finally, there is Abu Dawud's quote as well.... all exclusively saying Aisha was 9. Don't forget, Islamic custom says men can marry girls after their first menstruation. Girls today have them as young as age 9. If you could find that actual quotes from the author's your scholar is quoting from, that would be beneficial. Otherwise, his arugement is only hot air; it lacks real substance.


          Reply

          My answer was for your satisfaction, not for a debate, and I therefore avoided all the actual quotes. I am extremely sorry for that.

          In any case, I provide below my references as well as my answers to the "comments" of your Christian friend:

          The First Argument

          My first argument was:

          Most of these narratives are reported only by Hisham ibn `urwah 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.

          I am sure your Christian friend can see that this argument does not need any reference. It is a simple fact.

          The Second Argument

          My second argument was:

          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 [from him], 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 in Medinah for seventy one years.

          Again, the argument that all those who heard this narrative from Hisham ibn `urwah were Iraqis, is a simple statement of fact. This can be checked in the biographical sketches of these narrators in any of the books written on the narrators.

          The Third Argument

          My third argument was:

          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 Hisham which were reported through people of Iraq. (vol 11, pg 48 - 51)



          The actual statements, their translations and their complete references are given below:

          i.e. "Yaqub ibn Shaibah says: He [Hisham] is highly reliable, his narratives are acceptable, except what he narrated after moving over to Iraq." (Tehzi'bu'l-tehzi'b, Ibn Hajar Al-`asqala'ni, Arabic, Dar Ihya al-turath al-Islami, Vol 11, pg 50)

          i.e. "I 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)

          The Fourth Argument

          My fourth argument was:

          Mizanu'l-ai`tidal, another book on the [life sketches of 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)

          The actual statement, its translation and its complete references is given below:

          i.e. "when he was old, Hisham's memory suffered quite badly" (Mizanu'l-ai`tidal, Al-Zahbi, Arabic, Al-Maktabatu'l-athriyyah, Sheikhupura, Pakistan, Vol 4, pg 301)

          The Fifth Argument

          My fifth argument was:

          According to the generally accepted tradition, Ayesha (ra) was born about eight years before Hijrah. But according to another narrative in Bukhari (kitabu'l-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 before Hijrah. 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 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 we should not accept this narrative to be more accurate.

          The actual statements referred to in the above paragraph, their translations and their complete references are given below:

          i.e. "Ayesha (ra) said: I was a young girl, when verse 46 of Surah Al-Qamar, [the 54th chapter of the Qur'an], was revealed. (Sahih Bukhari, kitabu'l-tafsir, Arabic, Bab Qaulihi Bal al-sa`atu Maw`iduhum wa'l-sa`atu adha' wa amarr)

          The Sixth Argument

          My sixth argument was:

          According to a number of narratives, Ayesha (ra) accompanied the Muslims in the battle of Badr and Uhud. Furthermore, it is also reported in books of hadith and history that no one under the age of 15 years was allowed to take part in the battle of Uhud. All the boys below 15 years of age were sent back. Ayesha's (ra) participation in the battle of Badr and Uhud clearly indicate that she was not nine or ten years old at that time. After all, women used to accompany men to the battle fields to help them, not to be a burden on them.

          A narrative regarding Ayesha's (ra) participation in Badr is given in Muslim, Kitabu'l-jihad wa'l-siyar, Arabic, Bab karahiyati'l-isti`anah fi'l-ghazwi bikafir. Ayesha (ra) while narrating the journey to Badr and one of the important events that took place in that journey, says:


          i.e. "when we reached Shajarah". It is quite obvious from these words that Ayesha (ra) was with the group travelling towards Badr.

          A narrative regarding Ayesha's (ra) participation in the battle of `uhud is given in Bukhari, Kitabu'l-jihad wa'l-siyar, Arabic, Bab Ghazwi'l-nisa' wa qitalihinna ma`a'lrijal.

          i.e. "Anas reports that On the day of Uhud, people could not stand their ground around the Prophet (pbuh). [On that day,] I saw Ayesha (ra) and Umm-i-Sulaim (ra), they had pulled their dress up from their feet [to avoid any hinderance in their movement]."

          As far as the fact that children below 15 years were sent back and were not allowed to particpate in the battle of `uhud, it is narrated in Bukhari, Kitabu'l-maghazi, Bab ghazwati'l-khandaq wa hiya'l-ahza'b, Arabic. i.e. "Ibn `umar (ra) states that the Prophet (pbuh) did not permit me to participate in Uhud, as at that time, I was fourteen years old. But on the day of Khandaq, when I was fifteen years old, the Prophet (pbuh) permitted my participation."


          The Seventh Argument

          My seventh argument was:

          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 Taqri'bu'l-tehzi'b as well as Al-bidayah wa'l-nihayah that Asma (ra) died in 73 hijrah when she was 100 years old. Now, obviously if Asma (ra) was 100 years old in 73 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.

          The relevant references required in this argument are provided below:

          For the Difference of Ayesha's (ra) and Asma's (ra) Age
          According to Abda'l-Rahman ibn abi zanna'd:

          i.e. Asma (ra) was ten years older than Ayesha. (Siyar A`la'ma'l-nubala', Al-Zahabi, Vol 2, Pg 289, Arabic, Mu'assasatu'l-risalah, Beirut, 1992)

          According to Ibn Kathir:
          i.e. "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)


          For Asma's (ra) Age at Her Death in 73 AH
          According to Ibn Kathir:

          i.e. "She [Asma] saw the killing of her son during that year [i.e. 73 AH], as we have already mentioned, five days later she herself died, according to other narratives her death was not five but ten or twenty or a few days over twenty or a hundred days later. The most well known narrative is that of hundred days later. At the time of her death, she was 100 years old." (Al-Bidayah wa'l-nihayah, Ibn Kathir, Vol 8, Pg 372, Arabic, Dar al-fikr al-`arabi, Al-jizah, 1933)

          According to Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani:

          i.e. "She [Asma (ra)] lived a hundred years and died in 73 or 74 AH." (Taqribu'l-tehzib, Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani, Pg 654, Arabic, Bab fi'l-nisa', al-harfu'l-alif, Lucknow)

          The Eighth Argument

          My eighth argument was:

          Tabari in his treatise on Islamic history, while mentioning Abu Bakr (ra) reports that Abu Bakr had four children and all four were born during the Jahiliyyah -- the pre Islamic period. Obviously, if Ayesha (ra) was born in the period of jahiliyyah, she could not have been less than 14 years in 1 AH -- the time she most likely got married.

          The original statement in Tabari, its translation and reference follows:
          i.e. "All four of his [Abu Bakr's] children were born of his two wives -- the names of whom we have already mentioned -- during the pre-Islamic period."(Tarikhu'l-umam wa'l-mamlu'k, Al-Tabari, Vol 4, Pg 50, Arabic, Dara'l-fikr, Beirut, 1979)

          The Ninth Argument

          My ninth argument was:

          According to Ibn Hisham, the historian, Ayesha (ra) accepted Islam quite some time before `umar ibn al-Khattab (ra). This shows that Ayesha (ra) accepted Islam during the first year of Islam. While, if the narrative of Ayesha's (ra) marriage at seven years of age is held to be true, Ayesha (ra) should not have been born during the first year of Islam.

          According to Ibn Hisham, Ayesha (ra) was the 20th or the 21st person to enter into the folds of Islam (Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, Ibn Hisham, Vol 1, Pg 227 - 234, Arabic, Maktabah al-Riyadh al-hadithah, Al-Riyadh) While `umar ibn al-khattab was preceded by forty individuals (Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, Ibn Hisham, Vol 1, Pg 295, Arabic, Maktabah al-Riyadh al-hadithah, Al-Riyadh).

          The Tenth Argument

          My tenth argument was:

          Tabari has also reported that at the time Abu Bakr planned on migrating to Habshah (8 years before Hijrah), he went to Mut`am -- with whose son Ayesha (ra) was engaged -- and asked him to take Ayesha (ra) in his house as his son's wife. Mut`am refused, because Abu Bakr had embraced Islam, and 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 Bakr decided 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.

          Unfortunately, I do not have the primary reference to this argument at the moment. The secondary reference for this argument is: Tehqiq e umar e Siddiqah e Ka'inat, Habib ur Rahman Kandhalwi, Urdu, Pg 38, Anjuman Uswa e hasanah, Karachi, Pakistan

          The Eleventh Argument

          My eleventh argument was:

          According to a narrative reported by Ahmad ibn Hanbal, after the death of Khadijah (ra), when Khaulah (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".

          The complete reference for this reporting of Ahmad ibn Hanbal is: Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol 6, Pg 210, Arabic, Dar Ihya al-turath al-`arabi, Beirut.

          The Twelfth Argument

          My twelfth argument was:

          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.

          Ibn Hajar's original statement, its translation and reference follows:
          i.e. Fatimah (ra) was born at the time the Ka`bah was rebuilt, when the Prophet (pbuh) was 35 years old... she (Fatimah) was five years older that Ayesha (ra). (Al-isabah fi tamyizi'l-sahabah, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Vol 4, Pg 377, Arabic, Maktabatu'l-Riyadh al-haditha, al-Riyadh, 1978)

          These are all the references for the material I provided in my initial response.

          Your Christian friend, besides asking for these references has also briefly commented on my reply, he writes:

          And, the man which the paper was quoting from refers to Tabari. Well, Tabari also says Aisha was 9... did your "learned" one miss that? If you need the reference, check my paper.

          Further, I also quote from Bukhari, and there are many quotes concerning Aisha's age in that. Bukhari is the most highly respected hadith, so, you're going to have to do better then conjecture and assumptions.

          Finally, there is Abu Dawud's quote as well.... all exclusively saying Aisha was 9.

          It seems that your friend has missed out on my point on Hisham ibn `urwah. He seems to be unaware of the fact that each one of his quoted statement, whether it is from Tabari, Bukhari, Muslim or Abu Dawud, is either narrated by Hisham ibn `urwah or is reported to the respective author by or through an Iraqi. Not even a single narrative is free from either of the two problems.

          I have quoted Tabari, Bukhari and Muslim to show that even their own information contradicts with the narrative regarding Ayesha's (ra) age. Thus, when the narrative of Ayesha's (ra) age is not reliable and when there is information in the same books that contradicts the narrative of Ayesha's age, I see absolutely no reason to believe that the information on Ayesha's (ra) age is accepted (when there are adequate grounds to reject it) and other (contradictory) information is rejected (when there is no ground to reject it).

          Regards,

          The Learner

          *The answer to this question is primarily based on the research by Habib ur Rahman Kandhalwi (urdu) as presented in his booklet, "Tehqiq e umar e Siddiqah e Ka'inat", Anjuman Uswa e hasanah, Karachi, Pakistan

          More on Ayesha's Age

          I would like to see your response to the following which is relevant to Aisha's age question of your site.

          http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olym...03/aishah.html

          An Intermediate Response...

          I have read the referred article. I really do not think that it needs any reply from my side, as it relies on the very sources that I have presented my reservations upon. In case it has raised any questions in your mind, I shall be glad to answer them. But without any specific questions I really don't see any reason why I should write any thing else on the issue.

          regards

          The Learner


          Clarification

          You state in your article that the hadith of Aisha's age is narrated by only one narrator, Hisham ibn `urwah, after he moved to Iraq at the age of 71.

          But according to Robert Squires:

          "... two were narrated from 'Aishah (7:64 and 7:65), one from Abu Hishaam (5:236) and one via 'Urwa (7:88). All three of the ahadith in Saheeh Muslim have 'Aishah as a narrator. Additionally, all of the ahadith in both books agree that the marriage betrothal contract took place when 'Aishah was "six years old", but was not consummated until she was "nine years old".

          I would like to see some clarification on this point.

          Thanks.

          Reply

          I would first of all like to make a small (part) correction to the the first point in my article. I had written:

          Most of these narratives are reported only by Hisham ibn `urwah 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.

          In fact, although it is Hisham ibn `Urwah who is reporting most of these narratives, but it is not him, but his father `Urwah who is common in all these narratives. It must be remembered that when I say that all these narratives have been reported through `Urwah, it means that it is only the narratives of `Urwah in which the chain of narrators are acceptably strong. Besides the narratives of `Urwah, there do exist five other chains of narrators reporting the same thing, but those chains include people who have either been strongly or lightly criticised by the some of the scholars and compilers of the lives of the reporters of Hadith.

          Even though this correction of names from Hisham ibn `Urwah to his father, `Urwah does not have much of an effect on my arguments, as my statement: "...An event as well known as the one being reported, should logically have been reported by more people than just one, two or three" holds good in both the cases. Other facts that do not change include that there is not a single tradition that comes with an all-Medinan chain of narrators, where Ayesha spent most of her life. There is hardly (if at all) any exception to the fact that all the chains of this report include one or more Iraqi or one or more Basri in them. This makes the credibility of the reports ascribed to `Urwah's somewhat questionable too.

          Now, let us take a look at the article you have referred to. Besides the point that you have raised, I wish to present my reservations on one more point of this article, that is giving the narratives describing Ayesha's age the status of Sunnah. Let us first take up the point you have raised.

          I had stated previously and have reiterated here that all the dependable narratives of this report come through one person - `urwah. Mr. Robert Squires, on the other hand states:

          Of the four ahadith in Saheeh al-Bukhari, two were narrated from 'Aishah (7:64 and 7:65), one from Abu Hishaam (5:236) and one via 'Ursa (7:88). All three of the ahadith in Saheeh Muslim have 'Aishah as a narrator.

          I think there is a spelling error in this statement of Mr. Squires. It seems that the name of the third narrator should be `Urwah or `Urwa rather than `Ursa. I request Mr. Squires to correct me if I am wrong. Another thing that needs to be clarified is that Abu Hishaam and `Urwah are the same person. `Urwah, because of his son Hishaam, was also called Abu Hishaam, according to the Arab tradition.

          In response to your question on the apparent contradiction in my statement when compared with that of Mr. Squires', I would only like to say that it is just a case of a simple misunderstanding. This misunderstanding can easily be removed by a little more understanding of the two statements.

          When Mr. Squires states that these reports come to us from different sources, he is really considering only the first person (sahabi or ta'bi`y) in the chain of narrators of these reports. On the other hand, when I say that these reports are only (or mostly) reported by one narrator only, it means that even though the first person in the chain of these reports changes there is common narrator in all these reports. Just to clarify, take the example of the four reportings of Sahih Bukhari. According to Mr Squires: "Of the four ahadith in Saheeh al-Bukhari, two were narrated from 'Aishah (7:64 and 7:65), one from Abu Hishaam (5:236) and one via 'Ursa [`Urwa or `Urwah??] (7:88)." Now if you consider Mr. Squires' statement, he is only referring to the first person in the chain of narrators in his statement. The statement is not wrong or misquoted. But on the other hand, if you take a look at the chain of narrators of the four reportings of Sahih Bukhari, you shall see that in the first two cases, Ayesha's (ra) statement has been quoted by none other than `Urwah - Abu Hishaam (the father of Hishaam). In the later two cases, it is (Mr. Squires is requested to correct me if I am mistaken) `Urwah - Abu Hishaam - who is being referred to by Mr. Squires.

          I think the above explanation should suffice as clarification that you desired.

          Mr. Squires has also implied in his referred article that these narratives describing Ayesha's (ra) age are a part of the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). He states:

          At this point, it should be mentioned that it is absolutely pointless from an Islamic standpoint to say that the age of 'Aishah is "not found in the Qur'an", since the textual sources of Islam are made up of both the Qur'an and the Sunnah - and the Qur'an tells us that.

          Mr. Squires has also referred to an article by Mr. Suhaib Hasan (http://home.att.net/~r-squires/sunnah.htm) in which Mr. Hasan has defined Sunnah as:

          ... the Sunnah includes the sayings of the Prophet, peace be upon him, known commonly as hadiths (i.e. sayings), his practices, and actions which gained his approval.

          In my view, the above statement, though commonly accepted by Muslims, does not accurately describe Sunnah. But for the purpose of this discussion, let us take this to be an accurate explanation of Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). But even then, the narratives describing Ayesha's (ra) age at the time of her marriage do not fall under the scope of Sunnah. Obviously, the narrative of Ayesha's (ra) age at the time of her marriage is not a part of "the sayings of the Prophet, (peace be upon him)", it cannot be termed as the Prophet's "practices" and neither can it be included in the "actions which gained his approval". The narrative of Ayesha's age is just a narrative of a historical event. Just because it has been reported by Bukhari and Muslim, does not change its status from being a narrative of a historical event to a Sunnah. Because of this fact, this narrative should be seen in the light of all other narratives of historical events which have been reported by Bukhari, Muslim and other historians of Islam. This is exactly what I have tried to do in my article from point number 5 to 12.

          In the presence of all these historical narratives that contradict the narrative of Ayesha's age at the time of her marriage, any one who wants to prove that Ayesha (ra) was nine years at the time of consummation of her marriage has the responsibility of telling others why is he rejecting all the other historical narratives and accepting only the one that states Ayesha's age to be nine at the time of her marriage
          Please Re-update your Signature

          Comment


            #6
            Ayesha was 19 and not 9 years of Age when she got married to the Prophet Muhammad(saw

            taken from:
            http://www.geocities.com/WestHollywo...was_ayesha.htm



            What was Ayesha's (ra) age at the time of her marriage?

            It is normally believed that she was nine years old at the time of her marriage with Mohammad (sws) was consummated. I do think it was according to the traditions of the Arab culture, as otherwise people would have objected to this marriage. But unfortunately, the modern day man is not satisfied with an answer as simple as that.

            Reply*

            To begin with, I think it is the responsibility of all those who believe that marrying a girl as young as nine years old was an accepted norm of the Arab culture, to provide at least a few examples to substantiate their point of view. I have not yet been able to find a single dependable instance in the books of Arab history where a girl as young as nine years old was given away in marriage. Unless such examples are given, we do not have any reasonable grounds to believe that it really was an accepted norm.

            In my opinion, the age of Ayesha (ra) has been grossly mis-reported in the ahadith. Not only that, I think that the narratives reporting this event are not only highly unreliable but also that on the basis of other historical data, the event reported, is quite an unlikely happening. Let us look at the issue from an objective stand point. My reservations in accepting the narratives, on the basis of which, Ayeshas (ra) age at the time of her marriage with the Prophet (pbuh) is held to be nine years are:

            Most of these narratives are reported only by Hisham ibn `urwah 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.
            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 in Medinah for seventy one years.
            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 Hisham which were reported through people of Iraq. (vol 11, pg 48 - 51)
            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)
            According to the generally accepted tradition, Ayesha (ra) was born about eight years before Hijrah. But according to another narrative in Bukhari (kitabu'l-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 before Hijrah. 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 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 we should not accept this narrative to be more accurate.
            According to a number of narratives, Ayesha (ra) accompanied the Muslims in the battle of Badr and Uhud. Furthermore, it is also reported in books of hadith and history that no one under the age of 15 years was allowed to take part in the battle of Uhud. All the boys below 15 years of age were sent back. Ayesha's (ra) participation in the battle of Badr and Uhud clearly indicate that she was not nine or ten years old at that time. After all, women used to accompany men to the battle fields to help them, not to be a burden on them.
            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 Taqri'bu'l-tehzi'b as well as Al-bidayah wa'l-nihayah that Asma (ra) died in 73 hijrah when she was 100 years old. Now, obviously if Asma (ra) was 100 years old in 73 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.
            Tabari in his treatise on Islamic history, while mentioning Abu Bakr (ra) reports that Abu Bakr had four children and all four were born during the Jahiliyyah -- the pre Islamic period. Obviously, if Ayesha (ra) was born in the period of jahiliyyah, she could not have been less than 14 years in 1 AH -- the time she most likely got married.
            According to Ibn Hisham, the historian, Ayesha (ra) accepted Islam quite some time before Umar ibn Khattab (ra). This shows that Ayesha (ra) accepted Islam during the first year of Islam. While, if the narrative of Ayesha's (ra) marriage at seven years of age is held to be true, Ayesha (ra) should not have been born during the first year of Islam.
            Tabari has also reported that at the time Abu Bakr planned on migrating to Habshah (8 years before Hijrah), he went to Mut`am -- with whose son Ayesha (ra) was engaged -- and asked him to take Ayesha (ra) in his house as his son's wife. Mut`am refused, because Abu Bakr had embraced Islam, and 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 Bakr decided 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.
            According to a narrative reported by Ahmad ibn Hanbal, after the death of Khadijah (ra), when Khaulah (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".
            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.


            These are some of the major points that go against accepting the commonly known narrative regarding Ayesha's (ra) age at the time of her marriage.

            In my opinion, neither was it an Arab tradition to give away girls in marriage at an age as young as nine or ten years, nor did the Prophet (pbuh) marry Ayesha (ra) at such a young age. The people of Arabia did not object to this marriage, because it never happened in the manner it has been narrated.

            I hope I have been of some help.

            Best Regards

            The Learner


            A Response to "What was Ayesha's Age..."

            Thanks for the email. But I find it woefully lacking in actual quotes. The response is filled with "so and so said such and such". That doesn't cut it. In my paper, that deals with Aisha and her age, I not only say who says what, but I provide the entire quote. You need to do the same. And, the man which the paper was quoting from refers to Tabari. Well, Tabari also says Aisha was 9... did your "learned" one miss that? If you need the reference, check my paper. Further, I also quote from Bukhari, and there are many quotes concerning Aisha's age in that. Bukhari is the most highly respected hadith, so, you're going to have to do better then conjecture and assumptions. Finally, there is Abu Dawud's quote as well.... all exclusively saying Aisha was 9. Don't forget, Islamic custom says men can marry girls after their first menstruation. Girls today have them as young as age 9. If you could find that actual quotes from the author's your scholar is quoting from, that would be beneficial. Otherwise, his arugement is only hot air; it lacks real substance.


            Reply

            My answer was for your satisfaction, not for a debate, and I therefore avoided all the actual quotes. I am extremely sorry for that.

            In any case, I provide below my references as well as my answers to the "comments" of your Christian friend:

            The First Argument

            My first argument was:

            Most of these narratives are reported only by Hisham ibn `urwah 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.

            I am sure your Christian friend can see that this argument does not need any reference. It is a simple fact.

            The Second Argument

            My second argument was:

            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 [from him], 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 in Medinah for seventy one years.

            Again, the argument that all those who heard this narrative from Hisham ibn `urwah were Iraqis, is a simple statement of fact. This can be checked in the biographical sketches of these narrators in any of the books written on the narrators.

            The Third Argument

            My third argument was:

            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 Hisham which were reported through people of Iraq. (vol 11, pg 48 - 51)



            The actual statements, their translations and their complete references are given below:

            i.e. "Yaqub ibn Shaibah says: He [Hisham] is highly reliable, his narratives are acceptable, except what he narrated after moving over to Iraq." (Tehzi'bu'l-tehzi'b, Ibn Hajar Al-`asqala'ni, Arabic, Dar Ihya al-turath al-Islami, Vol 11, pg 50)

            i.e. "I 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)

            The Fourth Argument

            My fourth argument was:

            Mizanu'l-ai`tidal, another book on the [life sketches of 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)

            The actual statement, its translation and its complete references is given below:

            i.e. "when he was old, Hisham's memory suffered quite badly" (Mizanu'l-ai`tidal, Al-Zahbi, Arabic, Al-Maktabatu'l-athriyyah, Sheikhupura, Pakistan, Vol 4, pg 301)

            The Fifth Argument

            My fifth argument was:

            According to the generally accepted tradition, Ayesha (ra) was born about eight years before Hijrah. But according to another narrative in Bukhari (kitabu'l-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 before Hijrah. 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 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 we should not accept this narrative to be more accurate.

            The actual statements referred to in the above paragraph, their translations and their complete references are given below:

            i.e. "Ayesha (ra) said: I was a young girl, when verse 46 of Surah Al-Qamar, [the 54th chapter of the Qur'an], was revealed. (Sahih Bukhari, kitabu'l-tafsir, Arabic, Bab Qaulihi Bal al-sa`atu Maw`iduhum wa'l-sa`atu adha' wa amarr)

            The Sixth Argument

            My sixth argument was:

            According to a number of narratives, Ayesha (ra) accompanied the Muslims in the battle of Badr and Uhud. Furthermore, it is also reported in books of hadith and history that no one under the age of 15 years was allowed to take part in the battle of Uhud. All the boys below 15 years of age were sent back. Ayesha's (ra) participation in the battle of Badr and Uhud clearly indicate that she was not nine or ten years old at that time. After all, women used to accompany men to the battle fields to help them, not to be a burden on them.

            A narrative regarding Ayesha's (ra) participation in Badr is given in Muslim, Kitabu'l-jihad wa'l-siyar, Arabic, Bab karahiyati'l-isti`anah fi'l-ghazwi bikafir. Ayesha (ra) while narrating the journey to Badr and one of the important events that took place in that journey, says:


            i.e. "when we reached Shajarah". It is quite obvious from these words that Ayesha (ra) was with the group travelling towards Badr.

            A narrative regarding Ayesha's (ra) participation in the battle of `uhud is given in Bukhari, Kitabu'l-jihad wa'l-siyar, Arabic, Bab Ghazwi'l-nisa' wa qitalihinna ma`a'lrijal.

            i.e. "Anas reports that On the day of Uhud, people could not stand their ground around the Prophet (pbuh). [On that day,] I saw Ayesha (ra) and Umm-i-Sulaim (ra), they had pulled their dress up from their feet [to avoid any hinderance in their movement]."

            As far as the fact that children below 15 years were sent back and were not allowed to particpate in the battle of `uhud, it is narrated in Bukhari, Kitabu'l-maghazi, Bab ghazwati'l-khandaq wa hiya'l-ahza'b, Arabic. i.e. "Ibn `umar (ra) states that the Prophet (pbuh) did not permit me to participate in Uhud, as at that time, I was fourteen years old. But on the day of Khandaq, when I was fifteen years old, the Prophet (pbuh) permitted my participation."


            The Seventh Argument

            My seventh argument was:

            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 Taqri'bu'l-tehzi'b as well as Al-bidayah wa'l-nihayah that Asma (ra) died in 73 hijrah when she was 100 years old. Now, obviously if Asma (ra) was 100 years old in 73 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.

            The relevant references required in this argument are provided below:

            For the Difference of Ayesha's (ra) and Asma's (ra) Age
            According to Abda'l-Rahman ibn abi zanna'd:

            i.e. Asma (ra) was ten years older than Ayesha. (Siyar A`la'ma'l-nubala', Al-Zahabi, Vol 2, Pg 289, Arabic, Mu'assasatu'l-risalah, Beirut, 1992)

            According to Ibn Kathir:
            i.e. "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)


            For Asma's (ra) Age at Her Death in 73 AH
            According to Ibn Kathir:

            i.e. "She [Asma] saw the killing of her son during that year [i.e. 73 AH], as we have already mentioned, five days later she herself died, according to other narratives her death was not five but ten or twenty or a few days over twenty or a hundred days later. The most well known narrative is that of hundred days later. At the time of her death, she was 100 years old." (Al-Bidayah wa'l-nihayah, Ibn Kathir, Vol 8, Pg 372, Arabic, Dar al-fikr al-`arabi, Al-jizah, 1933)

            According to Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani:

            i.e. "She [Asma (ra)] lived a hundred years and died in 73 or 74 AH." (Taqribu'l-tehzib, Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani, Pg 654, Arabic, Bab fi'l-nisa', al-harfu'l-alif, Lucknow)

            The Eighth Argument

            My eighth argument was:

            Tabari in his treatise on Islamic history, while mentioning Abu Bakr (ra) reports that Abu Bakr had four children and all four were born during the Jahiliyyah -- the pre Islamic period. Obviously, if Ayesha (ra) was born in the period of jahiliyyah, she could not have been less than 14 years in 1 AH -- the time she most likely got married.

            The original statement in Tabari, its translation and reference follows:
            i.e. "All four of his [Abu Bakr's] children were born of his two wives -- the names of whom we have already mentioned -- during the pre-Islamic period."(Tarikhu'l-umam wa'l-mamlu'k, Al-Tabari, Vol 4, Pg 50, Arabic, Dara'l-fikr, Beirut, 1979)

            The Ninth Argument

            My ninth argument was:

            According to Ibn Hisham, the historian, Ayesha (ra) accepted Islam quite some time before `umar ibn al-Khattab (ra). This shows that Ayesha (ra) accepted Islam during the first year of Islam. While, if the narrative of Ayesha's (ra) marriage at seven years of age is held to be true, Ayesha (ra) should not have been born during the first year of Islam.

            According to Ibn Hisham, Ayesha (ra) was the 20th or the 21st person to enter into the folds of Islam (Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, Ibn Hisham, Vol 1, Pg 227 - 234, Arabic, Maktabah al-Riyadh al-hadithah, Al-Riyadh) While `umar ibn al-khattab was preceded by forty individuals (Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, Ibn Hisham, Vol 1, Pg 295, Arabic, Maktabah al-Riyadh al-hadithah, Al-Riyadh).

            The Tenth Argument

            My tenth argument was:

            Tabari has also reported that at the time Abu Bakr planned on migrating to Habshah (8 years before Hijrah), he went to Mut`am -- with whose son Ayesha (ra) was engaged -- and asked him to take Ayesha (ra) in his house as his son's wife. Mut`am refused, because Abu Bakr had embraced Islam, and 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 Bakr decided 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.

            Unfortunately, I do not have the primary reference to this argument at the moment. The secondary reference for this argument is: Tehqiq e umar e Siddiqah e Ka'inat, Habib ur Rahman Kandhalwi, Urdu, Pg 38, Anjuman Uswa e hasanah, Karachi, Pakistan

            The Eleventh Argument

            My eleventh argument was:

            According to a narrative reported by Ahmad ibn Hanbal, after the death of Khadijah (ra), when Khaulah (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".

            The complete reference for this reporting of Ahmad ibn Hanbal is: Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol 6, Pg 210, Arabic, Dar Ihya al-turath al-`arabi, Beirut.

            The Twelfth Argument

            My twelfth argument was:

            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.

            Ibn Hajar's original statement, its translation and reference follows:
            i.e. Fatimah (ra) was born at the time the Ka`bah was rebuilt, when the Prophet (pbuh) was 35 years old... she (Fatimah) was five years older that Ayesha (ra). (Al-isabah fi tamyizi'l-sahabah, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Vol 4, Pg 377, Arabic, Maktabatu'l-Riyadh al-haditha, al-Riyadh, 1978)

            These are all the references for the material I provided in my initial response.

            Your Christian friend, besides asking for these references has also briefly commented on my reply, he writes:

            And, the man which the paper was quoting from refers to Tabari. Well, Tabari also says Aisha was 9... did your "learned" one miss that? If you need the reference, check my paper.

            Further, I also quote from Bukhari, and there are many quotes concerning Aisha's age in that. Bukhari is the most highly respected hadith, so, you're going to have to do better then conjecture and assumptions.

            Finally, there is Abu Dawud's quote as well.... all exclusively saying Aisha was 9.

            It seems that your friend has missed out on my point on Hisham ibn `urwah. He seems to be unaware of the fact that each one of his quoted statement, whether it is from Tabari, Bukhari, Muslim or Abu Dawud, is either narrated by Hisham ibn `urwah or is reported to the respective author by or through an Iraqi. Not even a single narrative is free from either of the two problems.

            I have quoted Tabari, Bukhari and Muslim to show that even their own information contradicts with the narrative regarding Ayesha's (ra) age. Thus, when the narrative of Ayesha's (ra) age is not reliable and when there is information in the same books that contradicts the narrative of Ayesha's age, I see absolutely no reason to believe that the information on Ayesha's (ra) age is accepted (when there are adequate grounds to reject it) and other (contradictory) information is rejected (when there is no ground to reject it).

            Regards,

            The Learner

            *The answer to this question is primarily based on the research by Habib ur Rahman Kandhalwi (urdu) as presented in his booklet, "Tehqiq e umar e Siddiqah e Ka'inat", Anjuman Uswa e hasanah, Karachi, Pakistan

            More on Ayesha's Age

            I would like to see your response to the following which is relevant to Aisha's age question of your site.

            http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olym...03/aishah.html

            An Intermediate Response...

            I have read the referred article. I really do not think that it needs any reply from my side, as it relies on the very sources that I have presented my reservations upon. In case it has raised any questions in your mind, I shall be glad to answer them. But without any specific questions I really don't see any reason why I should write any thing else on the issue.

            regards

            The Learner


            Clarification

            You state in your article that the hadith of Aisha's age is narrated by only one narrator, Hisham ibn `urwah, after he moved to Iraq at the age of 71.

            But according to Robert Squires:

            "... two were narrated from 'Aishah (7:64 and 7:65), one from Abu Hishaam (5:236) and one via 'Urwa (7:88). All three of the ahadith in Saheeh Muslim have 'Aishah as a narrator. Additionally, all of the ahadith in both books agree that the marriage betrothal contract took place when 'Aishah was "six years old", but was not consummated until she was "nine years old".

            I would like to see some clarification on this point.

            Thanks.

            Reply

            I would first of all like to make a small (part) correction to the the first point in my article. I had written:

            Most of these narratives are reported only by Hisham ibn `urwah 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.

            In fact, although it is Hisham ibn `Urwah who is reporting most of these narratives, but it is not him, but his father `Urwah who is common in all these narratives. It must be remembered that when I say that all these narratives have been reported through `Urwah, it means that it is only the narratives of `Urwah in which the chain of narrators are acceptably strong. Besides the narratives of `Urwah, there do exist five other chains of narrators reporting the same thing, but those chains include people who have either been strongly or lightly criticised by the some of the scholars and compilers of the lives of the reporters of Hadith.

            Even though this correction of names from Hisham ibn `Urwah to his father, `Urwah does not have much of an effect on my arguments, as my statement: "...An event as well known as the one being reported, should logically have been reported by more people than just one, two or three" holds good in both the cases. Other facts that do not change include that there is not a single tradition that comes with an all-Medinan chain of narrators, where Ayesha spent most of her life. There is hardly (if at all) any exception to the fact that all the chains of this report include one or more Iraqi or one or more Basri in them. This makes the credibility of the reports ascribed to `Urwah's somewhat questionable too.

            Now, let us take a look at the article you have referred to. Besides the point that you have raised, I wish to present my reservations on one more point of this article, that is giving the narratives describing Ayesha's age the status of Sunnah. Let us first take up the point you have raised.

            I had stated previously and have reiterated here that all the dependable narratives of this report come through one person - `urwah. Mr. Robert Squires, on the other hand states:

            Of the four ahadith in Saheeh al-Bukhari, two were narrated from 'Aishah (7:64 and 7:65), one from Abu Hishaam (5:236) and one via 'Ursa (7:88). All three of the ahadith in Saheeh Muslim have 'Aishah as a narrator.

            I think there is a spelling error in this statement of Mr. Squires. It seems that the name of the third narrator should be `Urwah or `Urwa rather than `Ursa. I request Mr. Squires to correct me if I am wrong. Another thing that needs to be clarified is that Abu Hishaam and `Urwah are the same person. `Urwah, because of his son Hishaam, was also called Abu Hishaam, according to the Arab tradition.

            In response to your question on the apparent contradiction in my statement when compared with that of Mr. Squires', I would only like to say that it is just a case of a simple misunderstanding. This misunderstanding can easily be removed by a little more understanding of the two statements.

            When Mr. Squires states that these reports come to us from different sources, he is really considering only the first person (sahabi or ta'bi`y) in the chain of narrators of these reports. On the other hand, when I say that these reports are only (or mostly) reported by one narrator only, it means that even though the first person in the chain of these reports changes there is common narrator in all these reports. Just to clarify, take the example of the four reportings of Sahih Bukhari. According to Mr Squires: "Of the four ahadith in Saheeh al-Bukhari, two were narrated from 'Aishah (7:64 and 7:65), one from Abu Hishaam (5:236) and one via 'Ursa [`Urwa or `Urwah??] (7:88)." Now if you consider Mr. Squires' statement, he is only referring to the first person in the chain of narrators in his statement. The statement is not wrong or misquoted. But on the other hand, if you take a look at the chain of narrators of the four reportings of Sahih Bukhari, you shall see that in the first two cases, Ayesha's (ra) statement has been quoted by none other than `Urwah - Abu Hishaam (the father of Hishaam). In the later two cases, it is (Mr. Squires is requested to correct me if I am mistaken) `Urwah - Abu Hishaam - who is being referred to by Mr. Squires.

            I think the above explanation should suffice as clarification that you desired.

            Mr. Squires has also implied in his referred article that these narratives describing Ayesha's (ra) age are a part of the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). He states:

            At this point, it should be mentioned that it is absolutely pointless from an Islamic standpoint to say that the age of 'Aishah is "not found in the Qur'an", since the textual sources of Islam are made up of both the Qur'an and the Sunnah - and the Qur'an tells us that.

            Mr. Squires has also referred to an article by Mr. Suhaib Hasan (http://home.att.net/~r-squires/sunnah.htm) in which Mr. Hasan has defined Sunnah as:

            ... the Sunnah includes the sayings of the Prophet, peace be upon him, known commonly as hadiths (i.e. sayings), his practices, and actions which gained his approval.

            In my view, the above statement, though commonly accepted by Muslims, does not accurately describe Sunnah. But for the purpose of this discussion, let us take this to be an accurate explanation of Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). But even then, the narratives describing Ayesha's (ra) age at the time of her marriage do not fall under the scope of Sunnah. Obviously, the narrative of Ayesha's (ra) age at the time of her marriage is not a part of "the sayings of the Prophet, (peace be upon him)", it cannot be termed as the Prophet's "practices" and neither can it be included in the "actions which gained his approval". The narrative of Ayesha's age is just a narrative of a historical event. Just because it has been reported by Bukhari and Muslim, does not change its status from being a narrative of a historical event to a Sunnah. Because of this fact, this narrative should be seen in the light of all other narratives of historical events which have been reported by Bukhari, Muslim and other historians of Islam. This is exactly what I have tried to do in my article from point number 5 to 12.

            In the presence of all these historical narratives that contradict the narrative of Ayesha's age at the time of her marriage, any one who wants to prove that Ayesha (ra) was nine years at the time of consummation of her marriage has the responsibility of telling others why is he rejecting all the other historical narratives and accepting only the one that states Ayesha's age to be nine at the time of her marriage
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              #7
              It was a excellent well presented argument.

              Mashallah!
              Accept the changes in your life and they will accept you too

              Comment


                #8
                Salams

                yup thanks for that i was aware of the age...but i dont understand where the age of "9" came from.....somoene obviously misintrepreted it!

                ws
                sajid

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                  #9
                  Very good post....

                  nt
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                    #10
                    she was 6 or 9, but not 19 at marriage

                    Umm Al-Mumineen Aisha Bint Abu Bakr RA
                    AISHA bint Abi Bakr

                    Gradually the Muslims who remained in Mecca left the city and traveled to Medina to join their beloved Prophet, and amongst them was a little girl called 'A'isha, the daughter of Abu Bakr. Soon after arriving in Medina, 'A'isha, who was now nine years old, as married to the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), who was now fifty-four years old. It was at this point that she left her family's household and joined that the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). 'A'isha later reported that the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had told her that Jibril came to him and showed him a picture of her on a piece of green silk and said, "She is your wife in this world and in the next world." About her wedding, she related that shortly before she was to leave her parents' house, she slipped out into the courtyard to play with a friend. "I was playing on a seesaw and my long streaming hair became disheveled," she said. "They came and took me from my play and made me ready." They dressed her in a wedding dress made from fine red striped cloth from Bahrain and then her mother took her to the newly built house where some women of the Ansar were waiting outside the door. They greeted her with the words, "For good and for happiness, may all be well." Then, in the presence of the smiling Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) a bowl of milk was brought. The Prophet drank from it himself and then offered it to 'A'isha. She shyly declined it, but when he insisted she drink as well and then offered the bowl to her sister Asma' who was sitting beside her. The others who were present also drank from it, and that was all there was to the simple and solemn occasion of their wedding.
                    Her marriage to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not change 'A'isha's playful ways, and her young friends continued to regularly come to visit her in her own room. "I would be playing with my dolls," she once said, 'with the girls who were my friends, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would come in and they would slip out of the house and he would go out after them and bring them back, for he was pleased for my sake to have them there." Sometimes he would say, "Stay, where you are," before they had time to leave, and would also join in their games. "One day," 'A'isha said, "the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came in when I was playing with my dolls and said, "'A'isha, whatever game is this?' 'It is Solomon's horses,' I replied, and he laughed." On another occasion, during the days of the Id al Adha, two young girls were with 'A'isha in her room, singing a song about the famous battle of Bu'ath and beating a tambourine in time. "The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came in," said 'A'isha, 'and lay down with his face turned away. Then Abu Bakr came, and scolded me, saying, 'What is this musical instrument of Shaytan doing in the house of the Messenger of Allah?' The Messenger of Allah turned towards him and said, 'Leave them alone, for these are the days of the 'Id.'"
                    After a while, 'A'isha asked the girls to leave, and the Prophet asked 'A'isha whether she would like to watch the Abyssinians who were giving a fighting display with their weapons in the mosque and she said yes. "By Allah," said 'A'isha, "I remember the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) standing at the door of my room, screening me with his cloak, so that I could see the sport of the Abyssinians as they played with their spears in the mosque of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). He kept standing for my sake until I had enough and then I went back in, so you can well imagine how a young girl enjoyed watching this display."
                    Some might have viewed the marriage of Muhammad and 'A'isha as an exceptional marriage, but then the two partners were exceptional people. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was the last of the Prophets and the best of creation; and 'A'isha was a very intelligent and observant young girl with a very good memory. 'A'isha (may Allah be pleased with her) spent the next nine years of her life with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and she grew into womanhood, she remembered all that she saw and heard with great clarity, for to be the wife of the Prophet was even more than extraordinary. So much happened around him - the Quran continued to be revealed, ayat by ayat, and people's hearts were constantly being turned over and transformed, including hers and she was a witness of so much of all that took place. It is not surprising, therefore, that a great deal of the knowledge that we still have today, about how our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) lived and behaved, was first remembered and then taught to others by 'A'isha. It is thanks to this exceptional marriage, between a man nearing the end of his life and a woman still near the beginning of hers, that we know so much about the both of them, and this is what makes it so much easier for those who wish to follow in their footsteps to try and follow their example.
                    Whereas Khadijah was already a wise and mature woman when she married the Prophet Muhammad, 'A'isha was a spirited young girl who still had a great deal to learn when she married the Prophet, (may Allah be pleased with her, and peace be upon him) she was very quick to learn, however, for she had a clear heart, and a quick mind and an accurate memory. She was not afraid to talk back in order to find out the truth or make it known, and whenever she beat someone else in argument, the Prophet would smile and say, "She is the daughter of Abu Bakr!" Musa ibn Talha once said, "I have not seen anyone more eloquent than 'A'isha." 'A'isha (may Allah be pleased with her) became so wise that one of her contemporaries used to say that if the knowledge of 'A'isha were placed on one side of the scales that of all other women on the other, 'A'isha 's side would outweigh the other. She used to sit with the other women and pass on the knowledge that she had received from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and long after he had died, and as long as she lived, she was a source of knowledge and wisdom for both women and men. Abu Musa once said, "Whenever a report appeared doubtful to us, the Companions of the Prophet, and we asked 'A'isha about it, we always learned something from her about it."
                    On one occasion, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to her, "O 'A'isha, here is Jibril giving you greetings of peace." "And on him be peace." She said, 'and the mercy of Allah." When she was telling Abu Salama about this, she added, "He (meaning the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) ) sees what I do not see." As well as being extremely intelligent, 'A'isha became a very graceful young woman. When she first came to live in the Prophet's household as a young girl, a strong and lasting friendship grew up between her and Sawda, and Sawda took care of her along with the rest of the household. When 'A'isha grew up, Sawda, who was by then an old woman, gave up her share of the Prophet's time in favor of 'A'isha and was content to manage his household and be Umm al Mumineen - 'The Mother of the Believers' - a title of respect that was given to all of the wives of the Prophet, (may Allah be pleased with them), which confirmed what the Quran clearly states that no man could marry any of them after they had been married to the Prophet for:
                    The Prophet is closer to the believers than their ownselves, and his wives are as their mothers. (Qur'an: 33:6)
                    O you wives of the Prophet, if any of you is openly indecent, the punishment for her will be doubled - and that is easy for Allah. And whoever of you submits to Allah and His Messenger has right action, We shall give her a reward twice over and We have prepared a generous provision for her. O you wives of the Prophet, you are not like any other women. If you are fearful of Allah then do not be soft in yspeech, lest someone whose heart is sick is attracted to you, but speak words that are wise. And stay quietly in your houses, do not make a dazzling display like that of the time of ignorance before and establish prayer and pay the Zakat and obey Allah and His Messenger. Surely Allah wishes to remove impurity far from you, O People of the House, and to purify you completely. And remember that ayahs of Allah that are recited in your houses and the wisdom. Surely Allah is Alpervading, All Aware. (Quran 33:30-34)
                    It is sometimes difficult to picture what life must have been like for the wives and the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) because the light that emanated from him and through them was so unique. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had no shadow because he was light and this light illuminated the hearts and minds and understanding of his followers, giving them insight without blinding them. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was truly a mercy to all the worlds, and no one with a clean heart could possibly forget this, least of all the Prophet himself.
                    O Prophet, surely We have sent you as a witness and as a bringer of good news and a warner; and one who calls the people to Allah by His permission, and as a shining light. (Quran 33:45-46)
                    It is said that people were awed by the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) when they were in his presence, and that they sat and listened to his words with their eyes lowered, as if they had birds perched on their heads, and that they would do anything for him, so great was their love for him. It was because of the perfection of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that everyone was commanded to ask blessings on him:
                    Allah and His angels pray blessings on the Prophet; O you who believe! Pray blessings of him and ask for peace for him. (Quran 33:56)
                    It was because of the Prophet Muhammad's unique station with Allah that his wives and his Companions were expected by Allah to behave with such respect and courtesy towards the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him); and that his wives could not possibly marry anyone else after having been married to him:
                    When you ask his wives for something, ask them from behind a screen. That is purer for your hearts and for their hearts. It is not for you to cause injury to the Messenger of Allah, or ever marry his wives after him. To do that would be something dreadful in the sight of Allah. (Quran 33:53)
                    During the nine years that 'A'isha was married to the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) she witnessed many of the great events that shaped the destiny of the first Muslim community of Madina al Munawarra: It was during the course of their marriage that she direction of the qibla was changed from Jerusalem to Mecca, thereby more clearly distinguishing the Muslims from the Jews and the Christians, and it was during the course of their marriage that she must have listened to many of the Jews and the Christians an the idol worshippers who came not to listen to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) but to argue with him, in the hope that they could find a plausible excuse to justify their rejection of him. It was through exchange such as these that 'A'isha learned to distinguish what was true from what was false. As the prophetic guidance continued to be revealed through the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), 'A'isha's way of life - along with that of all the Muslims - was gradually reshaped and refined: It was during the course of their marriage that drinking alcohol was finally forbidden, that it was made clear what food was halal and what food was haram, that it became necessary for women to wear the hijab in public and when praying, that the guidance as to how to fast was revealed, that paying the Zakat became obligatory on all Muslims, and that all rites of the hajj were purified and clarified.
                    In fact every aspect of life, from birth to death and everything that happens in between, was illuminated by the way in which the Prophet behaved - and it was this way of behavior, the Sunna, that 'A'isha helped to preserve and protect, not only by embodying it herself, but also by teaching it to others. 'A'isha was once asked to describe the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and she replied that he was 'the Quran walking', meaning that his behavior was the Quran translated into action. She did all that she could to do likewise. Thus she not only knew and embodied the Sunna, but also she memorized the Quran by heart and understood it. It was during the course of their marriage that, amongst others, the battles of Badr, and Uhud, and Al-Khandaq (the Ditch) were fought. These were the three major battles against the Quraish, that shifted the balance of power out of the hands of the kafirun and into the hands of the Muslims. Although she was still very young, 'A'isha participated in them all, bringing water for the Muslims warriors, and helping to look after the wounded. She witnessed life, and she witnessed death - both in the way of Allah and in the way of the kafirun - and she understood both. Indeed one of the meanings of her name, 'A'isha', is 'life'.
                    It was during the course of their marriage that the Jews plotted and tried to kill the Prophet on more than one occasion, without success, and were punished for this. First the Banu Qayunqa and then the Banu Nadir were expelled from Medina; and then Banu Qurayza - who had broken their agreement with the Muslims during the battle of al-Khandaq and conspired to exterminate all of them - were subjected to the punishment that was decided by the man whom they themselves had chosen to judge their actions, Sa'id ibn Mu'adh. In accordance with the commands contained in their own book, the Torah, all the men were killed - with the exception of four who accepted Islam and all the women and children were taken as slaves. It was after this event that another tribe, the Banu al Mustaliq began to prepare to fight the Muslims, and accordingly the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) led an army against them. Often when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) went to war, he took one of his wives with him. He did not choose anyone in particular, but simply drew lots and took the wife whose name came out. When he went to fight the Banu al-Mustaliq, the lot fell to 'A'isha, and she it was who traveled with him.
                    'A'isha who was now thirteen years old, was small, slim, and graceful, so that it was difficult for the men who carried her litter to know for certain whether or not she was actually inside it when they lifted it up. On the way back to Medina, after the Banu al Mustaliq had been subdued, the Muslim army stopped for a rest, but then the Prophet unexpectedly ordered the army to continue the march back. Unknown to everyone else, 'A'isha had stepped out of her litter for a few minutes and had left the camp, seeking some privacy. On her way back she had noticed that her onyx necklace was missing and so she retraced her steps to try and find it. When she had at last found it finally returned to the camp, it was to find that everyone had gone. The men who had been carrying her litter had thought she was still in it, and had picked it up, strapped it to the camel and marched on. 'A'isha, who trusted completely in Allah, sat down, and waited, hoping that someone would notice her absence and come back for her. Fortunately she did not have long to wait, for a young Muslim man named Safwan ibn al-Mu'attal, who had fallen behind the army after taking a rest, reached the camp during the night and found her lying fast asleep. Safwan immediately recognizing her, because he had seen her in the early days before Allah had commanded Muslim women to wear the hijab.
                    "Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un!" - "Surely we come from Allah and surely to Him we return!" he exclaimed in surprise, waking 'A'isha up with the loudness of his voice. He did not say anything else, and a'A'isha put the scarf that had fallen off her head while she was asleep back on, Safwan made his camel kneel down close to her so that she could climb up on to it; and then, leading the camel with his hand, he set off on foot after the army, hoping that they would soon catch up with it which they eventually did later the next morning, since the army had halted for a rest during the hottest part of the day. Unfortunately, some hypocrites who had seen Safwan and 'A'isha arrive alone together began to gossip and spread slanderous lies about them. Eventually the story reached the Prophet himself (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and by then the whole community was talking about what might or might now have happened before the two young Muslims. Naturally the muminun were certain that noting bad had happened, but the munafiqun thought otherwise and were not afraid to insinuate that was the case.
                    As a result of all this gossip, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and his household came under a great strain, and in fact 'A'isha herself fell ill, not because she was aware of what the hypocrites were saying about her, but because the Prophet did not seem to care for her as much as he had done before the campaign against the Banu al Mustaliq. Finally, someone told her what some people were saying. This made 'A'isha even more ill, so with the Prophet's permission, she went to stay at the house of her parents. When she arrived, she said to her mother, Umm Ruman, "Mother! What are the people saying?" She replied "O my daughter! Do not make too much of the business. By Allah, seldom has there been a woman of beauty with a husband who loves her and who has co wives but that people say a lot against her." A'isha said, "Glory be to Allah! The people have really been saying this?" 'A'isha said, "I have spent the entire night until morning unable to stop weeping and could not sleep at all. Morning found me still weeping." In the meantime, when Safwan was confronted with the allegations that had been made, he replied, "Glory be to Allah! By Allah, I have never removed the veil of any woman!" Since there had been no revelation to clarify the matter, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asked Barira, who was 'A'isha 's maid servant, if she had seen anything in 'A'isha' s behavior that was at all doubtful. "By Him who sent you with the truth," she replied, "I have not seen nothing wrong with her, other than that she is a young girl and sometimes she falls asleep while she is kneading the dough and a lamb comes along and eats it!" Some of the companions who were present scolded Barira and told her to come to the point. "Glory be to Allah!" she replied. "I know as much about her as a jeweler knows about a piece of pure gold!"
                    The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) also asked Zaynab bint Jahsh for her opinion, since he valued it highly. Although she and A'isha were frequently at odds with one another and Zaynab's sister Hamna, was the one of those who were actively gossiping and spreading the rumor, she replied without hesitation, "O Messenger of Allah," she said, "I will not repeat anything that I have not heard with my own ears and seen with my own eyes. By Allah, I find nothing in her but goodness."
                    The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) then tried to vindicate A'isha's honor by calling everyone to the mosque and publicly defending her reputation, but the hypocrites who had started the trouble in the first place only made matter worse, so that arguments broke out all over the mosque, and people had almost come to blows over the matter before the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) calmed them down and silenced them.
                    The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) then came to Abu Bakr's house, where A'isha had been crying her heart out, and in the presence of her parents said the shahada, and then continued, "If you are innocent, then Allah Himself will protect your honor, and if by accident there has been a lapse on your part, then seek the forgiveness of Allah and He will pardon you, for when a slave admits a fault and turns to Him in repentance, then Allah also turns and accepts that repentance."
                    A'isha said, "When the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) finished what he was saying, my tears stopped so that I was not aware of a single tear. I said to my father, 'Answer the Messenger of Allah for me regarding what he has said.' He said, 'By Allah, I do not know what to say to the Messenger of Allah,' I said to my mother, 'Answer the Messenger of Allah for me regarding what he has said.' She said, 'By Allah, I do not know what to say to the Messenger of Allah.'"
                    A'isha said, "I am a young girl who does not yet recite much of the Qur'an. By Allah, I know that you have heard this story that people are saying and it has become fixed in yourself and you have believed it. If I were to say to you that I am innocent, you would not believe me. If I were to confess to something to you and Allah knows that I am innocent you would believe me. By Allah, I can only say what the father of Yusuf said, Patience is beautiful, and Allah is my protection against what you describe. (Quran 12:18)" Then I turned over on my bed, Allah knowing that I was innocent and hoping that Allah would proclaim me innocent. However, by Allah, I did not think that any relation would be sent down regarding me. I thought too little of myself that something would be said in the Qur'an regarding me, however I hoped that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would have a dream in which Allah would exonerate me. She had hardly finished speaking when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) received a direct revelation of some more ayahs of the Qur'an, and when it was over, he smiled and said, "Do not worry, 'A'isha, for Allah has revealed proof of your innocence."
                    A'isha's mother, who had been standing next to her, said, "Get up and thank him."
                    "By Allah," exclaimed A'isha, whose title, 'Siddiqa', means 'the truthful one', "I will not thank him and praise him but rather Allah Who has given the revelation that has protected my honor!" Then the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) went to the mosque and recited what had just been sent down:
                    Surely those who fabricate the lie are a group from among you. Do not think it is bad thing for you; no it is good for you. Every man will receive what he has earned for this sin, and whoever had the greater part in it will have a great punishment. Why did the men and women believers, when they heard it, not think good in their selves and say: 'This is clearly a lie?' Why did they not produce four witnesses? Since they did not produce witnesses, they are certainly liars in the sight of Allah. If it were not for the grace of Allah, and His mercy on you in this world and in the next world, an awful doom would have overtaken you for what you repeated. Since you received it with your tongues, and repeated what you did not know anything about with your mouths, you thought it was a trifle, but in the sight of Allah it is serious. Why, when you heard it, did you not say: 'It is not for us to repeat this, Glory be to You (O Allah), this is a serious rumor.' Allah warns you to never repeat anything like this again, if you are indeed believers and Allah makes the signs clear to you; and Allah is Knowing, Wise. Surely those who love to spread around slander about those who believe will have a painful punishment in this world and in the next world; and Allah knows and you do not know. (Quran 24:11-19).
                    A'isha forgave those who had let themselves be caught in the slander and in later years would not hear anything bad said about them. The fact that A'isha' s honor and reputation had been protected by a revelation from Allah could not be ignored by anyone, and from then on everyone was more aware of her high station with Allah. It was also during the course of A'isha's marriage with the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that the Muslim commexpanded so rapidly that Mecca was eventually conquered by the Muslim army, and preparations were made for the first of the many battles that were successfully fought against the Greeks and the Persians after the letters from Muhammad inviting Heraclius and Choroes to embrace Islam and worship Allah alone had been contemptuously ignored.
                    This extraordinary expansion - even the idea of which would, at the time of Khadijah' s death (may Allah be pleased with her) have seemed like a wild dream was heralded, in 6 AH, by the treaty of Hudaybiyya, by virtue of which peace was declared between the Quraish and the Muslims for ten years, and the right of the Muslims to enter Mecca and do 'umra unharmed was recognized by the Quraish.
                    Although the Muslims had to wait for a year before they could do umra, that year was not long in passing, and in the interval the Jews of Khaybar, who like the other Jews around Madina had attempted to destroy the Muslim community by breaking their peace agreement with the Muslims and supporting the idol worshippers were fought and defeated. After the Jews of Khaybar had been defeated, a Jewess managed to serve the Prophet some poisoned meat, which itself informed him that it had been poisoned, so that he only had a small taste of it. Even though one of his companions who had already eaten some of the meat subsequently died, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forgave the Jewess and let her go free.
                    The Jews of Khaybar were permitted to stay on their land provided that they paid a yearly tribute to the Muslims. As a result, some of the Muslims began to grow more wealthy than they had been in the past. Indeed on one occasion, the Prophet's wives, led by 'A'isha and Hafsa, asked him for some money that he did not have for there was never one night that he lay down to sleep with any money in his possession. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was distressed by this not because he did not have the money to give to them, but rather because it was this that apparently they desired.
                    At this time, both Abu Bakr and Umar visited him and they found the Messenger of Allah seated, surrounded by his wives who were all silent. Abu Bakr said to himself, "By Allah, I will say something to cheer up the Messenger of Allah!' So he said, "Messenger of Allah, if I were to see the daughter of Kharija asking me for money, I would strike her on the neck!" The Messenger of Allah smiled and said, 'These ones you see around me have asked me for money." SO Abu Bakr went to grab A'isha and Umar went to grab Hafsa, both exclaiming, "DO you ask the Messenger of Allah for something he does not have!" The women said, "By Allah, we would never ask the Messenger of Allah for something he does not have!"
                    This was not the only marital problem which he experienced at this time. There was a great deal of rivalry between some of the wives and also Hafsa had told A'isha something which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had told her not to disclose because it was something which would increase the friction between the wives. Some sources say that he had told her that Abu Bakr and Umar would rule after him. In any case, he stayed away from them for a whole month, during which many of his Companions began to think either that he was going to divorce them or that he had already done so.
                    IT is related by Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) that he went to visit the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) who was staying alone in a small upper room, in order to find out what was happening. First of all he visited his daughter Hafsa, who was weeping, and asked her if the Prophet had divorced his wives. "I don't know," she sobbed. Then he went and asked to see the Prophet. After he had been given permission to enter, Umar climbed up the ladder and into the small room: "I visited Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and he was lying on a mat. I saw down and he drew up his lower garment over him. He had nothing else on, and the mat had left its marks on his sides. I looked around at what stores Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had, and saw only a handful of barley equal to one sa' and an equal amount of mimosa leaves in the corner of the room and tanned leather bag handing nearby, and I as moved to tears. HE said, 'Ibn al Khattab, what is making you cry?' I replied, 'O Messenger of Allah, how can I not cry? This mat has left marks on your sides and I can only see what I have seen of your stores. Caesar and Chosroes are leading their lives of plenty, while you are the Messenger of Allah, His Chosen One, and look what you have!' 'Ibn al Khattab,' he answered, 'isn't it enough for you that for us there is the next world, and for them there is this world?' 'Yes,' I said. Then I said, 'O Messenger of Allah, what has happened with your wives? If you have divorced them, then truly Allah is with you, and His angels, Jibril and Mika'il, and Abu Bakr and I and the believers are with you.' And seldom have I talked like that and hoped that Allah would testify to the words that I uttered. And so it happened that the ayahs of choice were revealed:
                    If you both turn to Allah in repentance, then that is what your hearts desire; and if you help each other against him then surely Allah Himself is his protector, and Jibril, and the righteous from among the believers, and as well as that, the angels will help him. It maybe, if he divorces you, that his Lord will give him wives who are better than you, who submit, who believe, who are devout, who are repentant, who worship, who fast, whether they have been previously married or are virgins. (Quran 66:4-5)
                    In fact the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) never divorced any of his wives, and as we grow more aware about how they lived, may Allah be pleased with all of them, it is clear that they possessed all of the qualities of the women described in the last ayat. Perhaps this ayat served as a reminder to them, a reminder that they would remember for the rest of their days which for most of them lasted long after the Prophet's (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) death.
                    Returning to Sayyiduna Umar's account of his visit to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) during the month of separation from his wives, Umar then asked, "O Messenger of Allah, have you divorced them?" and he replied, "No." So after talking for a while longer and how in Mecca the men tended to dominate the women, whereas in Medina the women tended to dominate the men, which is what the womenfolk from Mecca had learned to do after they had made hijrah to Medina - Umar climbed down and stood at the door of the mosque and called out at the top of his voice: "The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has not divorced his wives!" After the month was up, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) first went to A'isha's room. She was delighted to see him, but grew more serious when he said that some ayahs had been revealed to him which required him to put two options before her. "Do not make a hasty decision," he said, "and consult your parents first." He then recited these verses:
                    O Prophet, say to your wives: 'If you desire the life of this world and its adornments, then come, and I will make you content, and I will release you with a fair release. But if you desire Allah and His Messenger and the abode of the next world, then truly Allah has prepared an immense reward for those of you who do good.' (Quran 33:28-29)
                    "Is there any need to consult my parents?" replied A'isha. "Indeed I desire Allah and His Messenger and the abode of the next world." And her response was followed by all of his other wives. A'isha remained true to her word both during the lifetime of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and afterwards. Once, when the Muslims were favored with great wealth, she as given a gift of one hundred thousand Dhirhams. She was fasting when she received the money, and distall of it to the poor and needy, even though she had no provisions in her house. Shortly after that, her maid servant said to her, "Couldn't you have brought a dirham's worth of meat with which to break your fast?" "If I had thought of it," she replied, "I would have done so!"
                    After a year had passed following the treaty of Hudaybiyya, the Muslims traveled to Mecca and they were able to complete all the rites of the umra, doing everything as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did it. In accordance with the terms of the treaty, the Muslims left after three days, when their umra had been completed. Not long after this, the Prophet sent an army of three thousand Muslims northwards to the borders of the Byzantine territories in what is now Palestine to chastise the tribes there for killing the messengers whom he had sent to call them to Islam. The tribes called on the Emperor Herclius for support, and when the Muslim army arrived at Muta, they found themselves facing an army of two thousand men. Many of the Muslims died as shahids on the day of the battle, but thanks to the tactics of Khalid bin Walid, the Greeks withdrew the next day, and so the Muslims were able to return to Medina relatively unscathed. When the news of the battle of Muta finally reached Mecca, the Quraish mistakenly believed that the Muslims had been thoroughly defeated by the Greeks and decided to renew their opposition to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). In doing so, they deliberately broke their treaty that they had made at Hudaybiiya, by allowing their allies to attack and kill some of the allies of the Muslims who lived near Mecca.
                    Accordingly the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) marched on Mecca at the head of an army of ten thousand Muslims. Despite everyone's fears, he conquered it with hardly a drop of blood being spilled. As always, the mercy and forgiveness that he displayed towards those who had relentlessly opposed him for so many years changed people's hearts, and many of the people of Mecca now embraced Islam as a result. Having pardoned all of the Quraish, with the exception of four men who had all committed murder for personal reasons, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) smashed all the idols and destroyed all the paintings that had been placed inside the Ka'ba by the idol-worshippers. The sanctity of the sanctuary of Mecca had been restored, and at long last the Muslims were free to come and go in Mecca as they pleased.
                    In the midst of the peace and rejoicing, however, news came that the tribes of Hawazin and Thaqif were preparing to attack the Muslims. The Muslim army that had conquered Mecca, swelled to twelve thousand by some of the men from the Quraish who had just embraced Islam, marched to a place called Hunayn. For the first time in their experience, the Muslims actually outnumbered the enemy, of whom there were only about four thousand. This nearly proved to be the Muslims' undoing, for many of them felt secure because of their large numbers rather than because of the reliance on Allah. When the enemy suddenly attacked at dawn, showering down arrows from the hills, the Muslims were taken by surprise and many began to flee. A small group stood firm with the Prophet, one of whom was Umm Sulaym bint Milhan, the wife of Abu Talha. Although she was pregnant at the time, she had armed herself with a dagger to use against the kafirun.
                    Fortunately the strong Muslims rallied round the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and although there were only six hundred of them, their concerted effort, fighting valiantly in the way of Allah, turned the tide of the battle until those who had turned away in the initial panic and confusion had returned and the battle was won. After the battle of Hunayn, the only continued resistance to the Muslims was from the north and north-east, from the Byzantine and Persian Empires. Having heard that the Greeks were preparing a huge army of thirty thousand men and marched out in the heat of the late summer to do battle with them. After a long, hard, hot march, the Muslim army reached Tabuk, and here they learned that the Greeks had retreated back to their own territory. Accordingly, having made peace treaties with all the border tribes, the Muslims returned to Medina, in time for many of them to go on the pilgrimage to Mecca. Those who had made weak excuses in order to avoid going on the expedition to Tabuk now felt great shame and regret.
                    The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) himself did not go on the pilgrimage this year, for people were coming to Medina from all over the Arab lands to embrace Islam and to pledge allegiance to him. It was this year that came to be known as 'the Year of the Delegations', during which, at one point, the Prophet became so exhausted from seeing people that he had to pray sitting down. So instead, Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) led the pilgrims. It was during this hajj that the ayat in the Quran that forbade the idol worshippers from ever entering the sanctuary of Mecca again were revealed; they were made public during the hajj by Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) who was sent straight from Medina to Mecca as soon as they had been revealed, so that as many people as possible would hear them. The following year, when the time for the pilgrimage drew near, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) announced that he was going on the hajj, and as a result everyone wanted to do it with him. The Muslims who did not live in or near Medina either first traveled to Medina in order to accompany him on the journey to Mecca, or else traveled to Mecca from every part of Arabia and joined him there.
                    Amongst the people on what has become known as 'the Farewell Pilgrimage' of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was A'isha, for the Prophet asked all of his wives, may Allah be pleased with them, to accompany him, to ensure that they all fulfilled this particular obligation that every Muslim owes to his or her Lord. It was an extraordinary pilgrimage. There never had been, and there never has been, and there never will be, another hajj quite like it, for at its heart was the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and around him were his family and Companions, may the blessings and peace of Allah be on them, and during it the ayat of the Qur'an was revealed:
                    This day I have perfected your deen for you and have completed My blessing on you, and have chosen Islam for you as your deen. (Quran 5:3)
                    It was also during this hajj that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) gave his famous Farewell Khutba, whose words still ring in our ears and echo in our hearts all these centuries later. When he had finished speaking to the thousands upon thousands of Muslims who were gathered around him on the plain of Arafa, he raised his voice slightly and asked, "My Lord, have I delivered the message?" And thousands upon thousands of voices from all around him answered his question: "Yes, you have." And many of those who were present passed on that message to those who ere not present, and so it has continued, right up until today. And one of those who was present was A'isha, of whom the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) once said, "Learn some of your deen from this red haired lady." Meaning A'isha.
                    This is not surprising, for she is one of the four people who have transmitted more than two thousand hadiths, the others being Abu Hurairah, Abdullah ibn Umar, and Anas ibn Malik. Many of these are about some of the most intimate aspects of personal behavior and hygiene which only someone in A'isha's position could have learned. It was during the course of his marriage with A'isha that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) married several other wives, usually to strengthen ties between important families and tribes, or to relieve the hardship of a woman who had been unexpectedly divorced or widowed, or in order to clearly demonstrate whom it wapermissible for a Muslim to marry, but above all because all of his marriage had been decreed by Allah, and because all of his wives were exceptional women.

                    The Position of 'A'isha

                    Of the Prophet's wives in Medina, (may Allah be pleased with all
                    of them), it is clear that it was A'isha that he loved the most: From time to
                    time, one or another of his Companions would ask him who it was that he loved
                    the most, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not
                    always give the same answer to this question, for he felt great love for many -
                    for his wives, for his daughters by Khadijah, for their children, for Sayyiduna
                    Abu Bakr and Sayyiduna Umar and Sayyiduna Uthman and Sayyiduna Ali, and for many
                    of his Companions and community - but of his wives the only one whom he named in
                    this connection was A'isha. She too loved him greatly in return and often would
                    seek reassurance from him that he loved her. "how is your love for me?" she once
                    asked. "Like the rope's knot," he replied, meaning that it was strong and
                    secure. Many times after that she would ask, "how is the knot?" and he would
                    reply: "Ala haliha" "The same as ever!"
                    Since A'isha loved the Prophet so much, she could not help being jealous if his attention were directed towards others more than what seemed enough to her. She once asked him, "O Messenger of Allah, tell me about
                    yourself. If you were between the two slopes of a valley, one of which had been
                    grazed, while the other had been grazed, on which slope would you pasture your
                    flocks?" "On the one that had not been grazed," replied the Prophet. "Even so," she said, "and I am not like any of your other wives. Every one of them had a
                    husband before you, except myself." The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) smiled and said nothing.
                    It is clear that in spite of his wives' high station with Allah, (may Allah be pleased with them) they were still human, and at times rather jealous of each other. Thus, for example, it had been related by A'isha that the Prophet usually visited his wives every afternoon, after the Asr prayer. On one occasion he stayed longer than usual in the room of Zaynab bint Jahsh, for someone had given her some honey, of which the Prophet was very fond. "At this," said A'isha, "I felt jealous, and I, Hafsa, Sawda, and Safiyya agreed between ourselves that as he visited each of us, we would tell him that there was a funny smell coming from his mouth from what he had eaten, for we knew that he was particularly sensitive to offensive smells." Everything went as planned, and as a result, the Prophet vowed that he would never eat honey again, only to be reprimanded by the revelation of the following ayat:
                    O Prophet, why do you forbid what Allah has made lawful for you, in seeking to please your wives? And Allah is Forgiving, Compassionate. (Quran 66:1)
                    Allah made the whole matter known to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and he confronted the one whose idea it had been with the truth:
                    So when he told her about it, she said, 'Who told you this?' He said, 'I was told by the Knowing, the Aware.' (Quran 66:3)
                    This incident indicates the extent of the Prophet's submission to Allah. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was the means by which Allah taught the Muslims their deen in every moment and situation. What might have seemed an innocent bit of fun to his wives, (may Allah be pleased with them), was not permitted by Allah to result in any alteration to the hudud of Allah, to what is permitted and what is forbidden by Allah, for if the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had never eaten honey again, then many of his Companions and followers might have done likewise.
                    On another occasion, when one of the Prophet's other wives, Umm Salama (may Allah be pleased with her) complained on their behalf about the fact that more presents were being given to the Prophet on the day that he was with A'isha than on the days when he was with his other wives, he replied, "O Umm Salama, do not trouble me by harming A'isha, for by Allah, the Divine inspiration never came to me while I was under the blanket of any woman amongst you except her." "I turn to Allah from troubling you, O Messenger of Allah," she said.
                    However the Prophet's other wives were still not content, and asked Fatima to speak to the Prophet on their behalf. When she raised the subject, he said, (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) "O my daughter, do you not love those I love?" "Yes." She said. "Then love her." He replied.
                    On another occasion, A'isha was on a journey with the Prophet and some of his Companions. She had borrowed a necklace from her sister Asma and during the journey she discovered that she had mislaid it. The journey wa delayed while some of the Companions looked for it, and after a while the time for the prayer came. There was no water with which to do wudu, so they became very agitated about that. They went to Abu Bakr and said, "Do you see what A'isha has done! She has caused the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to stop at a place where there is no water!" Meanwhile, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had fallen asleep with his head resting against A'isha's leg. Abu Bakr went up to A'isha and started to poke her and upbraid her for holding up the people when they did not have any water. She did not move because she did not want to disturb the Prophet's sleep. The Prophet soon woke up and the ayats about tayammum were revealed, making it clear to everyone what should be done when a Muslim on a journey needs to do wudu, but has no water.
                    Usayd ibn Hudayr said to Abu Bakr, "This is not the first blessing to have come from your family." And to A'isha, "May Allah reward you with good! By Allah, whenever you have difficulty, Allah relieves you of it and gives a blessing to the Muslims by it as well!"
                    When they were about to resume their journey, A'isha' s camel rose to its feet, and there was the necklace. The camel had been lying on it all the time! Being the daughter of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr, who on one occasion had given away all his wealth to be spent in the way of Allah, and the wife of Muhammad (may Allah be pleased with her) who kept nothing for himself, A'isha was very generous. On one occasion, the Prophet had sacrificed an animal, and A'isha was so generous in sharing the meat out amongst the poor, that she found that she had left nothing for the Messenger's large household except the shoulder of the animal. Feeling a little distressed, she went to the Prophet, and said, "I've only been able to save this." "That is the only part that you have not saved," smiled the Prophet, "for whatever you give away in the name of Allah, you save, and whatever you keep for yourself, you lose."
                    It is sometime forgotten that the Prophet Muhammad and his wives and Companions, may the blessings peace of Allah be on him and his family and his Companions, led very simple lives. It has been related that sometimes there was no smoke to be seen coming from the Prophet's home for weeks at a time meaning that there was not even flour to bake bread, let alone meat so that all there was to eat was dates and water, dates that came from palms whose roots the Prophet said were in the Garden.
                    On another occasion, a beggar asked A'isha for some food while she was fasting, and there was only a loaf of bread in her house. She said to her maid servant, "Give it to him." "But you will not have anything to eat when you break your fast." Protested the servant. "Give it to him," repeated A'isha. So she did so. When evening came, the people of the house of a man who did not usually give to them, gave them a sheep and some food to go with it. A'isha called her servant and said, "Eat from this. This is better than your loaf of bread!"
                    It has been related by A'isha, that once when it was the Prophet's turn to spend the night with her, he quietly got up towards the end of the night and slipped out of the room, closing the door quietly behind him. A'isha was curious to see where he was going, thinking that he had waited until he thought she was asleep. Quickly she got up, covered her head and silently followed him until he came to the graveyard ofal Baqi. "He stood there," said A'isha, 'and he stood for a very long time. Then he lifted his hands (in prayer) three times, and then turned to go, so I turned, He quickened his step, so I quickened my step. He began to run, so I began to run. I got back before he did, and entered my room and lay down. He came in and said, "Why are you out of breath, A'isha?"
                    "It's nothing." I said. "Tell me, or the One Who is All Pervading and All Ware will tell me." "Messenger of Allah," I said, "May my father and mother be a ransom for you." And then I told him. "Was it you who I saw running in front of me?" he said. "Yes." I replied, and he hit me on the chest and it hurt. "Did you think that Allah and His Messenger would treat you unjustly?" he asked. "Whatever anyone conceals, Allah knows it." I replied. "When you saw me leaving," the Prophet explained, "it was because Jibril had come to me. He called me without you knowing it and I replied, but without you knowing it, because you were not fully dressed. I thought that you were asleep, and did not want to awaken you in case you were frightened. He (Jibril) said, "Your Lord has commanded you to go to the people of Al Baqi and to ask forgiveness of them." "I said, "How should I pray for them?" "Say; Peace be on the people of this place (the graveyard), from among the believers and the Muslims, and may Allah have mercy on those who have gone ahead of us, and on those who will follow later; and inshAllah we will join you."
                    As the day of his own death approached, it is clear that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) wished to die in the company of A'isha, for it is reported that during his final illness, which was probably the result of the poisoned food that he had been given at Khaybar, he inquired, "Where will I be tomorrow, where will I be tomorrow?" since he was hoping it would be A'isha's turn to be with him. In fact the Prophet asked his wives ' permission to remain in A'isha 's room during his illness, and his other wives, (may Allah be pleased with them all), agreed to forego their turns. For much of the time during his last few days on earth the Prophet lay on a couch with his head resting on A'isha's breast or lap. She it was who repeatedly recited the last two surahs of the Qur'an, the two surahs of seeking protection, and then blew her breath over him, just as he had taught her to do in the past, and then passed his hand over his body. It is related by A'isha that she used his hand rather than her own, because she knew that his had had greater healing in it than her hand.
                    She was the one who took a toothstick from her brother chewed it soften it and then gave it to the Prophet. Despite his weakness, he rubbed his teeth with it vigorously. "So," said A'isha some time later, "Allah made my saliva mix with his saliva on his last day in this world and his first day in the next world." Not long afterwards, he lost consciousness and A'isha thought it was on the onset of death, but after a while, he opened his eyes and murmured softly, "The Highest Company." A'isha remembered that when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had been in good health in the past, he had said, "No prophet is taken by death until he has been shown his place in the Garden, and then offered the choice, to remain in this world or go to the Next World."
                    Remembering these words, she said to herself, "Then he will not stay with us." Then she heard him murmur, "O Allah, forgive me and have mercy on me and join me with the Highest Company, the people whom Allah has blessed from among the Prophets and the truthful ones, and the martyrs, and the righteous ones and the best of company are they." (Quran 4:69)
                    It was then that A'isha knew that he had been given the choice, and that he had made it. Again she heard him murmur, "O Allah, with the Highest Company," and these were the last words she heard him speak. Gradually his head grew heavier upon her breast, and gently she laid it on the pillow. Her beloved husband, the Messenger of Allah, the Seal of the Prophets, the Best of Creation, had died in her arms. At the time of his death, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was sixty three years old, and A'isha was eighteen.
                    At first the Prophet' s Companions were not sure where he should be buried, but then Abu Bakr as Siddiq remembered what when he was alive, the Prophet had said that the Prophets were always buried where they had died, so the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was buried in A'isha's room where he had died. A'isha has related that during his final illness, Umm Habiba and Umm Salama mentioned that when they had been in Abyssinia they had seen a church which had pictures in it. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) replied, "When one of their righteous people die, they build a place of worship on his grave and then decorate it with such pictures. In the sight of Allah they will be the worst of people on the Day of Judgment."
                    A'isha has also related that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "Allah has cursed the Jews and the Christians because they made the graves of their Prophets and righteous ones places of worship." A'isha continued, "If it had not been for this, his grave would have been in an open place ,but it could not be so, due to the fact that it might become a mosque."
                    In the passage of time, the Prophet's mosque in Medina was enlarged again and again, so that now his grave is no longer next to the mosque, but inside it. However, although the hearts of the millions of Muslims who visit Medina every year are filled with love, for the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) they are always careful to direct their worship towards Allah alone, perhaps remembering the words of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr when he first spoke to the Muslims who could not believe that their beloved Prophet had actually died:
                    "Whoever worshiped Muhammad, Muhammad is dead, and whoever worshipped Allah, Allah is the Living, and does not die." Then he quoted the ayat;
                    Muhammad is only a Messenger, whom other Messengers have preceded. Will it be that when he dies or is killed, you will turn your back on your heels? And whoever turns back on his heels will not harm Allah in the least, and Allah will reward the thankful. (Quran 3:144)
                    Thus it was that the family and Companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had to accept the inevitable, even though no loss ever had been or ever would be as great as theirs. It has been related by Anas ibn Malik that after the death of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) Sayyiduna Abu Bakr said to Sayyiduna Umar, "Let us visit Umm Ayman (who had looked after the Prophet when he was a small boy), for the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to visit her." When they came to her, she was weeping, and they said to her: "Why are you weeping? What the Messenger of Allah, (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has now a better than this." "I am not weeping because I am unaware of the fact that what the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has now a better than this," she replied, "but I am weeping because the revelation that used to come from the heavens has ceased." This moved both of them to tears, and they began to weep with her.
                    A'isha Siddiqa (may Allah be pleased with her) once said, "O would that I were a leaf on a tree!" lived on for another fifty years after him after the Prophet's death, (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) dying at the age of sixty eight, in 58 AH (may Allah be pleased with her)
                    During that time she saw many changes, not all of which were pleasant ones, for with the expansion and the conquests that the Muslims experienced, there came wealth, and with the wealth came disagreements and power struggles, and as we all know, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "I do not fear poverty for my community, but I fear wealth for them, for it destroy them as it destroy the people before them."
                    A'isha, however, like all of the Prophet's wives, (may Allah be pleased with all of them) remained detached from this world and longed to be reunited with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in the next; but while she was alive, she passed on her knowledge and wisdom to everyone who came to her. Much of what she transmitted was recorded in written form, and so countless Muslims have continued to benefit form it right up until today.
                    Abu Musa reported that Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "There have been many men who have reached perfection, but no women, have reached perfection except Mary, the daughter of Imran, Asiyya, the wife of Pharaoh, and the excellence of A'isha as compared to the other women in that of tharid (meat or vegetable stew, which was the Prophet's favorite food) over all other foods."
                    Conclusion
                    Qadi Iyad relates that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "Recognition of the family of Muhammad is freedom from the Fire. Love of the family of Muhammad is crossing over Sirat. Friendship for the family of Muhammad is safety from the Fire."
                    One of the ulama said, "Recognition, in this case means recognizing their place in relation to the Prophet. Recognition of that brings with it recognition of the rights and respect that are due to them because of it."
                    Qadi Iyad also wrote, "Cursing the people of the Prophet's house, his wives and his Companions, and disparaging them is haram, and the one who does it is cursed.'
                    Abdullah ibn Mughaffal said that the Messenger of Allah said, "Allah, Allah, my Companions! Do not make them a target after me. Whoever loves them, it is by my love that he loves them. Whoever hates them, incurs my hate by doing so. Whoever harms them has harmed me. Whoever harms me has harmed Allah. Whoever harms Allah is about to b e seized." (At- Tirmidhi)
                    The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "Do not curse my Companions. Whoever curses them, the curse of Allah and the angels and all people is on him. Allah will not accept any recompense or counterweight from him."
                    The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "Do not curse my Companions. A people will come at the end of time who will curse my Companions. Do not join them and do not join with them and do not marry with them and do not sit in their assemblies and if they are ill, do not visit them."
                    The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "Whoever curses my Companions, beat him."
                    Th Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) reported that cursing and harming them harmed him. It is haram to harm the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). He said, "Do not harm me in respect of A'isha." HE said about Fatima, "She is part of me. What harms her, harms me." The best known position with respect to speaking ill of the Companions is that adopted by the school of Malik.
                    Malik said, "Whoever reviles the Prophet, (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is killed. Whoever reviles his Companions should be disciplined."
                    Qadi Iyad also wrote: It is related from Malik that anyone who curses Abu Bakr is flogged whereas anyone who curses A'isha is killed. He was asked, "Why is that?" He said, "Whoever attacks her has opposed the Quran."
                    Ibn Shaban related this from Malik because Allah has said, "Allah wishes that you should never repeat the like of it again if you are believers." (24:18) ; so whoever does repeat the like of it has disbelieved.
                    Qadi Iyad also wrote: There are two positions regarding someone who curses one of the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) other than A'isha. One position is that he is killed because he has cursed the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) by cursing his wife. The other is that she is considered to be like the other Companions. He is flogged with the hadd for slander. Ibn Shaban takes the first position.
                    Abu Musab related from Malik that someone who curses someone who is connected to the House of the Prophet is given a painful beating and imprisoned for a long time until his repentance is clear because he has made light of what is due to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)

                    And may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon the Prophet Muhammad, and on his family and on his Companions, and on all who follows him and them in what they are able with sincerity, until the Last Day. AMEEN!
                    .لا نريد زعيما يخاف البيت الإبيض
                    نريد زعيما يخاف الواحد الأحد
                    دولة الإسلامية باقية





                    Comment


                      #11
                      Salaam,

                      I'm sure that I've read b4 that Hazrat Aisha(RA) were 6 when they were married, but went to the Prophet Muhammad(saw)' house when they were 9 and then when they became a widow were 18 years old......but I've never read 19!!!!!!!!!
                      Please Re-update your Signature

                      Comment


                        #12
                        M Y, please read carefully through Muawiyah's post, that explains everything.
                        respect refugees

                        Comment


                          #13
                          http://www.muslim-answers.org/aishah.htm

                          The marriage of the Prophet Muhammad to 'Aishah bint Abu Bakr when she was at quite a young age has been the focus of quite a bit of criticism in the West. Unfortunately, in this Neo-Colonialist Age of smart bombs, MTV, CNN and the Big Mac, some of those who profess to be Muslims have themselves become critics. Many Muslims, faced with the juggernaut of allegedly "universal" Western liberal values that have permeated almost everyone around them, sheepishly avoid discussion of such "embarrassing" Islamic issues. It is a keenly true observation that even though the European powers have pulled their colonial armies out of Muslim lands and granted them "independence", an even worse plague continues. This curse is "Colonialism of the Mind" and it is more dangerous since it is much more subtle. Insha'llah, this article will be a contribution to making both Muslims and non-Muslims aware of not only the objective facts regarding the Prophet's marriage to 'Aishah, but how to understand it in light of Islam and life in the "modern" world.
                          Regrettably, for those of us trying to spread the truth of Islam in the West, we often have to agree with the Orientalist W. Montgomery Watt when he wrote: "Of all the world's great men none has been so much maligned as Muhammad."1 But here, for a change, were are dealing with something that is an authentic part of Islamic history, not an apocryphal or fabricated event that Westerners have been duped into believing is authentic, such as the so-called "Satanic Verses" incident. That a man in his fifties would marry such a young girl—especially a man who is supposed to be a living example of piety—is not only difficult for many "modern" Westerners to come to terms with, but it has even gone so far as to stir up disgusting "sexual misconduct" charges amongst them. In the face of such criticism, Muslims have not always reacted well. In the past century, when so many Muslims were so "Westoxicated" and ready to monkey Europeans in almost anything, the usual reaction was to deny the sources that reported the alleged "embarrassing problem". To Muslim "modernists", who argued that ONLY a legal ruling found in the Qur'an was Islamically valid, brushing aside this aspect of the Prophet's life was rather easy. They simply denied that it had occurred and attacked the sources which reported it. Fortunately for Muslims, the apologetics of these "Uncle Toms of Islam" has faded into the periphery to a large extent. However, there are still many Muslims out there who try to get around what they see as a problem by ignoring authentic Islamic sources while claiming to be followers of the Ahl as-Sunnah. (which basically means "orthodox Sunni" Muslims, for those unfamiliar Islamic terminology). Many other Muslims possibly wonder whether the story is authentic and how to understand it if it is.



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                          THE ISLAMIC EVIDENCE OF 'AISHAH'S AGE

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                          Due to the apparent ignorance of many Muslims, possibly due to reading "modernist" apologetic literature like that mentioned above, a look at what the authentic sources of Islam say about the age at which 'Aishah married the Prophet is in order. This way, before we move on to an analysis of the facts, we will first establish what the authentic Islamic facts are. At this point, it should be mentioned that it is absolutely pointless from an Islamic standpoint to say that the age of 'Aishah is "not found in the Qur'an", since the textual sources of Islam are made up of BOTH the Qur'an and the Sunnah - and the Qur'an tells us that. For those wanting (or needing) to learn more about the status of the Sunnah in Islam, please read An Introduction to the Sunnah and/or The Sunnah and Its Position in Islamic Law. Now in regards to what the authentic Islamic sources actually say, it may come as a disappointment to some "modern" and "cultured" Muslims that there are four ahadith in Saheeh al-Bukhari and three ahadith in Saheeh Muslim which clearly state that 'Aishah was "nine years old" at the time that her marriage was consummated with the Prophet . These ahadith, with only slight variation, read as follows:

                          'Aishah, may God be pleased with her, narrated that the Prophet was betrothed (zawaj) to her when she was six years old and he consummated (nikah) his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years. (Saheeh al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 64)
                          Of the four ahadith in Saheeh al-Bukhari, two were narrated from 'Aishah (7:64 and 7:65), one from Abu Hishaam (5:236) and one via 'Ursa (7:88). All three of the ahadith in Saheeh Muslim have 'Aishah as a narrator. Additionally, all of the ahadith in both books agree that the marriage betrothal contract took place when 'Aishah was "six years old", but was not consummated until she was "nine years old". Additionally, a hadeeth with basically the same text (matn) is reported in Sunan Abu Dawood. Needless to say, this evidence is—Islamically speaking—overwhelmingly strong and Muslims who deny it do so only by sacrificing their intellectual honesty, pure faith or both.
                          This evidence having been established, there doesn't seem much room for debate about 'Aishah's age amongst believing Muslims. Until someone proves that in the Arabic language "nine years old" means something other than "nine years old", then we should all be firm in our belief that she was "nine years old" (as if there's a reason or need to believe otherwise!?!). In spite of these facts, there are still some Muslim authors that have somehow (?) managed to push 'Aishah's age out to as far as "fourteen or fifteen years old" at the time of her marriage to the Prophet . It should come as no surprise, however, that none of them ever offer any proof, evidence or references for their opinions. This can be said with the utmost confidence, since certainly none of them can produce sources more authentic than the hadeeth collections of Imams al-Bukhari and Muslim! Based on the research that I've done, I feel that there is a common source for those who claim that 'Aishah's age was "fourteen or fifteen years old" at the time of the marriage. This source is "The Biographies of Prominent Muslims" which is published in book form, on CD-ROM and is posted in several places on the Internet. Just another example of why going to the sources is important . . .



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                          THE PROPHET'S MARRIAGES IN PERSPECTIVE

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                          To put all of this in perspective—hopefully without undue apologetics—the first thing that one should be aware of is that 'Aishah was the third wife of the Prophet , not the first. Prior to this, the Prophet's first and only wife for twenty-four years was Khadijah bint al-Khuwaylid, who was about nineteen years older than him. He married Khadijah when she was forty and he was twenty-one—which might be called the years of a male's "sexual prime"—and stayed married ONLY to her until her death. Just after Khadijah's death, when he was round forty-six years old, the Prophet married his second wife Sawdah bint Zam'ah. It was after this second marriage that the Prophet became betrothed to 'Aishah, may God be pleased with her. She was the daughter of Abu Bakr, one of the Prophet's closest friends and devoted followers. Abu Bakr, may God be pleased with him, was one of the earliest converts to Islam and hoped to solidify the deep love that existed between himself and the Prophet by uniting their families in marriage. The betrothal of Abu Bakr's daughter 'Aishah to Muhammad , took place in the eleventh year of Muhammad's prophethood, which was about a year after he had married Sawdah bint Zam'ah and before he made his hijra (migration) to al-Madinah (Yathrib). As mentioned above, the marriage with 'Aishah bint Abu Bakr was consummated in Shawwal, which came seven months after the Prophet's hijra from Makkah to al-Medinah. At the time of his marriage to ''Aishah, the Prophet was over fifty years old.

                          It should be noted that the Prophet's marriage to 'Aishah was an exceedingly happy one for both parties, as the hadeeth literature attests. 'Aishah, may God be please with her, was his favourite wife and the only virgin that he ever married. After emigrating to al-Madinah, Muhammad married numerous other wives, eventually totalling fifteen in his lifetime. Even though we do not have time to go into the details of each one of them here, each of these marriages was done either for political reasons, to strengthen the ties of kinship or to help a woman in need. Quite a few of the wives were widows, older women or had been abandoned and thus were in need of a home. Additionally, it should be mentioned that the same collection of Muslim hadeeth literature that tells us that 'Aishah was only nine years old at the time of the marriage tells us that the marriage was Divinely ordained:

                          Narrated 'Aishah, may God be pleased with her: The Messenger of God said (to me): "You have been shown to me twice in (my) dreams. A man was carrying you in a silken cloth and said to me, 'This is your wife.' I uncovered it; and behold, it was you. I said to myself, 'If this dream is from God, He will cause it to come true.'" (Saheeh Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 15)
                          Thus like everything that the Prophet did, there was wisdom behind it and lessons to be learned from it. The wisdom behind such incidents provides us guidance on the basis of human morality, exposes the double standards of misguided hypocrites from other religions that criticize Islam and much more. But more on that subject below. . .


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                          CRITICISM ADDRESSED AND ENTERTAINED

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                          Myself and many other Muslims should no longer be surprised by the double standards that Christians display when they criticize the conduct of Prophet Muhammad , since we've heard it for so long. To have an atheist, agnostic—or anyone else who does not believe in a Divinely revealed basis for morality—criticize something that is "politically incorrect" by today's moral standards comes as no surprise. Such people will always find something to criticize, since they simply have a bone to pick with "religion" in general. All of this "absolute morality" talk gets in the way of them having a good time, so they want to mock it, discredit it and do away with it. The criticism of Christians, however, is another matter. While it is true that Christians speak out against the "moral relativity" which is spreading amongst the increasingly secular society today, they too are unconscious victims of it. The values of most Christians today come from the humanist values of Western Europe (or, at a minimum, are heavily influenced by them). Their values DO NOT come straight out of the Bible—in theory or in practice—regardless of what they may claim. That Christians today try to take credit for the so-called "Freedom", "Human Rights", "Democracy" and "Women's Rights" in Europe and America is nothing short of a joke. It may impress uneducated people in so-called Third World countries, but anyone who has studied history knows that these things came about in spite of the Church, not because of it. The way in which many Christians uncritically mix non-Christian values with (allegedly) Biblical values has always fascinated me. One interesting example of this is how nationalism and patriotism are supported amongst the majority of Evangelical Protestant (and even other) Christians in the United States. In America, good Christians are flag wavers. Few, if any, of these fiercely patriotic minds ever seem to realize that narrow-minded patriotism is, at its core, both selfish and non-universal. That patriotism and Christianity go hand-in-hand in the minds of many people is just an example of how we can be blindly sucked into "moral relativism" without even realizing it.

                          According to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, right and wrong are ordained by Almighty God. As such, morality does not change over time based on our whims, desires or cultural sensitivities. In cultures where there is no Divinely revealed ruling on an issue, what is right and what is wrong is determined by cultural norms. In such cases, a person would only be considered "immoral" if they violated the accepted norms of their society. As we will demonstrate, the Prophet Muhammad's marriage to 'Aishah, viewed both in the light of Absolute Morality and the cultural norms of his time, was not an immoral act, but was an act containing valuable lessons for generations to come. Additionally, this marriage followed the norms for all Semitic peoples, including those of Biblical times. Based on this, and other information that we will provide below, it is grossly hypocritical for Christians to criticise the Prophet's marriage to 'Aishah at such a young age. In case Christian readers are under the false impression that their values today are timeless and somehow reflect those of Biblical times, please consider the following points which are directly related to the question of at what age a person is properly ready to be married:

                          Keeping in mind the ideas of "political correctness" and "absolute morality", in Biblical times the age at which a girl could marry was puberty. However, during the Middle Ages it was usually twelve years old. Now in most "Christian" countries it is between fourteen and sixteen years old. I live in country where some states allow partners of the same sex to legally marry, but consider an eighteen year old boy who sleeps with a sixteen year old girl a "statutory rapist". So even though Christians might disagree with much of what is becoming all too prevalent in Western society today—whether it be drug abuse, gay marriages or abortion—they too have been swallowed up (possibly unknowingly) by the ugly monster of "moral relativism". Certainly, they might be giving in less quickly than people who do not believe in a Divine basis for morality, but they're giving in nonetheless.
                          Historically, the age at which a girl was considered ready to be married has been puberty. This was the case in Biblical times, as we will discuss below, and is still used to determine the age of marriage in what the culturally arrogant West calls "primitive societies" throughout the world. As the ahadith about 'Aishah's age show, her betrothal took place at least three years before the consummation of the marriage. The reason for this was that they were waiting for her to come of age (i.e. to have her first menstrual period). Puberty is a biological sign which shows that a women is capable of bearing children. Can anyone logically deny this? Part of the wisdom behind the Prophet's Muhammad's marriage to 'Aishah just after she reached puberty is to firmly establish this as a point of Islamic Law, even though it was already cultural norm in all Semitic societies (including the one Jesus grew up in). The large majority of Islamic jurists say that the earliest time which a marriage can be consummated is at the onset of sexual maturity (bulugh), meaning puberty. Since this was the norm of all Semitic cultures and it still is the norm of many cultures today—it is certainly not something that Islam invented. However, widespread opposition to such a Divinely revealed and accepted historical norm is certainly something that is relatively new!
                          The criticism of Muhammad's marriage to 'Aishah is something relatively new in that it grew up out of the values of "Post Enlightenment" Europe. This was a Europe that had abandoned (or at least modified) its religious morality for a new set of humanist values where people used their own opinions to determine what was right and wrong. It is interesting to note that Christians from a very early time criticized (again hypocritically) the Prophet's practice of polygamy, but not the marriage to 'Aishah. Certainly, those from a Middle Eastern Semitic background would not have found anything to criticize, since nothing abnormal or immoral took place. It was European Christians who began to criticize Muhammad on this point, not ones who were in touch with their Semitic roots.
                          It is upon reaching the age of puberty that a person, man or woman, becomes legally responsible under Islamic Law. At this point, they are allowed to make their own decisions and are held accountable for their actions. It should also be mentioned that in Islam, it is unlawful to force someone to marry someone that they do not want to marry. The evidence shows that 'Aishah's marriage to the Prophet Muhammad was one which both parties and their families agreed upon. Based on the culture at that time, no one saw anything wrong with it. On the contrary, they were all happy about it.
                          None of the Muslim sources report that anyone from the society at that time criticized this marriage due to 'Aishah's young age. On the contrary, the marriage of 'Aishah to the Prophet was encouraged by 'Aishah's father, Abu Bakr, and was welcomed by the community at large. It is reported that women who wanted to help the Prophet , such as Khawlah bint al-Hakeem, encouraged him to marry the young 'Aishah. Due to the Semitic culture in which they lived, they certainly saw nothing wrong with such a marriage.
                          Society's ideas of love, family and marriage are much different in the so-called "modern" and "civilized" West of today than they were in Biblical or Qur'anic times. Unfortunately, many of us carry the baggage of "romantic love" and ideas about sex that have managed to poison our minds since the Europeans (and their ideas) came to dominate the globe. These ideas have not only penetrated into the minds of Muslims, but actually permeate many of them. The European colonial powers have pulled out of almost all Muslim lands, but the colonization of the minds continues! As we mentioned above, the sad part is that most people do not even realize that they are under such un-Godly influences. Just to reference the way things have changed, a statement in The New Encyclopaedia Britannica makes it clear that values regarding the proper age of marriage have been changing over the years: ". . . in the United States and parts of Europe the association of adult status with sexual maturity as expressed in the term puberty rites has been unwelcome".2
                          The significance that sex and sexuality are thought to play in human psychology has its roots in Freudian thought. Even though many of Freud's ideas are being heavily challenged today, many of his ideas still play a role in the thinking of many people. Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) taught that humans are basically "sexual beings" whose childhood sexual urges are the key to understanding their behaviour. He developed the methodology of psychoanalysis and his ideas on sex, repressed guilt and sexuality, the subconscious sex drive, the Oedipus complex and other ideas have come to almost haunt the Western view of sexuality (almost as much as the repressive views of the Roman Catholic Church). Needless to say, Freud's ideas have been criticized by believing Jews, Christians and Muslims since they basically deny human moral responsibility. In Freud's view of things, human beings are prisoners to the effects of unconscious forces and their sex drive. Such ideas are always welcomed by "liberals", "humanists" and others like them. The point of all this in regards to young marriage, however, might be less clear. What needs to be pointed out is the contradictory "modern" Western view of sexuality. They are taken aback by the thought of marriage at the age of puberty, even though it's an age old custom. However, they have junior high schools where sex education is taught and a society where sexually permiscuous "dating" is considered the norm. Sometime sex is simply a natural pleasure to be enjoyed, but at other times it is a psychological demon of far reaching consequences. In short, everything from their private lives to their court systems, have fallen victim to the moral relativity of the psychiatrists and psychologists. The attitude that any experience in life can be seen as some sort of "trauma" is very widespread. Many people go through life constantly obsessed about what sort of "complex" they may be suffering from due to experiences they've had in their relatively normal life. The morality which is produced by such attitudes all but does away with human responsibility. People who are guilty of serious crimes, instead of being held responsible for their actions, are themselves considered "victims", since they are only doing what their psychological makeup causes them to do.


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                          PUBERTY = MATURITY = MARRIAGE

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                          The above points having been presented, some additional details on a few of them is worthwhile. An interesting article on the age at which people married in Biblical times is Ancient Israelite Marriage Customs, by Jim West, ThD—a Baptist minister. This article states that:

                          "The wife was to be taken from within the larger family circle (usually at the outset of puberty or around the age of 13) in order to maintain the purity of the family line;"
                          This is just one reference to the fact that the onset of puberty was considered the age at which young people could marry. That people in Biblical times married at an early age is widely endorsed. While discussing the meaning of the word 'almah, which is the Hebrew word for "young woman" or "adolescent female", Gerald Segal says:

                          "It should be noted, however, that in biblical times females married at an early age".3
                          In spite of its somewhat arrogant Western talk of "primitive cultures", An Overview of the World's Religions makes it clear that puberty is an age old symbol of adulthood:

                          "Almost all primitive cultures pay attention to puberty and marriage rituals, although there is a general tendency to pay more attention to the puberty rites of males than of females. Because puberty and marriage symbolize the fact that children are acquiring adult roles, most primitive cultures consider the rituals surrounding these events very important. Puberty rituals are often accompanied with ceremonial circumcision or some other operation on the male genitals. Female circumcision is less common, although it occurs in several cultures. Female puberty rites are more often related to the commencement of the menstrual cycle in young girls."
                          Some female authors agree:
                          "Puberty is defined as the age or period at which a person is first capable of sexual reproduction, in other eras of history, a rite or celebration of this landmark event was a part of the culture." (Rites of Passage: Puberty, by Sue Curewitz Arthen)
                          "Getting your period" marks a rite of passage for young girls entering womanhood (From the Women's Resource Center)

                          Another contemporary reference relating marriage age to puberty is an article on Central Africa, which says: ". . . women marry soon after puberty"4. The previous quotations, and plenty of others which were not used, should prove to any intelligent person what anthropologists and historians already know: in centuries past, people were considered ready for marriage when they reached puberty.
                          It should be mentioned that from an Islamic point of view, many problems in society today can be traced back to the abandonment of early marriage. Due to the way that Almighty God has created man and woman, i.e. with strong sexual desires, people should marry young. In the past, this was even more true since life expectancy was very low (i.e. you were considered "old" if you made it to 40!). Not only does marriage provide a legal outlet for people with strong sexual desires, but it usually produces more children. One of the main purposes of marriage is to produce children—"be fruitful and multiply" as the Bible says (Genesis 8:17). This was especially important in the past, when people did not live for as long as they do now and the infant morality rate was much higher.



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                          THE AGE OF PUBERTY

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                          Even though we have established that puberty has been the historical, cultural and religious norm for indicating readiness for marriage, some may wonder at which age puberty normally takes place. This is somewhat meaningless in regards to our specific discussion of Muhammad and 'Aishah, since the hadith literature makes it clear that she had reached puberty. However, in regards to puberty and at what age most girls have their first menstrual cycle, 'Abdul-Hamid Siddiqi says:

                          Islam has laid down no age limit for puberty for it varies with countries and races due to the climate, hereditary, physical and social conditions. Those who live in cold regions attain puberty at a much later age as compared with those living in hot regions where both male and female attain it at a quite early age. "The average temperature of the country or province," say the well-known authors of the book Woman, "is considered the chief factor here, not only with regard to menstruation but as regards the whole of sexual development at puberty."5 Raciborski, Jaubert, Routh and many others have collected and collated statistics on the subject to which readers are referred. Marie Espino has summarised some of these data as follows: (a) The limit of age for the first appearance of menstruation is between nine and twenty-four in the temperate-zone; (b) The average age varies widely and it ay be accepted as established that the nearer the Equator, the earlier the average age for menstruation.6
                          Additionally, an article entitled Puberty in Girls by an Australian government Public Health organization, says: "The first sign of puberty is usually a surge of growth: you become taller; your breasts develop; hair begins to grow in the pubic area and under the arms. This may start from 10 years to 14 years - even earlier for some and later for others." An article Physical Changes in Girls During Puberty has this to say:
                          "During puberty, a girl's body changes, inside and out, into the body of a woman. The changes don't come all at once, and they don't happen at the same time for everybody. Most girls start showing physical changes around age 11, but everyone has her own internal schedule for development. It's normal for changes to start as early as 8 or 9 years of age, or not until 13 or 14. Even if nothing looks or feels different yet, the changes may have already begun inside your body."
                          Many will readily agree with the information above, but still may harbour reservations about whether a marriage to an older man could be happy for such a young girl. Putting aside the modern Western notions of "happiness" for a moment, the marriage of 'Aishah and the Prophet was a mutually happy and loving one as in expressed in numerous hadeeth and seerah books. That happy marriages occur between people with a fairly large difference in ages is known among psychologists:
                          "When the differences (in ages) is great, e.g. exceeds fifteen to twenty years, the results may be happier. The marriage of an elderly (senescent) not, of course, an old (senile) man to a quite young girl, is often very successful and harmonious. The bride is immediately introduced and accustomed to moderate sexual intercourse" 7


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                          MORE WISDOM BEHIND IT

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                          In his comments on the ahadith in Sahih Muslim which mention 'Aishah's young marriage to the Prophet , 'Abdul-Hamid Siddiqi shows points three other reasons for this marriage:

                          'Aishah's marriage to the Prophet Muhammad at an early age allowed her to be an eye witness to the personal details of his life and carry them on the succeeding generations. By being both spiritually and physically near to the Prophet , the marriage prepared 'Aishah to be an example to all Muslims, especially women, for all times. She developed into a spiritual, teacher and scholar, since she was remarkably intelligent and wise. Her qualities helped support the Prophet's work and further the cause of Islam. 'Aishah, the Mother of the Believers, was not only a model for wives and mothers, but she was also a commentator on the Qur'an, an authority on hadeeth and knowledgeable in Islamic Law. She narrated at least 2,210 ahadith that give Muslims valuable insights into the Final Prophet's daily life and behaviour, thus preserving the Sunnah of Muhammad .
                          At that time, this marriage refuted the notion that a man could not marry the daughter of a man who he had declared to be his "brother" (even in the religious sense). Since the Prophet and Abu Bakr had declared each other to be "brothers", this notion was done away with. This is demonstrated in the following hadeeth:
                          Narrated 'Ursa: The Prophet asked Abu Bakr for 'Aishah's hand in marriage. Abu Bakr said, "But I am your brother." The Prophet said, "You are my brother in God's religion and His Book, but she ('Aishah) is lawful for me to marry." (Saheeh al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 18)
                          The marriage did away with the pagan Arab superstition that it was a bad omen to be married in the month of Shawwal. They thought that the month carried this omen since the word Shawwal was derived from Shaala, which itself was believed to carry a bad omen. The authentic ahadith indicate that the Prophet and 'Aishah were married in this lunar month.


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                          NOT MUCH ADO BACK THEN

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                          Above, we established that fact that getting married at puberty was an accepted practice amongst not only today's "primitive cultures", but specifically amongst the Semitic (i.e. Hebrew, Arab, Syriac, etc.) peoples of the Middle East. In order to provide additional proof that Muhammad's marriage to 'Aishah did not raise any eyebrows at that time, I here submit quotations from two Western female scholars who have studied Islam in detail:

                          "It is not clear just when the marriage actually took place. According to some versions, it was in the month of Shawwal of the Year 1, that is, some seven or eight months after the arrival at Medina; but, according to others, it was not until after the Battle of Badr, that is, in Shawwal of the second year of the Hijrah. In no version is there any comment made on the disparity of the ages between Mohammed and Aishah or on the tender age of the bride who, at the most, could not have been over ten years old and who was still much enamoured with her play."8
                          In the above quotation, the sources which are given for the latter date are "Nawawi" and "Tabari". Both Imams al-Nawawi and al-Tabari were great Muslim scholars, but their works contain material that is less than authentic by Islamic standards, which is probably the reason over her questioning which date is authentic. This is all beside the point, since we've already shown that authentic Islamic sources state that 'Aishah, may God be pleased with her, was "nine years old". The main point to note is that in "no version" was any comment made on their age difference or on 'Aishah's young age. Why? Such an early marriage was normal in all Semitic societies - such as the ones that Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad grew up in!
                          Another author, Karen Armstrong, has this to add: "Tabari says that she was so young that she stayed in her parents' home and the marriage was consummated there later when she had reached puberty".9 This further establishes that the marriage took place at puberty and that, as such, no eyebrows were raised. "Tabari", it should be mentioned, refers to Abu Jafar Muhammad ibn Jareer al-Tabari (225-310 AH / 839-923 CE), who was a great Muslim scholar who is well known in the West for his Qur'anic commentary and history of the world.

                          It is no surprise that both of the above authors agree on the fact that the marriage of 'Aishah and Muhammad took place when the former had reached puberty and that this was normal at the time. This is no surprise, since anyone who studies the Muslim sources and Semitic culture would be forced to come to the same conclusion, since it is simply a historical fact. It should be pointed out that both of the above quoted female authors do not hesitate to misrepresent Islam (intentionally or unintentionally) in their other writings. Suffice it to say that if there was some other "damaging" information available, they would not hesistate to bring it to light. Nabia Abbott, who has done some useful research on Islam in some areas, was basically an "Orientalist" in the classic sense. Her book which was quoted above, Aishah-The Beloved of Mohammed, is actually nothing but a disgusting second-guessing of 'Aishah's life. If a book with a similar mix of speculation and inauthentic sources were written about someone of significance in the West, it certainly would not be sitting on scholarly bookshelves. It's has long been established that Orientalists with a bone to pick with Islam liked to decide on the authenticity of a story based on their pre-conceived notions. If an inauthentic story seemed to belittle the Prophet of Islam, it became oft quoted. However, any authentic material that contradicted their theories was simply ignored. It's analogous to writing a historical biography of Jesus and using quotations from apocryphal gospels to override the Canonical ones whenever whimsically deemed appropriate. This is how Orientalists and Christian missionaries have been treating Muhammad for centuries. For those who want to know more about this, please read our article Orientalism, Misinformation and Islam.



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                          SO WHAT'S THE VERDICT?

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                          Overcoming cultural bias or admitting your own double standards is not always easy. For some people, it takes years for them to admit that they've been hypocritical. Hopefully, the thoughts presented here will plant the seed of reflection in some people so that they may reflect on the truth. Admitting that there's a problem is often half the battle, so before the reader heads off to make a final personal judgement on where they stand on this issue, I want to provide some more food for thought. Montgomery Watt, a long time scholar of Islam, had some choice words on how the West should judge Muhammad . I have never agreed with many of Watt's conclusions about Islam, but I have always viewed him as one of the more open-minded and open-hearted Orientalist scholars. Possibly, this is because he was more of a promoter of understanding than a narrow-minded Christian missionary. Years of studying Islam brought Watt to this conclusion:

                          "The other main allegations of moral defect in Muhammad are that he was treacherous and lustful . . . Sufficient has been said above about the interpretation of these events to show that the case against Muhammad is much weaker than is sometimes thought. The discussions of these allegations, however, raises a fundamental question. How are we to judge Muhammad ? By the standards of his own time and country ? Or by those of the most enlightened opinion in the West today? When the sources are closely scrutinized, it is clear that those of Muhammad's actions which are disapproved by the modern West were not the object of the moral criticism of his contemporaries. They criticized some of his acts, but their motives were superstitious prejudice or fear of the consequences. If they criticized the events at Nakhlah, it was because they feared some punishment from the offended pagan gods or the worldly vengeance of the Meccans. If they were amazed at the mass execution of the Jews of the clan of Qurayzah, it was at the number and danger of the blood-feuds incurred. The marriage with Zaynab seemed incestuous, but this conception of incest was bound up with old practices belonging to a lower, communalistic level of familial institutions where a child's paternity was not definitely known; and this lower level was in process being eliminated by Islam . . . From the standpoint of Muhammad's time, then, the allegations of treachery and sensuality cannot be maintained. His contemporaries did not find him morally defective in any way. On the contrary, some of the acts criticized by the modern Westerner show that Muhammad's standards were higher than those of his time. In his day and generation he was a social reformer, even a reformer in the sphere of morals. He created a new system of social security and a new family structure, both of which were a vast improvement on what went before. By taking what was best in the morality of the nomad and adapting it for settled communities, he established a religious and social framework for the life of many races of men. That is not the work of a traitor or 'an old lecher'."10


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                          FROM ABRAHAM TO "PICK-AND-CHOOSE / FEEL GOOD RELIGION"

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                          Everything that we have discussed above logically frees Muhammad from the unjust criticism that he has received (at least amongst those who can be intellectually honest and fair-minided). One point, however, still needs to be made a bit more clear. Even though we've mentioned it in passing, the hypocrisy and double standards of Christians who criticize Muhammad for his morality needs to be more thoroughly analysed and exposed.

                          Before moving on to an analysis of Biblical morality, I would like to offer some advice and encouraging words to my fellow Muslims. My main piece of advice is to not be discouraged by slanderous attacks on Islam or how it is distorted in the media. Certainly, we all hate to see such things occur, but in the "Information Age" which was brought about by a culture that (allegedly) places a supreme value on freedom of speech, there is not much that we can do to stop it. The flip side to this coin is the fact that the Truth of Islam is still out there and people are finding it. Yes, Islam is spreading in spite of these hypocritical methods that Christians and others are using to stop it. From the "moon god" lies of Robert Morey to the almost daily distortions in the media, Islam is still spreading in the West. Actually, the fact that those who make a career out of attacking Islam, such as Christian missionaries, have to resort to lies and distortions when they discuss Islam is a good sign. Certainly, if they discussed Islam as it was meant to be understood, they would only be hurting their own cause. When Islam is presented by non-Muslims in the West, usually matters of peripheral importance are addressed and criticised. The core beliefs of Islam, if discussed at all, are presented in a distorted manner. If Islam was just some ridiculous "Third World" religion with no appeal, they would not have to treat it this way. As a matter of fact, a great deal of the anti-Islamic literature that fills Christian bookstores (and the Internet) is not designed to convert Muslims, but to turn Westerners off to Islam. The people who write these lies are just trying to poison the minds of people so that they won't be receptive to the message of Islam when they hear it.


                          Their methods, however, are failing. In Europe especially, the Christian religion is in a severe state of stagnation and people are looking for truth elsewhere. Christians have always been embarrassed by their almost complete inability to convert a notable Muslim to Christianity. Certainly, they have their converts that they hold up as examples, however all of them seem to have been only nominal Muslims (at best) when they converted. However, many notable Westerners have embraced Islam, recently as well as in the past. One of the most interesting things about this is many (if not all) of these people could be called "Searchers for the Truth". By this I mean that they were the type of people who were spiritual, open-mined and read books on many subjects. They were not brainwashed simpletons who simply wanted to join an easy religion and the dominating culture of the time. They were people who knew a lot not only about religion, but about history, philosophy and other disciplines. Suffice it to say that the truth of Islam is out there, in spite of all the negative press that it gets today. The following is just one testimony that Islam is spreading in the West:

                          "Unprecedented numbers of British people, nearly all of them women, are converting to Islam at a time of deep divisions within the Anglican and Catholic churches. The rate of conversions has prompted predictions that Islam will rapidly become an important religious force in this country . . . Within the next 20 years the number of British converts will equal or overtake the immigrant Muslim community that brought the faith here", says Rose Kendrick, a religious education teacher at a Hull comprehensive and the author of a textbook guide to the Koran. She says: "Islam is as much a world faith as is Roman Catholicism. No one nationality claims it as its own". Islam is also spreading fast on the continent and in America. (The Times , London, Tuesday, November 9th, 1993, Home-News page)
                          Thanks be to God that many of us who are former "pew warmers" finally decided to go out and investigate what they try to spoon feed us from the pulpit and TV. Why does Islam succeed in attracting Christians and others? Because it's the Clear Way of Abraham. No other religion today can honestly claim this! Islam isn't just a "feel good" religion where they just tell you what you want to hear and read selected verses from the Bible. Most Christians today approach religion like they do Sunday brunch: they take what they like and leave what they don't like. They have this attitude in spite of the fact that Abraham is held up in their Bible as a towering example of faith. Abraham , who was going to sacrifice his own son because Almighty God commanded it, certainly knew the basis of morality. It is clear in both the Bible and the Qur'an that Abraham knew that whatever God commands is the right thing to do. However, how many Christians today can say that they honestly believe that on all issues? How many of them have reflected on the moral ramifications of what is contained in their Bible? Seemingly, not even their learned apologists who attack Islam have reflected on it too deeply!

                          The question "What is our basis for morality?" is an easy one for those who follow the faith of Abraham —and that's what Islam is. Islam is submission to the Will of Almighty God - "We hear and we obey"- the faith of our father Abraham. If it was good enough for Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, then it's good enough for me! It is this truth and this attitude that attracts people to Islam. The entire basis of Islam, which produces this attitude, is Unity—the Unity of Almighty God and the unity of mankind. To be sure, the message of Islam appeals to the very nature of man. No wonder it is spreading! A Christian theologion, relatively recently, observed:


                          "It is probable that early in the twenty-first century Islam
                          will have become numerically the largest of the world religions" 11


                          Quite possibly, if you count only Sunni Muslims (which are at least 85% of Muslims), we are already the largest religion in the world when compared not to "Christians" as a whole, but to either the Orthodox, Roman Catholics or Protestants each separately.



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                          A CASE STUDY IN BIBLICAL MORALITY

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                          Now that we've taken an detailed look at an alleged moral difficulty in the life of Muhammad , for the sake of balance, let's take a look at a moral difficulty in the Bible. We've already made statements above concerning the nature of Biblical morality, but many readers may be unaware of some of its "difficulties". For better or for worse, in Sunday school they generally skip the verses which we are going to deal with below. However, these verses certainly are useful tools in putting intellectually honest Christians in the same "moral dilemna" that they think Muslims should be in due to Muhammad's young marriage to 'Aishah, may God be pleased with her. It should be kept in mind that the purpose of this discussion is the basis for morality, not the inspiration of the Bible (or lack thereof). For the purposes of this discussion, we accept the Bible "as is". However, this should not be interpretted to mean that we are endorsing it as the "Word of God" in toto. On the other hand, it should not be interpreted to mean that we are attacking the "Word of God", since we are discussing it simply because Christians consider it to be the "Word of God" (whatever their particular definition might be). For those wanting more detailed information on the Muslim view of the Bible, please click here.


                          The portion of the Bible that we want to look at begins with the Book of Numbers, Chapter 31, verses 17 and 18. Here, Moses, following the Lord's command, orders the Israelites to kill all the Midianite male children. The order continues with the following:



                          ". . . kill every woman who has known man by lying with him,
                          but all the female children, that have not known a man by lying with him,
                          keep alive for yourselves."

                          One can only guess how the Israelites determined who the virgins were. Most probably, they did it based on age and maturity, assuming that all of the female "children" who had not reached puberty were virgins. Keep in mind that this was done, according to the Bible, on God's command to "Avenge the Israelites on the Midianites". Later, God gives Moses instructions on how to divide up the booty, "whether persons, oxen, donkeys, sheeps or goats". Based on this command, "thirty-two thousand persons in all, women who had not known a man by lying with him" were divided up. This was done so that the Israelite soldiers could have these young girls "for themselves". I do not suspect that anyone reading this is either so naive or ignorant of King James English to not know what this means!


                          Moving along to another great example of Biblical morality, . . . in Deuteronomy 21:10-14 the Biblical "God of Love" gives the following command:


                          "When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the Lord thy God hath delivered them into thine hands and thoust has taken them captive, and seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and have a desire unto her, that though would have her to be thy wife, then though shalt bring her home to thine house . . . and after that you may go into her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. But if though have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go".
                          This should serve as sufficient proof that the morality that is taught in the Bible often is not what Christians make it out to be. In spite of what they teach in Sunday school, the above mentioned verses demonstrate the following:

                          Almighty God, at least according to the Bible:
                          * Ordered innocent babies to be killed; and
                          * He allowed young women to be forced into sex against their will.

                          Before moving on, it should be noted that killing women and children in war is never permitted under Islamic Law (the actions of some ignorant Muslims around the world notwithstanding). Some Christians may take issue with the words "innocent babies" above, since they believe that even babies are tainted with "Original Sin". However, this is not the topic of the discussion at hand. Suffice it to say that Biblical support for the Doctrine of Original Sin is contradictory at best. There are some verses that seem to support it, but there are others that seem to clearly deny it. One strike against "Original Sin", besides the fact that it's simply unjust, is the fact that the Jews—who read the Old Testament—never belived in it the way Chrisitnas do. But anyway . . . when faced with the problematic parts of the Old Testatment, Christians react in various ways. Many offer up the ill thoughtout "Well-That's-in-the-Old-Testament" defense. In spite of the fact that they usually don't brush the Old Testament aside so quickly when they are being shown alleged prophecies which match Jesus, a few other thoughts can be presented. Some of the things that make brushing aside the Old Tesament a bit more difficult (at least for Christians who want to remain intellectually honest) are: 1) the same God that "inspired" the Old Testament "inspired" the New Testament; 2) this same God is "unchanging" according to the Bible; 3) Jesus in the New Testament endorses the "Law and the prophets" (i.e. the Old Testament) in several places; and 4) without the Old Testament there is no basis for Christianity.

                          When put in this predicament, Christians, have one of two choices: 1) stop thinking about it and fall back on a liberal "pick-and-choose" religion that just makes them "feel good" but does not answer any of life's more difficult questions; or 2) accept the (allegedly) Divinely Revealed morality of the Bible "as is" and en toto.


                          There are Christians out there who claim to accept the Divinely Revealed morality of the Bible. They understand what's at stake and the issues at hand. If people are allowed to whimsically decide what is right and what is wrong, there would be chaos. Just as importantly, if people decide what is "God's Word" and what is not His word based on their preconceived notions and "modern" sensibilities, nothing would be left of the Bible. As such, there are Christians who, in principle, say that killing babies is "moral" as long as God clearly commands it. For someone who understands the nature of Divinely Revealed morality, we would have to agree in principle but with certain reservations. As mentioned above, Almighty God—according to Islam—never commands the killing of innocent children. That is one "difficulty" that I am glad that Muslims don't have to explain their way out of! Killing babies is okay as long as God commands it!?! So much for having Christians as baby-sitters!


                          The bottom line is that morality comes from Almighty God and from Him alone. However, if ones studies the Bible, it is plain to see that it is not a foundation for morality. The examples above are just a few that can be provided from both the Old and the New Testament. The people who promote "Biblical morality" pick and choose from the text as they please. Only in Islam can one with good conscience accept "the whole package" without ignorantly or hypocritically denying things that they don't like. This is how true internal peace and balance are achieved. If one belongs to a religions without accepting everything in its scripture (real or alleged) one is not only bearing false witness againt themself but against God Himself. With all the false ideas in the modern age, it's easy to be lead astray. The liberal Westeran morality that has now touched all corners of the globe is, culturally speaking, something like an eight-hundred pound gorilla. It's very hard to stand in its way or speak out against it. However, being encouraged by others to follow "vain desires" has been an eternal problem for mankind, as Almighty God makes clear in the Qur'an:



                          "Say: 'I will not follow your vain desires:
                          if I did I would stray from the path
                          and be not of the company of those who receive guidance.'"
                          Qur'an - Surah al-An'aam - 6:56

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                          GUIDEPOSTS TO BE THANKFUL FOR

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                          The Prophet Muhammad was a great example for all of humanity and peoples of different cultures (from "modern" Europeans to the aborigines of Australia). Not only was he a great Prophet and Messenger, but he was also a statesman, military leader, ruler, teacher, neighbor and friend. Family life was one of the most important areas where he was a great example, since he was both a husband and a father. Due to God's wisdom, His last and final prophet experienced a wide array of marriages and family situations. Due to this, he is an example for people who are monogamous, for those who are polygamous, for those wishing to marry those older than themselves and for those wondering how early someone can rightfully marry. Muhammad reestablished the Religion of Abraham so that it would continue to the Last Day.


                          As Muslims, we should be thankful for these guideposts in our moral journey through life. Reflecting on them aids us in avoiding being led astray into "moral relativism". This is a very dangerous thing, since it can lead to the worst of all sins—associating others with Almighty God in worship, belief and/or Lordship. By knowing the Prophet's life we can see how to stay within the boundaries laid by Almighty God and stay on the Natural Religion of Islam which was made to suit the natural disposition (fitrah) of mankind. I pray that we, as Muslims, make Almighty God's limits our limits, and that we are not influenced by other societies and cultures. If it was good enough for Abraham and Moses, then it's good enough for me . . .


                          That's the way I see it, but God knows best . . .






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                          FOOTNOTES

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                          1 W. Montgomery Watt, Muhammad at Medina, Oxford University Press, 1956.
                          2 "Rites and Ceremonies", The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th Edition (1987), Volume 26, page 850.

                          3 Gerald Sigal, The Jew and the Christian Missionary, Ktav Publishing House,1981, page 28.

                          4 "Central Africa", The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th Edition (1987), Volume 15, page 646. See also "Aboriginal Australia", The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th Edition (1987), Volume 14, page 425. For additional references to the marriage customs in Biblical times, see Israel: Its Life and Culture, by Johannes Pedersen, Volume 1, page 60ff.

                          5 Herman H. Ploss, Max Bartels and Paul Bartels, Woman, Volume I, Lord & Bransby, 1988, page 563.

                          6 English-translation of Sahih Muslim, Volume 2, International Islamic Publishing House, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, page 715.

                          7 Theodor H. Vandevelde, Ideal Marriage : Its Physiology and Technique, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1980, p. 243.

                          8 Nabia Abbott, Aishah-The Beloved of Mohammed, Al-Saqi Books, London, 1985, page 7.

                          9 Karen Armstrong, Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet, Harper San Francisco, 1992, page 157.

                          10 W. Montgomery Watt, Muhammad: Prophet and Statesman, Oxford University Press, 1961, page 229.

                          11 John Hick, The Metaphor of God Incarnate, Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993, page 87.


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                          .لا نريد زعيما يخاف البيت الإبيض
                          نريد زعيما يخاف الواحد الأحد
                          دولة الإسلامية باقية





                          Comment


                            #14
                            Very interesting post indeed!

                            ...but I was wondering if there is any documentation of Ayesha's(ra) age at the time of her death and what year that was in. That should and would surely solve the mystery of her age at the time of consumation of her marriage with rasoolullah(saw).

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by baba
                              M Y, please read carefully through Muawiyah's post, that explains everything.
                              Yes, I can tell from the responses brother Muawiyah is getting, but it is sooooooo long :(
                              Please Re-update your Signature

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