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Aishah’s marriage and her exact age
The ancient historical references
Some thought-provoking suggestions
Some historical facts that need considering carefully:
The age of Aishah in relationship to the age of her sister Asma
Abu Bakr’s children were born before the advent of Islam
Abu Bakr’s marriage to Umm Ruman
Aishah was one of the first children to embrace Islam
Some background details of the marriage
Abu Bakr’s concern about the delay of Aishah’s full wedding
Aishah was playing on a swing when called to her marriage
The date of the death of Aishah
The status of the narratives in the Sahih collections
Sayyid Sulayman Nadvi’s statement examined
Aishah’s dolls
Aishah’s ‘playmates’
Aishah’s Needlework
Aishah’s Account of the Miraj and the Hijrah
Aishah’s role in the Battle of Uhud
Aishah’s knowledge
Her status as a jurist



Topics: 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06                               This is not Zakir Naik's research

Madam Aishah, a Study of her age at the time of her marriage with Prophet Muhammad

Aishah’s marriage and her exact age:

Many Islamic traditions maintain that the marriage of Aishah with the Prophet took place when she was just six years old, in the tenth year of his Prophethood (620 CE), and that she entered his house as his fully wedded wife after the Migration to Madinah in the month of Shawwal, (623 CE – 1 AH), when she was merely nine.

This is the view traditionally accepted by hadith scholars from early times, as well as most historians of our own time.

Unfortunately, these traditionists and biographers hold their views by choosing to ignore several important pieces of evidence which contradict this opinion, which indicate that at the time of her marriage to the Prophet, Aishah was much older, indeed as much as ten years older than generally claimed.

The basic problem is that our historians and traditionists seem to have chosen not to do a little elementary mathematics. Many have reported statements that are supposed to be factual which are in blatant contradiction to the notion that Aishah was only six in 620 CE.

The supposed extreme youth of this wife of the Prophet has given ammunition to those who, for all sorts of reasons, wish to cast doubt on the authenticity of her hadith material. What is more, it has enabled enemies and critics of Islam to poke fun at the Prophet’s personal life and portray him as a rather selfish voluptuary. Certainly it suggests that he took advantage of such a young girl by entering into a marital relationship with her at a time when she could not possibly have had the maturity to consider any marriage proposals or partners with adequate care.

Some Muslims have countered this sort of criticism by maintaining that marriage arrangements as early as this are quite in order when the young girl is mature for her years.1

Some Muslims even use the supposed extremely early marriage of Aishah (with its following success and happiness) as an excuse to justify marrying off their own female relatives at pre-pubertal age, or just as they are entering puberty. However, this practice is considered to be outrageous by critics from cultures where this is illegal and not acceptable at all. It is considered particularly offensive if the society that allows such immature girls to marry also makes it extremely difficult for them to gain their freedom later, if the marriage turns out to be disastrous.2

This can be particularly the case when the girl is married to an uncle or cousin. Brides from separate families can be divorced far more easily than brides from one’s own family, where huge traumatic rifts might occur. Obviously the practice of restricting divorce where spouses have rejected each other, for genuine reasons, makes a nonsense of Allah’s principles and commands in such Qur’anic passages as Sura al-Talaq.


It may be worth noting in passing that the Prophet did indeed marry one of his cousins shortly after his marriage to Aishah – Zainab bint Jahsh – but she was his seventh wife and very far from being his first choice!

There is another, and more preserve aspect to consider that has nothing to do with the virtues or otherwise of a child marriage. There are some who deliberately prefer to emphasize the supposed extreme youthfulness of Aishah in order to negate or cast suspicion on her narrations regarding the various Prophetic traditions. It is a known fact, for example, that traditions emanating from the centres at Kufa and Karbala, because of the splits occurring after the death of the Prophet, tended naturally to favour the Prophet’s son-in-law Ali and his family line, and are far less sympathetic towards Aishah.

It is therefore worth stating that the origins of the hadiths concerning Aishah’s extreme youth at the time of her marriage do seem to have emanated from Iraq, and there is no evidence that they were known in Madinah in the earliest times – which makes them suspect.

The correct age of Aishah at the time of her marriage should be far more carefully examined by today’s scholars, so that there is no question of rejecting her traditions as being impossible because of her extreme youth.

A deal of nonsense is also talked about the ages and marital inclinations of the Prophet’s other wives, incidentally. Whereas it may certainly be true that he did marry some of them out of pity or political and family convenience, there is no point in making foolish remarks about their elderliness. The younger ones were by repute extremely beautiful, and the older ones had been close friends of the Prophet for many years and amongst the earliest of his converts. Moreover, the Prophet was singularly used to a marital relationship with an older woman – since his sole partner for some twenty-five years was at least fifteen years older than himself. The Prophet did not remarry until he was over fifty, and when he was fifty his beloved Khadijah was sixty-five! None of his subsequent wives had attained that age by the time of his death. Several of his wives were in their teens when he married them, presumably of similar age to Aishah.



1. For example, Maulana Abu al-Wafa Thana’ Allah Amritsari (Muqaddas Rasul – the Holy Prophet) justified it by comparing Aishah’s marriage to that of a case quoted by the ancient Hindu philosopher Majuji. He thought it quite proper for a girl of eight years to marry a man of thirty. The fact that Aishah was said to have been only six, and the Prophet over fifty seems to have escaped him!

2. Examples include Pandit Kalicharan – ‘Vichita Jeevan’; and Mr. Rajpal – ‘Rangila Rasul – the Epicurean Prophet, 1934 who questioned: ‘Why did Muhammad settle his marriage with a minor who was the age of his grand-daughter?’ (p.19).



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